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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:08 AM
Original message
COLUMBUS DAY


CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND THE INDIANS
by Howard Zinn


Arawak men and women, 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.2 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 them 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 again) 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.

The Indians, Columbus reported, "are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone...." He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage "as much gold as they need . . . and as many slaves as they ask." He was full of religious talk: "Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities."

Because of Columbus's exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans' intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.

Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were "naked as the day they were born," they showed "no more embarrassment than animals." Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold." But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.
The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.

http://www.newhumanist.com/md2.html
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Waya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Where did you get that 'poster'?
and can I repost it?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Just found it around the web
Not sure where I came across it but I've also seen original posters of it. Please post it everywhere and
anywhere.

History Not Taught is History Forgot:
Columbus' Legacy of Genocide

Columbus and the Beginning of Genocide in the "New World"

It has been contended by those who would celebrate Columbus that
accusations concerning his perpetration of genocide are distortive
"revisions" of history. Whatever the process unleashed by his
"discovery" of the "New World," it is said, the discoverer
himself cannot be blamed. Whatever his defects and offenses, they are
surpassed by the luster of his achievements; however "tragic" or
"unfortunate" certain dimensions of his legacy may be, they are
more than offset by the benefits even for the victims of the resulting
blossoming of a "superior civilization" in the
Americas. Essentially the same arguments might be advanced with regard
to Adolf Hitler: Hitler caused the Volkswagen to be created, after
all, and the autobahn. His leadership of Germany led to jet
propulsion, significant advances in rocket telemetry, laid the
foundation for genetic engineering. Why not celebrate his bona fide
accomplishments on behalf of humanity rather than "dwelling" so
persistently on the genocidal by-products of his policies?

To be fair, Columbus was never a head of state. Comparisons of
him to Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler, rather than Hitler, are
therefore more accurate and appropriate. It is time to delve into the
substance of the defendants' assertion that Columbus and Himmler, Nazi
Lebensraumpolitik (conquest of "living space" in eastern Europe) and
the "settlement of the New World" bear more than casual
resemblance to one another. This has nothing to do with the Columbian
"discovery," not that this in itself is completely
irrelevant. Columbus did not sally forth upon the Atlantic for reasons
of "neutral science" or altruism. He went, as his own diaries,
reports, and letters make clear, fully expecting to encounter wealth
belonging to others. It was his stated purpose to seize this wealth,
by whatever means necessary and available, in order to enrich both his
sponsors and himself. Plainly, he pre-figured, both in design and by
intent, what came next. To this extent, he not only symbolizes the
process of conquest and genocide which eventually consumed the
indigenous peoples of America, but bears the personal responsibility
of having participated in it. Still, if this were all there was to it,
the defendants would be inclined to dismiss him as a mere thug along
the lines of Al Capone rather than viewing him as a counterpart to
Himmler.

The 1492 "voyage of discovery" is, however, hardly all that is
at issue. In 1493 Columbus returned with an invasion force of
seventeen ships, appointed at his own request by the Spanish Crown to
install himself as "viceroy and governor of
and the mainland" of America, a position he held until
1500. Setting up shop on the large island he called Espaola (today
Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he promptly instituted policies of
slavery (encomiendo) and systematic extermination against the native
Taino population. Columbus's programs reduced Taino numbers from as
many as eight million at the outset of his regime to about three
million in 1496. Perhaps 100,000 were left by the time of the
governor's departure. His policies, however, remained, with the
result that by 1514 the Spanish census of the island showed barely
22,000 Indians remaining alive. In 1542, only two hundred were
recorded. Thereafter, they were considered extinct, as were Indians
throughout the Caribbean Basin, an aggregate population which totaled
more than fifteen million at the point of first contact with the
Admiral of the Ocean Sea, as Columbus was known.

