Goodbye, Columbus

The discomfort caused to elites is of no concern to anyone who wants to strike at the heart of racism. Goodbye and good riddance to Churchill, Columbus, Leopold and all of their ilk, writes Margaret Kimberley.

By Margaret Kimberley
Black Agenda Report

Millions of white people glorify mass murderers because their sense of identity and place in society is deeply tied to white supremacy.

The perpetrators of crimes against humanity are often elevated to positions of respect and admiration. It all depends on who did the killing, and who was killed. Now the murderers are being called to account.

Missionary  with Congolese man. (International Mission Photography Archive)

The new movement in the United States against police and other state violence has inspired this welcome change taking place all over the world. The criminals are being exposed decades and even centuries after their atrocities took place.

There is no statute of limitations for murder nor should there be for calling out people who have the blood of millions on their hands.

Statues of Belgium’s King Leopold have been defaced and even removed. Leopold held the Congo as his personal fiefdom, the Congo Free State, where he killed as many as 15 million people who were forced to work on rubber plantations.

The cruelty of murder and mutilation was exposed after a more than 20-year reign of terror. George Washington Williams, a black American journalist, played a key role in bringing the genocide to public attention. 

Father stares at the hand and foot of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little caoutchouc/rubber. (Photo taken at Baringa, Congo state, May 15, 1904)

Instead of Adolf Hitler being the only European who comes to mind when genocide is mentioned, the name Leopold ought to have the same effect. But Hitler killed Europeans and Leopold killed Africans. The crimes of one are widely known while the other escapes condemnation because his crimes were erased. King Leopold killed as many as 15 million people who were forced to work on rubber plantations.

Evidence of Belgian atrocities brought home by William Sheppard. (Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia)

The same can be said of Winston Churchill. During World War II he presided over a famine in colonial India caused by the theft of rice and wheat which supplied Britain’s armies. An estimated 3 million people died but starvation in Bengal province was not his first opportunity to commit mass murder.

After World War I he advocated gassing Iraqis  who rebelled against British rule. “I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes.” He had already ordered chemical weapons attacks against the Russian Bolsheviks in 1918.

Now Churchill’s statue in London’s parliament square is covered in a large box to protect it from protesters. A group scrawled graffiti which correctly labeled as a racist the man who said that his Indian victims “breed like rabbits.” 

Bengal famine 1943. (Wikimedia Commons)

The taboos are falling just like the statues that honored slave traders and Indian killers in this country. Robert E. Lee’s monument in Richmond, Virginia is now covered in graffiti, and a likeness of George Floyd, whose murder at the hands of police motivated people to denounce the killers whose crimes are covered up. Too many historians choose to affirm corrupt systems rather than tell the truth. But the people are ignoring entreaties from all the elites and are taking matters into their own hands.

“Churchill said that his Indian victims ‘breed like rabbits.’” 

Christopher Columbus is among those being exposed. His voyages on behalf of the Spanish crown were followed by other European invasions which brought disease and bloody conquest against indigenous populations from the tip of South America all the way to Alaska. This genocide was the precursor to the trans-Atlantic slave trade which brought Africans to suffer as chattel throughout North and South America.. 

But there is a reaction to every action and when the question of removing the Columbus statue in New York City was raised, governor Andrew Cuomo demurred, “But the statue has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian-American contribution to New York.” Columbus was born Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa.

The fallen Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol after a group led by American Indian Movement members tore it down in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 10. (Tony Webster)

This need for Cuomo and others to hang on to the criminal is obvious. Columbus puts Italians at the center of the settler colonial state. They are not the southern European catholic immigrants who were often looked down upon when they first arrived. Columbus makes them white Americans and they cling to him lest they lose that imprimatur.

“Columbus puts Italians at the center of the settler colonial state.”

Everyone should work mightily to remove the stain of mass murderers who even define how we identify ourselves. The name Columbus came to mean America itself. We are left with a South American nation, Colombia, named after him. The U.S. capital is the District of Columbia, while Canada’s far western province is doubly colonized with the name British Columbia and cities like Columbus, Ohio and institutions like Columbia University abound. The indigenous who suffered because of his invasion now have their culture labeled pre and post Columbian. The crimes continue as millions of people are forcibly linked to the genocidaire.

Cuomo: Proud Italian-American.

New York’s governor is not alone in trying to stem the tide of truth telling. A group of white men armed with guns and other weapons felt the need to protect a statue of Columbus in Philadelphia .

This intransigence tells us why it is so important to name and shame the mass murderers. Their credibility must be destroyed if white supremacy is ever to become a thing of the past. The statues must go and so must excuse making for atrocities if whites are the perpetrators and non-whites are the victims.

