Xiphias Gladius (xiphias) wrote,

I'm saddened that we have a Columbus Day

I am, in general, in favor of the European migrations to the New World. After all, my family migrated here over the last 150 years or so, from Eastern Europe, Italy, and probably England, because that's where Osmonds seem to come from. I like this continent. So I don't have the same gut-level repulsion to the European migrations and invasions that a lot of my friends who have more Native blood do. There are horrific parts of it -- the Trail of Tears, the attacks on women and children in the Indian Wars, and most of all the apocalyptic diseases that killed 90% of the population of North America (although that wasn't deliberate, and, for all we know, it MIGHT have been a coincidence that didn't have anything to do with the Europeans). I'd rather be living in a society which was a creole of American Indian and European cultures, but I nonetheless like the fact that Europeans got here.

But that doesn't mean that I am a fan of Columbus. The thing is that Christopher Columbus was vile even by the standards of imperialist slavers. He was a child-raping, murdering, horrific brutal slaver. I very quickly run out of adjectives and nouns to describe him. Here -- read what The Oatmeal has to say about him: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day

My solace is that he has nothing to do with the United States. He's a monster who ravaged the Caribbean, but nothing on the mainland, and certainly nothing in North America. Were there good effects of this? Well, the discovery of the Caribbean DID give an escape route to Jews fleeing from the Spanish Inquisition, so much so that, in some parts of the 16th century Caribbean, "Portuguese" was a code word meaning "hidden Jew". The European colonization of the Caribbean wasn't ENTIRELY bad -- just MOSTLY bad, and Columbus was unimaginably so.

So why do we have an American federal holiday celebrating him? Because the Knights of Columbus, although they did, and do, a lot of good work, are terrible at symbolism. I'm also annoyed at the K of C for jamming "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance, which destroys the entire meaning of it.

The K of C wanted an American Catholic symbol. We've got a LOT of better ones now. Heck, trade in Columbus for JFK and we're better off. The Bay of Pigs is nowhere near as bad as kidnapping ten year old girls and selling them into sexual slavery.
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