GOODBYE COLUMBUS!

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

First landing of Columbus on the shores of the New World, at San Salvador, W.I., Oct. 12th 1492. ( Painting : Dióscoro Teófilo Puebla Tolín. Publisher : Currier and Ives)

Here’s why it’s time to abolish Columbus Day

 

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as “well made and of very good intelligence,” and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as “so full of love and without greed”—and had 550 of the “best males and females,” according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain. “Of the rest who were left,” de Cuneo writes, “the announcement went around that whoever wanted them could take as many as he pleased; and this was done.”

Taíno slavery in Spain turned out to be unprofitable, but Columbus later wrote, “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

The eminent historian of Africa, Basil Davidson, also assigns responsibility to Columbus for initiating the African slave trade to the Americas. According to Davidson, the first license granted to send enslaved Africans to the Caribbean was issued by the king and queen in 1501, during Columbus’s rule in the Indies, leading Davidson to dub Columbus the “father of the slave trade.”

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation—he called his expedition la empresa, the enterprise. When slavery did not pay off, Columbus turned to a tribute system, forcing every Taíno, 14 or older, to fill a hawk’s bell with gold every three months. If successful, they were safe for another three months. If not, Columbus ordered that Taínos be “punished,” by having their hands chopped off, or they were chased down by attack dogs. As the Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas wrote, this tribute system was “impossible and intolerable.”

And Columbus deserves to be remembered as the first terrorist in the Americas. When resistance mounted to the Spaniards’ violence, Columbus sent an armed force to “spread terror among the Indians to show them how strong and powerful the Christians were,” according to the Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas. In his book Conquest of Paradise, Kirkpatrick Sale describes what happened when Columbus’s men encountered a force of Taínos in March of 1495 in a valley on the island of Hispañiola:

The soldiers mowed down dozens with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike, and [according to Columbus’s biographer, his son Fernando] “with God’s aid soon gained a complete victory, killing many Indians and capturing others who were also killed.”

All this and much more has long been known and documented. As early as 1942 in his Pulitzer Prize winning biography, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that Columbus’s policies in the Caribbean led to “complete genocide”—and Morison was a writer who admired Columbus.

If Indigenous peoples’ lives mattered in our society, and if Black people’s lives mattered in our society, it would be inconceivable that we would honor the father of the slave trade with a national holiday. The fact that we have this holiday legitimates a curriculum that is contemptuous of the lives of peoples of color. Elementary school libraries still feature books like Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus, by Peter Sis, which praise Columbus and say nothing of the lives destroyed by Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

No doubt, the movement launched 25 years ago in the buildup to the Columbus Quincentenary has made huge strides in introducing a more truthful and critical history about the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Teachers throughout the country put Columbus and the system of empire on trial, and write stories of the so-called discovery of America from the standpoint of the people who were here first.

But most textbooks still tip-toe around the truth. Houghton Mifflin’s United States History: Early Years attributes Taíno deaths to “epidemics,” and concludes its section on Columbus: “The Columbian Exchange benefited people all over the world.” The section’s only review question erases Taíno and African humanity: “How did the Columbian Exchange change the diet of Europeans?”

Too often, even in 2015, the Columbus story is still young children’s first curricular introduction to the meeting of different ethnicities, different cultures, different nationalities. In school-based literature on Columbus, they see him plant the flag, and name and claim “San Salvador” for an empire thousands of miles away; they’re taught that white people have the right to rule over peoples of color, that stronger nations can bully weaker nations, and that the only voices they need to listen to throughout history are those of powerful white guys like Columbus. Is this said explicitly? No, it doesn’t have to be. It’s the silences that speak.

For example, here’s how Peter Sis describes the encounter in his widely used book: “On October 12, 1492, just after midday, Christopher Columbus landed on a beach of white coral, claimed the land for the King and Queen of Spain, knelt and gave thanks to God…” The Taínos on the beach who greet Columbus are nameless and voiceless. What else can children conclude but that their lives don’t matter?

