XXXII: Other people!

To those who may be receiving one of these post-notifications for the first time: This is not a blog; it’s actually part of a book, and will make little sense to you without knowledge of what has come before—which you can easily obtain, along with a goodly amount of satirical theatre as matters progress, by simply entering into your web browser, opening the menu, and starting at page one. J.J.

Scene 8

And as the imperial frontier subsequently recedes into the distance without further ado, Gaim figures that any day now his missionaries will be reporting to him that the last bit of disorder has indeed been stamped out in the world.

But instead, one of them brings him some really stunning news!

“There are actually other people out there!” one of his returning missionaries informs him—and unceremoniously throws a living, if securely bound specimen at Gaim’s feet, along with a sack of strange figurines fashioned of gold, silver, and other precious metals.

For of course, while these new people are of a wholly different race and tongue—and as it turns out, may only be communicated with through a kind of crude sign language—they too have conceived of the Ultimate Mother and developed their society accordingly.

A full day’s interrogation reveals that they primarily associate her with the earth; although along their coast, that tends to mean the sea.

They describe the earth as perpetually passing from virginity to motherhood to old age and then back again, essentially as fresh and pristine as on the First Day.

They have this story of having emerged in the Beginning from a great cave—although in drier country, they think that it might have been a lake.

They know all about the Tree—variously described by them as an apple, oak, or some other locally important species.

They’re also familiar with the Serpent, point out that it winds down upon them from various mountaintops—and indeed, propose that its coil way out at the edge of the world is what makes the horizon round—but also tend to think of ordinary snakes as divine, simply because they’re sometimes seen crawling out of holes in the earth, sloughing off their skins and subsequently revealing new ones, and so forth.

They behold mountains as sacred—and believe that they open to receive the worthy at death but remain forever close to the unworthy, who are consequently left to wander the world as troubled ghosts.

They long ago traced the mountain water to rain and snow; but then the wind would start up, and they’d remark to each other that the Bird was on the way—and in fact, for their more important ceremonies and endeavors, some of their leaders routinely wear a feathered headdress.

They’ve scarcely failed to notice that the stars bring about the seasons—in the imagination of some, thereby extending the Serpent clear up to the Milky Way—and that the moon is somehow connected to woman’s menstrual period; also, that the sun appears to be the real generator of it all: ultimately bringing some to conceive of a Golden Serpent.

They’re thoroughly conversant with the Four Directions, and accordingly portray the round horizon or World Ring as overlain by a World Cross of equal-length arms; claim that the celestial firmament is upheld by these Four Mountains out at the four ends of the Cross; address their prayers for rain to these Four Maidens who are reportedly in charge of everything out there; wouldn’t dream of making so much as an overnight campfire without first aligning its foundation logs with the Cross; worship before Cross-shaped figurines of the Great Mother; and routinely bury their dead in four-chambered, Cross-shaped tombs.

Indeed, for some ceremonies they observe Six Directions—carefully including Below as the home of she who ultimately brought them into being, and Above as that of some of her more important children and grandchildren.

They also have it that one of her first acts, back in the Beginning, was to make herself these Twin Sons so that she might have someone to help prepare the world for people. But oh, you know: the first had come out so stupid that in the end, he’d left all the rivers flowing one way, making it harder for people to paddle upstream; put thorns on blackberry bushes, supposedly to protect them from the animals, but of course they injured people too; and among his more infuriating acts, mischievously cultivated all these damn mosquitoes.

But the second, more intelligent one had cultivated good things such as corn, cattle, and deer, and then domesticated fire, gathered people around it and taught them all their civilized ways—including a fine counting system based on the sum of their fingers and toes.

And in fact, today they continued to associate the Good Son with their campfires, hearth fires, and of course their council fire—but especially with the sacred fire that their own High Priest had recently ignited high on a hill overlooking their own great city that now marked the navel of his own growing World.

As the 15th century of the Christian Era drew to a close, an Italian mariner, former slave trader, and would-be Holy Crusader named Christopher Columbus, who along with several other Europeans of that day believed that the earth was actually round and that therefore he should be able to reach the valuable spices of India by sailing west from Europe, went looking for someone who’d be willing to underwrite such an attempted voyage. Christian Atrocities, Native Peoples (The Discovery Channel, Christopher Columbus, The Age of Discovery)

Finally persuading the Spanish Catholic monarchs Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II of Castile to provide him with what he needed, he set out with his two brothers Bartolomeo and Diego in August of 1492 with three ships and the understanding that he was sailing for the Crown of Castile, which would receive the lion’s share of whatever spices that he might bring back from India; and for the Catholic Church, which looked forward to gaining many new converts in that exotic, faraway land. (The Discovery Channel, Christopher Columbus, The First Voyage)