This, to be sure, constitutes an attrition of population in
real numbers every bit as great as the toll of twelve to fifteen
million about half of them Jewish most commonly attributed to
Himmler's slaughter mills. Moreover, the proportion of indigenous
Caribbean population destroyed by the Spanish in a single generation
is, no matter how the figures are twisted, far greater than the
seventy-five percent of European Jews usually said to have been
exterminated by the Nazis. Worst of all, these data apply only to the
Caribbean Basin; the process of genocide in the Americas was only just
beginning at the point such statistics become operant, not ending, as
they did upon the fall of the Third Reich. All told, it is probable
that more than one hundred million native people were "eliminated" in
the course of Europe's ongoing "civilization" of the Western
Hemisphere.

http://web.mit.edu/thistle/www/v9/9.11/1columbus.html
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Waya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Ok, thanks!
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
4. recommended - this is an extremely important overlooked history lesson.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. I call it "Genocide Day" -- and I'm half Italian
There's a HUGE lobbying effort from certain Italian-American organizations to keep this "holiday" on the books.

(Moran didn't even hit the Continent, let alone not even being the first European to reach NA.)
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. That's what it was
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 11:40 AM by Jcrowley


Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were "naked as the day they were born," they showed "no more embarrassment than animals." Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. "One who has gold"
Columbus, the gold, and phony Italians
By Luciana Bohne
Online Journal Associate Editor

Oct 9, 2006, 01:40

"One who has gold," observed Christopher Columbus in his travel log, "does as he wills in the world, and it even sends souls to Paradise." The man was not only a cynical practitioner of "real-politick" (a la today's and yesterday's Neocons), but he was also a psychic.

Who can deny today that the United States, the richest country in the world, practices what he preached? In the name of God, freedom, and democracy, it loots the world, subjugates people, steals their resources, and reduces them to penury. Just look at Iraq. The conquest continues, as "America" seeks to "discover" the world in order to subdue and loot it.

Obviously, Columbus was the prototype for today's hardcore, god-touting, warmongering, colonizing, profiteering, and imperializing US "patriot." So, it is quite fitting that certain kinds of know-nothing, heavily propagandized, deceptively hyphenated, US-patriots should wish to celebrate the "discovery" of "America" by like-minded Christopher Columbus, the thief and pirate of the "New World."

However, let one thing be clear: this is not celebrating "Italian heritage." This is celebrating that part of the "Italian heritage" that led to Mussolini's fascism -- his racism, imperialism, and criminal wars -- and to the attempted reestablishment of Vatican power in Italy's secular state. Many Italian-Americans, cut-off from the mother culture more than a century ago, know nothing of this history. They should know it, however, for without knowing it they cannot properly call themselves "Italian." At best, they are related to Italy the same way that some naive American blacks are related to modern Africa -- that is, nostalgically, inauthentically, and "virtually."

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_1292.sh...
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dogday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
7. Columbus was a member of the Tin-Foil Hat club
and look what that got him :tinfoilhat:
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
8. Columbus Day...a National holiday nm
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
10. Diaries of Las Casas
Father Las Casas wrote:
...God made all the peoples of this area...open and as innocent as can be imagined. The simplest people in the world, unassuming, long-suffering, unassertive, and submissive. They are without malice or guile...Never quarrelsome or belligerent or boisterous, they harbor no grudges and do not seek to settle old scores; indeed, the notions of revenge, rancor, and hatred are quite foreign to them...They own next to nothing and have no urge to acquire material possessions. As a result they are neither ambitious nor greedy, and are totally uninterested in worldly power...They are innocent and pure in mind and have a lively intelligence

It was upon these gentle lambs, imbued by the Creator with all the qualities we have mentioned, that from the very first day they clapped eyes on them the Spanish fell like ravening wolves upon the fold...The pattern established at the outset has remained unchanged to this day, and the Spaniards still do nothing save tear the natives to shreds, murder them and inflict upon them untold misery, suffering and distress, tormenting, harrying and persecuting them mercilessly.

They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were so many sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual's head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers' breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: 'Wriggle, you little perisher.'

They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burn them alive thirteen at a time, in honor of our Savior and the twelve Apostles, or tie dry straw to their bodies and set fire to it...The way they normally dealt with the native leaders and nobles was to tie them to a kind of griddle consisting of sticks resting on pitchforks driven into the ground and then grill them over a slow fire, with the result that they howled in agony and despair as they died a lingering death.
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
11. Another great post by JC.
Thanks*
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
12. Ed Schultz wants to move it to election day...
... and give everyone the day off to vote. Feels its rather meaningless now as it is, except as a holiday for the few people that give people time off for it.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
13. Fighting Terrorism since 1492
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arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Indeed, that's my favourite shirt in my entire wardrobe
:evilfrown:
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