The hand wringing over monument removal is not just connected to reverence for these individuals. While millions of people want change, millions more do not and they hold on to Columbus or Leopold or Churchill or Robert E. Lee because their identity and place in society is firmly tied to white supremacy. If a Columbus statue comes down so might a small portion of white entitlement and its privileges. 

The monuments to genocide must come down. The discomfort caused to the elites is of no concern to anyone who wants to strike at the heart of racism as practiced around the world. Goodbye and good riddance to Churchill, Columbus, Leopold and all of their ilk.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at) 

This article is from Black Agenda Report.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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59 comments for “Goodbye, Columbus

  1. DW Bartoo
    June 22, 2020 at 11:07

    I quite agree, Joe, that statues celebrating the “heroes” of oppression and dominance should be preserved and collected in museums where the real “his”story can be told.

    Should we also not include other symbols of oppression and dominance, the flag and the Bible, as I suggest below?

    As well should we not include things like the “Star Spangled Banner”, written by the wealthy slave-owing Francis Scott Key, who was also noted for the harsh sentences he demanded as a prosecutor of those who sought the abolition of slavery and of those who tried to escape that “peculiar institution”?

    Key often demanded the death penalty for the enslaved who sought freedom.

    As well, his brother in law, Chief Justice Tanney, of the U$ Supreme Court presided over the infamous Dred Scott case.

    Most citizens well know the first verse, but few know the subsequent verses, the third especially.

    Everyone has heard of the Declaration of Independence but few have read it, have the slightest notion of what it says about the original inhabitants of this land.

    Which suggests that our entire educational experience has been seriously lacking in teaching the whole story.

    Understanding this unfortunate reality, in terms of a white-washed historical orthodoxy, might permit a broader understanding of how the media, currently, and the press, historically (from the scandal sheets of early post revolution days, to the Yellow journalism of Hearst, so named to reflect the fear mongering about the Asiatic “Yellow” menace, to the McCarthyite days of the “Red” menace) seek to shape public consciousness in very specific ways, readily, now, serving as willing propagandists for war, and the U$ as being “above” the “rule of law”, domestically and internationally.

    The political spectacle, from the beginning, has been to confuse and divide, had been to hide the class war waged, from the beginning, by the wealthy elite against the unruly mob among whom are those the elites regard as “levellers” who sought/seek a more equitable division of the commons and common wealth.

    Slavery was the original engine, the original source of the wealth this nation has sought to enlarge, for essentially merchantile interests, into global hegemony and Full Spectrum Dominance.

    Along with the removal of statues, to a place of honest discussion and perspective, that discussion must be joined in ways that are still not happening. Thr MSM and academia have demonstrated no interest in developing or suppprting such discussions except as they may profit from further shaping a narrow political, if essentially bipartisan, agenda of “reform” intended to defuse and dissipate the very awareness you are trying to encourage.

    Unless, the discussion embraces the ongoing oppressions, be they physical brutality or economic favoritism, be they bombs or sanctions, while drawing a clear and unequivocal connection between past and present, we will witness, once again, the cultural assimilation of challenge into a bought-off, or stamped-out, “dissent”.

  2. Joe Lauria
    June 22, 2020 at 06:06

    Numerous commenters have said that the author should deal with people alive, not with those from history. But these are people that are still in the present in statues in public spaces. The very reason to build a statue is to keep the memory of certain people alive and not to confine them to history. The people depicted in these statues were instrumental in creating the political and economic system that today’s leaders still enjoy ruling. The statues are of people who mean a lot to current rulers as they are the forbearers of the class privilege they enjoy today. These statues are very much about the present and not the past. Therefore a first step in changing the nature of today’s system and the type of people who run it is to remove the very founders of this still very much alive system. These statues belong in museums in which their full story can be told.

  3. Jamie
    June 22, 2020 at 00:46

    Take them all down and erect them in a garden of shame. This is but the beginning.
    The Western Race History garden represents what must be taught to all about race and regardless of race.

  4. Eddie S
    June 21, 2020 at 17:54

    Accepting the definition* of racism as being “The notion that one’s own ethnic stock is superior.”, and then reading a critical history of Columbus**, one must inevitably come to the valid conclusion that he was indeed a racist. In this, he was like the vast majority of his European peers — at least those who had occasion to think on it — who considered African blacks and native Americans as a lower category of humans, literally a sub-species of the ‘normal’ Christian man. Columbus had previously captained slave ships, and within hours of his 1492 landing in ‘the New World’, he took 6 native Americans prisoner** for use as servants/slaves and exhibits. Although he didn’t invent racism nor was he its leading intellectual apologist, he certainly was a capable practitioner. Additionally, he mistakenly believed China was only a ~3 week sail from Europe even though most other authorities at the time knew it was much further. He literally accidentally found North America and doesn’t deserve to be revered for any of these things.

