Kleptocracy (n): a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.
Today is what most Americans know as Columbus Day, in the honor of Christopher Columbus. Ol' Chris was a murdering, thieving, trifling, evil little turd of a man who "discovered" the Caribbean Islands. The "New World" that we often think of Columbus of "discovering," namely North America, had been occupied for about 12 millennia---yes 12,000 years---before any European arrived. The first European to arrive in the Americas was probably a Viking, Leif Ericson, about 500 years before Columbus was born. Also, the Earth was known to be round since the time of the Greeks by Erastosthenes; a discovery replicated by Arab scientists hundreds of years before Spainish rule. So, yeah, most of what I learned about Columbus in school was a flat out lie: Columbus didn't discovery anything except a new, quick way of obtaining gold: straight up stealing it from other people.
When Chris arrived, he encountered peaceful natives who helped his men come ashore and readily traded with them. Chris and the Spaniard soldiers with him then proceeded to brutally enslave the Natives during several subsequent visits to their islands, working them literally to death and cutting off the noses, ears and limbs of those who protested their treatment. They also forced the native women and girls into sexual bondage, and shipped Natives back to Spain as fealty to the Queen. The trip left the majority of the Natives dead before arrival. Classy, right?
|Screen capture of a larger illustrated history by theoatmeal.com. In case there is anything vague in the wording,|
Columbus casually states in his journal that his soldiers prefer girls of age 9-10 years as sex slaves. Since he's
such an upstanding Catholic hero, I'm sure Chris preferred his sex slaves to be a bit older.
This is a true historical account of our national "hero." We have a day off because a white dude stumbled onto occupied lands and stole gold and people. Here's a quick account based on Columbus' own journal. Here's a cartoon account with more details. Here's an excellent essay on the evolving perception of Columbus.
This is why we have a day off work. This is just one of many racist aspects of our society. Please don't turn away. This is our history. This informs who we are today as a nation and a people.
Happy Kleptocracy Day!
So instead of just celebrating just one thief, I propose that we celebrate a long history of nation-building via thievery. I propose that today be known as Kleptocracy Day. To celebrate, I suggest we all go out, "discover something" (Oooh! A microbrewery!), and steal whatever we want. Then I propose that on Tuesday we name a sports team after the owner of the store we stole from, force his family to live in a desert, and call ourselves exceptional heroes. Because America!