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This letter was submitted to the Rocky Mountain News
and the Denver Post but not been published by either.
Following my arrest last year for protesting the tax-supported
Columbus Day Parade, I've been asked why I did it. Why do I care about
something that took place over 500 years ago?
Although Cristobal Colon (Columbus) did indeed open the gates for
further expansion into the New World, his role as Governor of Espanola
(now Haiti) is less well known. Columbus' governorship (from 1493 to
1500) reduced the native Taino population there from as many as eight
million down to 100,000 people. This genocidal act was performed by
means of murder and slavery-tools of the trade which were first adopted
in earnest by civilizations from the Old World thousands of years ago.
Even though Columbus' reign of terror took place long ago, the tools
of colonialism are still being used today. Indigenous peoples are
presently being displaced in the New World (examples include Columbia
and Brazil). In the Old World you can look at Bosnia, the Ivory Coast,
and Israel for some of the most recent examples there.
I'm offended that our government is sponsoring a holiday honoring an
individual who is credited with something he didn't do (discover
America), and who's accomplishments are genocide and slavery.
©2004 Transform Columbus Day Alliance