    * American Heritage Dictionary, c1969
    ** “American Holocaust” by prof David Stannard, c1992

  5. ClaudioS
    June 21, 2020 at 12:33

    Nobody can bring to justice Columbus or Leopold 2.
    On the contrary, many among those who are committing crimes and murders right now and have no statue to destroy can be brought to justice.
    I would focus on these latter.

  6. DW Bartoo
    June 21, 2020 at 08:54

    What are the two most powerful theatrical props, or symbols, of U$ian sensibility?

    Beyond statues of the heroes of oppression, beyond the myths of exception and divine chosen-ness?

    Why the flag and the Bible, of course.

    Waving the first or Trump-thumping the second are guaranteed crowd pleasers, always able to rouse, to swell the passions of the fluid U$ian body politic, by, for. and of “the people”.

    These are primitive tribal indentifiers that erase consciousness and conscience almost as effectively, in terms of gaining “a following” or appeasing frustration, as throwing dimes or dollars at the ignorant masses.

    All a canny “leader” must do is exclaim that there are those who desecrate the flag, disdain God’s word, or hate “our freedoms” (to conform to the official narrative) in order to gain a clamorous following, to wage a war, be it against another nation, against “terrorism”, or drugs, or whatever may be profitably vilified.

    And that profit part is centrally important.

    If the working class becomes uppity, well it must be Commies behind it, the Red Menace.

    If students object to a military draft, then it must be outside agitators.

    If people “of color” object to systemic racism, then it must be Russia behind “it”.

    If the many dare object to giving the rich trillion$, then they are simply “deplorables” who are to blame for their own economic precarity.

    Should the many, somehow, come to understand that they have been intentionally set up to contend against each other through policies of “divide and rule”, then means must be found to ensure that they are afraid to talk with and listen to each other, they must be instructed to fear and hate each other.

    Hate and fear must be taught if they are to be effective means of waging war, of keeping the many in brutal “competition” in an elite orchestrated “race to the bottom”.

    How are politicians, presidents especially, effectively deified?

    How are they elevated to the status of saviors, of wisdoms, of “statesmen” like Churchill or Jefferson, despite their personal frailties, dangerous prejudices, outright racism, or blind service to obscene wealth?

    How may a multi-colored bit of fabric be held more sacred than human lives?

    How may a religious text be used to justify war, genocide, slavery, and the destruction of the environment?

    How is it possible that these “things” are rarely questioned?

    How is it that, at many institutions of higher learning, the most highly paid individual is a sports coach?

    Might it be that spectator sports are more profitable than encouraging honest critical thought?

    Could it be that such sports are the very model of spectator politics?

    That excitedly watching others contend for “the prize”, is symbolic of a society that is taught to watch rather than to participate?

    That the real lesson of “civilization”, of “complex” societies, of the “rule of law”, of “In God We Trust”, is simply to obey one’s betters, to “suck it up” and “know one’s place”, to keep one’s mouth shut, to and follow orders.

    Is that not what “law and order” is really about?

    You know, the statues of limitation.

  7. Jared
    June 20, 2020 at 22:17

    There are people who do not have pink skin and still support preserving controversial statues and monuments. What explains that? Why does Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot support preserving statues, including one of Columbus, in Chicago? Is it because her, “sense of identity and place in society is deeply tied to white supremacy”? That seems doubtful considering she isn’t white. Why does Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, who is black, support preserving confederate monuments by moving them into museums? Why did Obama not demolish the monument of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park? Kimberley’s theory that support for such statues emanates purely from Dubois’ idea of the psychological wage of whiteness, cannot explain such instances. Clearly she is missing something important, and that is the class dimension.

    A less parochial argument might be that billions of people throughout the world support monuments to mass murderers because those monuments are tied to a nationalist identity. Mao is still a hero to many in China and his image dominates Tienanmen Square to this day. Stalin is still a hero to many in Russia, and as recently as last year they erected a new statue of him in Novosibirsk. In India, they are erecting statues of Narendra Modi. Nationalist heroes reinforce the ideology of the ruling class. They prepare the poor and working class for the most vital service that they are called on to provide: as cannon fodder in war. But do billions embrace a “nationalist identity” because it provides them with psychological solace or because it is forced down their throats by ruling class education systems, ruling class media and ruling class political interests? If white Americans and Europeans have backward views regarding some of their own nationalist heroes, it may have more to do with a society that is deeply propagandized and indoctrinated than with a moral failing of millions of people. Nationalist and racist views are taught to the more backward elements of the population as a definite strategy of the ruling class. Divide et impera. It’s a concept as old as Rome.

