A Video and A Statue

I watched the news of the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, UK and the statue of Leopold II in Brussels, but I don’t connect the dots. I don’t know these two people and I don’t much care of the significance of their statues. Of course I want to care, I am curious, but I will have to educate myself first before I am able to know what is going on. However now the morning news brings another statue–Christopher Columbus–down. In Virginia, people chanted and shouted and pushed. The statue was rolled into a lake and disappeared, with a sign said, “you will not be missed.”

How can this be happening? We have all learned about Christopher Columbus and I thought he’s a voyager, a pioneer, a symbol of adventure and progress. His picture–positioned in every history book of school children in the world I suppose–looks so distinguished, with a huge black tunic, most likely made of expensive wool. He is self educated, well traveled, at sea when he’s only ten years old. It seems he’s a shining respectable figure in every way.

I checked online and was shocked to discover things I really can’t believe is true. Who would have thought he’s such a brutal murderer of the indigenous Taino people. All eight millions of them. Dead. They went extinct. And another eight millions of indigenous people died of starvation and disease, caused by Columbus’ various policies and actions. Also he implemented slavery, he cut people’s hands off if people didn’t bring him gold. He bullied and killed the Tainos just to make them respect him as a superior. He certainly demonstrated himself as a superior in brutality and savagery.

I went to his ship replica in Corpus Christi and was amazed at how small it is. It’s hard to imagine him crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean and braving the stormy sea in three ships as small as this. I was in deep respect of his skills and his courage then. That’s many year ago. Now I just feel sick that such an abled man turns out to be a monster.

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