Leave Columbus’ statue alone — you can’t rewrite history
I’m participating in the Columbus Day parade and I’m proud to being do so.
So don’t you even begin to tell me I should be ashamed of my Italian heritage and by extension of Christopher Columbus.
In fact, I’m very proud to be joining a contingent of Italian-American authors on the Barnes & Noble float on Monday at the invitation of Len Riggio, Grand Marshall of the parade and executive chairman of the book chain.
I couldn’t be prouder of my Italian heritage and no group of wacky PC protesters is going to make me feel otherwise.
And no PC protester is, for sure, ever going to make me believe that it’s OK to condemn the parade, destroy, deface or deny art by knocking down or hiding the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle — or indeed the statues of any historic figure anywhere.
Destroying statues doesn’t change history. What it does do is make our behavior no better than the book-burning, art-censoring, culture-destroying pigs of the past and radical religious groups of the present.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed from Lee Circle in New Orleans.
Who are we — ISIS? Do we really condone the destruction of art and culture in order to clean up history to suit our current mindset?
Remember that between 2014-2015 ISIS troops destroyed thousands of years of art and culture in their war on “idolatry.”
It is estimated that they destroyed or stole 100,000 cultural objects as they rampaged across the Middle East in a scorched earth art sweep.
They burned down the library in Mosul taking with it an estimated 100,000 books and manuscripts. It has been called the greatest destruction of culture since the burning of the Library at Alexandria in 48 B.C.
Their modern day uneducated countrparts believe too, that by doing so, they would wipe out history and by extension, wipe out false idols and ancient heroes.
Do we still believe nearly 3,000 years later that if we remove the images, the words, the history of long ago heroes and gods, that the truth will go away with them as well?
The Taliban ordered a Buddha statue destroyed in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in 2001.
Destroying art won’t rewrite ugly history, nor change the facts of the past. Yes, initiating discussions of now controversial statues is great. Trying to pretend the people they represent didn’t exist isn’t.
Eliminating the images of those we once called heroes is an intolerable form of PC censorship disguised as correctness. Destroying art and culture is the antithesis of correct.
Tearing down General Lee for example, won’t change the history and horror of slavery any more than defacing and destroying the image of Christopher Columbus will elimate the history of the good, the bad and the ugly of what Columbus’ discovery wrought.
In truth, we are part of what Columbus wrought. We are Americans and without Columbus there would be no America as we now know it — despite our sometimes very ugly history.
Before and after the Buddha statue was destroyed in Bamiyan.
Today we tear down Columbus, tomorrow we burn a library, the day after that we blow up a museum.
Destroying or removing a statue of Columbus and trying to shame our great Italian heritage won’t make me ashamed of Cristoforo Colombo’s explorations, nor make me ashamed of being Italian.
Even though we now think of the golden age of exploration as the golden age of exploitation, I will always be proud that an Italian explorer made possible what we now take for granted.