Enough already. Especially now, when the Black Lives Matter movement prompts us to look deeply into each nook and cranny of social life to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being, it’s time to rethink Columbus, and to abandon the holiday that celebrates his crimes.

More cities—and school districts—ought to follow the example of Berkeley, Minneapolis, and Seattle, which have scrapped Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day—a day to commemorate the resistance and resilience of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, and not just in a long-ago past, but today. Or what about studying and honoring the people Columbus enslaved and terrorized: the Taínos. Columbus said that they were gentle, generous, and intelligent, but how many students today even know the name Taíno, let alone know anything of who they were and how they lived?

Last year, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant put it well when she explained Seattle’s decision to abandon Columbus Day: “Learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of Indigenous people and a celebration of social justice … allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that Indigenous communities face to this day.”

We don’t have to wait for the federal government to transform Columbus Day into something more decent. Just as the climate justice movement is doing with fossil fuels, we can organize our communities and our schools to divest from Columbus. And that would be something to celebrate.

FROM A PLACE WHERE NEW YEAR’S COMES BEFORE CHRISTMAS

We wish all of our Jewish friends, family and readers a wonderful and happy New Year filled with good health, happiness and PEACE!

Shana Tova Metuka!!

Image may contain: food and text

LABOUR DAY … MORE THAN JUST A PICNIC!

Have a great day and enjoy the following

BYE BYE AMERICA! … BONNE FÊTE CANADA!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE CANADA

Rambling down Memory Lane…….

July 1st has always been a special day for me. Fifty one years ago today I left the United States and applied for Landed Immigrant Status in Canada. My wife and I picked this date as it was a National Holiday and we figured there would be less security at the Toronto Airport…. and less questions. It was a special day in Canada, it was the 100th anniversary of Confederation.
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My suspicions proved correct…. there was only a handful of security personnel on duty and I was asked only two questions…
“How long do you plan on staying in Canada?”…. to which I responded “Forever!”
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The second question was “Are you a subversive?”…. to which I responded quite naively “What does that mean?”
“Do you consider yourself a threat to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second or any one of her heirs?” (pronounced ‘hairs’ when I verbalise this story)…. to which I responded “Definitely not!”
“Welcome to Canada! Here is your Landed Immigrant Status Card!” (Let it be known that in no way did I consider the Royal Family ‘Divine’ in any way, but I did not feel I was a threat to their existence.)

Little did that Immigration Officer know, but in the United States I WAS considered a subversive…. in fact, I carried with me a ten page document of allegations against me from Army ‘Intelligence’ which ended with the words “Your entrance into any branch of the Armed Forces at any time would be detrimental to the security of our nation.” How much more of a ‘subversive’ can one hope to be?
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It would be ‘safe’ to say that I owe my life to the FBI. The document I mentioned above was full of information provided by them. Their ‘planted’ informants knew the exact date and time that I joined the Communist Party of the United States. They knew every move I made during all my years of activity.
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On my 18th birthday I registered with the Draft Board. We had to do that by law in those days. A few years later I received my order to report for my physical examination. I will never forget the short, burly man in charge that day…. Sgt. Randazzo. His face and voice haunts me to this day. The day I had to report was like a mini High School Reunion. Almost every male in my graduation class was present that day. We were lined up and were asked if we were interested in volunteering for the Marines. As this was a sure way to be sent to Viet Nam, there wasn’t a single volunteer. Randazzo then proceeded to pick every third person in line to serve in the Marines. But…… immediately before that an announcement was made…. “Anyone that was ever arrested, please go to Room 101.” Off I went….. which meant that poor Michael, who was standing next to me, was picked to be a Marine…. it should have been me, but I was being interrogated instead. Needless to say, Michael does not speak to me to this day.
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If you move the ‘timer’ to 7:50 on the following video, you will get a pretty good idea what that interrogation was like….
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A few months later I received my 4F. At first I was given ten days to deny the allegations in the document I received…. non compliance earned me my 4F. The rest is history…..
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Moving on…. here we were in a new country, a country with totally different values and definitions than the one we had just left. But, I felt that we were still not ‘home free’…. our new government might discover our past and deport us, so we prepared for this by purchasing a framed photograph of Her Majesty and hanging it in the hallway of our new apartment. If the Royal Mounted Police ever came to ‘visit’ it would be the first thing they saw. We had two new statuses that we did not want to lose…. Landed Immigrant and NON Subversive!
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My political activities continued throughout my years in Canada, including running in elections for both the Federal Parliament and the Province of Ontario…. on the ticket of the Communist Party of Canada. This Party was/is legal, so my status of Non Subversive did not change.
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Fifty one years later there is once again hope that Canada will become the Free North Proud and Free that it once was. The Tories’ reign of terror has finally ended. Let us hope we never see a repeat of it. Never say never!
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE CANADA
Proud to be a Canadian ….. except for this …

