Christopher Columbus: Put him on trial

Christopher Columbus says, “Don’ta trust you mayor.”

He means Mayor Gutless, who has punted the issue of the statue of the Italian explorer/criminal (your choice) to Philadelphia’s Art Commission.

Christopher Columbus: Defendant

“That’sa what he said about the statue of Francesco Rizzo, says Columbus, “but he move it in the middle of the night, like a Norweigan rat, atsa right.”

Sorry for the broken English.

While the Art Commission is studying the problem, which is part of a “public process,” Mayor Jim Kenney said the statue in South Philly’s Marconi Park will be placed in a protective box.

Yeah, protective box. Out of sight, out of mind, he hopes? Then, one dark night, it disappears.

You know what? A genuine public process would be fine.

The city belongs to all the people, not to just Italians nor indigenious people. Let’s put Christopher Columbus on trial.

I am serious.

Recruit prosecutors and defense attorneys and televise it, as WHYY did with the MOVE commission years ago. Hire a panel of respected judges. The jurors? They will be Philadelphia registered voters. We believe in democracy and this is that. 

Lay it all out — Columbus’ achievements, including opening the New World to colonization, which led to America, and even that is viewed as negative by some. And the charges of enslavement, murder, torture and rape on the other side. Let’s hear about aggravating and mitigating factors. The object is to determine historic truth.

Yes, I know Columbus never set foot in North America so we might not have legal jurisdiction, but this is the court of public opinion. 

Let the people judge. 

And that’s just for starters.

The parade starts with Columbus, then moves to Pennsylvania slaveholder and founder William Penn, whose statue has the most honored place in Philadelphia, atop City Hall. (Not everyone thinks City Hall is a place of honor.)

Moving forward in history, Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will be in the dock, accused of holding slaves while birthing a nation. 

Then Benjamin Franklin, another slaveholder.

Somebody has a beef with Walt Whitman, so we put him on trial, too. Woodrow Wilson. Ulysses S. Grant. Is there a statue somewhere of PeeWee Herman?

The people will decide, not the passionate but often ignorant grievance mongers, who defaced monuments to the Unknown Soldier of the Revolutionary War, and abolitionist Matthias Baldwin.

Tomb of the Unknown, Washington Square (Photo: Chester County Ramblings)

Let the facts come out, lock the ignorance out. 

Put the statues on trial, all of them.

28 thoughts on “Christopher Columbus: Put him on trial”

  1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
    Pallie,
    ( sic ) ya goota lotta neive talk’n’ dat trash ! Wut cho meen, anyways ?
    Actually pallie, as most are aware, the delaware valley – and beyond – is rich in history. There is a lot of statues from all time periods that could get dismantled. The underground railroad ( sic ) could be filled in.
    We don’t learn from history, because quite simply, we don’t read it or teach it.
    ( that short enough )
    Tony

  2. Dear Mses. Berg, Lee and Lovell and Mr. Abernathy,

    On the date of this correspondence, Mayor Kenney sent Ms. Berg a letter, which he copied to Mses. Lee and Lovell and Mr. Abernathy (attached as a .pdf file), in which he “request[ed]” that you “initiate as soon as possible…the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus located at Marconi Plaza” on the categorically incorrect claim that “Columbus enslaved indigenous people and punished individuals … by severing limbs, or in some cases, murder.” This claim is is not only untrue, but the exact opposite of what Christopher Columbus did.

    I was hired by a member of City Council to research the primary sources regarding Columbus’s role in the history of the West Indies. What I found in my years of research astonished me. Christopher Columbus not only never harmed a single soul, he actively and persistently fought against the enslavement and other mistreatment of the indigenes of the Americas. The primary sources unequivocally demonstrate that Christopher Columbus:

    1. consistently and persistently advocated for granting the indigenes of the West Indies full rights and protections as Spanish citizens;

    2. sailed the Caribbean on his Second Voyage rescuing Tainos from capture and enslavement by the flesh-eating Carib and Canib tribes, thus creating the first “underground railroad” in the Americas;

    3. actively fought the violence of the imperialist expansion of the Crown of Spain, at times going as far as to interpose his body between the swords of conquistadors and resistant indigenes;

    4. highly regarded the indigenous Tainos he found in the New World, characterizing them as “intelligent,” “trustworthy,” “beautiful” and the makings of “good Christians”;

