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Old 04-01-2005, 05:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Attrocities of Christopher Columbus

As per Lebell's request:

Quote:
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND THE INDIANS
by Howard Zinn

[Howard Zinn is an author and lecturer. His most noted work, from which this selection is excerpted, is A People's History of the United States.]

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.

Columbus wrote:

"As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts." The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold?

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.

Trying to put together an army of resistance, the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords, horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks, mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.

When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, known later as encomiendas. They were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.

The chief source-and, on many matters the only source of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus came is Bartolome de las Casas, who, as a young priest, participated in the conquest of Cuba. For a time he owned a plantation on which Indian slaves worked, but he gave that up and became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty. In Book Two of his History of the Indies, Las Casas (who at first urged replacing Indians by black slaves, thinking they were stronger and would survive, but later relented when he saw the effects on blacks) tells about the treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards. It is a unique account and deserves to be quoted at length:

"Endless testimonies . . . prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives.... But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then.... The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians..."

Las Casas tells how the Spaniards "grew more conceited every day" and after a while refused to walk any distance. They "rode the backs of Indians if they were in a hurry" or were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays. "In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings."

Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades." Las Casas tells how "two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys."

The Indians' attempts to defend themselves failed. And when they ran off into the hills they were found and killed. So, Las Casas reports. "they suffered and died in the mines and other labors in desperate silence, knowing not a soul in the world to whom they could tun for help." He describes their work in the mines:

"... mountains are stripped from top to bottom and bottom to top a thousand times; they dig, split rocks, move stones, and carry dirt on their backs to wash it in the rivers, while those who wash gold stay in the water all the time with their backs bent so constantly it breaks them; and when water invades the mines, the most arduous task of all is to dry the mines by scooping up pansful of water and throwing it up outside....

After each six or eight months' work in the mines, which was the time required of each crew to dig enough gold for melting, up to a third of the men died. While the men were sent many miles away to the mines, the wives remained to work the soil, forced into the excruciating job of digging and making thousands of hills for cassava plants.

Thus husbands and wives were together only once every eight or ten months and when they met they were so exhausted and depressed on both sides . . . they ceased to procreate. As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished, had no milk to nurse them, and for this reason, while I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation.... In this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk . . . and in a short time this land which was so great, so powerful and fertile ... was depopulated.... My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write...."

When he arrived on Hispaniola in 1508, Las Casas says, "there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it...."

Thus began the history, five hundred years ago, of the European invasion of the Indian settlements in the Americas. That beginning, when you read Las Casas--even if his figures are exaggerations (were there 3 million Indians to begin with, as he says, or less than a million, as some historians have calculated, or 8 million as others now believe?) is conquest, slavery, death. When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventure--there is no bloodshed-and Columbus Day is a celebration.

The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks) the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as "the United States," subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a "national interest" represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.

2 Howard Zinn, "Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress," A People's History of the United States
Quote:
The Journals of Columbus: An insight into the Truth
By Chris Reed

Europe heralded Columbus as a significant figure in history, when in reality Columbus began an era of slavery and murder in the Americas.

The above thesis is a reflection on the life of Christopher Columbus, according to his European contemporaries. The following paper will examine the voyages of Columbus according to his own personal accounts. This will be shown through Columbus’ own words, which are found in his journals. Columbus’ journals and letters back to Spain were what began the rise of Columbus in the eyes of his peers. Through the "stretching" of facts, and improvisation, Columbus was able to convince Spain that his encounters were extraordinary, and peaceful. When in fact his encounters were far short from extraordinary and peaceful. Although the above statements portray Columbus negatively, he did accomplish some things, like opening an unknown territory to Europe. All of the above statements will be supported in the following.

At the first island Columbus landed on, he took some Indians aboard by force; this was only the beginning of such behavior. He was hoping that the Indians might learn his language and communicate what they knew about the country. In a short time they were able to communicate with the Indians. He kept the Indians throughout his voyages as guides to the territory unknown by the Europeans.

On October 12, 1492, Columbus approached the shore of the "continental" providence Cathay. Upon reaching the shore, he was unable to talk to the natives, due to the fact that they fled as Columbus approached. Columbus proceeded deeper inland in hope of finding a village or town. Two of his men were dispersed throughout the "continent" to find signs of civilizations. When they returned they told of a highly populated village. The seized Indians told Columbus that the country was actually an island and not a continent. Therefore, upon receiving this information, he sailed toward the east.

The next island the navigator encountered was the island of Juana, which was extremely fertile, and surrounded by many bays. Juana is the island which we call today Cuba, a name adopted by the aborigines. There were seven or eight kinds of palm trees, and fruit trees, which by far surpassed those seen in Spain, in height and beauty. There were a variety of birds, many different metals, and very fruitful fields. Although many of these descriptions were true, they were over emphasized to "sell" Europe on the New World. Columbus did not visit the two provinces on the island, but the inhabitants were said to have been born with tails. Born with tails? Due to the fact that Columbus never visited the provinces, this "fact" is probably a story one of the seized Indians told them, but he states this as a fact in his letters. So how many of Columbus’ encounters are fact and how many are a myth?

In his encounters with natives Columbus noted that they did not have weapons, and were incompetent to use them. When Columbus’ men approached the natives they fled in a great haste. Columbus states that they did not run because of any loss or injury that they received from his crew, this was a display of the natives natural fear instinct. Once contact was made they presented the natives with cloth and other things, receiving nothing in return. The natives are just naturally timid and fearful, stated Columbus; after the fear subsides the natives are very simple and honest. As their comfort level grew, the Indians gave objects of great value to the crew of Columbus. An example of trading done between the crew and the natives was a sailor exchanging a leather strap for gold. Columbus wrote that the Indians bartered like idiots, cotton and gold for fragments of bows, glasses, bottles and jars. Columbus looked at this as being unjust, and reportedly gave many good things to the Indians; this was done to more easily console them, eventually leading them to Christianity. It seems as if he showed a little compassion in this exchange, but as history tells it he wasn’t that compassionate all the time. It started by the way Columbus "discovered" the New World, leading to murder and slavery. Columbus went to shore on an armed boat with his brother and another captain. Upon reaching shore the first thing he did was to claim the land in the name of the Spanish throne. He then went to impose European bureaucratic order on the region, a region that did not know such customs. According to medieval natural law, only territories, which have no inhabitants, can be declared as property of the first person to discover them. So he knowingly broke medieval law, this was only after being on the island for a few minutes.

