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October 12, 2013

Christopher Columbus: Not a Hero.

Colombus was a barbaric douchebag.

Today is Colombus Day. It is technically “celebrated” on Monday, since today is Saturday. (Although I don’t think too many people celebrate it in any way, other than sales at department stores.)

A fabulously smart new comic/essay by The Oatmeal offers a humorous, persuasive and clear argument to the idea that Columbus “discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs.”

Its information comes from two noteworthy books, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn and Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, which use primary sources—eyewitness accounts, journal entries and Columbus’s letters.

I think by now most of us know that Colombus was not the courageous explorer that he was made out to be. But maybe we are not aware of the extent of the horror he inflicted upon “the New World” because he sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

The comic gives details of his cruelty towards the natives, among other things. In contrast, Bartolomé de las Casas was a peer of Columbus who fought against slavery and “the cruelty and imperialism of the Spanish Crown,” making him one of history’s first human rights advocates.

Did you know that the Catholic me, the Knights of Columbus, lobbied to create Columbus Day?

The Oatmeal is outraged that Colombus gets a holiday on par with Abe Lincoln and MLK Jr. and suggests that we celebrate Bartolome Day in lieu of Colombus. I’m with him!

Happy Bartolome Day.

Here are some more people to celebrate instead.

  • Gandhi
  • Goenka
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Malala
  • Our own selves
  • Basically, anybody but Colombus and similarly reprehensible figures like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Kony.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Ed: Bryonie Wise

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