Connect with us

General

How Columbus Day contributes to the cultural erasure of Italian Americans

Published

on

Every October, a parade of opinion writers, politicians and Americans of Italian descent celebrate Christopher Columbus as someone who represents Italian Americans.

But associating impoverished 19th- and 20th-century Italian immigrants with a 15th-century explorer disavows the cultural identities of Italian Americans.

It renders the diverse histories and hardships of such immigrants insignificant in favor of a representative of European imperialism already familiar to Americans and more consistent with America’s homogenized European ideal.

As a political philosopher, I think it’s worth examining how mythologies of the past can distort reality and erase indigenous and immigrant cultures.

Given Italian history, descendants of Italian immigrants have reason to stand in solidarity with indigenous groups as they reclaim histories that were previously expunged.

A mass lynching

A mass lynching remains the professed political reason for first associating Columbus with Italian Americans. In 1891, 11 Southern Italian immigrants were murdered by a mob in New Orleans.

This was not the first or last lynching of Italian immigrants in the United States. But it holds the distinction of being one of the largest mass lynchings in the nation’s history.

The killings were defended as vengeance for the murder of a police chief by unidentified assailants. Many of the nation’s papers, including The New York Times, applauded the lynching.

This media coverage contributed to political tensions between the U.S. and the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. The following year, President Benjamin Harrison announced a one-time national observance of the 400-year anniversary of Columbus’ voyage.

Harrison’s proclamation did not mention Italy or Italian immigrants. Instead, American citizens were encouraged to observe the anniversary of “the discovery of America … as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duties of American citizenship.”

Scientific racism

That message reached a ready audience shaped by late 19th and early 20th centuries’ notions of “scientific racism”, the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support racism or racial superiority.

Southern Italians, along with other Southern Europeans, North Africans and Middle Easterners, were viewed by many white Protestant Europeans as an inferior Mediterranean race. As such, Mediterranean immigrants in the U.S. were widely regarded with contempt.

Christopher Columbus in America.

Christopher Columbus landing in America. Original Artwork: Engraving by Nathaniel Currier.
MPI/Getty Images

Amid racist theories marking the period, President Harrison’s proclamation signaled distinctions between glorious European figures, like Columbus, and destitute Sicilians, whose appearance was unwelcome and whose lynchings were met with approval in the press.

In a 1924 letter to The New York Times defending immigration restrictions against Italians and other Southern Europeans, the eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn took care to exclude the so-called discoverer of America from the tainted races: “Columbus from his portraits and his busts, whether authentic or not, was clearly Nordic.”

Columbus died long before the unification of Italy in the 19th century, but he came to be its mythologized representative. With unification, Italy’s rulers attempted to forge a new national identity among disparate peoples, with different experiences of brutal colonialism.

By the 19th century, Southern Italians were leaving Italy in large numbers to escape the entrenched poverty wrought by political and economic subjugation.

That subjugation traces in part to Columbus’ sponsors, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II, who possessed Sicily during Columbus’ lifetime, with Ferdinand’s cousin, Ferdinand I, controlling the southern mainland. Eventually, Ferdinand II controlled both “Kingdoms of Sicily.”

These so-called Catholic Monarchs of what is now Spain brought the Inquisition to Sicily. In the context of the long-standing cultural diversity of Sicily, the Spanish Inquisition imposed a Catholic monoculture, while literacy and other markers for social welfare plummeted.

As the historians Louis Mendola and Jacqueline Alio write of this time:

“Compared to what she had been under the Byzantines, Fatmids, and Normans, Sicily was now in decline. Illiteracy became endemic, defining the educational level of the great majority of Sicilians – and indeed Italians generally – into the nineteenth century.”

As a Spanish possession, Southern Italy was culturally throttled by the Inquisition while simultaneously exploited for natural resources and taxation. The corruption, poverty and misery that prompted waves of Southern Italians to seek escape between 1880 and 1924 has its roots in this period.

Reclaiming history

As such, a significant majority of Italian Americans descend from those Southern Italian immigrants.

The feudalistic cycles of poverty from which they sought escape were maintained and enforced by the same monarchical, imperialist powers Columbus served and helped enrich.