    5. promoted peace in accordance with the Commandments and the Scriptures he held in such reverence;

    6. intervened always as a pacifying force against the greedy and entitled Spanish nobles who defied his governance and indulged in mutual hostilities with the indigenes;

    7. maintained peace, good relations and mutual benefit with the indigenes of the Americas, the large majority of whom who considered him a good friend and a welcome newcomer;

    8. provided testimony to the court of Spain resulting in the deposing of Francisco de Bobadilla, the real perpetrator of the atrocities in the West Indies;

    9. spent the entirety of his fourth voyage working to depose Bobadilla’s successor, Nicolás Ovando;

    10. successfully petitioned the crown of Spain to enact the first civil rights legislation of the Americas, protecting the indigenes from enslavement or any other mistreatment;

    11. inspired Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, Protector of the Indians, to petition the crown of Spain (successfully) to fund the formation of an order of Dominican friars who stationed themselves in the West Indies and enforced the civil rights legislation that Columbus got passed, forcing the Spanish nobles to end their mistreatment and slavery of the indigenes once and for all

    12. initiated more than five hundred years of cultural, economic, and political relations between the Old World and the New, commencing a perpetual exchange of science, technology, law, commerce, art, music, literature, and people, benefiting and enriching the globe from pole to pole

    The narrative to the contrary, relied upon in error by Mr. Kenney, was first published by Francisco de Bobadilla (mentioned in item 8, above) in an attempt (which proved successful) to unseat Columbus from and usurp from him his office of governor of the West Indies. Columbus categorically defeated all these claims in a court of law with the save evidence and testimony that resulted in the unseating of Bobadilla from office. Bobadilla’s libel was relegated to the trash bin of history until pseudo-historian Howard Zinn resurrected the debunked writings of Bobadilla and relied on them as “newly discovered” documents forming the basis of his polemic “The People’s History of the United States.” The primary sources, however, including Historia de las Indias (History of the Indies), written contemporaneously with the settlement of the West Indies by Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, in his capacity as the official Protector of the Indians of the West Indies, prove Bobadilla and Zinn’s writings to be unfounded libel.

    In fact, as the above list of 12 items I provided above demonstrate, Christopher Columbus was the first civil rights activist of the Americas and the greatest hero of the 15th and 16th Centuries, bar none.

    Yours,
    R. Petrone

  3. While you’re not the only one recently to have said what you just said above, you did say it – and that’s the important part – STOP THIS FRIGGIN’ MADNESS! That’s the essence of your message, and to that I say “amen.” And you need to (wash, rinse, and) repeat the message, otherwise we are doomed to be part of that famous expression: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” from George Santayana.

    In fact, that expression should be updated to reflect a more modern day: “Those that repeat the past by remembering incorrectly should be dealt with.” And you have. Good show!

  4. Just noticed that by the time I posted my comment, Charles’ had already popped in before mine. My comment applies not only to Stu, but to the letter penned by R. Petrone in Charles’ notes.

    1. R Petrone is the lawyer representing Philadelphians who want to save the statue.He is an excellent historian on Italy.

      He is even smarter than Kenney. Ha Ha Ha

      He is in the Stu class.

  5. I can produce more such articles. The basis for maligning Columbus is some document by Francisco di Bodadilla that was found at least 10 years after his death, Francisco and Columbus were enemies.

    Unfortunately Francisco’s manuscript is what our pointed headed college professors used as their source to defame Columbus.

  6. Thank you, Charles, for the history lesson. It has been some time since I have sat in a history class…and now they are no longer…we are doomed, as all that will exist is tribal knowledge as personal renditions of the past get passed from generation to generation…

  7. We must change our state’s name from PENNsylvania (“Penn’s Woods”) because William Penn was a slave owner. COLUMBUS, Ohio has to fine a new name, and you know why! WASHINGTON, D.C.? History. JEFFERSON, Missouri? Outta here! The FRANKLIN Institute? Take a hike. And on and on and on… and where will the silliness end? A foreshadowing of the PC nonsense came some years ago when a newscaster was fired for using the word ‘niggardly.’ The word has NOTHING to do with race, but the PC weenies went berserk and the poor man was canned. And sportscaster Howard Cossell never lived down his innocent observation during an NFL game as he watched a runner carry the ball, bobbing and weaving, toward the end zone. “Look at the little monkey run!” The runner, as you may have surmised, was black. Never mind that Cossell used the same description when white men carried the ball, or when he referred to his grandchildren as they scampered around the back yard. We have gone from colored to black to African-American. We have gone from Miss to Miz to Ms. We CAN be taught. But tearing up our history, wart-covered as it may be, will be deleterious to the generations that follow: if they don’t know whence they came, how will they ever know where they are going?

