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Posted on 2003.13.10 at 15:42
How I feel about it all: irritatedirritated
Soundtrack: Madonna and Antonio Banderas - High Flying, Adored

Arawak men and woman, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned....They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features....They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance....They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane....They would make fine servants....With fifty men we could subjugate thm all and make them do whatever we want.

These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and aain) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.

Columbus wrote:

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever ther is in these parts.

So tell me again what I'm supposed to be celebrating?


quiridion at 2003-10-13 12:54 (UTC) ()
Ewww...sick sick sick! I mean, I knew it was bad, but still. Ugh! That reminds me of a book I just finished reading about the Victorian settlers in Tasmania and the stuff they did to the natives. It was a novel ("English Passengers") but based on fact. Very good but so sad in places. :(

And we still haven't learned. This sort of stuff is still going on today. :(
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-10-13 12:59 (UTC) ()
If you want a really good overview of US history, read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States The stories are told without all the the whitewashing (pun intended) usually put in history books.
Mad Maudlin
ginzai at 2003-10-13 13:03 (UTC) ()
Eurgh. Columbus day nothing - I've no use for the man. He was vile. Can we just rename it Leif Erikson day and have done with it?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-10-13 13:08 (UTC) ()
Well, the Vikings actually were around before Columbus, right? Go for it. Um, unless Mr. Erikson did dastardly deeds, in which case the deal's off.
Mad Maudlin
ginzai at 2003-10-13 13:51 (UTC) ()
I don't think he did... At least he didn't start a wave of invaders who murdered and cheated their way through an attempted sublimination of multiple cultures, yes?
the day you left was just my beginning
patchfire at 2003-10-13 13:05 (UTC) ()
Lighter traffic? Because, of course, that reduces the emissions for at least one day, thereby slightly slowly the poisoning we are giving to the earth.

... which, it could be argued, might not would be going on at such a rate in this area without Columbus. So, obviously, it's back to his fault again.
Loony Loopy Lea Lovegood
chickadilly at 2003-10-13 14:35 (UTC) ()

In college I was shocked to find out how much I didn't learn about our history in public schools. Very sad.
The Foo Queen
erebor at 2003-10-13 14:37 (UTC) ()
So tell me again what I'm supposed to be celebrating?

Here, it's Italian-American heritage day. You may think it's unfortunate that it's on Columbus Day, but that's how the emphasis has shifted. Away from celebrating what you point out and more toward something positive.
jlm1779 at 2003-10-13 14:46 (UTC) ()
Thankfully, no pun intended, it's Thanksgiving Day here. We do have a similar day, but it's in memory of John Cabot. I always find it funny how we celebrate such days dedicated to such people... lol
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