Identifying Italian Americans with Columbus in America meant identification of Italians more generally with Columbus, rather than with the waves of disadvantaged Southern Italians leaving Italy.

Because of this, the identification served as propaganda for both the U.S. and a newly formed Italy.

By rejecting their own association with Columbus, contemporary descendants of Italian immigrants have an opportunity to recognize the authentic cultural identities of their ancestors.

[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter.]


Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

General

Angolan journalists continue to face criminal insult and defamation proceedings

Published

on

By

New York, June 30, 2022 – Angolan authorities should drop criminal defamation and insult investigations into journalists Escrivão José, Óscar Constantino, and Fernando Caetano and ensure that investigative journalism is not criminalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

The three journalists each told CPJ that they are facing ongoing legal processes over criminal defamation and insult complaints about their work.

“The spate of spurious criminal defamation cases against journalists in Angola shows that politicians and powerful figures are allergic to public scrutiny and are taking advantage of colonial-era laws to criminalize journalism,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Prosecutors must stop pandering to elites who want to keep citizens in the dark and should refuse to entertain such cases in line with a 2010 resolution by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights urging African Union members states to abolish criminal defamation and insult laws.”

Convictions for criminal defamation carry prison terms of up to 1.5 years and a fine set by a judge; insult convictions carry one year and a fine, according to the penal code and Nelson Custódio, a local lawyer who represents both Caetano and Constantino, and who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. CPJ has recently reported on several other criminal defamation cases against journalists in Angola.

On June 6, investigators with the police criminal investigation service in the capital, Luanda,  sent a summons to José, editor of the privately owned newspaper Hora H, and on June 13 they questioned him in relation to defamation and insult complaints filed by Bento Bento, the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) first secretary in the capital, according to news reports and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

Bento’s complaints stemmed from a March 29 report by Hora H’s affiliated online video outlet, in which José covered corruption allegations involving a land deal by Bento, José told CPJ. Authorities released José after classifying him as “arguido,” or a formal suspect in criminal proceedings, a necessary step to possibly being charged with a crime or arrested.

José told CPJ that Hora H had sought Bento’s comment more than a month before publishing their story.

“Instead of any reply to our questions, Bento chose to intimidate journalists by using his political weight to sue us,” José said, adding that this was the 24th criminal defamation suit he had faced over his work. He said most of those cases were unresolved, and some had closed without a formal prosecution.

CPJ called Bento and contacted him via messaging app for comment but he did not answer.  

Separately, on June 20, a judge in the province of Kwanza Sul held a hearing in criminal defamation and insult cases against Constantino, a reporter for the Catholic Church-owned broadcaster Radio Ecclésia, according to news reports and Constantino, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

That case stemmed from complaints filed by Morais António, the former president of the provincial electoral commission, over a 2020 report by the journalist about António’s resignation amid an alleged sex scandal, according to those sources. Constantino has been classified as arguido in that case since 2021, he told CPJ.

He said his court appearance in the case is scheduled for July 6, when he expects to learn whether he has been convicted. The public prosecutor had asked for the charges against Constantino to be dropped because of a lack of evidence, according to news reports and Custódio.

António told CPJ by phone that he believed Constantino “went beyond the facts in his reporting” and accused the journalist of failing to publish his reply to the allegations. Constantino told CPJ he stood by the reporting, which he said was based on António’s resignation letter.

António also filed separate criminal defamation and insult complaints against Caetano, a correspondent for the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Voice of America and the news website Club K in Kwanza Sul province, over a December 2017 report by Club K about alleged corruption in the management of the provincial electoral commission, the journalist told CPJ by phone. Caetano said he was notified of his status as arguido in the case in November 2021.

That 2017 report was published under someone else’s byline, and featured a photograph that was later reused in an unrelated report written by Caetano in December 2019, Caetano told CPJ. He said he was not the author of the 2017 report and had “no say” in the photo in the 2019 article, adding, “This is a good example of how easily journalists can get sued in Angola for next to no reason.”

António told CPJ that Caetano must prove that he was not the author of the 2017 report, as the photograph was the same and Caetano was the only Club K reporter in the province.

