Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
We Celebrate Columbus Day
2.14 MBs, 2:40
of Americans, Columbus Day is a day of parades, nice dinners, and
thankfully, a paid vacation day from work.
this is Thanksgiving Day.)
But, I've always
wondered what do the survivors of this 500 years of genocide,
slaughter, and land-theft the so-called Native Americans
think of Columbus Day? Undoubtedly some (those culturally
conditioned to follow American ways) *do* celebrate it, as do many
Americans. Yet, one still wonders.
When I think
of Columbus Day, I don't think of the present; nor of celebrations.
I think of the time, 500 years ago, when 3 Spanish ships darkened
the horizons of the Caribbean Sea. When the man then known as Cristobal
Colon came to land, and met the people he mistakenly called 'Indians',
the world was forever changed. I think of those people those
people whom Columbus described as "well-formed", "handsome",
and with "good faces."
the journal of a Spanish priest tells us exactly what was happening
in Oct. 1492: On Thursday, October 11th, Fray Bartolome De Las Casas
wrote, Columbus marveled at their beauty and their kindness; but
he noticed something else:
They do not
carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed
them swords and took them by the edge and through ignorance cut
themselves. [p. 67]
noticed something else; that this "gentle", "handsome",
and "good face[d]" people could be easily enslaved. De
Las Casas records the Admiral's thoughts:
Your Highnesses may command, all of them can be taken to
Castile or held captive in this same island; because with 50 men
all of them could be held in subjection and *can be made to do
whatever one might wish*. [pp. 75-77]
the first day's entry after landfall! Day One and slavery
is the first thought!
of course, was 500 years of hell for millions of Native peoples
and a hell to come for millions of African people.
It really makes
one feel like celebrating Columbus Day.
De Las Casas, Fray Bartolome, *The Diario of Christopher Columbus's
First Voyage to America 1492-1493*. (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Press, 1989); trans. Oliver Dunn and James E. Kelly, Jr.]
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
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Reprinted by permission of the author.