Day: American As Apple Pie
By Max Kantar
08 October, 2007
Colon, Christopher Columbus; a hero to America, the founder of our native
soil, the 'New' World, a good Christian man, with good Christian morals.
On the eve of "Columbus
Day," I often sit and reminisce of some of the most popular lies
I was force fed as a sponge-like child, ready to soak up whatever I
was told in school. I mean it had to be true, my teacher said so....
Say I was to stumble into
your backyard, and then have the audacity to stick flag in the ground
and give this 'new land' a name I see fit. That's ridiculous. So is
celebrating Columbus Day.
Christopher Columbus made
several voyages to what are now called Central/South America, landing
in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, etc. In his first voyage,
in 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas, where he came in contact with
Lucayan people, who had been living there for several thousand years
prior to his visit. He presumptiously exploited them for their natural
resources, such as gold, and for human resources, such as slavery. Of
course, he also had to 'resolve to make them Christians.' Due to enslavement,
diseases, and "other hardships" Columbus' arrival marked an
end to these peaceful indigenous people's (population estimated at 40,000
upon arrival) existence by 1517. That is what we call 'genocide' today.
On his second voyage, to
the Carribean, Columbus enslaved the natives to mine for gold he was
stealing, where many of them died. In Haiti, native kids as young as
14 were forced to return from gold mines with a certain 'quota' of gold
hanging from their necks. If they returned with an undesirable amount,
he ordered their hands to be chopped off. Alas, when it was time to
bid farewell, his ship would only hold 560 slaves, so he packed them
in like sardines and sailed them pack to Spain, although only 360 survived
the hellish voyage.
Accounts of Columbus' death
voyages like the aforementioned are virtually endless. The National
Council of Churches summed up Columbus' existence best by issuing this
statement, among other similar statements, in 1990: "For the indigenous
people of the Caribbean islands, Christopher Columbus' invasion marked
the beginning of slavery and their eventual genocide."
Columbus: a hero? Yes, for
Slavery, Colonization, Genocide, Racism, Religious Fanaticism, and Human
and Environmental Exploitation. Yet we do not only condone Christopher
Columbus in the United States of America, we honor his life by celebrating
and observing a holiday in his name. On second thought though, slavery
and genocide are as American as apple pie.
Max Kantar is an undergraduate
of Sociology at Ferris State University. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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