  8. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu & readers,

    Our popular ignorance of history is the direct consequence of the exile of conservatives from the academy –on suspicion of political incorrectness. There are few left to fight the battles over who did what to whom, and no academic foot-solders to defend positive accounts of the development of American civilization. This is directly connected with the re-making of the universities on the model of managerial corporations. The managers, looking to the bottom line, side with the students and parents against the faculty. Faculty catering to student prejudices and “sensitivities” thus do better in the organization.

    No society will prosper by de-intellectualizing its own conservatives. Though I am not one, I can see what has happened. This is part of the meaning of divisiveness, political factionalism and “winner take all politics.”

    H.G. Callaway

  9. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    WHYY reports:

    Kenney initiates process to consider ‘possible removal’ of Columbus statue

    Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has asked the city’s Art Commission to begin a public process to “consider the future” of the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia, the administration announced Monday night.

    “As more voices emerge, and new and different points of view come to light, we must reconsider how we honor individuals whose likeness has been enshrined in monuments,” Kenney said in a letter to Public Art Director Margot Berg.

    “With that understanding, I request you initiate as soon as possible the public process through the Art Commission for the possible removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus located at Marconi Plaza on South Broad Street.”

    Kenney said in a statement that a “boxing apparatus” will be placed around the statue on Tuesday while the process plays out, and urged a group of people who say they’re “protecting” the Columbus statue to “stand down.”

    —End quotation

    One will notice the lack of grounds on offer “to consider ‘possible removal’ of [the] Columbus statue.” No reasons are given except that “more voices emerge, and new and different points of view come to light, …” This seems this amounts to a “suspicion of political incorrectness,” being considered sufficient for the use of a “boxing apparatus,” while the history of Columbus and the history and reasons for our honoring Columbus are ignored or disregarded.

    Right?

    H.G. Callaway

    1. Why Zinn’s view maligning Columbus exploded in academia

      From Robert Petrone to Councilman Squilla

       
      Councilman,

      Your inquiry is a fair one.  Zinn’s point of view became such gospel because of the influence of the “Frankfurt School” of sociology, which rose in the West in the post-WWII years.

      The Frankfurt School, which came out of turn-of-the-20th-century Germany, adopted the Marxist lens of historical analysis of an “oppressor-versus-oppressed” meta-narrative.  The Frankfurt School’s overarching theory is that all of history is merely a sequence of one one group oppressing another.  During World War II, many Marxists fled Europe to evade the Nazis and settled in North America.  They sent their children to university; these children were the “hippie” generation, many of whom were raised by parents who already were predisposed to the Marxist meta-narrative.  The hippies spread this narrative among their own subculture, indoctrinating an entire generation in this radical view of history.  Rudi Dutschke, a prominent Frankfurt School sociologist, promised a “long march through the institutions” by Marxists.  The hippie generation made good on that promise.  They graduated, cut their hair, and got jobs in education and eventually government.  When the former-radicals-turned-educators acquired positions of power in universities, they stopped hiring anyone who wouldn’t teach the Frankfurt School meta-narrative; it wasn’t hard — the overwhelming majority of applicants for teacher positions were themselves taught by Frankfurt School adherents.

      Today, Marxist, oppressor-versus-oppressed ideologues have a strangle-hold on universities, high schools and grade schools.  I have witnessed it myself in the curricula of all three of my children.  That’s why the Humanities departments of many universities are suffering; people are disgusted with the anti-Western take they’re being force-fed at universities.  When Jesse Jackson linked arms and marched with Stanford University students on January 15, 1987, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go,” the double entendre was obvious:  they weren’t just talking about the history course.

      For these reasons, Zinn’s meta-narrative in The People’s History of the United States that all events in American history are rooted in evil, slavery, and oppression, struck a strong chord with the former-radicals-turned-educators that taught the current generation of teachers and professors.  Also, the rise of “grievance studies” courses, special interest courses such as Women’s Studies, African-American Studies, LGBQ Studies, which also push a Frankfurt School meta-narrative of constant oppression, have created an environment in academia where books like Zinn’s flourish.

