Wednesday, October 11, 2017

rewriting history

When history is written by conquerors it most likely is not a factual telling of what actually transpired. 

First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World, painting by Dióscoro Puebla(1862)

At best it is skewed from the limited perspective of early arrivals and at its worst it is an all out lie perpetuated to bolster the superiority of the winner and cover the atrocities committed against the loser. 

Time to abolish Columbus Day, blog by Bill Bigelow

Such is the case with Christopher Columbus. Known to the world and throughout misguided history as a great explorer. 

Today it is inconceivable that we are still honoring the father of the slave trade with a national holiday.

While he did set out to explore the new world, we now know that Columbus came to the Americas to conquer and exploit whoever and whatever he discovered. 

He not only initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade at the beginning of 1494, he prospered and profited from it enormously. 

Engraving by Theodor de Bry depicting the controversial account of Bartolomé de las Casas

In fact Columbus should be labeled the first terrorist of the Americas for his use of armed force and extreme violence against any and all resistance. 

Instead his atrocities came blanketed and protection by the holy church and Spain's royal coffers. Both of whom reaped enormous gain from his exploitation and pillaging. 

Dia de la Raza Poster

While this may be excused by the fact that folks back then may not have known any better, given what we now know of who Christopher Columbus was and what he launched, celebrating the man and his exploits needs to end now. 

Schools and  libraries should ban books like Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis, which praise Columbus and say nothing of the lives destroyed by Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

Columbus Memorial, Caracas

Unfortunately, The Columbus story is still the young child’s first curricular introduction to divergent ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities.

Enough already. It's time to end this.

Let's not wait to replace it with some alternative like Indigenous Peoples Day either.

Movements like the Equal Justice Initiative or Black Lives Matter prompt us to ask whether such practices affirm the worth of every human being.

It’s time to abandon a holiday that celebrates these crimes and perpetuates such criminal behavior.

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