EID al FITRE MUBARAK

 To all of my Muslim readers, Family and Friends..

Eid al-Fitre Mubarak!

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The Glorious Holy Month of Ramadan came to an end last night at sundown … ushering in the wonderful feast days of Eid-al-Fitr. A time for joyous celebrations with families, a time to feel completely renewed and refreshed.
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That’s how it’s spelled out in the books…
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Unfortunately in Palestine the book is written differently… families are divided, family members are denied entry to join in the celebrations, families are mourning their loved ones killed by Israeli forces.
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It’s time for all to celebrate! It’s time for all families to be together!
Damn those that won’t let this be!!
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Let us hope that soon the situation will be different and we can all be together… secure in our own Homeland…. secure with a Right of Return… and THE RIGHT TO STAY!
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In the meantime…. AL-EID-MUBARAK!!! Make the best of it and try to enjoy.
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Never give up the dream and hope that all will be good one day...

THE AGE OF AQUARIUS IS DAWNING IN THE HOLY LAND

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

Visions of hope and peace surround us today from both sides of the wall in the Holy Land. Sunset will usher in the Hebrew Month of Sivan on one side whilst the Holy Month of Ramadan starts on the other.

Despite efforts of the forces of evil to increase the divisions and hatred between both of our peoples, this is the season that brings us hope that all will end well …. let us truly welcome The Age of Aquarius! Let the sun shine in!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius
Aquarius
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Oh, let it shine, c’mon
Now everybody just sing along
Let the sun shine in
Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in
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To our Muslim readers, family and friends …..
Ramadan Kareem!
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And to our Jewish readers, family and friends …..
Chodesh Sivan Tov!
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IMAGE OF THE DAY … JERUSALEM DAY 51 YEARS ON

 

Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War. 

Celebrating the occupation in song and dance …

And the ‘dancing in the streets …

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Saturday, to demonstrate against the planned move of the US embassy to the city. Protesters also condemned the Jerusalem Day Flag March, scheduled for Sunday, commemorating the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City.

WHAT MAY DAY WAS …. WILL BE AGAIN

It will rise again like the bright sun

Happy May Day!

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Maya Angelou recites her poem, “And Still I Rise,” from her volume of poetry And Still I Rise, published in 1978…

A strong middle class starts with strong unions.

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ ISRAEL AT 70

Celebrating 70 years of… oppression and apartheid?

WITH LOVE FROM CANADA AND ME

Our story is the story of all people who have ever been in bondage. Let us celebrate our freedom and strengthen ourselves to join the fight against injustice wherever it exists today. As long as one person is oppressed, no one is free.

Happy Easter! I hope everyone celebrating has a wonderful day with friends and family.

And from me  …

Regardless of the fact that I am not a Christian, Easter has always been a very special holiday to me. It is the celebration of the life of a very great Man. I wrote the following poem a number of years ago, please read it and enjoy… and Happy Easter!


The Nazarene

The Passover is once again upon us and

We reflect on the years gone by;

Of the tribulations of the people

And the heroes of the ages.

The traditional feast, the Seder, has

Been with us for thousands of years.

For most it has always been a joyous meal,

But for One it became the Last Supper.

So cruel they were to You as they

Nailed You to the cross on the hill

Treating You like a common criminal

Rather than the great Man that You were.

You felt no malice towards your betrayers,

Instead You asked Your God to forgive them

For the crime they committed against You

And those who were close to You.

