We The Italians | In defense of Columbus

In defense of Columbus

In defense of Columbus

  • WTI Magazine #129 Jul 19, 2020
  • 87

Thanks to Fucsia Nissoli Fitzgerald there is a motion in the Chamber of Deputies in favor of Christopher Columbus, which would commit the Italian Government in his defense. We are waiting for it to be discussed and voted on, and then we hope that the Italian Government will wake up. This is the text of the motion 

The Chamber of Deputies, provided that: 

recently in the U.S. have again occurred episodes of intolerance towards the figure of Christopher Columbus, with gestures aimed at destroying or smearing the statues that remember him. Last week in Richmond, Virginia (USA), the local statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down, set on fire and then thrown into the lake, while in Houston the statue of the navigator was smeared with red paint;

these last episodes are linked to those of 2017, when several episodes of intolerance towards some symbols of American history occurred, including Christopher Columbus, an icon for the Italians of America who celebrate, in the month of October, the famous Columbus Day, declared National Day, in 1937, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt;

just three years ago the conflict, internal to the USA, on the theme of historical memory, also touched the figure of Christopher Columbus, the reason why there were episodes of intolerance in various American cities such as Baltimore, where a statue of Columbus was erected in 1792, was destroyed by hammering; in Detroit, where the monument to Columbus was wrapped in black cloth, and again in Houston, where a statue, donated to the city by the Italian American community on the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Americas, was smeared with blood colored paint. Then as now. Finally, in Los Angeles, on August 30, 2017, the city council voted by a large majority to cancel Columbus Day;

it is clear that the cancellation of Columbus Day and the attacks on the statues of Columbus represent not only an act of profound historical ignorance, but also an affront to the Italian community living in the United States who were deeply wounded by that senseless act;

it is worth remembering that Christopher Columbus set out to discover a new trade route with the East, a circumstance that makes him not a conqueror, but an explorer;

Columbus is a founding part of American history and today represents the cultural heritage of the Italians in America, who see Columbus Day as a celebration of Italian pride and success in America;

every year the US President, as required by the resolution passed by Congress on April 30, 1934 and amended by the law of June 28, 1968, proclaims the second Monday in October of each year as "Columbus Day";

in 2017 the Italian community in the US appealed to President Trump, stressing that "We Italians of America appeal to President Trump to keep alive the cultural heritage of Christopher Columbus, a fundamental part of the cultural heritage of the United States. Without Columbus there would not be America as it is today and perhaps not even that great civilization in which everyone can find themselves", a cultural heritage that deserves support from Italian institutions;

Columbus is a symbol of the relationship between Italy and the United States and a removal of this figure from the historical memory of the American people certainly does not meet the aims of good cooperation and the feelings of strong friendship that the two countries have for each other;

it is important to offer a public space to every ethnic contribution, so that the memory of the roots of a country is not dispersed and forgotten. Every ethnic contribution is vital, since it has made possible the achievement of American democracy, as we know it today; in this sense, the idea of establishing a day of celebration for indigenous and Native Americans as well, just as St. Patrick's Day is celebrated, should be welcomed, without, however, taking the place of the important celebration of Columbus Day, as it is being planned from many places and as has already happened in Los Angeles and in smaller cities, such as Oberlin, Ohio,

commits the Government

1) to take action, on the political and diplomatic level, so that the Italian cultural heritage in the USA and the symbolic figure of that heritage embodied by Christopher Columbus may be safeguarded;

2) to use all the communication tools available to the Government, so that, both at the level of bilateral Italy-US relations and at the multilateral level, the real historical role of Christopher Columbus, an explorer moved by the noble sentiments of discovery, at the basis of the evolution of society and of the whole of humanity, will be enhanced.

 

Signed

 

Fitzgerald Nissoli, Gelmini, Ungaro, Delmastro Delle Vedove, Aprea, Bagnasco, Baldini, Anna Lisa Baroni, Casciello, Cassinelli, Dall'Osso, D'Attis, Ferraioli, Marin, Marrocco, Mollicone, Orsini, Napoli, Palmieri, Pentangelo, Polidori, Rossello, Ruffino, Saccani Jotti, Sozzani, Torromino, Versace, Vietina, Zangrillo, Pezzopane, Invidia, Biancofiore, Di San Martino Lorenzato Di Ivrea, La Marca, Maria Tripodi, Longo, Sangregorio, Carè, Formentini, Barelli, Valentini, Zoffili, Cappellacci, Mulè, Bergamini, Polverini, Cannizzaro, D'Ettore, Pettarin, Zanella, Brunetta, Giacometto, Elvira Savino, Bond, Calabria, Fiorini, Frate, Occhionero, Siracusano.