“If it is not him so who is it?” António said, noting that the 2017 article alleged that he had embezzled money.

Caetano had his first court hearing in that case in March, according to Custódio. The case was adjourned and a date for the next hearing had not been set by June 29, Custódio said.

Kwanza Sul public prosecutor Mário Sacuiema told CPJ in a phone interview that he could not comment on Constantino or Caetano’s cases, and confirmed that a date for Caetano’s next court hearing had not been set.


Source link

Continue Reading

CCO

CCOs and Execution of Compliance Certification: A Significant Risk? (Part III of III)

Published

on

By

CCOs, by definition, are careful and deliberate.  It comes with the profession.  As risk managers, CCOs are skilled in identifying, assessing and acting in a risk environment.

The impact of the new CCO certification requirement, however, presents serious risks that cannot be brushed off or ignored in the face of assurances that prosecutorial discretion will protect CCOs from misguided prosecutions.  Frankly, CCOs recognize that there is too much at stake, including their careers and their liberty interest. 

DOJ’s new requirement was designed and rolled out in good faith, in an attempt to bolster the standing of CCOs in the corporate governance landscape.  To address the potential negative reaction to the certification requirement, DOJ included an important provision in its Glencore FCPA plea agreement.

As set out by DOJ, a CEO and CCO would be required to execute the form Certification thirty (30) days prior to the end of the Independent Compliance Monitor’s Term, which in the case of Glencore is a three-year term.  Paragraph 10 of the Plea Agreement sets out the following important language:

Where necessary and appropriate, the Defendant will adopt new or modify existing internal controls, compliance policies, and procedures in order to ensure that the Defendant maintains: (a) an effective system of internal accounting controls designed to ensure the making and keeping of fair and accurate books, records, and accounts; and (b) a rigorous anti-corruption compliance program that incorporates relevant internal accounting controls, as well as policies and procedures designed to effectively detect and deter violations of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws. The compliance program, including the internal accounting controls system, will include, but not be limited to, the minimum elements set forth in Attachment C. The Office[r]s, in their sole discretion, may consider the Monitor’s certification decision in assessing the Defendant’s compliance program and the state of its internal accounting controls.

DOJ’s last sentence in Paragraph 10 contemplates that the CEO and CCO may, in their discretion, may consider the Independent Compliance Monitor’s certification, in reaching their own determination as to the state of the Company’s compliance program. 

Another significant consideration is the language of the CEO and CCO certification itself — which states that “such anti-corruption compliance program is reasonably designed (emphasis added) to detect and prevent violations of the [FCPA] and other anti-corruption laws throughout the company’s operations.”

In effect, CEOs and CCOs  can rely on the Independent Compliance Monitor’s certification and the limitation on its certification that the compliance program is “reasonably designed” to detect and prevent violations of the FCPA.

Even with these positive factors, however, CEOs and CCOs will need to design and implement an appropriate procedure to document their respective due diligence and analysis of the Company’s compliance program.  This consideration, at first glance, appears to be straight-forward but could quickly unravel into difficult issues.

A CCO should be able to rely on and document any internal and external reports, assessments, and reviews of the Company’s compliance program conducted as part of the remediation effort.  DOJ clearly contemplates that a Company’s compliance program over a three-year monitorship period will undergo significant change and improvement.  By definition,  a CCO will be intimately involved in this process.

The CCO’s ability to rely on these reports, assessments and reviews may require a personal review and evaluation to justify such reliance.  CCOs need to evaluate when a further examination of a specific report may be warranted.  In this situation, a CCO may have to devote and document follow-ups to specific issues flagged in the report, assessment and review.  CCO will inevitablye face difficult situations where reliance on a report may not be completely justifiable.

A further complication may arise when a Company subjects its compliance program to a robust testing and evaluation by an outside party.  in these circumstances, an independent test of an enhanced compliance program may require a CCO to review the test results carefully with a questioning eye.  This process may, in turn, delay the CCO’s certification or even raise further issues requiring analysis and review.

