Today is celebrated here the National Day, commemorating the invasion and colonization of another continent. The National Day usually marks the nationhood of a nation, but this is a weird nation in so many aspects…
On this day, 12 October, 1492, a Spanish expedition headed by Cristoforo Colombo reached America. This triggered an European colonization; Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Scottish, Russian, Knights of Malta, all them leaped upon America to colonize it, build settlements, plunder villages, steal their resources and kill or enslave the indigenous people. The indigenous population was reduced in a 90-95% by epidemics (sometimes deliberate infection), war, massacres, exploitation, enslavement…
WHAT THE HELL ARE WE CELEBRATING?
National Day in the world
If one searches around, the national days use to be the day of independence in newer countries, or some event of special significance. For example, in France is 14 July, the start of the French Revolution; in China is 1 October, the proclamation of People’s Republic; in Germany is 3 October, the unification of West and East Germany; in Ireland is 17 March, Saint Patrick’s Day.
Nations commemorate a significant day for the own nation, as you can see in the samples above. But the 12 October means the expansion to conquer new lands that later got independence and so now aren’t part of the invading nation. Imagine United Kingdom celebrating as National Day the day that began the colonization of India, for example. Does it make sense?
Isn’t there any other day to commemorate, any day not meaning millions of deads and also having something to do with this nation? A day that didn’t make us feel ashamed? Then, it would be better to do like United Kingdom or Denmark, that haven’t designed national day.
Where there is a consensus is in the American countries national days: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela… all them celebrate their national days in the respective days on which each gained independence from Spain.
Rank and file
But something good can be said about the commemoration of this National Day on 12 October: it’s commemorated in a coherent way, as befits the date, with a military parade. The Spanish armed forces aren’t in the top ten, and could hardly win a war against a larger army than the Andorran one, but at least there are enough tanks to do a parade once each year.
“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” (Albert Einstein)
So, today there will be a military parade in Madrid, authorities and other people with spinal cord and superfluous brain will enjoy it, and patriots will wave their flags to demonstrate their superiority over those who were born in another place.
Nothing to celebrate.