Columbus and his men exported or slaughtered one third of the original Indian population, which was made of 300,000 natives, stated Jack Weatherford, an anthropologist at Macalaster College. Columbus took 200 slaves back to Europe, and left 500 slaves to serve the Spaniards that were left on the island. Among these things he was also known for the poor treatment of the Indians while on the island. In a letter Columbus wrote to a friend after his explorations, he bragged about how he rewarded his men by allowing them to rape the native women. Columbus was also rumored to have cut the ears off of resistant natives, and supposedly tested the sharpness of his swords by cutting their skin.

It was best stated by Paul Leicester Ford, when comprehending Columbus’ achievements, "...investigation of his life and works, finds him a vain, ignorant, and even half-mad enthusiast ...his great act based on ignorance and error, and the result nothing but a lucky chance." Europe, upon reading Columbus’ journals, heralded him as hero. Anyone reading Columbus’ journals would look at him as a hero during his era. People were curious and wanted to know what new lands were out in the vast blue ocean? So when reading Columbus’ stories of lands greater than Europe, overflowing with vegetation, the people were intrigued; reading of a land of inhabitants with tails would intrigue the people even more. Christopher Columbus wrote what the people wanted to hear, keeping some things to himself. According to Columbus’ journals he was a great man with many accomplishments, but history tells us otherwise.
Quote:
Columbus' story getting native voices in curriculum

By Karen Rouse
Denver Post Staff Writer

A group of educators is using a national model to create a Christopher Columbus curriculum that pulls Indians from the margins of history and looks critically at the idea of identity in historical events.

Traditional lessons of Columbus reflect the identity of the Europeans on the ship with Columbus, said Stephanie Rossi, a Wheat Ridge High School history teacher.

But there is also "the perspective from the shore," Rossi said. The Arawak and Taino Indians on what are present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a different story, she said.

What hasn't been told, Rossi said, is how indigenous people were killed by Spaniards who traveled with Columbus or were enslaved, or how women were raped for payment.

The curriculum, which will be available to schools this fall, uses a framework designed by the Massachusetts-based Facing History and Ourselves to examine moral choices made in history, said Bill Fulton, director of the Facing History Project at the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver, which is overseeing the project.

There is a network of about 100 public and private teachers in the metro area who have used the Facing History curriculum in the past who will likely use the Columbus lessons, Fulton said. Eventually, the group hopes to develop a textbook around what it calls the "American Genocide."

The concept of identity emerges throughout history, Fulton said. In any event, there are victims and perpetrators, rescuers and bystanders and scapegoats.

Those roles exist in the workplace and on playgrounds, he said. In schools, Rossi said, students identify as athletes, "the freaks," jocks - or those who are "in" or "out."

Native Americans were viewed as inferior to Columbus because "they were not white or Christian," she said.

The project is significant in Denver, Fulton said, because Columbus Day celebrations have been the source of tension between Italian and Native American-led groups in the city for more than a decade.

While some celebrate Columbus as an explorer who introduced Europeans and Christianity to the Americas, others say his legacy is of slavery, genocide and rape.

http://www.coloradoaim.org/20040705c...denverpost.htm
And if you still believe that countering a celebration of Christopher Columbus is nothing more than "holding onto the hurt of the past":
Quote:
"Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism.
... Imperialism and colonialism are not something that happened decades
ago or generations ago, but they are still happening now with the exploitation
of people. ... The kind of thing that took place long ago in which people
were dispossessed from their land and forced out of subsistence economies
and into market economies -- those processes are still happening today."

John Mohawk, Seneca, 1992
I'm not sure what commentary you might have been looking for here when you asked me to create this thread, lebell. I'll leave that to you.
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Old 04-01-2005, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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HAHAHAHAH!!! Nice! Columbus deserves a holiday as much as Ghengis Kahn. Actually, I'd rather celebrate Ghengis Kahn day.

Columbus is, as said above, is a symbol of imperialism. He is nothing more.
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Old 04-01-2005, 06:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, that's a whole lot of text and post to read to find out what most of us already know. I think only pretty young kids still hold the impression that Columbus was someone to be admired. Most adults I know understand that 1. He didn't discover America, 2. He was greedy and cruel is his dealings with native peoples. Not much new here. Unless I am wrong about most adults already understanding this.

He did have enormous faith (or foolhardiness) to attempt a trans-atlantic crossing at a time when all of his contemporaries insisted that it couldn't be done.
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Old 04-01-2005, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braisler
Hey, that's a whole lot of text and post to read to find out what most of us already know. I think only pretty young kids still hold the impression that Columbus was someone to be admired. Most adults I know understand that 1. He didn't discover America, 2. He was greedy and cruel is his dealings with native peoples. Not much new here. Unless I am wrong about most adults already understanding this.
I think you are wrong. Most don't understand the complexity of the history.


Quote:
Originally Posted by braisler
He did have enormous faith (or foolhardiness) to attempt a trans-atlantic crossing at a time when all of his contemporaries insisted that it couldn't be done.
This too is a good point...



Ultimately, this is the main thing about history (hell even the news of things that happened yesterday), they are coloured by those who tell the story.
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Old 04-01-2005, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
............I'm not sure what commentary you might have been looking for here when you asked me to create this thread, lebell. I'll leave that to you.
Manx, I consistently make an honest and fact filled effort to expose these of the "move on" mentality, to what is happening today in America, to expose them to the effects of what they voted for in 2000, and in 2004. I've reminded them that they are complicit and culpable for the support that they give to our alleged war criminals who hold national office. The reaction towards current events is as muted and evasive as the reaction that I predict you will receive from this thread, if you receive any reaction at all.