The risks presented by even these obvious situations are even more troublesome given the legal risks posed by acknowledgement that a “false” certification would constitute a violation of the False Statements and Obstruction of Justice criminal statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§1001, and 1519, respectively.  By conceding the issues of “materiality” under 18 U.S.C. §1001, and “tangible record” under 18 U.S.C. §1519, a CCO may be setting him or herself up for a criminal prosecution where the issue may not rise to a criminal violation.

CCOs have enough problems in the corporate governance world.  On balance, it is difficult to maintain that the CEO and CCO certification requirement is a net plus for CCO stature in the corporate governance landscape.

Given the controversy surrounding this issue, I fully expect there will be more discussion between the CCO community and DOJ.  After all, DOJ’s most important ally in the corporate world is the CCO — and DOJ should avoid any negative impact on such a critical ally.


Source link

Continue Reading

General

First election in Caricom this year brings change

Published

on

By

Grenadians this week began living under a new government following general elections late last week that saw a government which had won all 15 seats in the previous two elections suffer an electoral meltdown, losing nine of those parliamentary slots as the New National Party (NNP) heads into the opposition.

The Caribbean Community’s first major elections for this year mean that attorney Dickon Mitchell, 44, has been sworn in as Grenada’s new prime minister replacing long-serving Keith Mitchell—no known relation—after becoming party leader just last October.

Clearly tired and worn out by Mitchell and the NNP, Grenadians decided to give the fresh-faced attorney and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) a chance to run the mini archipelago that also includes Carriacou and Petite Martinique for the next five years.

Keith Mitchell and Mia Mottley of nearby Barbados were the only two leaders in the 15-nation bloc whose governing parties had held every single parliamentary seat and had run their countries largely without any opposition in an atmosphere of peace. In the case of Grenada, Mitchell had done it three times in the past 20 years but voters say they have had enough of nepotism, corruption, a weak economy and other problems besetting the country.

Dickon Mitchell was sworn in at the weekend as the nation’s ninth prime minister and immediately warned about a possible purge of the public service of hundreds of political appointees.

“Under my leadership I intend to break that vicious cycle of nepotism. The key criteria will be merit in particular as it relates to the government service in all aspects including the police, nurses, teachers and doctors. We need to run our country based on merit, hard work, the desire and willingness to overcome and to find solutions to the challenges that face us. We will not move forward or prosper as a people on the sole basis for job selection, promotion, for the award of contracts on party loyalty or personal loyalty,” he told a weekend forum.


Source link

Continue Reading
World8 months ago

Albanian Daily News

North America9 months ago

Administration’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Likely to Yield Greater FCPA Enforcement in Latin America and Beyond | Womble Bond Dickinson

Military Corruption6 months ago

Judy Byington intel Restored Republic via a GCR update 9 January 2022 US News Today

North America8 months ago

Heidi Planck missing update – Jason Sugarman ‘probed over a $43M fraud’ as Reddit & Webslueth users seek LinkedIn clues

Military Corruption6 months ago

Nicholas Veniamin with Michelle Fielding: TRUMP WIN and ROLL OUT, QUANTUM SYSTEM, MILITARY!

World6 months ago

Prison governor arrested over bribery and drugs allegations at Wormwood Scrubs

North America9 months ago

Brian Laundrie timeline – What Gabby’s fiancé did as throttled body lay outside from camping with sister to hitchhiking

World9 months ago

Behind the blue line: Investigating Abdullah Shah

General9 months ago

Who Is Curtis Sliwa? A Look at the GOP Mayoral Candidate’s Wild Ride in New York

North America9 months ago

Former Boeing 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot Indicted for Fraud | USAO-NDTX

North America9 months ago

Brian Laundrie update: Where does the search stand now?

General9 months ago

U.S. Arrests Alex Saab, Deal Maker for Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela

Police Bribery6 months ago

AROUND 30 U.S STATES HAVE ACTIVATED THEIR NATIONAL GUARD

North America9 months ago

Gabby Petito autopsy update – John Walsh ID Special Report ‘claims Brian Laundrie is in Mexico’ as fiance still missing

North America9 months ago

Founder of Russian Bank Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud | OPA

ailoq.com

Trending