You might wonder where is this place named in the title. You might ask if it’s from a work of fiction. Where is it set? What’s time period and who are the players?
The unfortunate truth is it’s not a work of fiction. It’s just the good ol’ United States, and all of us, for better or worse, are the players. “Confederate” is an ode to the failed/rogue Confederate States of America that waged an unsuccessful war to destroy the Union and maintain slavery. The Confederate States of America might have lost the war in 1865, but it seems as if between then and now they have been successful in getting the U.S. to establish its very racist goals through the prison, military and educational industrial complexes. “Columbus” is giving credit to the true father of the capitalist enterprise of the Americas, Christopher Columbus, aka Cristobol Colon.
Columbus’ so-called exploration and discovery of the “New World” for Europeans became the impetus for the colonization and exploitation of this “virgin” wilderness and the basis for the entire system of economics in the Western World that is rooted in the enslavement of African people. The European aristocracy at the turn of the 14th century not only saw an opportunity to exploit but also saw an answer to their environmental problems of sanitation, overpopulation and the lack of mineral and other resources in Europe. It would be remiss to leave out Columbus, the true colonizer/capitalist in chief of the Americas. The subtitle, “A Nation Under our Feet,” pays homage to the actual land that we stand on that truly belongs to the indigenous people of this land. It is simply a reminder that we are responsible for what happens to us. Thus, we have the ultimate power to alter the course of any situation.
The reality as we face the 525th anniversary of the Columbian discovery of the Americas is that the Western Hemisphere is still a cash cow for the European colonizers, as it was at the turn of the 16th century. Many of the so-called independent states in the Americas, in one way or another, still have economic, social and political ties to their former colonial masters. Haiti even paid reparations in the billions in today’s currency to France for all France lost in the war for Haitian independence. We still refer to the “French Caribbean,” the “British Caribbean” and the “Spanish Speaking” nations of the Americas. These names are not just titles of reference or historical nostalgia. They give credence to the most heinous, detrimental time in world history. The years between 1492 and 1900 represent the most genocidal period in world history. There was so much theft, enslavement and killing done to bring the Western Hemisphere under the control of European powers that Genghis Khan himself would have been jealous of the precision and command with which the Europeans carried out such plunder. This time of year, in particular for the victims of the greatest double genocide in world history, the destruction and genocide of the high civilization of the indigenous people and the enslavement and genocide of the African people, should be mourned just as we mourn for the victims of 9/11 and the victims of the Jewish Holocaust.