And three months later, when he finally made landfall on an island in the Bahamas that the native Taíno people called Guanahari—which he estimated to be just off the coast of India—he duly planted a cross in the ground and claimed the place for the Church, and only then for his Catholic sponsors back in Spain. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 200)

Subsequently noting noted that none of the ‘Indians’ that he encountered seemed to object to the cross or even to his presence among them, he immediately seized six and imprisoned them on his ship to bring back to Spain as examples of the Indian people; went on to describe them in his journal as natural servant material who could easily be converted to Christianity since they appeared to have no religion of their own; and then—as the old slave trader that he was—dared to suggest that the Crown order as many of them as it might desire to keep as slaves. (Fordham University, Medieval Sourcebook, Christopher Columbus, Extracts from Journal)

No religion of their own? Hm, the fact is that during the winter that Columbus spent on Guanahari and then on some of the Caribbean islands—all of which were inhabited by the Taíno—apparently he never noticed that they simply called their own deities Zemi; that to the Taíno, the Zemi controlled various natural and cultural forces within the universe, same as had the ancient European gods; that while the Taíno had a ‘strange’, matrilineal system of kinship, descent, and inheritance that hadn’t been seen in most of Europe for thousands of years, they were actually governed by village chiefs known as caciques if they were male, cacicas if female, notwithstanding that both genders inherited their position through the mother’s line; that these village heads alone were allowed to wear golden pendants called guanín, live in distinctive, square bohíos instead of the round huts that everyone else used, and sit on wooden stools, so as to be above the guests that they frequently received; that Taíno society was divided into two classes: naborias (commoners) and nitaínos (nobles), with the cacique always coming from the latter; that the caciques were advised by priests called bohiques, who were also extolled as healers and for their apparent ability to speak with the deities—such as the supreme female being Atabeira, the Taíno Earth-mother who was also beheld in the sea and tides, the moon, streams and lakes, fertility, and to whom all women routinely prayed for a safe and easy childbirth. (Wikipedia, Taíno) (Wikipedia, Atabey)

Maybe he’d heard instead of Caguana, Atabeira in her aspect as the deity of love and sex; or Guabancex, her manifestation as violent storms, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. (Wikipedia, Atabey)

Assuming that he really did remain ignorant of all that during his brief stay in the area, we may suppose that it’s too much to expect that he would have heard of Atabeira’s twin sons—to whom she was believed to have given birth without having had intercourse: a story that he and his accompanying missionaries undoubtedly would have considered blasphemous, and thus requiring the story-teller’s immediate execution. (Wikipedia, Atabey)

Building a fort on the northern coast of Hispaniola, Columbus left thirty-nine men there as the first European colonists in this strange new world and arrived back in Spain the following March with no spices, but stories of possible gold mines and ready slaves. There he was received as a great maritime pioneer and intrepid adventurer by the Castilian court, rewarded with the title Admiral of the Seven Seas, and appointed Viceroy (or Governor) of the Indies. (Wikipedia, Agreement with the Soanish Crown)

And then like the ex-slaver that he was, he displayed his captive specimens to the Castilian court and made it clear that he could obtain as many more as the Crown might wish to order. (Christian Atrocities, citingD. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 200)

And that was just the beginning. That September, the proud new admiral and his brothers sailed from the Spanish port of Cádiz with a fleet of no less than seventeen ships bearing twelve hundred men—soldiers, priests, and farmers—and supplies with which to establish permanent colonies in the Caribbean, specifically charged with converting the natives to Christianity. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Second Voyage)

En route, he noted in his journal—which he would eventually present to Queen Isabella —that the natives’ primitive weapons and ignorance of military tactics made them susceptible to easy conquest; or to actually quote him, albeit in translation, “these people are very simple in war-like matters . . . I could conquer the whole lot of them with fifty men, and then govern them as I please.” (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Second Voyage) (Rapid City Journal, ‘We Could Subjugate Them All’)

It would get worse. One of Columbus’ boyhood friends who accompanied him on that voyage, Michele da Cuneo, would write in his own journal, “While I was in the boat [going ashore], we captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin, she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.” (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Second Voyage)

Returning to Hispaniola in late October, he found his fort in ruins—destroyed by the Taíno—along with the remains of eleven of the thirty-nine men that he’d left behind. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Second Voyage)

He then sailed some sixty miles further east along the same coast and established a new settlement—which turned out to be poorly located and ultimately failed. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Second Voyage)

