Columbus statue vandalized in Detroit in what some believe is a political statement concerning the observance of Columbus Day. According to the Detroit Free Press, this bust of Christopher Columbus was created by Italian artist Augusto Rivalta and was uncovered in 1910 in honor of the city’s Italian residents and also to celebrate Italian-American heritage.
The statue was vandalized with red paint and with an ax, which was attached to the statue’s head. Local authorities in Detroit have said that an investigation is underway to find the culprits and that the statue will be cleaned up entirely on Tuesday.
Local resident Rocco Maiuri was interviewed by the press for his reaction on the vandalism against the statue and the possible meaning behind the symbolic attack. Maiuri regards the attack as shameful and insulting to the legacy of Christopher Columbus, as well as Italian-American culture and heritage, in general.
The display remained on the statue during most of the time when Columbus Day was observed this year, until an urban explorer from out of town noticed the vandalism and climbed up to remove to ax, deeming the vandalism as completely disrespectful.
The explorer immediately announced authorities who promised to investigate the matter and further reiterated that vandalism against the city’s monuments will not be tolerated, regardless of wider political or ideological implications.
Columbus Day was observed on the 12th of October this year. The now-controversial holiday commemorates the day in which Italian explorer Christopher Columbus first set foot on the North American continent.
The holiday is also meant to celebrate a wide range of other aspects, including cultural exchanges between Europe and America, as well as Italian-American history and cultural contributions to the United States. It further commemorates the life of the iconic Italian explorer and the discovery of the so-called “new world” (terra nova).
A plaque below the vandalized statue reads that the monument was built in honor of the Italian explorer and in order to commemorate “the discovery of America” on the 12th of October 1492.
For those opposing Columbus Day, this is the heart of the problem, as it brings forth an alleged colonial mentality at the expense of Native American culture. The argument states that America was not “discovered,” since the native population was already living on the land and that such ideas are anachronistic for the complexities of a multicultural society today.
For these reasons, many cities have abandoned celebrating Columbus Day altogether, or have renamed the holiday “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Photo Credits: Wikimedia