It's too unpleasant to contemplate, Manx, and impossible for the "move ons" to own up to, in any way. Much easier to rail against affirmative action, or the selfishness of the poor, and their leaders encourage them to do so.

Exposure to this mindset has helped me too, Manx, and this way of thinking has helped me to sleep at night. Why, just a few weeks ago, I discovered that I am directly descended from a man who owned and traded slaves. I was briefly concerned, but it happened a long time ago, and besides, my ancestor was a patriot who fought in the revolution, alongside one of his slaves.

Thanks to what I've learned on the TFP politics forum, I'll suspect that the evidence that he owned slaves isn't true, or has been exaggerated, or that the slaves he owned were better off than if they had to live back then as free men in colonial New England.
Quote:
<a href="http://www.quinnipiac.edu/other/ABL/etext/wallingford/chapter19.html">http://www.quinnipiac.edu/other/ABL/etext/wallingford/chapter19.html</a>

369

james baldwin, john ives, chatham FREEMAN,1 enos hall, ephraim merriman, ambrose hotchkiss, oliver collins, josiah merriman, black BOSS,2 asahel merriam, JOASH HALL,3 DANIEL CRANE, serg't. levi munson,4 isaac hull, Jun.,5 ralph rice, george hall,6 aaron rice, eldad parker.7 1 A slave of Mr. Noah Yale. The circumstances of his enlistment are related elsewhere.

2 Black Boss was a slave of Abel Curtiss; and like his colored friend preferred the harsh discipline of the camp and the perils of battle even, to that very mild form of slavery which existed in Connecticut. The name here given is a nickname ; but is the only one by which he was ever known, according to the information of those elderly people who remember him.............

<a href="http://www.quinnipiac.edu/other/ABL/etext/wallingford/chapter18.html">http://www.quinnipiac.edu/other/ABL/etext/wallingford/chapter18.html</a>

343...........

........."Received of Abel Curtis (of Meriden) Forty Pounds, In full of a Negro Boy Called Ben, about nine years old which Sd negro Boy I Promis to warrant and Defend against all Lawful Claims & demands of any Person whatsoever as wit* ness my hand. GEO. PHILLIPS.
Manx, as you can read above, the apologist historian who wrote the "History of Wallingford", in 1870, described my great- x 8- grandfather's type of slaveholding as a "mild form".

It was a long time ago, and Abel was from my mother's side of my family;
with the different last name, and the fact that we aren't from the south,
I'm movin' on, Manx. I suggest that you try to, too.
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Old 04-01-2005, 07:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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edit:

Thread title changed per request of poster.
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Last edited by Lebell; 04-01-2005 at 07:29 PM..
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm in the Move on camp. Our great nation was born at the edge of the sword and the barrel of a gun, along with a few infected blankets. I realize it, I don't particularly like the fact, but I can't change it. History remembers the conquerers. The Indians plain and simple lost the war, the white man was smarter, we had better technology, deal with it.

Venni Vetti Vicci, too paraphrase a TV show, I suppose Caesar was too feel bad about his conquests, I suppose the Roman Empire and everything that was born of it was too be bound by the sins of the past. Imagine that boundless culpability. "I came, I saw, I felt bad".

For all intents and purposes Columbus was a douche lander, but you have to fucking accept that what's done is done.
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Mojo - That's one way to deal with it.

Another would be to include this information when discussing the beginnings of Western imperialization of the New World.

And of course another would be to ignore this information entirely and celebrate Columbus as some kind of heroic figure. And you can take this one step further by criticizing anyone who would attempt to remind you of these facts.

So that's 2 options plus whatever "move on" means.
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Old 04-02-2005, 05:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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More guilt from ManX.

Man, you act like the West was the only civilization that has done horrible things to people in the past. Is it horrible what Colombus and the subsequent conquerers done to the natives? Of course it is. However, every civilazation has it's thugs, even the practioners of the Religion of Peace, even the Native Americans, even the Sub-Saharan Africans, even the Chinese, ect...

Was Colombus a hero for sailing West into the great unknown? Yes, so why shouldn't that be celebrated? Also, you mention that we need to "include this information when discussing the beginnings of Western imperialization of the New World". OK, fine, but teaching our children to feel guilt and hostility towards the West over something they or their parents had nothing to with doesn't do them or society any good
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Old 04-02-2005, 05:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I always thought we celebrated Colombus day because he discovered the new world from the European point of view, not for conquering it. You know courageously going where no European man has gone before type of thing.

This opened the door for the Europeans to eventually take over the new continent which led to the formation of our nation. I can understand why the people who lived here do not find this a cause for celebration.
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Old 04-02-2005, 05:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The real issue to me is that there is little we can do to change what happened hundreds of years ago.

No one is seriously suggesting that the existing governments of North and South America hand over the keys to their various nations, are they? No one to be taken seriously anyway.

At the same time, if we, as nations are currently against Imperialism, Genocide, etc. It is essential that we understand the actions taken in the past to create the nations in which we currently live.

Guilt? Possibly. It all depends on how you feel about what happened in the past. Ultimately there is nothing you can do to change the past. Like any understanding of history, the important thing is to try and learn from mistakes so we don't make them again.

