Letter: More to say about the Columbus regatta

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The Independent Online
Sir: For Oliver Gillie, the Columbus fleet leaving Liverpool on Sunday may have been 'pure nostalgia' (17 August), but for many people the occasion had a much greater political significance.

The purpose of the Grand Regatta of Columbus, which Mr Gillie fails to mention, was to celebrate the 'discovery' of the continent of America. It has angered and upset many people, as the Independent knows, who are appalled that the pillage and subjugation of the indigenous people that followed Columbus's invasion is being lauded in this way.

On Saturday, the campaign opposing the Columbus celebrations, called '500 Years of Resistance', held a rally in Liverpool where more than 1,500 people were addressed by Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti; the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala; Ana Guadelupe, one of the signatories of the El Salvador peace accord; the Colombian MP Gabriel Muyuy and Claudio Ramos, Cuba's spokesperson for internal affairs, among others.

Do you really think your readers are more concerned about whether the Libertad had 'all her 10 stay-sails set and her spanker at the stern' than how some of the world's most admired leaders have responded to the event?

Yours faithfully,

HELEN JOHNSTONE

London N19

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