    Kimberley does us a service in describing the true histories of people like Columbus and Leopold. That is quite valuable and helps correct an ignorance that has been promoted for far too long in society. But I see little value in speculating on the mental constructs (identity) supposedly running around in the brains of millions of people. Such speculations obscure the class dimensions of social phenomena, particularly the role of the ruling class in promoting racism and nationalism.

  8. Theo
    June 20, 2020 at 14:22

    I agree. But I think we shouldn’t forget that most whites in Europe weren’t racist because they had never seen people of different colors or appearance than their likes.They couldn’t travel to get to know even people from neighboring countries. And most Europeans didn’t profit from their colonies. The profits from slave trade and the resources in Africa were split between a small group of elites. No factory worker or coal miner or farm hand could afford all the goodies from the colonies. Cocoa, tropical fruits or diamonds and gold and furniture made of tropical trees. But they bore the costs of colonialism. The loot to the wealthy elite, the costs to the toiling poor.

  9. Mark Clarke
    June 20, 2020 at 10:04

    We should not be focusing on the statues of dead people when we have real live people carrying on the sins of empire right now. In all these protests is there anyone demanding the end to wars, proxy wars, economic sanctions, coups, occupations, drone strikes or weapons sales?

    • Kathrina Richter
      June 21, 2020 at 13:22

      Mark Clarke is putting the focus were the focus should be and that is on the present. One can only ask : who is setting the agenda for the protests? Never forget to think for yourself, Einstein.

  10. michael888
    June 20, 2020 at 07:20

    Leopold II was not an anomaly of his time. The exploitation and destruction of the people of the Congo was not limited to Belgium.
    When I was young I was stunned to learn of Ota Benga, who was displayed in the Monkey House in the Bronx Zoo in NYC, “supported by Madison Grant, Secretary of the New York Zoological Society.”
    One story among millions.

  11. DanP
    June 20, 2020 at 04:22

    It is true that we have all been taught an idealized history where murderers are presented as heroes. It is true that as a result of that constant indoctrination, many people are unconsciously, or even consciously sometimes, condoning genocide and plunder. It is also true that the segment of the human race that most celebrates these murderers tends to have white skin. This is the history people are taught to be proud of, in a propaganda soup.

    What I am missing in every single article I read on these topics, including this one, is a more nuanced sense of how this started. Largely, the story is ‘murderous whites invaded, colonized, killed and enslaved other races’.

    It’s not that this is untrue. It’s just that it is not the beginning of the story.

    At the beginning of the story is the enslavement of the white masses themselves. It is a story that is not taught. It is the story that is being hidden by the propaganda and jingoism. It can be uncovered in the works of People like David Petegorsky and Michael Perelman. But I will attempt a summary of the key points here.

    In Britain in particular, in events that caused the civil war, the rise of the banking and commercial bourgeoisie led to the Enclosure movement. This is the point at which land which had for centuries been considered the ‘commons’ was turned into private property, with the subsequent dispossession of people from their means of self sufficiency in community. The road left to them to support themselves was designed by the bourgeoisie; wage labour. Some people were even shipped off as slave labour to far away destinations such as Australia, after having been criminalized for trying to feed their families with ‘poached’ animals (the so called ‘Game Laws’).

    Does this sound familiar?

    Browbeaten and betrayed, these disposed white populations were subsequently taught that at least if they can’t be self sufficient, they can be eating the best scraps from their masters’ tables in a colonial resource raping machine. Hence we end up with invention of racial segregation.

    Without understanding this past, all humans of every hue cannot change together the future. So what is the key in this?

    It’s in the phrase “with the rise of the banking and commercial bourgeoisie”. The question we should be asking is “how did they rise”, or “why are they on top”?

    The answer is very simple. They learnt how to create money out of paper as a confidence trick.

    The paper was originally receipts for gold and valuables deposited in bank vaults. The receipts took on their own value as a means of exchange. Bankers discovered they could write more receipts than they had deposits. And hence they found themselves in possession of a magic money tree. So they could buy up a load of stuff, or extend loans to people without ever having any real funds to back it up.

    This confidence trick is still the basis of today’s banking system. This is where all the trillions of Financial Crisis quantitative easing and COVID economy bailout are coming from. This is why we have asset price bubbles. Every time you take a loan from a bank, you are facilitating the creation of new money. Money is created as debt, which is why we need endless environment destroying economic growth; it’s to pay off the interest on all those loans.

