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Saturday 20 April 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Columbus debate concerns

THE EDITOR: In reading some of the letters and articles that emerged around the emancipation celebrations about history and Columbus, I was struck by three things.

First, I observed that we only care about Columbus when Emancipation Day comes around – and the one-off holiday for the indigenous Trinidadians and Tobagonians. So I have to wonder if this is not just opportunism and mob mentality, rather than genuine interest in a controversial historical character.

Second, a historian voiced his opinion about the issue. I had always thought that historians were about writing history and asking the right questions. Maybe we should be focusing on writing history rather than erasing it.

My cursory investigation into Columbus has led me to conclude that there are very little primary sources about what Columbus actually did or did not do. And is it fair to blame someone for what came after them I wonder?

Finally, it bothers me that it is precisely in celebrating emancipation we continue to allow ourselves to be oppressed by a man who died over 500 years ago. We are as affected by the past as we allow ourselves to be.


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