      You are correct that no one wants to debate any original source information.  Anything that cuts against the Frankfurt School narrative is suppressed.  That’s why there is a wide-scale university movement to eliminate freedom of speech on campuses, the exact opposite of the on-campus freedom-of-speech movement that took place with such vehemence immediately prior to the Nixon-Kennedy elections.  That is also why advocates of Western values are not given a forum in the mainstream media, but people like Michael Coard can write op-ed hit pieces on Western culture icons, and “The Philly Tribune” will present it as journalism.

      Robert

  10. The current unrest requires a person with vision and communication skills. The BLM movement has been hijacked by revisionist and the unequivocal surrender to the mob mentality of the hijackers has only served to embolden them to dictate to the so called leaders.

    Kenney is a horrible communicator and lacks the leadership skills to start an educated dialogue.

    I am happy to learn the issue maybe headed to the courts, hopefully there is an unbiased jurist that will ignore the rhetoric and unsupported claims of these malcontents.

    I also pray for the reversal of some of the police departments moves including the transfer of Campione.

  11. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu & readers,

    As I say, I don’t worry about the Mayor. Its the policies of the Clintonite national Democratic political organization which I worry about. I don’t think they are much concerned about what happens in Philadelphia, so long as as they carry the city in November with a large enough majority to carry the state for the Democratic ticket. In that case, political goodies will rain down from the federal government upon the local politicians and other supporting institutional constituencies.

    What we are witnessing is pure power politics of the oldest sort. The protesters can (almost) do no wrong, and any unified, numerous group is good–unless of course they tend to be somewhat conservative, patriotic, etc. Those sorts, we are told, need to “stand down,” though, we all presumably believe in the first amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Has the right of assembly now been politicized? Or is it just that “everyone knows” how bad Columbus was? The Inquirer reports that:

    Historical examinations reveal Columbus to have enslaved and killed thousands of indigenous people during four trips to the Caribbean islands, the modern impetus for calls to end the honorifics and holiday that bear his name. But that hits hard and meets resistance in cities such as Philadelphia, a place of rich Italian culture, cuisine and heritage, where the annual Columbus Day parade draws thousands.
    —end quotation

    See:
    https://www.inquirer.com/news/floyd-protest-columbus-statue-protesters-unrest-philadelphia-police-20200614.html

    Is it all so crystal clear as that? Do we have a full and certain consensus of historians of all political persuasions? Is it offensive to doubt of it or to want to see the evidence? Are the citizens of South Philly not entitled to their opinion?

    H.G. Callaway

    1. What historical examinations?See what Petrone wrote to Councilman Squilla why the allegations you believe received credibility
      Councilman,

      Your inquiry is a fair one.  Zinn’s point of view became such gospel because of the influence of the “Frankfurt School” of sociology, which rose in the West in the post-WWII years.

      The Frankfurt School, which came out of turn-of-the-20th-century Germany, adopted the Marxist lens of historical analysis of an “oppressor-versus-oppressed” meta-narrative.  The Frankfurt School’s overarching theory is that all of history is merely a sequence of one one group oppressing another.  During World War II, many Marxists fled Europe to evade the Nazis and settled in North America.  They sent their children to university; these children were the “hippie” generation, many of whom were raised by parents who already were predisposed to the Marxist meta-narrative.  The hippies spread this narrative among their own subculture, indoctrinating an entire generation in this radical view of history.  Rudi Dutschke, a prominent Frankfurt School sociologist, promised a “long march through the institutions” by Marxists.  The hippie generation made good on that promise.  They graduated, cut their hair, and got jobs in education and eventually government.  When the former-radicals-turned-educators acquired positions of power in universities, they stopped hiring anyone who wouldn’t teach the Frankfurt School meta-narrative; it wasn’t hard — the overwhelming majority of applicants for teacher positions were themselves taught by Frankfurt School adherents.

      Today, Marxist, oppressor-versus-oppressed ideologues have a strangle-hold on universities, high schools and grade schools.  I have witnessed it myself in the curricula of all three of my children.  That’s why the Humanities departments of many universities are suffering; people are disgusted with the anti-Western take they’re being force-fed at universities.  When Jesse Jackson linked arms and marched with Stanford University students on January 15, 1987, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go,” the double entendre was obvious:  they weren’t just talking about the history course.