But he didn’t consider the voyage a complete loss, since after sailing from island to island and seizing as many natives as he could manage everywhere he went, he ultimately found himself with some fifteen hundred ‘Indian’ men, women, and children, placed them in a pen on Hispaniola, and then selected about a thousand of the handsomest and strongest looking to bring back to Spain and sell to the European aristocracy as slaves. The fact that two two hundred died at sea didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the enterprise one bit; he entered the following in his return journal: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on [gathering] all the slaves that can be sold.” (Rapid City Journal, Slavery and Gold)

As though captivity and death weren’t enough, Columbus and his men had a well-deserved reputation for cruelty. Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who participated in the conquest of Cuba and wrote a history of the Indies, describes the treatment of the natives: “Endless testimonies . . . prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives . . . But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then . . . The admiral was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians . . . The Spaniards thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades . . . Two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.” (Rapid City Journal, Cruelty)

Columbus’ third voyage to the area did end in disaster—kind of. That one was supposed to verify the existence of a continent that King John II of Portugal had suggested was located to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The king had reportedly heard a story about some merchandise-laden canoes that had set out from the West African coast and finally disappeared over that horizon. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

He set out in May of 1498 with six ships, three of which we’re bringing some much-needed supplies to Hispaniola, while the others, including the admiral’s, went looking to see what might lie south of the area that he’d already visited. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

Early in August, he came upon the island of Trinidad, replenished his food and water, and then found his continent when he landed on the northeastern coast of South America; which he recognized as too large a landmass to be a mere island because of the enormous amount of fresh water pouring out to sea from the Orinoco River. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

He must have been impressed. Excitedly speculating that he might have stumbled upon the long-lost Garden of Eden, he nevertheless sailed on to Tobago and Grenada before returning to Hispaniola later that month—where he found that many of the settlers of his new colony were now in rebellion against his rule, claiming that he’d misled them about the supposedly bountiful riches of the area. Moreover, a number of returning settlers returning to Spain had lobbied against him at the Spanish court, accusing him and his brothers of gross mismanagement. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

Fearing that he might lose his governorship over all this, he appeared to remain on top of the matter by simply blaming everything on ‘some disobedient crew members’ and promptly hanging them. But there was more; for some priests also complained that because of his economic interest in keeping the Hispaniola natives enslaved, he hadn’t been all that eager to see them baptized. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

That was too much for his royal patrons. In 1500, they replaced him as governor of the West Indies with one Francisco de Bobadilla, who’d been on the island for some time tasked by the king and queen with investigating rumors of Columbus’ rumored brutality. When an outraged Columbus refused to accept his replacement, Bobadilla had no trouble having him arrested, along with his brothers, and sent back to Spain in chains. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage)

There, Columbus languished in jail for six weeks before his patrons ultimately relented and were actually persuaded to sponsor his fourth, and last voyage to the New World—but this time, as just another mariner, if one at least now nominally in search of a strait that would lead to the Indian Ocean. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Fourth Voyage)

Bobadilla’s 48-page report to the king and queen regarding Columbus and his brothers, completed in late 1500, just six years before Columbus’ death, and only recently found in the national archive of the Spanish city of Simancas, makes for a stunning, if fascinating read considering that here in the U.S., many continue to want this man honored as an honest-to-God hero and outstanding credit to the human race. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

The report, built around the testimony of twenty-three people, including both enemies and supporters of Columbus—for even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place—reveals that no sooner had he come ashore than Bobadilla was met with complaints about all three Columbus brothers. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

That during Columbus’ seven year rule over Hispaniola’s colony, his government had been characterized by tyranny. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

That he’d once put down a native revolt by first ordering a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed, and then parading their dismembered bodies through the streets in an attempt to discourage further rebellion. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

That he’d once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

That when his brother Bartolomeo had overheard a native woman disparaging Columbus’ lowly birth, he’d ordered her paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out; while afterward, Columbus had congratulated him for defending the ‘family honor’. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Accusations of Tyranny and Brutality)

According to the Dominican friar and Spanish colonist Bartolomé de las Casas’A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, when slaves held in captivity began to die at high rates, Columbus ordered all natives over the age of thirteen to pay a hawk’s bell full of gold powder every three months. Natives who brought this amount to the Spanish were given a copper token to hang around their necks. The Spanish cut off the hands of those without tokens, and left them to bleed to death. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Criticism and Defense in Modern Scholarship)

As for slavery, some historians claim that Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves—about five thousand—than any other individual. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus! Criticism and Defense in Modern Scholarship)

