Letters to the Editor

Stop celebrating people who committed genocide

Monday, October 15, 2018

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Dear Editor,

On Friday, October 12 people across Latin America and the Caribbean celebrate Indigenous Resistance Day, instead of Christopher Columbus's non-discovery of the continent in 1492 and the beginning of what our colonial ancestors referred to as “civilisation”.

This supposed “discovery” of the Caribbean and Latin America, places already discovered and inhabited by indigenous peoples, led to what has been referred to as “the worst demographic catastrophe of human history”.

That is as a result of the genocide of approximately 95 per cent of the indigenous population of the region in a little over 100 years of colonialism,v and led to the loss of the Taino, Kalingo, and the forced movement of the Garifuna.

The 15th century invasion by the Spaniards was also the impetus for the enslavement of Africans. It was after the destruction of the indigenous population that bloodthirsty colonisers decided to go after their next victims, kidnap them, brutalise, and torture them through enslavement.

It is time we stop glorifying 'Christopher Come-buck-us' and start reclaiming a history that celebrates our indigenous peoples and our African ancestors.

After all, there is no reason to celebrate and speak well of a man who led to 400 years of pain and destruction in the Americas.

Professor Verene Shepherd


Centre for Reparation Research


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