Leah Shafer's article sparks crucial conversations about the significance of education and the complexities surrounding Columbus Day. The piece reminds us of the importance of critically examining historical narratives, challenging celebrations that overlook the violent impact on indigenous communities, and embracing a more inclusive approach.
Columbus Day has been a contentious holiday in the United States. While some celebrate it as a day of honor, others view it as a symbol of colonialism and the oppression of the indigenous communities. The school curriculums do not teach the children about Columbus's treatment of indigenous communities which was marked by violence, exploitation, and brutality. Columbus and his men used violence to suppress uprisings and to intimidate indigenous people into submission, enslaving millions. This discrepancy, portraying Columbus as a "historical leader" without acknowledging the darker aspects of his actions, perpetuates a glorified narrative and supportive legacies.
Drawing parallels to Pakistan, historical figures and events are often idolized such as the case of Ayub Khan who's praised for bringing about great economic development in Pakistan, while overshadowing concerns of political repression and suppression of dissent during his rule. Restriction of civil liberties and suppression of opposition are downplayed in historical narratives. In the context of shaping a more accurate historical narrative, a critical question then arises: Can Pakistan reconcile the need for a more honest and nuanced portrayal of its historical narratives of its political figures and events considering the challenges and resistance to established narratives?