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News :: Race
Columbus Day Celebrates Genocide
10 Oct 2006
Modified: 12:24:13 PM
(October 9, Boston, MA) As of 3 o’clock this morning the statue of Christopher Columbus standing in the North End has been drenched with red paint. This stain is a symbolic action celebrating the collaborative efforts of the privileged and the oppressed in the fight for collective liberation.
Today this country celebrates the legacy of European Empire and Christopher Columbus. The continued colonization of this continent and others must cease now. The people must move towards reparations and accountable community relations. We witness the ongoing exploitation of people of color in this country through the industrialized prison/enslavement complex, war on Iraq (including an economic draft), and active gentrification by genocide of gulf coast communities. Our high schools are still teaching histories of white supremacist lies and everywhere white folks are privileged at the expense of people of color. On this Columbus Day may we, instead, remember our call to action to take down the systems of white power and to truly advocate social justice for all!

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Protest today!
09 Oct 2006
there is a protest today at Brookline Highschool to protest the racism and celebration of genocide that is Columbus Day. it is from Noon-3'oclock today. be there!
photos of statue
09 Oct 2006
These photos were taken after reading the original post here on the indymedia open newswire. They are of the statue in the North End on Monday afternoon, October 9th 2006 - Columbus Day.
Globe Article
11 Oct 2006
Columbus faces a new world
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff | October 11, 2006

The statue of Samuel Adams is rarely attacked; Red Auerbach's is never touched. Save for a missing sword now and then, George Washington's typically remains intact. But the statue of the guy who (supposedly) discovered the New World takes a beating like no other in the city.

Park officials say the marble likeness of Christopher Columbus in the North End has had its nose chipped off and its head pilfered. The statue has been dressed up with lipstick, spray-painted, and tagged with the word murderer.

In the latest vandalism, on Monday, the statue was doused with red paint, giving the Italian explorer's wavy mane a new reddish tint and leaving red lines down his face and cloak.

The statue is defaced with such frequency that the city and a nonprofit organization that maintains the park have been taking turns footing the bills for repairs and cleanups, adding up to thousands of dollars in some years.

``Christopher Columbus is having a bad streak right now," said Bernie Lynch Jr., an assistant commissioner in the Boston Parks Department. ``He's definitely number one on the hit list."

Officials say Columbus's image has suffered, being more often targeted as a symbol of oppression than hailed as a courageous explorer who in 1492 sailed the ocean blue. Debates continue to rage over whether his arrival in the Americas really was the significant achievement portrayed in history books. That, along with the Boston statue's station in a high-traffic area near the downtown waterfront, makes him a frequent target, officials said. And his figure is somewhat worse for wear. Red blotches are still visible from a dousing of paint two years ago. The back of his head has cracks in it.

``The poor guy suffers," said Christopher Fincham, treasurer of the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park. ``He stands out, and he's vulnerable, I suppose."

Such treatment seems a hard fate for a figure that had been installed with such fanfare.

The 6-foot statue, which stands on a 5-foot pedestal, was erected in 1979, and for the event the park's name was changed from Waterfront Park to Christopher Columbus Park.

On the monument are dozens of names, including Salvatore F. DiMasi, now speaker of the House of Representatives, President Reagan, and two former mayors, Raymond L. Flynn and Kevin H. White.

The statue was sculpted with marble from Carrara, Italy.

It was the kind of marble used for Michelangelo's ``Pieta," ``Moses," and ``David," according to a plaque at the base of the statue.

Mild pranks are played on other Boston statues from time to time, park officials said. That of Alexander Hamilton, on Commonwealth Avenue, will occasionally bear a beer bottle in his arms. That of William Lloyd Garrison has had a folded newspaper jauntily tucked under his arm. Occasionally, a duckling in the Public Garden has gone missing.

But with Columbus, it's different.

``He's a focal point," said Sarah Hutt, director of the Boston Art Commission. ``For whoever is doing this, they're doing something to Christopher Columbus. It's not random. Whereas with the others, it's more of wherever they happen to be."

Sometimes the vandalism of Columbus appears to be a prank, as when the head was chopped off in June. The head was discovered about a week later near Copps Hill Cemetery in the North End. Other times, it is motivated by political symbolism.

A message posted online claimed responsibility for the latest act. ``The continued colonization of this continent and others must cease now," read the message, posted on the Boston Independent Media Center website. ``. . . On this Columbus Day may we, instead, remember our call to action to take down the systems of white power."

The friends group still hasn't decided how or when the red paint will be removed.