…columbus day in the us? and a holiday, still?…Posted: 2015-10-12
…one of those incongruities of life; or a ‘western’ thing…
Unperturbed about the ridiculousness of the thing the US continues with the celebration of Christopher Columbus – even if, as other holidays, it is a day to go shopping.
Elsewhere, such as in those countries directly affected by the Enterprise (slavery, slaughter and plunder) of the Lord of the Ocean Seas, the attitude is markedly different. Many to most countries have been moving away, far away, from even the racist implications of that ‘el Día de la Raza’. Among the more favoured has been el Día de la Resistencia Indígena, ‘Day of Indigenous Resistance‘. TeleSur gives a brief summation of the event commemorated.
Even in the US, the voice of activist groups is increasingly being heard and action taken, as RT reports, 9 cities abolish Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day More changes should be forthcoming as the racist implications of the ‘celebration’ dawn on the more inclusive-oriented policy makers, more so local legislatures.
One related example is the remarkable decision of the state of California to ban the use of a word offensive to the indigenous people of the country, even if a word highly profitable to the billionaire owner of the NFL team, the Washington Redskins. And that would be the state for similar activist demonstration of the racist implications of a day celebrated by consumer shopping, Anti-Columbus Day Activists Remember Atrocities Against Natives.
And in all this, Venezuela now follows Argentina in a very public and proud acknowledgment of the First Peoples of the respective country. As reported in TeleSUR, Presidente Maduro inaugura monumento al Cacique Guaicaipuro.
James Nevius in The Guardian (UK) tries to find context with the US fixation on the Mariner with, Christopher Columbus was a lost sadist. There shouldn’t be a holiday in his name. The supremacist implication is hard to escape, and yet, Columbus Day, and in the US?
More bracing still is a much earlier article from Dominic Selwood. Sample excerpts of a post crystallises the mind-set, as we see from the conservative Daily Telegraph (UK), Columbus, greed, slavery, and genocide: what really happened to the American Indians.
He [Columbus] also described the “innumerable” native Indians who greeted him:
They have no iron or steel or weapons, nor are they capable of using them, although they are well-built people of handsome stature, because they are wondrous timid. … They are so artless and free with all they possess, that no one would believe it without having seen it. Of anything they have, if you ask them for it, they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as if they were giving their hearts; and whether the thing be of value or of small price,
At the start of this piece I suggested that readers could form their own view whether the American Indians had been the victims of genocide. Perhaps the final words on this should go to The New York Times.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow retired as Smith Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard in 1854. The following year, he published his epic poem about the Indian chief, Hiawatha. On 28 December 1855, page 2 of The New York Times carried a review of the poem, which described it as:
… embalming pleasantly enough the monstrous traditions of an uninteresting and, one may almost say, a justly exterminated race.
[bold added for emphasis]
Dr Dominic Selwood’s article is sufficiently clear and concise for an accurate picture. The price of hospitality and humanity. The man was about slavery, genocide, plunder. The modern approach would be resource extraction and depletion and ‘native’ unquestioning subservience; and extreme violence toward any resistance thereto. So who the cap fits names the holiday?
…unmistakable is the sense of ‘manifest destiny’, ‘exceptionaism’, witnessed daily…