Around the time that Columbus died, a Spanish gentleman of some means named Bartolomé de las Casas arrived in Hispaniola as a colonist and new landowner. Initially participating in the routine abuses of the natives, he soon came to oppose them, gave up his own slaves, became a Dominican friar and then a priest who began writing extensively about the Indians’ situation, also advocated for them at the court of Spain’s King Charles I, and a short time afterward found himself appointed by Spain’s Cardinal Cisneros as both the first resident Bishop of Chiapas and the first officially recognized Protector of the Indians. (Wikipedia, Bartolomé de las Casas)

In his most famous writings, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and History of the Indians, he bluntly described the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples. It’s in the latter that we find the story of Hatuey. (Wikipedia, Bartolomé de las Casas)

Sometime in 1511, a Taíno cacique and about four hundred of his best warriors set out in canoes from Hispaniola to offer help to his brethren in Cuba and warn them that one Diego Velásquez and a great many of his soldiers were coming to conquer them, steal all their gold, and sieze as many of them as they could transport back to Hispaniola as slaves. (Wikipedia, Hatuey)

According to Las Casas, Hatuey showed a basket of gold and precious stones to his counterpart at the village of Caobana, and then told him, “Here is the God that the Spaniards worship. For these they fight and kill; for these they persecute us and that is why we have to throw them into the sea… They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break.” (Wikipedia, Hatuey)

But the Cubans were at best lukewarm at the prospect of joining him in a fight against the Spanish. So Hatuey and his warriors more or less took them on alone, adopting guerrilla tactics, managing to kill a few and even contain the rest for awhile, until the Spanish, using torture spearheaded by the fierce growls and angry bites of giant mastiffs, forced enough information out of the Cubans to bring about his capture. (Wikipedia, Hatuey) (Wikipedia, Hatuey)

On February 2nd, 1512, they tied him to a stake at Yara, near the modern Cuban city of Bayamo, and burned him alive. (Wikipedia, Hatuey) (Wikipedia, Hatuey)

Las Casas tells us that before he was burned, a priest asked Hatuey if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven; and then he adds: [Hatuey], thinking a little, asked the religious man if Spaniards went to heaven. The religious man answered yes… The chief then said without further thought that he did not want to go there, but to hell so as not to be where they were and . . . see such cruel people. (Wikipedia, Hatuey) (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 70

It may be worth noting here that in modern Cuba, where Hatuey has long been considered a national hero, a lifesize statue of him along with a plate bearing the words, “To the memory of Chief Hatuey, unforgettable native, precursor of the Cuban liberty, who offered his life, and glorified his rebellion in the martyrdom of the flames on 2/2/1512” stands on the spot where he was burned; while a town, a national beer, a non-alcoholic beverage, a cigar and cigarette company, and a soda cracker are all named after him; in fact, the company logo found on the Cuban cigar band and cigarette package bears his likeness. (Wikipedia, Hatuey) (Wikipedia, Hatuey)

Modern estimates for the population of pre-Columbian Hispaniola vary from several hundred thousand to more than a million. And yet some fifty years after Columbus first landed there, fewer than 500 Taíno were left alive on the island. Yes, the indigenous population had declined rapidly, and Columbus’ shipping out of slaves certainly had something to do with that—but so did the first pandemic of European diseases that struck Hispaniola in 1519. (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, Criticism and Defense in Modern Scholarship)

For everywhere that the Spanish and eventually other European settlers went, they brought a disease that the natives had never known before and hence were biologically unprepared to deal with: smallpox. According to most estimates, at least two-thirds of the local natives were wiped out by the imported smallpox before they’d even had a chance to put up much of a fight. On Hispaniola alone, the most populous island in the ‘West Indies’, the Taíno lost more than fifty thousand. Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 109, 204)

Still, the Europeans piled it on. In 1513, the Spanish jurist Juan López de Palacios Rubios of Castile composed the following, to be read upon the planting of the cross on each new island in the New World now that the Taíno could understand a fair amount of Spanish (I’ve shortened it as much as possible!): “On behalf of the King, Don Fernando, and of Doña Juana I, [the] Queen of Castile and León . . . we their servants . . . make known to you . . . that the Lord our God . . . created the Heaven and the Earth and one man and one woman, of whom you and we . . . are descendants . . . But on account of the multitude that has sprung from this man and woman in the five thousand or [maybe] even more years since the world was created, it was necessary that some men should go one way and some another, and that they should be divided into many kingdoms . . . Of all these . . . our Lord gave charge to one man, called St. Peter, that he should be lord of and superior to all the men in the world, that all should obey him and that he should be the head of the whole human race . . . One of the [Popes] who succeeded St. Peter . . . made donation of these isles . . . to the aforesaid King and Queen and to their successors . . . So their Highnesses are lords of these islands . . . and you are . . . obliged to serve their Highnesses . . . in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, and without any resistance . . . [You are also obliged] to receive and obey the priests whom their Highnesses [have] sent to teach you our Holy Faith. Wherefore. . . we ask and require that you consider what we have said . . . and that you take the time . . . necessary to understand and deliberate upon it; and that you acknowledge the [Pope] as the ruler and superior of the whole world . . . and in his name, [acknowledge] the King Don Fernando and Queen Doña Juana I . . . as superiors and lords of these islands . . . by virtue of the said donation; and that you consent and give place to the religious fathers who would. . . teach you the aforesaid . . . [While] if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their Highnesses; we shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, [but] refuse to receive their lord and [only] resist and contradict him; and . . . the deaths and losses [that] shall accrue from this [will be] your fault, and not that of their Highnesses or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us . . .” (Italics mine.) (Wikipedia, Spanish Requirement of 1513)

