Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus, Americus, or Jobs? Part II

As I said yesterday, I really love this "3-day weekend" in mid October and I want to keep the tradition of celebrating the fall; however, over the years I have started to feel more and more guilty over the hypocrisy of celebrating "Columbus Day." 
The story I first believed was of a determined sailor who worked tirelessly to find funding for three ships that would prove the world was not flat!  However, we now downplay that fabled story as it appears Columbus may have earned his "legacy" primarily through his carefully documented journals for his sponsors.  After all, he was looking for a "short" route to China when he accidentally landed int he Bahamas and he had to have something to "give" those who funded his trip!  
Some historians even speculate that Columbus already had some knowledge of "new lands" across the Atlantic from Europeans who had been here fir trade and fishing and thus his voyage became "a research trip" for his "professional" journal writing!
The saddest part of the Columbus story is not the "scam" of European royalty,  however, it is the violence toward and enslavement of the indigenous people of the regions.  There is evidence of genocide, rape and violence towards all of the people who did not flee the domination of the Europeans. 
So why does America celebrate Columbus Day?  While some may suggest it has more to do with our need to justify the domination of our ancestors, I speculate it may have more to do with "tradition." No matter what the reason, it might be time to reposition this holiday as one honoring the many people whose discoveries have helped to transform our world. 

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