Healing attempt

Of the 28 scheduled events honoring National Hispanic Month, two concerned the “European Discovery” of the Americas. On April 15th “The Quincentennial, A cause for Celebration” provoked a needed venting of beliefs in regards to the topic. Later in the month, “Early Encounters Between Europeans and Indians in Latin America,” a scholarly convocation bringing together progressively-minded academics, was picketed and interrupted. As a result, the Northern Star and the local newspaper played up the tumultuous activity, not the presentation of important academic papers.

To allow political correctness to overwhelm historical fact does neither any good in the search for truth. A Stalinesque rewriting of Latin American history bodes ill for the discipline and ill for its disciples. Nine papers were presented at the convocation and none of them showed the slightest sympathy for either Columbus or the Conquistadors who followed. Nor was a single disparaging word heard against the Native Americans who were on the receiving end of this “encounter.” A follower of “Feminism” would have been pleased to note that five out of the nine papers were written and presented by women.

And so one asks, what was it the protestors wanted? Inter alia, they were upset at too many non-Latino faces in the audience. Disregarded were the Hispanic surnames of several of the presenters, not to mention of the organizer of the convocation.

Great tribal movements have pulsated through the history of mankind. The history of Spain alone shows how mixed the background of mankind is. The Carthaginians (descendants of the middle-eastern Phoenicians) conquered great parts of Spain only in turn to be conquered by the Roman Legions. In the fullness of time, the Roman provinces which now constitute modern day Spain were overrun by the Visigoths. Later, the Moors swept over the peninsula, to be removed only by the sword in the 15th century. The Jews, too, were given 48 hours notice to exit a newly Catholicized Spain. By the 16th century, the Spanish peoples were a splendid mixture of all these peoples. It is important to note that what the Spaniards did to the indigenous population in the western hemisphere—had been done previously to the inhabitants of Spain itself several times over. This is not to condone, merely an attempt to understand.

Until mankind thinks of itself as mankind, the world will be a splintered, fractious place to live. In my opinion, the conference which was picketed, was an attempt at healing, not division.

Debra Bragg