Christopher Columbus Lied-Fighting Back!

Columbus Lied-Fighting Back!

While we set aside a federal holiday to celebrate a man, Christopher Columbus, whom many still regard as a hero, I choose today to instead celebrate the indigenous people of the Americas and expose a man whom history teaches us committed genocide and many other atrocious crimes. Sadly, at times, that reality is either consciously disregarded or remains unknown, because we have been taught erroneous information about the life and dealings of Columbus. Every time we teach children about his heroic discoveries, we are casting a veil over his crimes and continuing to desecrate the spirits of our indigenous people.

As a native of St Lucia, I was taught that he discovered my homeland around 1502. When I was a child, I regarded the explorer as a hero who was brave enough to sail the high and treacherous seas; however, as I got older and wiser, I started to consider Columbus as nothing more than what society would now consider a vile pedophile, an unconscionable thief, a man challenged by his absence of a moral construct, and someone who was at conflict with his own spirituality because, while he preached one thing, his actions were vastly different. He was, in fact, a man who met a people who offered him olive branches and, in exchange, he savagely raped their spirits and will and slaughtered them mercilessly. These people were not invaders like Columbus, but rather rightful natives of their own land; members of a fully functioning society.

I would often wonder, how can one discover a place that was already inhabited? How can one claim ownership to something that already belongs to someone else? In this day and age, if one power was to attempt to subjugate and take possession of another people’s territory, it would be considered a crime against humanity; stealing that would be punishable by law. With this in mind, why are we celebrating a common thief who stripped others of all they had and stole their possessions?

His own words give us a glimpse of the sheer brutality, pain, and anguish that befell the native people when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. History tells us that his ships were filled with drunken sailors, some outcasts from Spain, prisoners who had learned to be at peace with every manner of evil; yet, ironically, they landed in places where Columbus himself bragged that the indigenous people used “sugarcane stems as spears.” One would think, for a people so naïve to brutality, that Columbus would have mercy on them; instead, this villain robbed them of all their possessions because his greedy soul hungered for gold. He and his crewmen savagely raped the women, and this reckless and indiscriminate crime wave continued, extending its evil talons to target girls even as young as ten years old. The evidence for this comes from the mouth of Columbus himself.

 

History continues to teach us that these savages brought guns to the Americas, weapons used to hunt down the native people like animals in their own land. Now tell me, are these still explorers, or mass murderers? Are they victors, or simply vile and disgusting rapists, pedophiles, and thieves? But then, how can we expect anything better when some of the crew used on Columbus’ journey were not even fit to be among the general population in Spain. These were men who had been barricaded in cells, restrained, controlled, and perhaps in constant conflict with their own psyche.

I was inspired to put my thoughts on this matter to paper because of the insurmountable evidence that exists regarding this man’s atrocities, in hopes that educational institutions and establishments, especially in the Caribbean, will begin to teach young people the real truth about Christopher Columbus; that he was a liar and an opportunist. When he first encountered the population of Hispaniola in 1492, it numbered between “1.1 and 3 million people, but by 1496 it was down to 1.1 million, in 1516 it was down to 12,000 and by 1542 fewer than 200 people and by 1555 every single native was dead.” This is genocide- this is evil!

My wish is that students will begin to thirst for knowledge about the true actions of Christopher Columbus, including how he started a sex trade of young girls and women from our region of the world. Given that knowledge, how, can we truly celebrate a man who flagrantly bragged about raping our indigenous people? Instead, today, I celebrate the spirit of those people. I honor their culture and their way of life, I pay homage to the gentle souls of the Arawak and the bravery of the Caribs. I celebrate the Tainos of Hispaniola (Haiti), the very same people of whom Columbus said: “I showed them a sword (and) they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance.” I celebrate the indigenous women who were savagely raped by these criminals, and I give thanks that we are becoming ever more aware of the so-called discoveries of Christopher Columbus.

 

*As someone who’s moved by the plight of marginalized people and one who loves humanity I felt compelled to write this piece. When I read about how young girls were brutally raped during that time, my spirit became uneasy and troubled and instead of simply being angry, I knew that it was important to pay homage to them by adding my voice to this story. You may ask how does that fit into a blog for nannies and families, the answer is simple-because it’ s a story about humanity and how people were not cared for and violated and we are in the business of providing care and respecting people while providing that care. Perhaps it serves a gentle reminder about the importance of humanity and the need to respect all people.*

 

 

 

Alene Mathurin

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