Columbus was dead; but the Spanish abuse continued. In 1562, Bishop Diego de Landa burned the Maya’s sacred books en masse, thereby not only enraging the native Americans with whom he was supposed to be establishing peaceful relations, but depriving future anthropoligists and other historians of much valuable information about the culture of that advanced Mesoamerican people. (Ancient History Encyclopedia, The Mayan Pantheon)

The Spanish soldiers at least as cruel in Mesoamerica. According to one eyewitness, “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties . . . They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles . . . then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 72)

And “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain . . . Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 83)

Nor was it much different up north, where boatloads of English families fleeing religious persecution in their home country began to settle in Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay area in the early 17th century.

Not that all of them worried much about the ‘Indians’. Indeed, some of the Pilgrim fathers noted in their writings that wars among the Indians themselves were rather harmless compared to European standards, and that occasional minor raids notwithstanding, were usually fought to avenge some insult rather than to gain land; or in their own words, “Their Warres are farre less bloudy . . . ” so that there was usually “no great slawter [on either] side . . . they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” Nor did they usually kill women and children. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 111)

But despite the fact that few, if any of the settlers could have survived their first winter in that numbing cold, snowy clime without native help, they soon set out to exterminate, or at the very least expel them from their homelands.

John Mason, the Puritan Christian who led one of the raids against the Pequot tribe, wrote afterward, ” . . . such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished . . . God was above them, who laughed [at] his Enemies and the Enemies of his People . . . making them as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies . . . the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”. He finished up with a quote from the Bible’s book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 20: “Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth, but thou shalt utterly destroy them.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, pp. 111, 113-114)

One of his comrades in the massacre, observing in his own journal how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers,” felt the need to reassure his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 114)

The burning of the Pequot villages continued until the tribe had mostly been exterminated and the surviving handful “were [being] parceled out to live in servitude.” At which point, one of the more prominent of the Puritans, future governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the current, first governor, John Winthrop, asking for “a ‘share’ of the captives”, specifically “a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 115, 119)

As for Governor Winthrop himself, while noting in his journal of 1634 that more than a century after Columbus, the Indians continued to suffer heavy losses to smallpox, added that this was indeed a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God, [since] the natives . . . are nearly all dead of the [disease] . . . the Lord hath cleared our title to what we [now] possess.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 238) (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 238)

The situation in Virginia—where fraternizing, or even expressing sympathy for the Indians was officially discouraged—was no different. In the spring of 1612, several English colonists found life among some nearby, friendly Indians so appealing that they left Jamestown and went to live among them; or as Governor Thomas Dale put it, ” . . . being idell . . . did runne away unto the Indyans . . .” So he had them hunted down and executed: hanging some, burning others, breaking the bodies of still others on a wheel, and staking out yet others to be used as target practice for his soldiers. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 105)

Nor did the Puritans have any trouble maliciously lying to the Indians—often making treaties with every intention of violating them, as in this advisory of Virginia’s State Council: “[When] the Indians “grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie, we shall have the better Advantage, both to surprise them and cutt downe theire Corne.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 106)

In 1624, sixty heavily armed Puritans cut down some 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 107)

When a single massacre-by-fire of some six hundred Indians occurred during the so-called King Philip’s War of 1675-76, an absolutely delighted Cotton Mather, pastor of Boston’s Second Congregational Church, referred to it as “a barbeque”. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 115)

Ever hear of the Abenaki people? Probably not, since today they number no more than a handful. About twelve thousand of them are estimated to have lived in the northern Connecticut River valley before the arrival of the Europeans in 1620; within fifty years, 98% of them had been exterminated. Over the same span, the much more numerous Pocumtuck, Quiripi, and Unquachhog peoles all saw 95% of their populations destroyed, while a tribe called the Massachusetts lost 81%—to name just a few of these long-forgotten peoples. (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 118)

