A Call and a debate about celebrating Columbus Day in America

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The Peninsula Hotel

My dad’s speaking voice, a modelated and orotund one, added to the impression of discretion that he conveyed to his client over a bluetooth call, while I was at the back seat of his car, listening very carefully to what he was saying as if I was preparing and learning at that moment. My father is a lawyer- being his son always render me a vision of myself- debating over a courthouse.

I have never practiced what I learned from eavesdropping on my father’s phone calls until the first socratic seminar, in English class, contending over whether we should celebrate Columbus day.

The statement that the opposite side kept repeating was the significance that his arrival initiated the transfer of technology, plants, culture between the new world and the old. It reminds me of one of the most common legal strategies, which is using words of the opposite side against itself.

I argued “technologies are not always beneficial. The introduction of the western farming techniques, which are merging smaller fields to create a more productive land, that also took over quickly the pastures that indigenous people depend on.” The opposite side brought a bigger weapon by saying, “without those technologies, we couldn’t create anything we seen today, the technologies we enjoyed so much at this age.”

I have never practiced what I learned from eavesdropping on my father’s phone calls until the first socratic seminar, in English class, contending over whether we should celebrate Columbus day.

I followed up and used my facts to run over their theories, “Columbus never even set foot on American soil. His first voyage brought him to the modern-day Caribbean islands but never to the United States. His technologies- mostly guns- however, caused the death of over 80 percent of indigenous people.”

We were stalemated and rose our voices- sharper after every minute- until they finally broke the balance “Columbus's arrival is historical and we should never forget the history no matter what happened.”

I beamed at them because I saw my chances to finally debate like a lawyer, making the same statement that had totally different meaning “of course, two stories happened at that historical day- the commence of a genocide and the first European’s footprint on the land of new world. By celebrating Columbus’s day only, we are definitely omitting the history.” 

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United States of America