    So what’s the lesson?

    Stop the pointless squabbling about racial inequality, and wrest control of the right to create money out of private hands, for the common good.

    It’s the bankers we need to tackle, not each other!

  12. Scott Harmon
    June 20, 2020 at 00:51

    While I do agree, Margaret, with your views and facts about these atrocities, I must question the ultimate solution. It is very stylish and cute to pull down some statues and claim victory, but if you are that concerned about rectifying human rights in the annals of history, you may want to vacate the land you are living on. Every American is now living on land formerly owned by Native Americans. This could be said about every country in the world, where some warlord or tribe stole land from the original inhabitants. Are we to go back to the days of the vikings, or those of the Roman Empire, or those of cave dwellers, to settle every score? Where does it end? I hope you have thought about this—history is not a kind teacher.

  13. Rosemarie Orr
    June 19, 2020 at 23:07

    Millions of white people Glorify Mass Murderers is a vile racist statement!
    The problem is most people of all races have been taught a false, uninformed and sanitized history.
    Unfortunately uneducated people view Columbus, Churchill, the founding so-called fathers etc. like the cartoon characters they are portrayed in most History books.
    I am an Italian American woman and I TAUGHT my children that Columbus didn’t discover America because it already existed.
    I taught them that Columbus was a bastard that got his due by dying in the Caribbean penniless and alone.
    So don’t lump me in with your racist generalized banter!
    There are more of me than you know.

      June 19, 2020 at 23:43

      Millions of white people does not mean ALL white people. Hopefully there are millions like you. But there are still millions who revere these figures. It was not a racist statement, but a statement of fact.

    • dfnslblty
      June 20, 2020 at 11:50

      “So don’t lump me in with your racist generalized banter!
      There are more of me than you know.”

      The author didn’t lump you in – you explained your family lesson and thus were excluded.
      The second sentence is the kind of threat that underlies the author’s reason for writing.

  14. paul easton
    June 19, 2020 at 20:09

    When will we start to talk about the genocidal war of the Israelis on the Palestinians?

    • Roe Orr
      June 19, 2020 at 23:19

      As long as AIPAC keeps dropping Benjamin’s into the Senate and House probably never.
      Israel is disgusting.

    • Better Planet
      June 19, 2020 at 23:50

      Exactly . Are they so blind that they think we cannot see.

  15. June 19, 2020 at 19:46

    Let us not forget the genocide of Native Americans, in particular Andrew Jackson, who is celebrated on the $20 bill. His indian removal policy, engendering thousands of deaths, has been called “the trail of tears” by the Cherokees Nation. Eventually, millions more Native Americans had to perish to free their lands for white America.

    • Ken
      June 20, 2020 at 16:19

      Our county is built on genocide to acquire property and still goes on today. Not to long ago the super rich wanted the oil and mineral rights in East Timor so they had to get the Indonesian Government to send in their army to wipe them out. Not one peep in the US about it. Genocide is still going on right now in South America to steal more land from aboriginal people. I am sure if someone could take some video’s of the aboriginal people being mass murdered and posted it on Tweeter, Facebook or youtube a few people would take notice, maybe. People only take notice when they get the visual shock of a video. Otherwise ….meh…

  16. Andrew Wilson
    June 19, 2020 at 17:14

    you are being selective with your history.

    • John R
      June 20, 2020 at 21:31

      Selective about history . . . It’s a good thing white people don’t ever do that. Take another look at the history books we used in our education system, where any mention of the harsh reality from the vanquished is never mentioned. Or, educate yourself and read “An Indigenous People’s History of the US” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. It made my eastern European blood boil (I am second generation american).

    • Jon Adams
      June 21, 2020 at 19:14

      When I was a kid I used to wonder why Christopher Columbus was in the beginning of a US History book. Why was that? What did the US have to do with the Spanish Empire? Years later, I figured that it must have had to do with the genocide— that which we had in common.

  17. urqu
    June 19, 2020 at 17:03

    Speaking as an archaeologist, rather than destroying those miserable statues it would be better to house them in a special educational museum with explanations of the history of the horrors associated with each of them.

    • June 20, 2020 at 20:38


      I agree with your sentiment. Regardless as to what we think about the actions of those who made big decisions in the past, the main consideration is whether we will learn anything for the sake of informing future choices.