Dwelling on the past means you to remain in the past. Learn the lesson and move on.
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Old 04-02-2005, 05:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Was Colombus a hero for sailing West into the great unknown? Yes, so why shouldn't that be celebrated? Also, you mention that we need to "include this information when discussing the beginnings of Western imperialization of the New World". OK, fine, but teaching our children to feel guilt and hostility towards the West over something they or their parents had nothing to with doesn't do them or society any good

So basically you want to celebrate him and be proud of him, but you don't want to be remembered to his atrocities because those happend in the past?
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Old 04-02-2005, 06:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pacifier
So basically you want to celebrate him and be proud of him, but you don't want to be remembered to his atrocities because those happend in the past?
Pretty much


I think it is important to remember the atrocities, but not at the expense of what he had done for Western Civ. He's not the first to commit such horrid acts, but he was the first Westerner to cross into the great unknown and discover the New World for the West
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Old 04-02-2005, 06:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NCB
Pretty much
You sound like any other right winger, You want to remember the good past and ignore the bad past.
I thought you right wingers are always so fond of the "whole picture" so you have to see Columbus as whole. Including his atrocities and the bit of luck he had to re-discover america.
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Old 04-02-2005, 06:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacifier
So basically you want to celebrate him and be proud of him, but you don't want to be remembered to his atrocities because those happend in the past?
I think you need to hold both ideas of Columbus in your head at the same time... Why should we have such a black and white view of things... Grey is often the reality of the situation.

Columbus should be celebrated for his achievements BUT only while acknowledging that his great achievements were tempered with some pretty horrible things... I see no need to white wash the past.

It is uncomfortable for many to accept that our ancesters were nasty people. The truth is it was a harsh place to live period.

You can get upset about slavery but many skim over the fact that slavery was practiced by just about everyone (i.e. blacks enslaved blacks and sold them to whites; The Grand Turk would enslave just about anyone who fell into his net). We tend to focus on what happened in the west without looking at the precidence.
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Old 04-02-2005, 07:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pacifier
You sound like any other right winger, You want to remember the good past and ignore the bad past.
I thought you right wingers are always so fond of the "whole picture" so you have to see Columbus as whole. Including his atrocities and the bit of luck he had to re-discover america.
I think we should remember the atrocities but we should also acknowledge the accomplishments. As an example we celebrate Abraham Lincoln for holding the union together and the end of slavery while at the same time remembering that he was a racist for most of his life. We can celebrate Colombus for his discovery while still remembering the atrocities.
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Old 04-02-2005, 07:55 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NCB
Pretty much
He made the trains run on time? That's the worst excuse for genocide i've heard all week, and i've been reading Sudenese statements on the darfur.
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Old 04-02-2005, 10:41 AM   #18 (permalink)
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And of course another would be to ignore this information entirely and celebrate Columbus as some kind of heroic figure. And you can take this one step further by criticizing anyone who would attempt to remind you of these facts.
Like so:&nbsp;
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More guilt from ManX.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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No civilization is without evil and dastardly deeds. The Indians were not ALL peaceful, loving, kind peoples, some tribes were very, very cold and calculating and destroyed weaker tribes. It is how we survived. Whether you believe in evolution or not, the fact remains the strong survive and the weaker die off. IT IS NATURE AND IT IS HOW MAN HAS PROGRESSED AS FAR AS HE HAS.

Mankind whether we like it or not is a very agressive animal that lashes out and fights to conquer what is unknown or what will further their existence. It is our past and when we venture to the stars it may very well be our future.

To sit here 500+ years after Columbus and pass judgement on what he did is self-righteous ignorance. To say you would have treated the Indians better and that you are above the greed of the past is lieing either to yourself or to others. Who knows how we would have reacted in Columbus's shoes or what we would have done, to presuppose anything is the crime.

All we can do is learn from the past and move forward and hope we do not repeat the past. But we cannot make promises that we won't repeat past mistakes, after all we are only human and we are agressive, selfish and territorial by nature.

All we achieve, by bringing up the past and using it in ways to show how evil someone 500 years ago was, is division, resentments and allowing some to feel self righteous over others. It is bullshit and to say "we are doing it so we can learnfrom mistakes" is equally bullshit because to learn from mistakes we must learn why those mistakes were made, what situations were going on, in other words we must wear Columbus's shoes, the Indians shoes and the shoes of those who lost and profited most. And we must do this without any bias' and prejudgements. Then and only then can we see the whole picture and learn from it.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
All we can do is learn from the past and move forward and hope we do not repeat the past.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
All we achieve, by bringing up the past and using it in ways to show how evil someone 500 years ago was, is division, resentments and allowing some to feel self righteous over others. It is bullshit
I can't reconcile the inherent contradictions in those two statements.

We need to learn from the past.

Bringing up the past is divisive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
and to say "we are doing it so we can learnfrom mistakes" is equally bullshit because to learn from mistakes we must learn why those mistakes were made, what situations were going on, in other words we must wear Columbus's shoes, the Indians shoes and the shoes of those who lost and profited most. And we must do this without any bias' and prejudgements. Then and only then can we see the whole picture and learn from it.
And this one hurts my head ...

It's bullshit to claim bringing up the past is an attempt to learn from mistakes because we need to bring up the past in order to learn from mistakes.
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Old 04-02-2005, 12:04 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Columbus was not the only Westerner to "discover" the Americas.

What about Amerigos Vespucci, Leif Ericson etc...I think there's even a claim that the Chinese have a settlement or naval base somewhere in America before Columbus...hmmmm....

Maybe Columbus is overated......

Anyways, acknowledge ALL his deeds, good and bad: we learn and move on but not forget. Sounds like a good idea to me, best of both worlds (pun intended).

Manx, don't let it hurt your head, it's not really worth it.
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Old 04-02-2005, 03:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Columbus was not the only Westerner to "discover" the Americas.

What about Amerigos Vespucci, Leif Ericson etc...I think there's even a claim that the Chinese have a settlement or naval base somewhere in America before Columbus...hmmmm....

Maybe Columbus is overated......

Anyways, acknowledge ALL his deeds, good and bad: we learn and move on but not forget. Sounds like a good idea to me, best of both worlds (pun intended).

