Why AIM opposes Columbus Day (1992)

Despite generations of white-washed history being taught to our youth, the truth we have long put forth in our oral traditions has finally been acknowledged. Specifically regarding Columbus, we recognize that he came as an invader, a conqueror, a rapist, a pillager, a slave trader, and a looter. Despite some claims to the contrary, he was not on a “mission from God”, or any quest of higher means. He came out of greed — greed for personal wealth, and greed for personal acclaim. The sweetheart of a deal he had wrangled from the Crown in Spain, ensured that as long as he could return in one piece from the “NEW WORLD”, and prove gold and other riches existed there, he would be a wealthy man with title of nobility passing to his heirs.

Even by European and Inquisition-era standards, Columbus and his missions were replete with brutality. Father Bartolomé de las Casas, who ventured with Columbus on his voyages as a representative of the Spanish church, wrote of the competitions to see who could cut a man in half with one swing of the sword; of bashing babies heads into rocks; of releasing vicious dogs, for the sport of watching Indian people die agonizing deaths. There is no glossing over this butchery. This is a record of facts that even Samuel Elliot Morrison and Columbus lovers everywhere have now begun to honestly acknowledge. And you cannot follow an acknowledgement of genocide up with a “BUT”. What happened was a holocaust, which cost the Taino Indians on those islands 98% of their population within 15 years. Never before or since has such an effective and total genocide been inflicted. And even the powers that be, with all their torturing and murdering of Jewish, Muslim, and other non-Christian peoples during the Inquisition, recognized that Columbus had gone much too far. In the end, Cristobal Cologne, a Genovese, was stripped of all titles, and subjected to house arrest until his dying days. He died broke, and alone.

We oppose recognition of Columbus as anything but a murderer. We oppose any sort of national or state-paid holiday, and we certainly oppose a sugar-coated view of Columbus’ actions being taught to the younger generations. We must educate the youth honestly, if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past. Further, we want to make it abundantly clear that this does not make us anti-Italian! We have no quarrel with Italian people or with the rich Italian culture. To cast our opposition to a Columbus day, and accoutrements such as a parade, as racist, is akin to saying Jewish opposition to a Hitler holiday is racist. No one would suggest that Jews accept such a slap in the face, so why should we? We very much welcome a celebration of Italian pride and Italian heritage, but NOT, under any circumstances, a Columbus day, or parade. To continue doing so is an affront to our very existence as human beings. And we demand all celebrations of this maniac be stopped henceforth.