Monday, October 10, 2022

Columbus Day 2022

Usually for Columbus Day I go on my usual rant asking the question, why is this considered a day of Italian heritage? The Italians wouldn't back the expedition that Columbus proposed. He had to turn to Spain to get his trip going. So shouldn't we be celebrating the Spanish for their cleverness in backing this man and his notion of traveling West to get to the East? The Italians did NOTHING for him.

It's also brought up that we shouldn't celebrate anything for Columbus because he didn't discover anything. The Vikings had visited "The New World" centuries earlier. Yeah, they did, and there were no permanent settlements and the knowledge was lost to Europeans for years. Once Columbus discovered land and the possibilities it possessed, there was a new race to stake claims in the New World. He provided us with a reason to move on from Europe. 

But lately I have been reading some very unsettling messages. We shouldn't celebrate Christopher Columbus Day because he is the single biggest perpetrator of crimes against humanity the world has ever known. To me, this claim is off base. We are in the process of rewriting history now. Somehow we expect people hundreds of years ago to be on the same wavelength that, really, only a few of us are on today. To this day, there is still slavery, genocide and mass murder around the world, yet no one will say or do anything about it. We can't tell the Middle East what to do, but Columbus should've known better? And, yes, I am well aware of the notes and letters Columbus had written about how easily enslaved the natives would be and the terrible things inflicted upon them directly as a result of his occupation. Similar atrocities were commonplace all over the world in those days. Slavery wasn't new at that time and was never pretty.

The truth is humanity is always evolving. Many cultures have grown and progressed since the dark times that found slavery a perfectly fine industrial model and inequality among the races and sexes perfectly acceptable. What I find unacceptable is blaming important historical figures for things that we now see as unjust. 

Now can we celebrate a holiday for a man who, effectively, doubled the size of this planet for mankind?