First Down and Genocide

Sorry for the football reference, tis the season here in the US.

I’m going to go through all your suggestions from yesterday one by one – for the Daily Post Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different (which, this is the first time I’ve decided to broach social and political issues so it counts as something completely different) – and I’ll be starting with Tammy‘s suggestion of:

Try documentary poetry about a current event.

Which works out really well because it’s also another season, when we “celebrate” the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus, that ambitious Italian who sailed for Spain, searching for a short route to India and instead landed in the Americas.

However, the problem with this is that not only was he not the first person to land in America (HELLO, Native American anyone?!) but he wasn’t even the first European to set foot in the Americas – that distinction is generally granted to Leif Eriksson.

In fact, today is Leif Eriksson Day.  Let’s observe that, instead.  (I propose the following to observe the day: don’t be dicks to people you meet, give to local charities, and then drink copious amounts of mead and praise Odin that at least one of our ancestors wasn’t a complete douche-wad.  We’ll decorate with Celtic knots and watch the movie Thor, based on Marvel comics, based on the bastardization of Norse mythology.  It’s horribly inaccurate, but the actors are delicious.)  Hey, maybe Leif was  dick, too, but at least *he* didn’t slaughter 90% of the people he came in contact with.  Much better first impression.  Too bad the subsequent impressions weren’t so good.  The remains of his settlement in Canada have been found.

Back to Columbus… Columbus was a dick (<- If you don’t click on any other link in this entire post, click on this one.)  He wasn’t your average, everyday white explorer dick like, say, John Smith.  Oh no, he was a very special kind of dick on the level of Hitler and Pol Pot.  Even some of his own people were horrified at what he did, and the attempt to arrest him for his crimes was thwarted by the fact the King and Queen of Spain were growing quite fat on the gold with which he was filling their coffers.  Within 50 years of landing in the Bahamas, he had managed a complete genocide of the native population.

So, to Tammy’s request to write a documentary poem about current events, I wrote about this.  But Eliza, you cry, this isn’t current events, this is history!  Well, so long as we continue to celebrate and honour the man responsible for beginning the genocide across this continent, it will continue to be current events.

Who Discovered What Now?

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
But history class, it was the worst
‘Cause Leif Eriksson landed first
Except, no wait, that’s still not right
Neither men were first to sight
The continent of North America
Cause there were already people here – DUH!
Sorry, Columbus, I know you tried;
You started a 500-year genocide.
So how can history open our eyes
When we’re just taught a bunch of lies?


4 thoughts on “First Down and Genocide

  1. My college history prof used to remind us that the history books are written by the conquerors. Needless to say they did a lot of revision and editing and still couldn’t cover up their greed, betrayal, and barbarism. Ambition, adventure, and entrepreneurial endeavor, have for centuries been the PR language of those who take from others.
    That same professor used to say (in the early 80’s) that the real weakness of the American economy was the lack of a true peasant class to take the hit for the middle & upper classes in times of severe economic distress.
    It looks like that role has been bestowed on the middle class in the new millennium.
    I liked your poem.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had to learn what I had to learn in school, but for the last xy years I can learn what I want to learn, and that is way different than what is taught in school – from Darwin’s theory, the missing link in human origins, aliens, who built the pyramids, to many other things. And the more I read and watch and learn, the more I become aware that school books are so inaccurate! Yes, history books are written by the conquerors. And we humans are incredibly arrogant, selfish and egoistic. Everything in nature is well organized, only we destroy everything. But I should stop here. Too much to say about all that to fit in a blog comment. Thank you for this post, I love it. And the poem is great! 🙂

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