Who has the land?
12 October this week was ‘Columbus Day‘ as it’s known by many in the world. Some Latin American countries turn it around to acknowledge the meeting of Europeans with the indigenous people of the Americas. ‘Día de la raza’ (Day of the Mexican race) in Mexico, ‘Día de las Américas’ (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, or ‘Fiesta Nacional’ in Spain
Whatever you call it, it was a meeting of peoples that changed the world. Slavery already existed, resource wars and religious feuds too, inequality was huge, so in some ways Cristoforo Colombo’s arrival in the Bahamas on 12 October 1492 was nothing out of the ordinary. It merely expanded a sphere of corruption, hate and violence.
Extraordinary was the immense amount of land, resources and people viewed through a lens of domination and control of the newly discovered. Uruguayan journalist, poet and artist Eduardo Galeano wrote —
They had the Bible.
They said: ‘Close your eyes and pray’.
And when we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.
Regular readers of this blog know that translating Galeano is one of the fun ways I keep up my Spanish skills and play with words and images. This is my sixth translationg this year. Most of the others are short essays from Eduardo Galeano’s book Children of the Days—
- 1 January — today
- 3 January — walking memory
- 21 January — walk on water
- 22 March — world water day
- 28 April — insecure world
want to know more?
This little comic reveals the dark truth about Columbus’s voyage and helpfully proposes discarding Columbus day and celebrating Bartolomé Day instead.
This book is about contemporary capitalism and how it generates and perpetuates a system of inequality and structural violence.
Read this book and get an view on the world upside down.
”We’re all implicated in the state of the world, but we need not remain trapped by this. We need not remain powerless. We may not be able to change much but we can at least work on the Zen of personal integrity.'” This book changed the way I see the world.