Funny how we belittle history by attaching labels such as "revisionist" or "politically correct." How about just calling it history? History is ugly and luscious, bloodthirsty and kind. Intelligent people can hold divergent ideas in their heads without their brains exploding. Yet that's not the nation in which we live. Now the wingnuts are ablaze over all facets of history--akin to their loony tunes attack on science. They tells us hey, this is just a reaction to left wing "humanist" assaults on "culture." OK I think I can train acolytes (alterboys and girls) while accepting science for science's sake, and heck, even admitting that the queerest of the queer shouldn't be spared the minute by minute horrorshow and fairy tale that is marriage, kids. Columbus fits into this contrived battle. Such was even a Rudi Giuliani identity politics rallying point from back in the day (Chris Columbus is for Italian Americans what Jay-Z is to us folk. LOL). And Columbus is, ironically, the harbinger, if not lynchpin, of Catholism in the New World to this day. But enter native American (from Arctic Canada to Terra Del Fuego) activism in the 1960s, and the myth of Columbus met fact. Nasty stuff.
Fact: Whether intentional or as an afterthought, Columbus ushered in probably the worse human crime of of this Age of Exploration--the depopulation of the Americas and its utter exploitation and appropriation. Civilizations razed, tribes destroyed. And it was not one of the Catholic Church's better set of centuries, either. Indeed, Pope John Paul II "apologized" for this crap before he even got to witch trials, the Inquisition and complicity/turning a blind eye with Mussolini and Hitler. You can thus argue that Columbus' arrival set the stage for the second biggest crime of this portion of human history: the African slave trade.
Why did he sail? Rapine plunder? Spreading the Holy word? Intrepid exploration? None of those things, folks. It was Islam. Yeah, the folks whom our redneck GI's call "Hadjis" (Hadji was a Hindu in Jonny Quest, but hey, this is the Age of W). Even before the Muslims put the long- decayed Byzantine Empire (last vestige of the Roman Empire if you don't count the Franks, etc. in Western Europe) out of its misery, they controlled access to China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, the "Spice Islands" (pretty much everything else in the Pacific). They set themself up in the old Roman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul) and supported the Moors in Spain and North Africa. The Portuguese found a way around that by going East--hugging the coast of the African continent. But that did the Spanish and everyone else in dirty, stinky, messy Western Europe no good. Put a lot of Italians out of work (whether you're from Genoa or Venice). The Spanish just concluded a Holy War with the more advanced (yes--cleaner, smarter, more artistic) Moors and thus cutting a deal with them was out of the question. The Portuguese likewise told the rest of Europe fuck you, we run this shit. And they didn't employ Italians. By the way, everyone who wasn't the Renaissance equivalent of Sarah Palin knew the world was round. They just didn't know how big the earth was, or the locations of land masses and passages to the Pacific. Another lovely irony--thanks to global warming, the mythic "Northwest Passage" is now a reality, north through a melting Arctic Ocean.
How to make money without cutting in the Portuguese? How to get at the Pacific's and India's riches without paying tribute to the heathen, low, savage Mohammedeans?
Duh! Sail west. Find some patsies who'll bankroll you. And it's all thanks to the Hadjis. What I've imparted isn't exactly new. But it's still not taught in this age of No Child Left Behind standardized tests. Perhaps that's why Baptist preachers in Red Stateland never say a prayer for Islam, thanking it for this home called America (named for another Italian, sad for Chris). I can give thanks that I'm here tapping on a brand new Dell Studio whilst I sip my bourgie coffeedrink, rather than walking five miles for a pail of clean water controlled by guerillas in the Motherland. hehehehe Then again, the Vikings were settling Newfoundland over 400 years before Chris was conceived around the time Allah supposedly spoke to the Prophet. That's for another post. Enjoy your day off, for whatever reason makes you comfortable.