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Columbus Day: American As Apple Pie

By Max Kantar

08 October, 2007
Countercurrents.org

Cristobal 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 maxifunk_05@hotmail.com


 

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