In 1703, one of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, Reverend Solomon Stoddard, formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given money with which to purchase and train large packs of dogs so that they could hunt down the remaining Indians “as they do bears.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 241)

In 1864, former Methodist minister and still church elder Colonel John Chivington—he of the infamous statement, “I long to be wading in gore”—had his troops gun down an entire Cheyenne village of mostly women and children at Sand Creek, Colorado. Known to historians as the Sand Creek Massacre, some six hundred Cheyenne are reported to have been shot, with at least two-thirds of them actually killed. Wrote an eye-witness later, “There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 131)

During that same decade, a Christian missionary in Hawaii, Reverend Rufus Anderson, noting in his writings that since the arrival of the white man on the islands, their native population had been reduced by more than 90%, refused to see it as a tragedy; rather, the coming total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, he said, somewhat equivalent to “the amputation of diseased members of the body.” (Christian Atrocities, citing D. Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992, p. 244)

How many know that during World War II in Europe, the Catholic Church ran several religious concentration and/or extermination camps of its own, ultimately killing hundreds of thousands? There were even some exclusively for children. (Christian Atrocities, citing A. Manhattan, The Vatican’s Holocaust, Springfield 1986)

The vast majority of these were in Croatia, or the northern region of then-Yugoslavia, whose Catholics had more or less been at enmity for centuries with the Eastern Orthodox, Serbian people of the region. Still, as citizens of the same country, the two had pretty much managed to suffer each other until 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia and proceeded to occupy the north; to proclaim Croatia an independent, German-leaning ‘puppet’ state, or as they themselves would have it, a German buffer-state; and to appoint the Ustaše, a right-wing, ultranationalist organization more or less modeled after the Nazi party, to run it. (Wikipedia, Ustashe)

The camps, aimed at eliminating all the Jews, Gypsies, and Serbs from Croatia, were operated and mainly staffed by the Ustaše under their dictator Ante Pavelić—a practicing Catholic, and regular visitor to the Vatican and Pope Pius XII. (Christian Atrocities, citing A. Manhattan, The Vatican’s Holocaust, Springfield 1986; and
V. Dedijer, The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Buffalo NY, 1992)

We’ll let these excerpts from the report of Vladimir Vasilik, Doctor of History, Candidate of Theology, and senior lecturer at St. Petersburg State University to the Seventh International Conference on the Jasenovac Concentration Camp, held toward the end of 2018 in Banja Luca, Bosnia and Herzegovina, take it from there.

  • On April 17, 1941, the day of the capitulation of Yugoslavia, the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State was passed. It imposed the death penalty for threatening the interests of the Croatian people or the existence of the Independent State of Croatia.
  • On April 25 the law prohibiting the Cyrillic alphabet was issued, and on April 30 it was followed by the Law on the Protection of Aryan Blood and the Dignity of [the] Croatian People. [Henceforth] Serbian citizens were required to wear armbands bearing the letter “P”, for “Pravoslavac” (meaning “Orthodox”).
  • On May 5, 1941, the Ustase Government passed a resolution declaring the Serbian Orthodox Church on the territory of the independent Croatia as “illegal”.
  • On May 9 the Serbian Metropolitan Dositej (Vasic) of Zagreb was arrested. On June 2, by order of the Ustase, all the Serbian Orthodox primary schools and preschools were shut down.
  • Among those behind these directives, which marked the beginning of the extermination of the Serbian Orthodox clergy, were Catholic ideologues, including Archbishop Aloysius (Alojzije) Stepinac of Zagreb.

Here Vasilik goes on to cite from the biographies of a few of the “New Serbian Martyrs”.