Manx, don't let it hurt your head, it's not really worth it.
leif ericson wasn't able to set up a permanent colony or conquer the natives. all that's left to remember him are some sewing spindles and other archeological remains... (and i don't think it was until sometime in the 20th century that proof of his settlement was found).

amerigo vespucci just continued on with what columbus did, and a bit further north. a lot of lay people remember that it was alexander fleming who created penicillian (the first antibiotic), but who remembers the person who created the second, third or eigth?

i think credit shoudl be given to columbus where it is due, but it that doesn't mean that we need to overlook what he did (both good and bad) to accomplish it. there has to be a good mix of remembering his attrocities while not dwelling on them in the past. i just don't know what that mix is.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:49 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
I can't reconcile the inherent contradictions in those two statements.

We need to learn from the past.

Bringing up the past is divisive.
And this one hurts my head ...

It's bullshit to claim bringing up the past is an attempt to learn from mistakes because we need to bring up the past in order to learn from mistakes.
Sorry, let me explain.

If you sit there and show how evil Columbus was and discount the good he did, then you do a disservice to the past.

It's like bringing up one side of slavery and not mentioning how there were just as many in the US at the time running the underground RR or fighting to abolish slavery. So if we listen to those who fight for "reperations" we punish not just the people who profitted but those who did fight for the rights of ALL MEN.

If you only bring up one side to show the evil then you cannot learn because you have to show the positive that was also gained.

WW2 yes the Holocaust was horrendous but from there we learned how one small group can control a nation and almost destroy a whole religious entity not to mention the world.

I just can't get into looking at only the evil and not seeing something positive to grow and learn from.

Too many use too much energy to focus on the negative only takes away any energy and value to learn how to prevent such things from happening again.

I am simply trying to say we cannot change history, we cannot just focus on the evils, or punish the progeny for the mistakes of their ancestors. It truly does nothing but bring up more hatreds. All we can do is learn from the past.

It's like me working with addicts.... those that find recovery and grow into more productive people with better lives are the ones that realize they made mistakes but instead of focussing on what evils they did, they learn from the mistakes they made and work hard not to repeat them.

I have yet to see someone that focuses on their negatives and their past in a negative way find recovery and stay away from their addiction. More often than not those who focus on the negatives once they do try recovery relapse and dive further and deeper into the addiction because of the guilt.

That is what happens when we only focus on history (such as the above on Columbus) in only negative ways. Negativity begets negativity and nothing positive will ever grow from it.

In many cases those who only focus on the negative issues of history are doing so because of hate, anger or a desire to create problems today. They are not interested in trying to move forward and build a better planet.
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Old 04-03-2005, 07:18 AM   #24 (permalink)
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That was a fantastic post, pan6467.

I've been holding back posting until I've seen a the responses and have had time to do the thread justice, but I had to say something about what you said.
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Old 04-03-2005, 07:53 AM   #25 (permalink)
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preeminently well put, pan6467.

you hit this one out of the park.

memorable post, thanks.
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Old 04-03-2005, 08:43 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pan6467
Sorry, let me explain...... better planet.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:03 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Balance:
Pro: wonderful faith and great ambition led him to discover new continents for the Europeans and started the legacy that is now America, Canada, and all of the American countries. He was a brave explorer who's mistake planted the seeds of the west.
Con: he was extremly selfish and greedy, not placing any value on the lives of the natives. His mistake in searching for asian wealth lead to the extinctuion of many peoples and the eventual near extinction of the native American people.

An interesting thought: this thread is specifically about the attrocities of Christopher Columbus, yet people are outraged about the lack of the positive light on CC. I'm sure a post about how good Chritopher Columbus was would do fine, but that would be a different thread. This is about the poor decisions, selishness, and barbarism that CC carried out, and the resulting wars and deaths.

If you want a balance of good for the bad in this thread, go start The Acheivments of Christopher Columbus thread. This is about the attrocities.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:19 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
I just can't get into looking at only the evil and not seeing something positive to grow and learn from.
This is your culture to beleive this, and i repect the sincerity with which you post, pan.

What i'll say is that we are a nation of fixers. We really think that human beings are capable of solving everything, and that we're obligated to. Most of the time, it inspires great acts. Some of the time...it inspires a very selective memory that has no time to grieve.

"Yes, the Holocaust was bad, but..."

That sentence is so typical, and so much the problem here. Do you really think that you can and should skip from the horror of the Shoah to the neatly packaged moral lesson in on sentece? I don't think so.

This fix-it-ness doesn't give us patience for dealing with complexity, and it even leads us to resent the people who make things complicated, who challenge our notion that we've moved on.

We haven't. This culture still exports violence with stunning regularity. We still ghettoize and defraud Native populations (The BIA is hideously mis-managed and loses trust money every year it seems). We didn't "fix it."

This addict is still shooting up. Focus on the future? Sure. Once we actually face up to what's happened...steps 5 and 8 really. We haven't done 'em.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:25 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martinguerre
This is your culture to beleive this, and i repect the sincerity with which you post, pan.

What i'll say is that we are a nation of fixers. We really think that human beings are capable of solving everything, and that we're obligated to. Most of the time, it inspires great acts. Some of the time...it inspires a very selective memory that has no time to grieve.

"Yes, the Holocaust was bad, but..."

That sentence is so typical, and so much the problem here. Do you really think that you can and should skip from the horror of the Shoah to the neatly packaged moral lesson in on sentece? I don't think so.

This fix-it-ness doesn't give us patience for dealing with complexity, and it even leads us to resent the people who make things complicated, who challenge our notion that we've moved on.

We haven't. This culture still exports violence with stunning regularity. We still ghettoize and defraud Native populations (The BIA is hideously mis-managed and loses trust money every year it seems). We didn't "fix it."

This addict is still shooting up. Focus on the future? Sure. Once we actually face up to what's happened...steps 5 and 8 really. We haven't done 'em.
I couldn't have put it better myself. Perfectly said.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:21 PM   #30 (permalink)
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So we should just all pay for the sins of our forebearers and not move on?

