Special to EastBoston.com
by DOMENIC AMARA
Over two hundred people join at a wreath laying ceremony in Boston last Monday, Columbus Day, at the site where the marble statue of Christopher Columbus was removed after being vandalized last year. They assembled in spite of an order that banned the celebration of Columbus Day in Boston. The Executive order was hatched in secret by Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim, Janey leaked only to a group of American Indians and members of the Mainstream Press.
The gathering was called for by the Massachusetts based Italian American Alliance, a growing coalition of Italian American organizations and individuals who see Columbus as a symbol of the Immigrant’s struggle and success in America.
“Christopher Columbus is a symbol for many Italian Americans who struggled to achieve greatness in America and whose children and grandchildren have contributed, and continue to contribute, to this great Nation, “ explained Domenic Amara , the Chairperson of the Alliance. “The vandalizing of the statue in Boston, and similar monuments elsewhere, is an assault on our history, our heritage and the values we share with the founders of America.”
“What we see here today is more than what remains of the Statue of Christopher Columbus, we have a glimpse of what is happening to this Nation, “ said Amara. “America is under assault by forces who wish to destroy its very fabric by debasing its history of which Christopher Columbus is inextricably a part. All Americans who care deeply about the direction that America is going need to understand that this is not just about Christopher Columbus or Italian Americans, it is about American Americans.”
James DeStefano, President of the Italian American Alliance, spoke of the recent Executive Order by the Acting Mayor of Boston to eliminate the celebration of Columbus Day in Boston:
“The fact that an Acting Mayor of the City of Boston, behaving like a like a thief in the night, eliminated the City of Boston’s celebration of the discovery of America by an Italian American should frighten everyone regardless of what side of the issue one is on, “ said DeStefano. “ What was done is what dictators do. Tyranny has come to the place where America was born and yet many still turn away because it doesn’t affect them…yet. Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson, that all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. “
DeStefano added that although the proponents of Christopher Columbus Day had been dealt a blow, we are more determined than ever to preserve Columbus Day and to advance the honest truth about Columbus and stop the lies by naysayers which have been debunked by many historians like Mary Graber and Carol Delaney. We remain alive and ready for the battle to be joined by others. He said Italian Americans will not be sidelined again
The featured speaker at the gathering was renowned author Carol Delaney, Ph.D. , whose academic studies resulted in a researched based anthology of Christopher Columbus. Delaney, is a graduate of Harvard University and professor emeritus of Anthropology at Stanford University.
“Most people know nothing about Columbus”, said Delaney. “ I can say this because I have spent years reading his works, and the works of those who knew him. One should read my book: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem if they want to know more. It is also true that we also know very little about the Indigenous Peoples in our midst and should definitely learn more about them. Both are important in our history. Both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day should be celebrated but on different days. Indeed I think the Indigenous People should choose a day that is important to them, without replacing Columbus Day.”
“Any unwarranted capitulation and repudiation of Columbus on our part is fool hardy and short sighted,” said Diane Modica. ” It has been suggested that Italian Americans select another famous Italian American figure or substitute a generic Italian Heritage Day to replace Columbus Day. First of all, it is a slippery slope to give away any recognition that was earned and paid for with the blood of many Italian American souls. Being realistic in today’s divisive l environment, there is no guarantee that any other Italian American figure, no matter how worthy, or even a generic Italian American holiday would receive the same official federal, state or local holiday status.” Modica is the Chairperson of the Committee for Social Justice of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Sons and Daughters of Italy.
Others who spoke at the gathering expressed similar views , including IAA Board Member Attorney Brian Patacchiolla, Attorney and Denise Furnari, President of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Sons and Daughters of Italy, the Nations oldest and largest Italian American organization. Also, Tanya Gorland, an emigre from the Soviet Union to Italy and then America, made an impassioned plea for Americans to wake up to “wokism.” She warned that what is happening in America is what they did to her Country. “ Americans are not going to like what they are making, “ she said. “ They are not going to like Socialism”.
Reading proclamations from the Governor of Massachusetts and the members of Italy’s Parliament were Board Members John Toto and C.J. Gangi. The gathering was organized by Board members Virginia Gardner, Tom Damigella, and Marissa DiPietro. Virginia Gardner, who founded a Missing Man Memorial which memorializes the unreturned Vietnam Veterans and a 911 Memorial in Newton, spoke highly of the Boston Police contingent at the gathering. “ They were very professional; they made us all feel safe. “
One of the highlights of the gathering was the reading of a verse that expressed the emotions expressed by many Italian Americans at the removal of Columbus Day by Acting Mayor Kim Janey. It has already become a historical motif about the betrayal of Italian Americans AND also an American icon, but also it is a warning signal to all Americans of what is in America’s future if they fail to heed the warning signs of our government official’s abuse of power.
An Ode to the Thief in the Night
She came as a thief in the night
without a sound she plotted
to steal our heritage and our rite
and start a battle so unwanted.
Again, we meet the ugly face
of those who would incur us
To defend our case and space,
our heroes and history thus
Italians came and were perceived
no less welcome than many others
But with our heritage we achieved
Despite the rejections and the mutters
What more do you expect of us,
Have we not earned our place?
We’ve given much, and plus
Our minds, our blood our grace.
We’ve now been pressed to war
by those who need a hate
To bring chaos to America’s door
and division to its gate.
Columbus is a symbol
of immigrant struggle in this land
A metaphor for the implacable,
which we will not see banned
But this fight will not be won
by leaving it to others
Nor will it be done
with fists or bats or triggers
Our weapons are our honor,
Persistence, family and Faith.
Our heritage is our armor
Against the Lions at the Gate
Their weapons are Big Brother
The Unperson, and Double-Speak,
Guilt, Thought crime and another
Just enough to make you shriek
Now ,before I am unable
I say of those who bring
Appeasement to the table
Always has it a smell and a string
They say submit, your Month can stay
But do we really need their permission
Because of the power they display
To celebrate our history and tradition.
I say this war in not yet lost
Even if they win this day
This lesson not be over glossed
Government gives, and takes away
So do not your honor and your heritage betray
Speak out now before you can no more
She, they, are taking your freedom away
It’s later , and much more, than 1984.
Read more about Columbus Day here.