“Q: If we remove all artefacts of our colonial past, who gets to determine what we replace it with?
“A: Duh…We do! And we must make it clear that we do not venerate the protagonists of genocide, slavery, indentureship and apartheid in this land and don’t believe that any of its citizens should have to walk past a monument paying tribute to anyone who murdered and raped your ancestors…”
The following response to Trinidad Express column ‘From Columbus to Kim Jung Un’ by Darryn Boodan—which claimed to be ‘puzzled’ by the downplaying of Christopher Columbus’ achievement by an ‘angry mob’—was submitted to Wired868 by Anderson Mitchell of the Cross Rhodes Freedom Project (CRFP):
It’s me—one of your hippy dippy friends from the ‘Angry Mob’. You used to be on the right side of history: what happened?
You got so many things correct though:
- Columbus is pretty much guilty of everything he is accused of;
- He wasn’t motivated by exploration and knowledge;
- Cross Rhodes and others are not wrong to seek the removal of these monuments;
- You made reference to other monuments being taken down all over the world.
Does the Port of Spain City Corporation really need to think ‘long and hard’ about removing a racist statue of a mass murderer, sex trafficking, slave-master, and genocidal maniac, who engaged in an absurd process of renaming other peoples lands and who died thinking he discovered India when he was in an entirely different part of the world?
No… No, they don’t. This is a no-brainer, and the complexities of the past have nothing to do with it. This is about doing what is right for the present and the future!
You quoted Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the Joe Rogan show who said that: “Him coming to America was the most significant thing to ever happen in our species.”
You neglected to mention that this was the only good thing Neil was able to say about the tyrant implying that he thought that it was a good thing. It would be useful to recall that Tyson, also referred to Columbus as a ‘d**k’.
I get it though. It makes you seem more credible if you can make it sound like smart people agree with you.
Did you really need to horribly misrepresent Tyson and the CRFP to prove your point? The Cross Rhodes Freedom Project does not want to ‘tear down’ the Columbus Statue. The organisation has explicitly stated its desire to see it moved uptown and delicately installed in our museum.
Does it really make it okay to honour Columbus, because genocide, brutality and slavery existed in other places? It’s just part of our history.
By this donkey logic, the Cathedral should house statues of Satan because he is part of Christian history—never mind that outsiders might misconstrue who and what the congregation is worshiping and glorifying.
So Boods, let me help you answer the irrelevant questions of your article right here:
Q: Who gets to determine what narratives form the ideas of our history?
A: We just want the truth, and want to do what is right and just.
Q: If we remove all artefacts of our colonial past, who gets to determine what we replace it with?
A: Duh…We do! And we must make it clear that we do not venerate the protagonists of genocide, slavery, indentureship and apartheid in this land and don’t believe that any of its citizens should have to walk past a monument paying tribute to anyone who murdered and raped your ancestors.
Q: Will it stop at statues? Will books, paintings and buildings be next?
A: This is proof that you simply don’t understand the situation here. Buildings are private property. I don’t care what happens on the premises. Books and paintings are freedom of expression and speech. Paint what you want, write what you want, say what you want. I don’t care!
In fact you can have a Columbus statue in your house if you want! Not in shared, public spaces.