The world whether we argee politically and philosophically or not is a far better and more civilized place today than it was say 100 years ago or even 50 years ago.

Granted we are not perfect but we are in better shape as a planet. we are growing and we are learning and we do make mistakes and we do fall backward in some cases BUT we are striving forward in many ways.

To only focus on the negatives of the past and expect some magician to all of a sudden set everything right is detrimental and will never allow us progress.

IF you wallow in self pity and hatred of the past and demand immediate changes from society, you only turn those that wanted to help away, and those that stay are usually in it just for the power and greed.

You want things changed you don't keep rehashing the past.... you stand up and say we need to learn from the mistakes and not judge what others did in a time we were not alive in and have no idea how the people were educated to believe, react or what truly happened.

It's very easy to play armchair QB on a Monday or Tuesday and proclaim, "that this was wrong and this should have been done and blah blah blah and since it wasn't that way well we hold in disgrace and total disgust all that was done by these peoples."

In all honesty what does that achieve but trying to make YOU feel better and trying to score points with those who blame 100, 200, 300 years ago on their failures to advance. Are you changing anything? NO, you just condemn and offer solutions that cannot possibly happen.

What do you want? For all peoples of European ancestory to leave the Western Hemisphere? For every white man to beg forgiveness for slavery? What is your purpose? Am I supposed to walk around with my head down and be appologetic for my ancestors? I see nothing positive or noble in demanding the sons pay for the sins of the fathers when the sons are moving forward and trying to make the world better.

This is one of the most serious problems that is destroying the Democratic party. A minority wants to play holier than thou and point out every little thing in history that we did wrong. They offer no solutions, but they expect everyone else to feel bad and appologize and cry and give into the most ridiculous of demands.

Use your energies for positive change not trying to live on the past and expect everyone to see your way.

You say the culture still exports violence and poverty.... yes but where are your solutions that work .... all I see are fingers being pointed and refusals to see any of the true positive changes that have been made.

I never said to discount the Holocaust, I said we can learn from it, in positive ways. We can't condemn every German for it.

You make no sense to me.... which feeds your egos so you can believe you are enlightened.... but with enligthenment comes working solutions and I don't see you offering any, just hatreds and prejudices and angers over the past.

Move on and make the world better today and tomorrow.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:27 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martinguerre
This addict is still shooting up. Focus on the future? Sure. Once we actually face up to what's happened...steps 5 and 8 really. We haven't done 'em.
The addict still shooting up is the one that refuses to work for a better future because he is lost in his past and finds it easier to repeat.

I do not see that of mankind as a whole. I see us striving forward, making mistakes and learning from them. To say otherwise, is just an excuse to keep putting the needle in your arm.... or worse yet to try to get others so wrapped up in the past that they take to the needle.

It's time to drop the needle make amends and move forward and live life as best as YOU can. You want change then work for change in a positive light, fighting for positive change and living in negativity will only bring about negative changes.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:44 PM   #32 (permalink)
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This thread is specifically about the attrocities of Christopher Columbus, yet people are outraged about the lack of the positive light on CC. I'm sure a post about how good Chritopher Columbus was would do fine, but that would be a different thread. This is about the poor decisions, selishness, and barbarism that CC carried out, and the resulting wars and deaths.

If you want a balance of good for the bad in this thread, go start The Acheivments of Christopher Columbus thread. This is about the attrocities.

If you want to move on, why are you posting? Are you telling other poeple to move on? You don't have to be bothered by reading about Christopher Columbus' terrible decisions. You can go whereever you want to go on TFP. You clicked on the title named "The Attrocities of Christopher Columbus". If you want people to move on, lead by example and stop trying to judge us for not ignoring a big part of our couyntries history.

"But Willravel, you can't just focus on the bad stuff. Yeah, it happened, but there was lots of other great stuff too! Move on!!" No. This thread isn't about moving on. This thread is about the attrocities of Christopher Columbus. Forgive us if we want to talk about the attrocities of Christopher Columbus in a thread called "The Attrocities of Christopher Columbus".

This also itn' about anyone apologizing. I'm sorry that Christopher Columbus was an assshole to the natives, but I know it wasn't my fault.
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:19 PM   #33 (permalink)
 
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pan:

what you say above might obtain if what was at stake in revisiting the often very ugly past was as much an exercise in simple moralizing as its inverse, the one-dimensional heroic narratives--to think this way, you have to assume that the aim of the heroic version is some kind of Uplift, some kind of National Pride or other such nonsense: from there it is simple to invert the whole thing and arrive at the conclusion that one looks to the ugliness (or more neutrallly the complexity) of history as an exercize in self-flagellation.

i think this position as shallow as that of the Heroic Narrative--it uses the same arguments, is embedded in the same logic.

you elaborate a similar--but even more reductive--interpretation of the motives of those who might undertake such a look into the past.

what if one of the reasons to undertake an investigation of the holocaust--say--which is an enormously difficult topic to go into affectively for anyone, really, with overwhelming violence compounded by problems of how you write about that violence--is not simply to inflict guilt on people like yourself, but to understand something more complicated, and more worrisome on the order of how was this possible? you will find very little in the way of answers to this kind of question if you remain at the Great Men level of history---to my mind the central question lay in the engineering of consent, in the various ways the nazis were able to bend bourgeois common sense, using the topoi of nation and exploiting anti-semitism, to create something approaching a kind of collective assent to atrocity--one that operated so efficiently as to enable a significant segment of the german population of the period to at once know and not know that something horrific was going on around them.

this kind of analysis would not be about making you feel bad--were i writing it, i would not care at all about that type of response--i find it little more than a refusal to look and a refusal to think--rather it would be about how particular types of claims, elaborated in contexts not that different from this one that we live through, using mass media, exploiting notions of nationalism, of national unity, looped into racism became a basic condition of possibility for genocide.

genocide in this case was but one aspect of an authoritarian system of governance that imposed a single frame on its population, eliminated systematically opposition internal and where possible external, propped itself up with the rhetoric of self-righteousness and national mission.