  18. June 19, 2020 at 16:47

    right, because the entirety of history is in it’s statues

  19. R
    June 19, 2020 at 16:07

    Personally the actual elites or more accurately elitists care if statues like Columbus and Churchill are brought down. Why would be funding BLM if they did? They prefer to live in the shadows and be the guiding hand behind genocidal maniacs like Columbus who was financed by the Banking Interests in Genoa. The pilgrims that climbed out from under Plymouth rock by the City of London who would carry out the rape of America, India and China under the banner of the East India Company. A standard which is still proudly hefted by the Corporate States of America.


    Instead of trying to erase the past by the Orwellian tearing down of Statues and renaming streets as mentioned in his 1984 we tell the true history behind them. If we don’t we’ll find genocidal maniacs like Bill Gates and his Eugenics ilk filling the vacuum.

    • June 20, 2020 at 08:03

      “Instead of trying to erase the past by the Orwellian tearing down of Statues and renaming streets as mentioned in his 1984 we tell the true history behind them.”

      First, many statues have no true history behind them. They are pieces of propaganda.

      I do like the notion of a museum of such statues with captions analyzing them, but no one on earth would pay for that.

      And please, “true history”? I’m sorry, but the very Orwell you cite would laugh at that.

      Orwell was writing about the general tendencies of governments to control and to lie and distort.

      He was specifically thinking about the Soviet Union, but remember his early work was as a brutal imperial policeman in British Southern Asia. And he had worked at the BBC during WWII.

  20. Bob Browning
    June 19, 2020 at 15:26

    Well done Margaret. I’d bet this was a difficult article to organize and outline since there is so much history to draw from.

    June 19, 2020 at 15:20

    Columbus had many notable talents and strengths, however mixed in with them were cold, hard brutality and greed.

    Slavery and theft and and mass killing were integral parts of his New World activities.

    All the early explorers were eager to gain some wealth to bring back to the European royals who sponsored their voyages, and the poor Indigenous people paid the price of their quest.

    Actually the pattern sounds similar to America’s endless colonial wars and depravities abroad today.

    • Rosemarie Orr
      June 20, 2020 at 23:35


    • Kathrina Richter
      June 21, 2020 at 13:36

      John Chuckman, you hit the nail on the head. Its the present actions we have to judge.

  22. Anonymous
    June 19, 2020 at 14:50

    It’s much too early to proclaim victory just because some some statues have been toppled. Until the general education version of history shifts away from the absurdly narrow minded and regularly nationalistic indoctrination we all receive in schools, society at large will remain equally ignorant.

  23. June 19, 2020 at 14:07

    To be fair, Churchill killed millions of European whites too, to include British soldiers sent to fight pointless wars.

  24. William H Warrick MD
    June 19, 2020 at 13:21

    Destroying Statues is stupid. Now it all will be forgotten.

    “Those who control the Past, control the Future”.

    • occupy on!
      June 19, 2020 at 16:07

      We’re not destroying the past, just putting its crimes against humanity in their rightful place – definitely not on pedestals.

    • R
      June 19, 2020 at 16:10

      I totally agree. See my comment.



    • Gerald
      June 19, 2020 at 17:04

      Nobody is asking them to be removed from the history books. Children will be taught the truth of white genocide instead of gazing upon statues which are there for veneration.

    • June 20, 2020 at 07:48

      “Destroying Statues is stupid”

      Sorry, but I regard that as a rather sweeping and unwarranted generalization.

      What about statues of Hitler? There were thousands of them. Some quite grand.

      Or Mussolini?

      Or General Tojo?

      Should there be a statue to Atilla the Hun? He was certainly history, important history.

      The fact is many statues represent a deliberate effort to glorify someone or a cause, rather than an accurate representation of history. And many of those historical figures and events should not be glorified in an enlightened society. Many statues are simply propaganda, not historical information.

      As for “Those who control the Past, control the Future,” that’s a threadbare old quote almost without meaning. Claptrap, actually.

      Someone always controls the past. Always. American history is a perfect example.

      I studied it in depth for years, and some of its key figures – as Jefferson or Washington – in many texts are not even recognizable compared to what they actually were.

      Corporate newspapers are another example, as is your local news broadcaster. Totally controlled information about the recent past, and often deliberately distorted for political or ideological aims.

      And how about school boards? And the texts they choose for students?

      The national government of the US is in the full-time business of manipulating history. It runs a major industry with broadcasters and newspapers, and It holds press conferences. And a well-informed person expects no truth from any of them about international affairs or sensitive political topics or disliked nations abroad or wars and coups. When has one word of truth been offered by any of them about Iraq or Syria or Yemen or Libya or Palestine or Venezuela or Cuba or Iran? It hasn’t.

  25. DW Bartoo
    June 19, 2020 at 12:37

    Let us name the mass murders of the present and the last seventy-five years.