      For these reasons, Zinn’s meta-narrative in The People’s History of the United States that all events in American history are rooted in evil, slavery, and oppression, struck a strong chord with the former-radicals-turned-educators that taught the current generation of teachers and professors.  Also, the rise of “grievance studies” courses, special interest courses such as Women’s Studies, African-American Studies, LGBQ Studies, which also push a Frankfurt School meta-narrative of constant oppression, have created an environment in academia where books like Zinn’s flourish.

      You are correct that no one wants to debate any original source information.  Anything that cuts against the Frankfurt School narrative is suppressed.  That’s why there is a wide-scale university movement to eliminate freedom of speech on campuses, the exact opposite of the on-campus freedom-of-speech movement that took place with such vehemence immediately prior to the Nixon-Kennedy elections.  That is also why advocates of Western values are not given a forum in the mainstream media, but people like Michael Coard can write op-ed hit pieces on Western culture icons, and “The Philly Tribune” will present it as journalism.

      Robert

      1. Philadelphia, PA

        Robert & readers,

        I wonder at the fact that the Mayor should decide to box up the Columbus statue without giving any reasons, except that some people don’t like it. That some people don’t like statues of Columbus is evident enough in the removals of the statues in Camden and Wilmington. But why no detailed examination of the reasons for having the statues in the first place? Why does the Inquirer criticize Columbus and give no evidence?

        Basically, anyone taking swipes at the U.S. from the left in Germany will get a free pass. This has included the folks of the “Frankfurt school.” But you may recall that the Europeans also put the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Frankfurt came to compete with London as the most important financial center in Europe –one reason for the Brits to leave the E.U. The Germans are selling their own “social-market” model, which involves much detailed regulation and frequent “guiding” interventions to steer the economy in directions regarded as desirable. They frequently fail to understand that this sort of thing would be much more difficult or impossible in the political system of a continent-sized, multi-ethnic, multi-racial country like the U.S. Generally, the politics of the English-speaking world is more adversarial, less top-down and “consensual.” But in any case, leftward attacks on the U.S. in Germany, tend to flatter the German conservatives and their “social-market” model. So they get little flack. Recall that the current government is a “grand coalition” of the Social Democrats and the conservatives.

        In my considered opinion, much that has come out of the Frankfurt school has been politically motivated gibberish. I’ve tried going through recent work, and came to the conclusion that its generally not worth the trouble. But virtually every word was translated quickly into English and published in this country. Habermas, in particular lost his German publisher and was subsequently given a celebratory retirement –the equivalent of getting a gold watch and being kicked out.

        Its our own lack of knowledge of American history and civics, and the surrender of the universities to the corporate managers, which has made us vulnerable to what may plausibly be regarded as “high-culture,” academic versions of foreign propaganda. But the growing economic inequalities over decades, and ever greater concentrations of wealth, we have managed to produce ourselves. The irony is that we are now being sold the story of America as essentially oppressive and racist, by the very folks who did so much to produce our contemporary economic inequalities and the economic insecurity of ordinary working people –of all races. But this chiefly hides the deeper problems.

        H.G. Callaway

          1. Philadelphia, PA

            Dear Charles & readers,

            Yes, crony capitalism rooted in the political policies favoring globalization. These policies have chiefly benefited large-scale international finance and foreign trade (and related retailing) and disadvantaged domestic manufacturing. They have benefited financial and trading centers on the coasts, while largely ignoring the interests of ordinary working people in “fly-over America.” They have put downward pressure on U.S. wages and job security.

            The situation is in a way opposite to that of “robber baron,” crony capitalism in the Gilded age (1870-1901). America’s large-scale industrialization in the Gilded age took place behind high protective tariff barriers favoring domestic industry and disfavoring imports. In consequence, foreign finance was invested in the domestic economy and their returns linked to its prosperity. But out of concern for the undue influence of great concentrations of wealth, and related political corruption, national leaders, from Teddy Roosevelt onward, started taking down the protective tariff barriers and started antitrust actions to facilitate foreign and domestic competition in our home markets and lower domestic prices.

            What to do now, when the largest, most dominant firms are tied up with big international finance, flows of information internationally and foreign commerce? Well, plausibly, the first thing to do is to stop expanding foreign trade.

            H.G. Callaway

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *