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To the Editors of The Crimson:
Last week Tuesday, The Crimson ran an article describing the alternative views of Christopher Columbus held by several students at Harvard, including myself. I commented that Americans might not be so eager to celebrate Columbus Day if they knew more about the atrocities which he committed in the New World.
Columbus-fans are generally unaware that the so-called "discoverer" of America not only personally murdered hundreds of West Indians, but set the precedent for the genocide and slavery of tens of thousands more.
Former Cambridge Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci was quoted as saying that the criticism demonstrated "the anti-Italian movement at Harvard." I myself have never observed such a movement, let alone participated in it.
Had I said "If we shining White Anglos knew more about the fact that Columbus was Italian, we celebrate the holiday less," then Mr. Vellucci would have had good cause to accuse people like myself of harboring anti-Italian prejudices. However, I did not. I therefore regard Mr. Vellucci's comments to The Crimson as remarkably asinine and uninformed. My interview with The Crimson contained nothing directed against Italian-Americans.
I agree that many people probably do not take pride in Columbus. But to argue that Columbus never hurt anyone is to deny historical fact. "He was a fine man," said Mr. Vellucci. Comparing their resumes, one might just as easily conclude that Adolf Hitler was a "fine man."
I suggest that anyone interested in this controversy refer directly to Columbus' own diaries and decide for him or herself. Just keep in mind that the almost forgotten natives of the Carribean whom Columbus killed never had a chance to write their side of the story.
As for you, Mr. Vellucci, since I do not expect you to overcome your obvious insensitivity, I imagine that you will continue to take blind pride in Christopher Columbus in the same way that a few nostalgic Italians take pride in Il Dulce.
And blind pride is nothing to be proud of. Erich Fox Tree '91
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