    Indeed, let us name all the presidents, the robber barons, all members of the powers that be, the bankers, the Wall Street vulture capitalists, the architects of war, the masters of propaganda, from Bernays to the Hollywood moguls whose “godly works” (surely it is not just Bankers who do “God’s Work”) instructed generations who they ought to hate, to fear, and despise.

    Statues and the militarized police are but symbols of a tyranny that continues, has grown, and completely dominates all of U$ society, even as some of its actors are “rehabilitated” to further political ends of the duopoly.

    Consider Russiagate and its “heroes”.

    Consider those who used lies to take the U$ to war.

    Consider who engaged in torture, as policy, and who excused that policy as simply coming down to mere “differences”.

    Yes, the statutes of Columbus, Churchill, and many others, made heroic and illustrious, ought be seen for what they are, a pathological celebration of violence, genocide, destruction, and mayhem.

    Is the video, “Collateral Damage” any less celebratory?

    I wonder if those in power really care about the pulling down of symbols, if their own greed and inhumanity are ignored, are considered acceptable and praiseworthy?

    Are politicians and pundits who lie, who use fear to manipulate society into war and hostility also not granted a “sovereign immunity” just as police are granted, by the Judicial Branch “qualified immunity”, which when linked to the expectation of “immediate compliance”, result in a license to kill, the very same right claimed by Presidents and Congress?

    Are the billionaire kackistocratic elite really worried that they might come to be perceived as just as callous, just as indifferent, to the suffering and death of the many as are those past “masters” this article so courageously identifies?

    Does not the law, in all of its “majesty”. protect them?

    Not just cops, but armies of lawyers, legions of judges, all of corporate media, and even private and “public” military forces?

    If anger can be dissipated on the statues of old dead guys and channeled into “reforms”, then what have the current “masters” to fear?

    Especially in a pretend democracy with “the most important election of all times”, a mere half a year away?

    Unless the “election” is understood to be just as much a symbol AND the very means by which the many may be made powerless and kept desperate, then very little has actually been learned.

    The election is not merely symbol, it is the means by which the system prevails, it IS the system in action, right now, in the present moment.

    Statues celebrate those who represent that system.

    Sham elections perpetuate and legitimize that system.

    Elections change nothing and emotional appeals to support “lesser evil” makes clear that, as is claimed by who/what we are told is the “lesser evil”, that “nothing will fundamentally change”, IS what the system is about.

    Tearing down statues will not change the system.

    Refusing to legitimize the system, however, does.

    Statues of dead people have no real power.

    Hold to genuine account the individuals who do.

    Take away their legitimacy and their power is revealed as the violence that it is.

    • Roe Orr
      June 19, 2020 at 23:25


    • PEG
      June 20, 2020 at 04:24


      Problem is that all these monsters are only recognized for what they are many decades, usually centuries, after the fact.

      In “real time” people’s self-interest and lack of distance prevent them from seeing or admitting that their heroes are miserable reptiles (figuratively speaking).

      Regarding Columbus, the change in perception has been in the works for a long time now. For example, in 1892, the 400th anniversary of his “discovery” of the “New World” was hugely celebrated in the USA, one of the big events being the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. But – being old enough to remember – in 1992, which was the 500th anniversary, a round number is there is one – there were no such celebrations. The realization of the horrors of the conquests initiated by Columbus have been slowly seeping into consciousness and – as one of the commentators noted above – Columbus himself was a very dubious character, having on his later voyages helped exterminate or enslave the native Caribbean (Taino) population.

    • DanP
      June 20, 2020 at 06:05


    • michael
      June 20, 2020 at 07:08

      Put the focus where it belongs: on our Dear Leaders who are still alive and have committed so many crimes against humanity. Between Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump so much blood has been needlessly spilled abroad and so much misery created at home in our failed “democracy”. History is just a list of past man’s inhumanity against man; shouldn’t the focus be on the present?

    • TomG
      June 20, 2020 at 07:54

      I second, Roe Orr’s Bravo. Oh how I wish we would, “Hold to genuine account the individuals who do. Take away their legitimacy and their power is revealed as the violence that it is.” But it’s much easier to attack a monument of brass or stone. By the way, where is rage against the likes of Woodrow Wilson and the vast number of our past presidents and senators who were bigots to the core?

    • Stan W.
      June 20, 2020 at 10:48


    • Kathrina Richter
      June 21, 2020 at 13:50

      So true. And thanks to CN that we learn of the other side to a story, not to swallow everything that the MSM dishes out,
      question everything, put two and two together.

