Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Truth About Columbus Pt. 2

Imhotep All,

Would Columbus Day still be celebrated if the real history of Christopher Columbus were told from the viewpoint of his victims?  I ask you...will you keep this truth from your CHILDREN like our "Public School System does?"

"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed."

~ Nehast ~

                           CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS VS BELGIUM KING LEOPOLD I
  by Dr. Leroy Vaughn, MD, MBA

In trying to determine the worse human rights violator over the past 500 years, two candidates far and away exceed all others.  Adolph Hitler was not even close because he is only credited with killing six million people and his reign of terror only lasted about six years.  Over a period of 25 years, Belgium King Leopold II was able to reduce the population of the Congo from 20 million to 10 million.  Twenty five years after Christopher Columbus entered Haiti, the Arawak population was reduced to zero, that is, total annihilation or genocide.

In describing the exploits of Columbus, Dominican priest Bartolome de Las Casas wrote: “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that I tremble as I write.”  Famous American author Joseph Conrad called Leopold’s Congo: “The vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience.”  Despite a death toll of holocaust dimensions, these men are not even mentioned in the standard litany of human horrors.  Our children are given history books that describe Columbus as a heroic adventurer and an outstanding seaman.  This heroic image is further perpetuated by Columbus Day celebrations and the fact that streets, schools, cities, and even countries have been named after him.  King Leopold II enjoys an equally positive reputation.  Belgium history describes him as a “philanthropic monarch who was much admired throughout Europe.”  He is praised for investing a large portion of his personal fortune in public works projects to benefit both Europe and Africa.  The current image of these two men could not be further from the truth!  Both left behind a heritage of racism, greed, hunger, exploitation, and genocide.  Leopold matched Columbus so closely in atrocities that one has to wonder whether they represent the same man reincarnated.

Both Columbus and Leopold were great salesmen and great liars.  To help finance his second voyage, Columbus told the Spanish Monarch that “there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold…there are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals.”  Columbus was so convincing the Queen Isabella provided him with 17 ships and 1,200 men for his second voyage and promised him 10% of all the gold and precious metals he brought back. Leopold’s opportunity for salesmanship and lying came at the Berlin Conference (November 1884 - February 1885) where European countries met to decide how they would divide up Africa.  Leopold begged for the Congo Basin and guaranteed the well being of the Congo’s native population.  Leopold told the American delegation that “Belgium deserves the opportunity to prove to the world that it also was an imperial people, capable of dominating and enlightening others.”  Since Leopold knew that the Belgium parliament and Belgium people had no interest in Africa, he essentially was arguing for a land mass 80 times the size of Belgium, which he would own personally.

Columbus and Leopold saw the profits from their new lands as virtually limitless if enough free labor were available.  Both men immediately proceeded to institute slavery among the native population and set quotas for individual production.  The favorite method of punishment by Columbus and Leopold for not meeting quotas was to cut off the hands.

Columbus ordered all persons 14 years old and older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months.  When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks.  Arawaks found without copper tokens to hang around their necks had their hands cut off and bled to death.  Leopold chose to set quotas for ivory and rubber for each village.  When a village fell short of its quota, his soldiers brutally raided the village and cut off the victims’ right hands.  Sean Kelly wrote: “Hands became a sort of currency in that soldiers were paid their bonuses on the basis of how many right hands they collected.”

Columbus and Leopold were exceptionally cruel to women and children.  Both men allowed their soldiers to kidnap women as sex slaves, and they also held women and children as hostages to insure that the native men would not run away.  Female hostages were usually poorly fed and large numbers died of starvation.  Newborns also had a very high mortality rate because the mothers were too famished to provide nursing milk.

The Arawaks and Africans both fought back but were no match for the armor and swords of Columbus nor the guns and artillery of Leopold’s soldiers.  Rebelling natives were treated exceedingly cruel by both oppressors.  Although both men used hanging, Columbus preferred burning victims alive if possible or feeding them to the attack dogs.  Leopold’s soldiers enjoyed summary executions followed by chopping off the victims’ heads and placing the heads on poles around their gardens.  Guillaume Van Kerckhoven, a Leopold officer, cheerfully bragged to a missionary that he paid his Black soldiers five brass rods per human head they brought him during the course of any military operation he conducted.  He said it was to stimulate their prowess in the face of the enemy.

A single man in both cases dedicated his life to exposing the atrocities of Columbus and Leopold to the world.  Bartolome de Las Casas, a Dominican priest, was initially a friend of Columbus and helped transcribe his journals.  However, he soon became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty and published a two-volume book detailing Spanish torture.  He estimates that three million Arawaks died between 1495 and 1508.  Edmund Dene Morel, a trusted employee of the Liverpool shipping line, dedicated his life to exposing the atrocities of King Leopold.  He single-handedly put this subject on the world’s front pages for more than a decade, which resulted in worldwide protest rallies.  Morel mobilized everyone from Booker T. Washington to the Archbishop of Canterbury to join his cause.  He even went to the White House insisting to President Theodore Roosevelt that the United States had a special responsibility to do something about the Congo since the U.S. helped Leopold at the Berlin Conference.  Morel’s unrelenting efforts resulted in Western powers forcing King Leopold to sell the Congo to Belgium in 1908.

Despite responsibility for death tolls of holocaust dimensions, neither Christopher Columbus nor King Leopold II was convicted or imprisoned for any crimes.  Both men lived a full life and died exceptionally rich.  Columbus spent his last years living in a mansion in Valladolid with an annual income of $60,000 from his Hispaniola sugar plantations (a fortune in the 1500s).  Leopold died in 1909 with a personal fortune (produced by the Congo’s ivory and rubber) of well over a billion dollars in today’s currency.

In order to prevent the human atrocities of Columbus and Leopold from ever reoccurring, it might be prudent to adopt the current philosophy regarding Adolph Hitler; that is, constant reminders of the holocausts in newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television, and even holocaust museums followed by the statement: “Never Again.”

Narmer (Think With a Unified Brain and Mind),

Asar Maa Ra Gray

"Not to know is bad, but not to want to know is worst."
       AfRAkan Proverb

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