Two thousand years have passed since

That shameful day and each year

The crime is reenacted by those

Who usurp Your name.

You taught love and tolerance

But most of that message is ignored.

Instead there have been wars in Your name,

Something, I am sure You would oppose.

Where are Your powers today, when they are

Needed to cleanse the earth of its hatred?

The very ones who slew You sanctified

Your name and continue to slay.

Is there no way You can show them

How to change their ways and to live

As You would have wanted them to

Instead of the way they are?

Great temples have been built in

Your honor on every continent

But the message is lacking

One of Your basic teachings – Love.

Oh, great one that You were

You must show them the way

Before there are more, like Yourself,

Nailed to the cross for refusing to hate.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

To the men out there too!

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Our Palestinian Heroine by Latuff

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A funny look at the day ….

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IMAGE FOR TODAY ~~ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

Or …. Happy Palestine Day

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PRESIDENT

Truly a Republican worth loving …..
Lincoln Mural by Hugo Gellert
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All young children have heroes …. mine was Abraham Lincoln. His name, as well as his image were very much a part of my childhood.
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There was a savings bank in my neighbourhood which carried his name. The upper wall was adorned with a mural of Lincoln leading the slaves to freedom, very much in the style of Moses doing the same thing.
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The local High School, which I attended, was Abraham Lincoln High School. The Brigade of brave American volunteers that went off to fight Franco and his fascists in Spain was named the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, definitely the bravest men I ever met.
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So, wherever I went, whatever I did, the image of Abraham Lincoln was forever present.
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Today, 209 years after his birth, he is still my hero,  a man whose visions of justice would be welcome in America today.

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Happy Birthday Mr. President!
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His famous speech in Gettysburg is still an inspiration for all who strive for Statehood and Freedom….
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The Gettysburg Address
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– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Nov. 19, 1863

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

 

Image of Lincoln by Charles White


A GROWN UP NEW YEAR’S WISH LIST

A GROWN-UP New Year’s Wish List

 

                                   No more lives torn apart.

                                 That wars would never start.

                                 And time would heal all hearts.

                               And everyone would have a friend.

                                  And right would always win.

                                    And love would never end.

 

 

And from Latuff and Mother Palestine

Happy New Year from Mother Palestine

NOT ALL CARTOONS ARE MEANT TO BE FUNNY ~~ A SAD CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM THIS YEAR

One day we WILL celebrate!

FREEDOM IS #1 ON PALESTINIAN CHILDREN’S WISHLIST

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Source of these cartoons

 

TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL OUT THERE …..

Merry Christmas!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ….. IF YOU DARE

Can you remember the times
That you have held your head high
and told all your friends of your Indian claim
Proud good lady and proud good man
Some great great grandfather from Indian blood came
and you feel in your heart for these ones

Oh it’s written in books and in song
that we’ve been mistreated and wronged
Well over and over I hear those same words
from you good lady and you good man
Well listen to me if you care where we stand
and you feel you’re a part of these ones

When a war between nations is lost
the loser we know pays the cost
but even when Germany fell to your hands
consider dear lady, consider dear man
you left them their pride and you left them their land
and what have you done to these ones

Has a change come about my dear man
or are you still taking our lands
A treaty forever your senators sign
They do dear lady, they do dear man
and the treaties are broken again and again
and what will you do for these ones

Oh it’s all in the past you can say
but it’s still going on here today
The governments now want the Navaho land
that of the Inuit and the Cheyenne
It’s here and it’s now you can help us dear man
Now that the buffalo’s gone.

After watching this you might consider roasting a duck this year 🙂

THE ROOTS OF THANKSGIVING

After watching this you might consider roasting a duck this year 🙂

BOO! …. TWICK OR TWEET

A HALLOWEEN TREAT

Silly Symphony: The Skeleton Dance. One of my all-time Halloween favorites! 

Latuff adds the following ….

The SCARIEST Halloween Pumpkin EVER!

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And here’s how they celebrate Halloween in the maternity ward ….


And finally ….. The Monster Mash

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