history is not made by Great Men. it is made by masses of people, every day--these people make thier history in and through particular frames of reference--political power resides in controlling that frame of reference--the consequences of particular types of control can be appalling--but it is also possible that those who consent to this type of outcome do so on "moral" grounds, with the effect that they might see and not see what is happening--they might see and not care because they oppose for whatever reason something in or about those people who are being killed in great number.

to my mind, you would examine the holocaust in significant measure because you would want to make sure--as sure as you can--that nothing remotely like it would happen again.

something parallel would obtain for almost any history that moves away from the Heroic Narratives and into the horror that often--too often--lay around figures in these narratives.

it is not about making you feel bad.
and even if it was, there would be no consequence to it.
because history is more than a sentimental narrative that enables you to look back on the Great Men who were acting in particular, ambiguous situations so that you can pretend that ambiguity begins and ends with the lives of Great Men and so is no longer something for you to worry about. judgements about the present are shaped in situations of enormous ambiguity. to pretend otherwise is to set yourself up for disaster. which you may prefer, if you can feel good about yourself along the way.
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:47 PM   #34 (permalink)
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All I'm going to say in this... Keep it up Pan. I would post my own opinion but it'd only be the exact same things you've been stating.
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:47 PM   #35 (permalink)
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You can go into the past and point out the evils without harping and expecting people to express guilt and wanting to change because of guilt.

That's all this is about and it doesn't work. Guilt and negativity will never work they only bring about more negativity and hatreds.

Look you can look into the Holocaust find out why it happened how it happened and work to making sure it never happens again.

Or you can point fingers, shove guilt for it happening down people's throats and not learn.

Articles like this are not for learning but to exploit the past and spread hatreds and bring up old prejudices. Where is the moving forward? Where is the CC did this but because of his opening the Western Hemisphere mankind was able to grow eventually?

We cannot change the past, we cannot live in the past. All we can do is move forward and try to learn from the past and not repeat it.

All you people who keep pushing this guilt and hate of the past are doing is trying to guilt people into something.

What do you want? Seriously, what is it that you people want from those of us living in the here and now and are trying to better the world as best we can? Do you want me to appologize for CC? Do you want me to say what a horrendous man and how evil and dastardly and blah blah blah?

What do you want to achieve? Because all I see is you having a desire to try to spread anger hate and fear.

Imagine if all this energy you spent trying to convince people how evil the past was.... was spent trying to change the future in positive ways. I think the changes would happen faster if you focussed on positive change and with less resentments and hatreds and you might get more people to work with you.
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Old 04-03-2005, 02:15 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Roachboy captures the general theory a lot better than i would, so i'll just tack a few responses in. He is right on with "Great Man" syndrome. Ambiguity isthe watchword of history, IMO. Not only is history greater than the activities of the Great Men, but the moral context in which they are set is anything but firm. There is no provable "March Of Progress" that justifies the mistakes and atrocities of these figures. They are responsible for their acts, and even by the standards of contemporaries, such as Bishops Toral or De Las Casas, Columbus was the original Banana Republic dictator. He was recalled for his incompetance by Spain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
So we should just all pay for the sins of our forebearers and not move on?
Not what i suggested. It seems that when the argument is forwarded to complicate history, the historical grand narrative progressionists are apt to claim that we are asking to halt history. I'm not sure where you get this claim. Do you expect us to beleive that it is not possible to look to the future and carefully examine the past at the same time? I believe we're all smart enough to do that, and indeed that our intellectual curiousity should drive us to this...even outside of any moral obligation i might claim.

Quote:
The world whether we argee politically and philosophically or not is a far better and more civilized place today than it was say 100 years ago or even 50 years ago.
I'm not inclined to grant you a "grand progression" of history. Famine, genocide, petty dictators, and the like are still common on this planet. Some progresses and advances have been made...indeed, many important and critical advances have been made. But this is not a case of rising tides bring up all ships.

Quote:
To only focus on the negatives of the past and expect some magician to all of a sudden set everything right is detrimental and will never allow us progress.
This is, again, not the project being suggested. Making villians of the past does not help us much, either. Careful history is not the exclusive focus on the negative, nor does it paralyze.

Quote:
IF you wallow in self pity and hatred of the past and demand immediate changes from society, you only turn those that wanted to help away, and those that stay are usually in it just for the power and greed.
I don't follow this argument at all. I do not hate myself, or my ancestors. I do believe in accountability. Many of my ancestors are responsible for serious mistakes. This does not preclude pride in my heritage, but it does complicate it.

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You want things changed you don't keep rehashing the past.... you stand up and say we need to learn from the mistakes and not judge what others did in a time we were not alive in and have no idea how the people were educated to believe, react or what truly happened.
Is all history that is not simple paralytic? I do not grant that you have effectively argued for the link between failure to act in positive ways and the practice of complicating history. I would like to see you justify why you hold this beleif.

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It's very easy to play armchair QB on a Monday or Tuesday and proclaim, "that this was wrong and this should have been done and blah blah blah and since it wasn't that way well we hold in disgrace and total disgust all that was done by these peoples."
We can cheer, but we cannot critque? Why is the historical narrative you propose better? This argument is a non-sequiter. History in general has been validated as an academic discipline. Why would coming to certain conclusions, a priori, be better than others.

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In all honesty what does that achieve but trying to make YOU feel better and trying to score points with those who blame 100, 200, 300 years ago on their failures to advance. Are you changing anything? NO, you just condemn and offer solutions that cannot possibly happen.

What do you want? For all peoples of European ancestory to leave the Western Hemisphere? For every white man to beg forgiveness for slavery? What is your purpose? Am I supposed to walk around with my head down and be appologetic for my ancestors? I see nothing positive or noble in demanding the sons pay for the sins of the fathers when the sons are moving forward and trying to make the world better.
Where is this coming from? I really don't know...and i'm not asking to be a wise ass. I'm leaving out your charactization of liberal politics. I consider it to be deeply misleading, but it is off topic.

