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Letters: Remembering Columbus

To the Editor:

Letter writer Philip Blumenkrantz (“Columbus not worthy,” Oct. 4) is, as the cliche goes, entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. He forgets, first of all, that Christopher Columbus was a medieval man in a very religious environment. As I said in my piece (“Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” Sept. 20), Columbus’ first goal was evangelical: to fund a crusade. He really believed that Jerusalem had to be saved from the Muslims in order to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. His mission was to find that wealth.

Columbus did not institute slavery, nor is there any evidence that he personally owned any. It was a universal practice, including among some of the Caribbean tribes he encountered. As I already noted, he also did not have complete control of the rebellious Spanish crew and settlers who followed him on his various expeditions. It is an error to make Columbus a symbol of everything that went wrong.

Bartolome de Las Casas, whom Mr. Blumenkrantz mentions, was only 8 years old when Columbus landed on San Salvador. He was also, for awhile, a slave owner, until his Damascus moment. It was he, not Columbus, who suggested importing African slaves to take the place of natives who had succumbed primarily to European diseases. After his conversion, he became a friar and a champion of human rights — belated restitution for the years when he himself owned slaves, and encouraged the African slave trade.

I never said that Christopher Columbus was a saint. But he cannot be blamed for every evil that ensued during his four expeditions or the European invasion that followed.

I also tend to agree with Mr. Blumenkrantz that we Americans need to be careful of assuming any moral superiority. Let’s remember, however, that we are a nation of laws and a powerful influence on the world. We were one of the first nations to abolish slavery; to have universal suffrage; and to face head on the threats of communism and fascism. While not perfect, our developing democratic republic is a model for the world. Columbus set the wheels in motion for that future history. For that alone he needs to be remembered.

Gloria C. Endres
South Philadelphia

Opposing the ‘not-worthy’ view

To the Editor:

The politically correct crowd is always quick to jump for causes, such as Christopher Columbus. As the P.C. crowd spreads their false/incomplete narrative that Columbus was satan incarnate, I offer some facts. The Indians or Indigenous people, whatever you chose to call them, weren’t such angels themselves. They weren’t handing out flowers spreading peace and love. To the contrary, most were cannibals. It’s a historical fact. They were slave holders. Also they unfortunately committed other bad things that plague mankind such as rape, murder, assault….. Like the south in the Civil War, they lost.

Hence, the Columbus argument comes down to freedom to celebrate who or what we want. If people want it changed, they can always go to their councilperson, or better yet, vote on it. But lecturing others … well, tell the facts on both sides. If you don’t want to celebrate Columbus, then don’t. You have free will.

Illegal immigrants broke the law by coming here illegally. If the majority of the legal citizens don’t like it, then they could vote for politicians that will change the law and the hell with legal immigration altogether.

The Review has become a liberal type newspaper so I doubt that this gets printed, but I can say the majority of us “lifers” [people born, raised, and still live here in Philly] feel the same way.

Joseph D’Angelo
South Philadelphia

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