  • “On the night of May 5, 1941, the Croatian Ustase seized the sick Bishop Platon of Banja Luka, killed him, and cast his corpse into the River Vrbanja.”
  • “On May 6, 1941 . . . Archpriest Branko was captured by the Ustase headed by a teacher from Veljun named Ivan Sajfor. His son Nebojsa, a medical student, Priest Dimitrije Skorupan, rector of the parish at Cvijanovic Brdo, along with around 500 other Serbs were seized with him. They were locked up at the police station of Veljun and severely tortured, especially Fr. Branko’s son Nebojsa. The Ustase tried to force Fr. Dobrosavljevic to perform a funeral service over his own son, who was still alive at the time. In the morning of May 7, 1941, all of them were brought to the woods of Kestenovac, near Hrvatski Blagaj, where they were killed.”
  • “At the beginning of the German occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941 Metropolitan Petar was advised to leave Sarajevo for several days and wait until the end of the first wave of the Croatian terror, but he decided to remain with his people. After giving explanations to the German and Croatian authorities along with the Catholic Bishop Bozidar Brale (who forbad the Orthodox to use the Cyrillic alphabet) the metropolitan was caught and incarcerated in the Sarajevo prison on May 12, 1941. After . . . trials in Zagreb and Gospic, Metropolitan Petar was put to death at the Jasenovac Concentration Camp.”
  • The number of Serbs murdered by the Ustase is still the subject of much debate. Thus, according to the Synodal Commission of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 800,000 Orthodox Serbs were killed, 300,000 were expelled, and 240,000 forcibly converted to Catholicism. In our view, the actual death toll is higher than the official count. The Croats put to death 700,000 people in Jasenovac alone. Most of them were Orthodox Serbs, and the rest Jews and Gypsies.
  • Jasenovac was not the only concentration camp. There was also the Jadovno camp where, according to various estimates, between 45,000 and 75,000 people were killed.
  • About 70,000 people (mainly women) were exterminated at the Stara Gradiska Concentration Camp. It is noteworthy that the latter was run by… Catholic nuns.
  • We cannot help hbut mention the Slana Concentration Camp on the Croatian island of Pag, where the Ustase killed around 10,000 Serbs.
  • These are just [some] of the twenty Croatian camps where the Ustase tried to deliberately annihilate Serbs. In fact many Serbs never reached the camps.
  • The way concentration camp prisoners died was horrific. Some died of famine, backbreaking labor, and epidemics. Some were executed by shooting, but the majority of them were killed with cold steel: The Ustase would cut their throats with special knives (“Serb-cutters”), fracture their skulls with hammers, cut off their hands, legs, fingers, ears, lips, put out their eyes, hack off women’s breasts. It was said that one Ustase soldier used to wear beads made of Serbs’ eyes, and another one a belt with Serbs’ tongues hanging from it.
  • It should be noted that Pavelic was a devout Catholic. Even in exile in Argentina he would listen to the mass every day. He imagined the state of Croatia as a bastion of Catholicism in opposition to Orthodoxy, Islam, and Communism. He was a “staunch fighter” for traditional Catholic values and called upon his comrades-in-arms to be ruthless: “We have no right to be humane.”
  • And the Roman Catholic Church together with its representatives was involved in all of this. On May 5, 1941, Pavelic jointly with the Minister of Education and Cults Mile Budak [to] adopt the Religious Conversion Law that obliged the Orthodox to convert to Catholicism.
  • It was Mile Budak who announced during his speech in Gospic on June 22, 1941: “We shall slaughter one third of the Serbs, deport another third, and force the last third into Roman Catholicism and thus make them Croats. We shall destroy every trace of theirs, and all that will be left will be a bad memory of them. For Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies we have three million bullets!” It should be stressed that this . . . speech was reprinted in the Kuria of Zagreb’s official journal, Katolicki List.
  • Immediately after that, the same journal published the message of Monsignor Archbishop Aloysius (Stepinac) of Zagreb who defined Serbs as “renegades from the Catholic Church” and welcomed the new law.
  • On July 31 of that year the same periodical called for an acceleration of the process of the conversion of Serbs to Catholicism. In 1943, Stepinac wrote to the Vatican that 240,000 Serbs had been converted to Catholicism in . . . Croatia.
  • This is the atmosphere in which the “conversion”, or, to be more exact, the forced conversion of Serbs to Catholicism was being carried out. The call of Priest Dionizije Juricević, addressed to the residents of the village of Staza, where he came to forcibly baptize the Orthodox into Catholicism, was as follows: “We are well aware where those who reject the Baptism will be sent. I have already ‘cleansed’ all these southern lands, from infants to elders. And I am ready to do the same here, if necessary, because today there would be no sin in killing a seven-year-old child if he is impeding the progress of our Ustase regime . . . Disregard my priestly vestments. Know that, if need be, I can take a submachine gun and annihilate all who will resist the state and the Ustase authorities.
  • Monsignor Archbishop Aloysius (Stepinac), [who eventually] informed the pope that 240,000 Orthodox Serbs had been converted to Catholicism, approved all of this. More than that, Pope Pius XII thanked Stepinac and [his] priests for their efforts to convert the “schismatics”.