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You say the culture still exports violence and poverty.... yes but where are your solutions that work .... all I see are fingers being pointed and refusals to see any of the true positive changes that have been made.
This is a misleading argument. The purpose of this thread is not to discuss alternatives to the violence of our civilization. I, and others, have offered solutions in various threads on international politics threads. One step i will offer here for our continual export of violence?

Learn about history. Learn that good intentions are not enough. Learn that the West doesn't and hasn't always known best. Learn that there have been sucesses, but that they required great effort and careful dillegence. Learn that there are always places to improve, and lessons to be gained from history...mistakes and sucesses alike.

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I never said to discount the Holocaust, I said we can learn from it, in positive ways. We can't condemn every German for it.
You may be being easier on Germans than Germany. They have mantained collective responsibility for the Shoah, and worked to maintain the memory of those events. They have praised those who did work against it, but also have paid attention to the way that general consent for the regime allowed the Shoah to occur.

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You make no sense to me.... which feeds your egos so you can believe you are enlightened.... but with enligthenment comes working solutions and I don't see you offering any, just hatreds and prejudices and angers over the past.
At least this is mutual. You are not propsing knowledge. You are arguing for a whitewash of history. Careful study may produce a less glamorous picture than you're used to. This does not mean there is a problem with the scholarship. It probably indicates a problem with the grand narrative that sold you on the idea of these men as heros in the first place.
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Last edited by martinguerre; 04-03-2005 at 02:21 PM..
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Old 04-03-2005, 03:23 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Well said MartinGuerre, well said.
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Old 04-03-2005, 04:09 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Yes, it's surprising to me that those who have mentioned the words guilt, and self-loathing etc are the ones who might generally label themselves as being more patriotic. It's as if their patriotism is being spoilt by the negativity of others. Like someone saying something nasty about their mother, they are emotionally upset by slurs on their ancestors.

Meanwhile these others are quite happy to accept the evils of the past as having past, it may complicate their feelings of patriotic pride, but it means they probably have a better (or rather more complete) idea about what that pride entails. In other words, they do not feel guilty of the crimes of the past - why should they? A fact is a fact, it was not us enslaving and killing people, but it is up to us to choose whether to attach a moral significance to those facts.

Slavery was the backbone of all of the great Civilisations from Egypt and Rome to the British and now Western Empires of the world. That always has been and will always be the case. Like it or loathe it, find it morally reprehensible or not, it is simply the case. I don't condem those people for enslaving the weak, but neither do I applaud them. If I met them tomorrow, I might be appalled at their conceit, but now they are long dead, that is not likely to occur.

While they are dead, some of their conceit (nationalism and patriotism) lives on - and I would prefer it if people would concentrate on being proud of their own achievements, rather than those of others who happened to be born, or land upon the same shores as themselves. Especially when one's nationality has plainly nothing to do with anything that matters like ability, acceptance, love or kindness.

And shouldn't it be the Spanish who are proud/guilty of Columbus rather than the Americans?

I think things like this are important to air - and am surprised by the emotion that has been generated by its airing. What damage does it do to understand in detail the events of the past?
 
Old 04-03-2005, 04:33 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Where did I say whitewash the past??????

Hey Zeus Freaking Chrissy mas, I'm now someone who is supposedly evil because I choose to see the BAD AND GOOD equally and not condemn those in the past.

Rather I choose to move on live as best as I can and try to change TODAY and TOMORROW from the mistakes of the past.

It's amazingly ignorant to sit there and tell me what I'm trying to be as you shove guilt for my ancestors down my throat.

For the final time I CHOOSE NOT TO GET INTO YOUR GUILT GAMES OF THE PAST AND INSTEAD I CHOOSE TO LIVE IN TODAY AND CHANGE WHAT I CAN TODAY AND NOT CRY ABOUT THE PAST.

If you want change so freaking bad work for it, don't shove your guilt down my throat and expect me to be sympathetic.

I"m proud of Columbus and no.... for the poster above Columbus was not Spanish he was Italian, as am 1/4 of I.

You people wish to keep hate alive and let it fester..... so choke on it. I've said all I can obviously you enlightened ones who believe you must totally blame everything on the past refuse to move and build a better positive future.

I would think you'd realize you are fighting a war you cannot win and wasting time arguing over the past. Instead why not use this energy for positive changes?
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Old 04-03-2005, 05:53 PM   #40 (permalink)
 
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i dont really understand this busby berkley notion of nation you have going there, pan (hey kids, let's put on a musical...now the only way we can do this is to pull as a team....no moping......now let's go put on a show.......imagine all this being said by richard simmons.
see it?

shudder....)

even the troopers who put on these musicals you see in movies have scripts that enable them to account for something of the past in order to structure their view of the present in order to orient themselves coherently toward a future.

what is at issue is not your attitude toward anything--what is at stake is what view of the past you have--which shapes something of how you understand the present--which in turn shapes what you might understand a desirable to be like and how you might coherently move toward it. a polity able to extend a self-critical awareness of itself into the past might be one in a position to exercize real power over its collective affairs--if this awareness results in the smashing of idols, so be it....but a collective that prefers as a question of attitude adjustment to see only a pollyanna version of the past in effect refuses coherence at the same time--one the basis of that, no coherent mode of action is easily or directly possible in the present---such a collective is fleeing from the possibility of exercizing power itself, of participating in anything like a democratic present.

this is why plato--no champion of democracy by any means---hated rhetoric. rhetoric appealed to the emotions--it made you feel good, feel sad--it manipulated its audience on this basis--but you could not tell if the content of the messages were true or not--this is why he hated the sophists---both are antithetical to debate filtered through agreed-upon conventions that you might call reason.

so in principle at least, you choose alot more than emphasizing the positive when you try to argue that critical views of the past are undesirable because they are, like, a bummer, man.
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