Columbus Day, international trade, religion greed and spices
It was this day, some 516 years ago, Columbus (formally) found this land and the people; the Red Indians. I am pondering bits and pieces of history in a random order on this occasion. I have a few questions for us to ponder over.
It probably is a mourning day for the Native Americans whose land was robbed and cultures annihilated.
It is a day of shame in human history. All Columbus wanted to find was an alternate route to Spices in India, what followed him was individual greed to snatch the land from the natives and force their way of life opon them. The arrogance of the Europeans of that time, most of whom are civilized now, led them to force their beliefs on the natives. Jesus would not have authorized any of that violence, yet, the world allowed those missionaries to butcher the natives in the name of Jesus. Even today, it is happening, doing evil things in the name of God, these are criminal acts of over zealous individuals that need to be punished.
Columbus was commissioned to discover a new sea route in 1492, which led to formal discovery of America. At the same time, under the reign of the individual terrorists Isabella and Fernando, the Jews and Muslims were thrown into cauldrons if they refused to convert to Christianity. How ironic it is, that the evil acts were done in the name of Jesus, who preached non-voilence and love thy neighbor. why did not the clergy stop them? One should be accorded the title of clergy, Imam, Rabbi, Holiness, Pastor or Pundit when they have cleaned their hearts from hate, anger, insecurity, revenge and ill-will, if not strip the title from them, they are not fit to represent any religion.
Some of the forced conversions were also done by individual Muslims against Hindus and Individual Christians against native tribes around the world, all in the name of God, as if God had given them an authority to act in his (her or it) behalf. There is no such permission. Neither Christianity nor Islam allows any one to induce or force others to convert, you cannot make one believe against their will. The insecure individual guardians of religions have done it in the name of religion. Both Muslims and Christians need to push the "refresh button" and read their holy books, their books like all other holy books are about co-existence and living in harmony with nature and people and not creating copy cats. Individuals pretending to represent a major (that is the problem) faith have done this to others. India at one time was Buddhist; they are a tiny minority now. You can find criminal individuals representing every possible faith. No one should gloat or be arrogant that their faith is clean, which it is, but some individual in their faith have messed up somewhere.
When Holocaust was happening in the heartland of Germany in the thirties, where were the good Christians, why did they not stop them? It was not Christianity, it was individual greed and hate for the others labeled with religion or natioanlism. I assert, Religion is never the problem, it is the individual criminals who brand their acts with a religion label, and we the ugly majority of the people, allow them to label their crimes with a religion or nationalism. We need to consciously stop people from blaming religion for the acts of individuals. If we boldly punish the individuals, instead of blaming an intangible religion, we will bring justice to the world. You cannot punish a religion, it is not a body. Think about it.
Coming to this decade, if it was not for three individuals, millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been alive today. Are we, the Americans paying for our economic consequences caused by deficits through funding the war and cavalier attitudes towards not regulating the rogues? Are we to blame this on ourselves? We had a choice to stop the war that is draingin us, had we protested it strongly we would have saved millions of lives and our own collapse. May God uplift us from our present situation and give us the wisdom to punish all the individuals who inflicted this disaster on all of us.
A strong America is not the goofy idea of threatenening every one in the world and spreading ourselves thin and weak. A strong America is the wisdom of not shedding any blood, American and others, and have the nations willingly cooperate with us. What is good for America has got to be good for the world and vice-versa to make it work and make it sustainable for generations to come.
For over a millennium of recorded history till 1500 AD, "Spices" were the major commodity of trade, they called it overseas trade, now we call International trade. Prior to that Silk was a commodity traded globally, nay the word Globe did not exist then, it was flat land.
Even the Airplanes were initially used to travel "overseas". Indeed, the BA, the British Airways was called British Overseas Airways Corporation. Then there was TWA, PanAm....remember that?
The value of an item is consequently determined by its supply and demand, much of it is driven by what we want rather than our needs. Who would have thought that the Portuguese, French, English and Spaniards would have fought for spices? These were the original predominant colonizers, later on the Dutch, Belgium and others joined the quest. This generation can understand that by the wars caused for Energy resources with Oil being at its center.
Just think of the commodities that have been at the center of overseas trade and causes for destructions and wars.
Silk and spices were the original commodities after the traditional land annexations. Then Cotton became staple, Sugar was next, tobacco after that... what are the items between Tobacco and Oil?
Each one of these commodities are at the center of genocides, killings, annihilation of cultures, wars, domination, colonization and other evils primarily motivated by individual greed. Religion and business are merely labels. There is an individual behind every crime and genocide right from Abel and Cain days to today. There is an individual behind every good that happens. Should we as individual consciously contribute towards the goodness? Should be allow evil to let it ride and ultimately wrap us all in it? Should we speak up when there is injustice?
A ponderous Columbus day to ya’ll.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, Interfaith, political and civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@AOL.com