  • Catholic priests, monks and nuns took the most active part in the genocide of Orthodox Serbs. The second Commandant of the notorious Jasenovac camp was a Franciscan priest named Miroslav Filipovic. “Every night he left his house to slaughter and returned at dawn with his vestments stained with blood . . . Once a prisoner was led up to him when Filipovic was dining. The priest stood up and coolly murdered him. After that he sat down and finished his dinner, saying: ‘Call a grave digger.’” It was said that he would enjoy drinking his victims’ blood and repeat: “This is the Communist and Jewish blood! Let me drink my fill!” And he was not the only clergyman-butcher of Jasenovac. There were also the infamous Jasenovac guards, Monks Majstorovic, Brkljanic, and Bulanovic, who would kill the camp’s prisoners.
  • Franciscan monks carried out mass executions in the villages of Drakulic and Sargovac near Banja Luka where about 2,000 Serbs were slaughtered. An Ustase detachment that carried out “ethnic cleansing” of Serbs was commanded by Monk Avgustin (Cevola) who would always carry arms in his hands. Monk Sidonije (Scholz) forcibly converted Serbs to Catholicism and was not afraid to massacre Serbian priests and laity who refused to become Catholics. A Catholic priest from Udbina, Mate Mogus, in his sermon called on the faithful to expel Serbs from Croatia or exterminate them.
  • And there were thousands of such examples. According to the International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac, 1,400 Catholic priests (two thirds of the total number) were involved in the genocide. The barbarous cruelty of Catholic priests went beyond all bounds, so that even Germans (who would not scruple to shoot 100 Serbian captives for one German soldier) had to intervene. Thus, Priest Mata Gravanovic was executed together with several Ustase by the Nazis for… mass atrocities against Serbs. Catholic clerics were involved in the genocide right until the end of the war.
  • Apologists of the Catholic Church [have tried] to whitewash Archbishop Aloysius (Stepinac) of Zagreb, claiming that he either didn’t know about the horrific crimes of his clergy and flock or actively struggled against them. Neither version holds water. Stepinac was a well-informed man and too power-hungry not to have control of his own diocese. As to the allegation that Stepinac “struggled against the clergy who were subordinate to him”, we don’t find any signs of this struggle. As the leader of the military clergy in Croatia Stepinac did nothing to prevent those under his authority from committing these heinous crimes. More than that, he awarded murderers with icons and crosses instead of excommunicating them. He supported the “Poglavnik” [the Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić] and his program, accepted his awards, backed up the new authorities in every way and publicly encouraged all that was going on in Croatia.
  • After the end of the war, the Vatican took active part in the “ratlines” operation to help the Ustase, including Catholic clerics, escape justice . . . Through his support a large number of Ustase leaders and clerics who had collaborated with them (headed by Bishop Ivan (Saric)) fled from Croatia . . . and hid in Rome. It cannot be ruled out that Pavelic escaped punishment due to Pius XII’s intercession: When an American intelligence officer tried to hunt for the “bloody Poglavnik”, the pontiff insisted on his deportation.
  • Nevertheless, a number of butchers, including those in cassocks, received their just punishment. After the war the Yugoslav authorities arrested some priests who had been involved in the crimes. Several hundred Catholic priests were prosecuted and after a proper legal trial, many of them were sentenced to capital punishment. Of course, Archbishop Aloysius (Stepinac) was brought to justice too; he was sentenced to sixteen years of imprisonment and hard labor for his collaboration and involvement in the genocide. However, he served his term for only five years, was exempted from penal servitude, and was later confined to house arrest at his native village of Krasic. By the standards of those stern days he “got off with nothing more than a good fright”. In time he was declared a “martyr” and a “victim of Communism”. In 1998, Stepinac was beatified by John Paul II, and in 2015 he was canonized by Pope Francis. The canonization of Stepinac is tantamount to spitting on the hundreds of thousands of victims of the genocide (unleashed by the Ustase), and admitting to the involvement of the Vatican in these crimes.
  • Pope Pius XII [not only] didn’t react to the terror in Croatia—albeit he was well-informed about it—[he] didn’t [see fit to] excommunicate any of the executioners . . . On top of that, [he] was a long-standing supporter of the inhuman Ustase regime in the world arena and preferred to help hundreds, if not thousands of war criminals escape.
  • At the present time the official . . . historians of the Roman Catholic Church tend to portray the genocide of Serbs in Croatia during the Second World War only as a result of a tribal strife and extreme nationalism in which the Catholic Church allegedly was not involved.
  • Catholic analysts particularly try to shield Monsignor Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac of Zagreb, who was [eventually] beatified [and ultimately] canonized . . , along with the pope during whose [reign] these atrocities were committed.
  • The canonization of Stepinac is tantamount to [having spit] on the hundreds of thousands of victims of the genocide unleashed by the Ustase and . . . the Vatican.

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