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Lou Rago Responds to Chicago Tribune columnist, Eric Zorn

JCCIA Wreath Laying Ceremony at Columbus Statue at Arrigo Park, Chicago on Columbus Day 2018.

This letter was sent to Chicago Tribune columnist, Eric Zorn, in response to his recent column.

Dear Mr. Zorn,

The Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago has received countless phone calls and texts re your statements of atrocities attributed to Christopher Columbus.

We fear that you, like so many folks in the media, verbalize and/or print the spewed hatred of history revisionists, without checking their sources.

Your most recent column on Columbus refers to him as "a depraved Tyrant who oversaw the torture, enslavement and mass eradication of the native peoples he encountered in the New World. He cut off their hands and cut out their tongues."

In our research, which includes the works and studies of: Thomas Bowden, "The Enemies of Columbus. The Paper Tiger" Medieval Source Book: Christopher Columbus: Extracts from His Journal Karl Meyer, "Columbus Was Not Eichmann" there seems to be no evidence of Columbus coming close to any of those acts to which you refer.

Our studies indicate that the only 2 deaths that can be directly attributed to Columbus were that of two Spaniards, who he ordered hung for their mistreatment of the natives.

There are so many "sins of Columbus" being falsely reported, that to refute them all, would be a semester in college dealing only with revisionist history of Columbus's legacy.

If you mourn October 12, 1492, you are really saying that the Americas should have been left unopened to any outside exploration and settlement. Or are you saying that some other explorer would have done things better?

The world is always subject to catastrophes when ethnic groups clash. Italy was overrun by Germanic tribes, China fell to Mongol hordes, England succumbed to Norman conquerors and Spain to Muslims.

Before you venture on to another column, you might want to read the works of Carol Delaney, a noted Columbus scholar. She might be a little more reliable than your present source.

I am not a Columbus scholar, but our Foundation could and would welcome a discussion on the history of Columbus, his genius and his faults, and the positive verses the negative affects of his legacy.

Louis H. Rago


Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago

***The Italian American Human Relations Foundation Committee is an Affiliate Organization of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.

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