  26. June 19, 2020 at 12:36

    Ms. Kimberley is right. Monuments to genocide, human bondage, slavery, and a panoply of other evils which our world has been afflicted with need to be taken down. Enshrining such is just plain wrong.

  27. Anon
    June 19, 2020 at 12:25

    ..This need for Cuomo and others to hang on to the criminal is obvious. Columbus puts Italians at the center of the settler colonial state. They are not the southern European catholic immigrants who were often looked down upon when they first arrived. Columbus makes them white Americans and they cling to him lest they lose that imprimatur…

    Italians immigrated to the United States from 1890 onward which is the third and largest wave of immigration from Europe and consisted of Slavs, Jews, and Italians. Italians were never at the center of the colonial state. The Italians weren’t motivated to go west because they already had a massive revenue stream from the east. The Italian city-states could not overcome the major geographical, political and military constraints blocking the way between the Italian peninsula and the Atlantic.

    “Columbus makes them white Americans and they cling to him lest they lose that imprimatur.” Italians ARE white and have no need to cling to Columbus. This is a ridiculous statement.

    Cuomo is NOT the spokesperson for Italian-Americans.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      June 19, 2020 at 16:21

      The U.S. is still a colonial state, so your argument is lost in historic references that change nothing about merits of the argument made by the author. There is no “finish line” where everyone who crosses afterward is not responsible for the next 130 years of their history.

    • AnneR
      June 20, 2020 at 06:00

      Perhaps Ms Kimberley was considering the reality of southern Italy’s and Sicily’s historical background – i.e. peopled historically with North Africans and Arabs. And you can bet that the ruling elites, haute bourgeoisie of the late 19thC-early 20thC knew this, even if many today do not (beyond historians and Italians).

    • Anon
      June 21, 2020 at 11:53

      Genetic_history_of_Italy (from WIKI)

      The genetic history of current Italians is greatly influenced by geography and history. The ancestors of Italians are mostly pre-Indo-Europeans (Etruscans, Rhaetians, etc.) and Indo-Europeans (mostly Italic peoples, but also Greeks and Celts).

      A study in 2012 by Brisighelli “et al.” stated that an analysis of ancestral informative markers “as carried out in the present study indicated that Italy shows a very minor sub-Saharan African component that is, however, slightly higher than non-Mediterranean Europe….African Haplogroup L lineages are relatively infrequent (less than 1%) throughout Italy.

      Christopher Columbus is not celebrated in Italy today. And there is historical evidence that he was Spanish, since he did not speak or write Italian, and was more than likely from Barcelona.

  28. PEG
    June 19, 2020 at 11:57

    Wonderful article.

    It’s high time that the statues of King Leopold – whose murderous death toll approached that of Hitler – are being torn down.

    But during his lifetime, at least until his crimes became publicized, he was considered a humanitarian.

    One of the earlier humanitarian interventionists…

    But historically all imperial adventures, with associated murder, rape and pillage, have been cloaked in humanitarianism, from before Cortez until today.

    Among the persons responsible for publicizing Leopold’s crimes – not much mentioned in the press these days – were the great Irish patriot and anti-imperialist Sir Roger Casement, as well as the writers Joseph Conrad and Mark Twain, the latter then known for his very progressive politics.

    And, having studied at Columbia, perhaps I should recommend that the school change its name back to King’s College. But not in honor of King Leopold…

    • Mary Vogt
      June 19, 2020 at 21:30

      Do not forget E.D. Morel, who did a huge body of work trying to end the horror in The Congo.

    • PEG
      June 20, 2020 at 04:01

      to Mary Vogt: really good point re E.D. Morel.

    • Tony Litwinko
      June 20, 2020 at 14:29

      Nor should we forget Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa.

  29. AnneR
    June 19, 2020 at 11:18

    Couldn’t agree more, Ms Kimberley. Good riddance to all that extremely Bad Rubbish.

    And your point regarding Hitler and his extermination policies (which actually included more than European Jews – also the Roma and Slavs; they were all regarded by the white supremacists of the day as subhuman – weird given that both the Ashkenazim and the Slavs were pale-skinned, European, too) being widely known and deplored since the end of WWII, but the even greater genocide against the Congolese set in motion by Belgium’s king Leopold (than that against Europe’s Jewish population) is totally ignored and has been since it began. So too the massive starvation in India inflicted by Churchill (by the way not the first such British govt inflicted genocidal starvation inflicted on India).

    The European (and European American) ruling elites were filled with such barbaric people and none should be admired. None.

    • Anonymous
      June 20, 2020 at 00:01

      Even an ironic use of “barbaric” doesn’t seem appropriate here.

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