Debates


Colón


Gentle colleagues,

There may be esteemed scholars and gentlemen who believe that it is possible to study history without a political understanding. However,   I believe it is impossible for anyone to understand history without adopting-- at least provisionally-- a political position. Neither the Spanish-speaking nor English-speaking upper classes in North or South America have neutral political positions with respect to the history   of the Western hemisphere. The question is to what degree one is courageous enough to admit those often implicit positions and either defend them as such or permit them to be rigourously interrogated.

Estimado Sr. G. Garcia Marquez has provided some very useful illustrations of the way history in the Western hemisphere is in fact   a tecnologia de l'olvido: olvido para os idios, os negros, e os pobres.

What was the reason for European (and Spanish) adventurers to go   armed into the world-- to leave Europe for conquest? History gives us   an answer to this: to find and take what these people could not find   or take at home.

Their kings and bishops blessed their voyages so that they may bring back-- what did not belong to them. They blessed and funded voyages   of theft and murder. We can travel through Europe today and see the plunder. In some cases one need only go to the capital of the country in America latina or the great cities of North America to see what   has been stolen.

We cannot change the past but, we are not compelled to bless it and praise it. If however, we understand that the colonisation was based   on theft and murder, we can take the position that our legacy is to   remedy this failure of our history and to restore humanity to ourselves and all around us by using history to bring about justice.

I should be a true genius were I to be the only one who sees the Spanish conquest this way. The fact is I am only one unimportant scholar who by examining the history of the Roman Catholic Church   sees what others have seen before me. I thank the gentleman who compliments me by saying I have a sui generis interpretation. I wish   I could return the compliment. However, I doubt greatly that his refutation would be so easy as he supposes.

Dr. Patrick Wilkinson
Cognitive Consulting and Language Logistics
Kirchstrasse 32
D-40227 Düsseldorf