Tourists Must Look beyond Walls to See the Scars

By Ruether, Rosemary Radford | National Catholic Reporter, January 21, 1994 | Go to article overview

Tourists Must Look beyond Walls to See the Scars


Ruether, Rosemary Radford, National Catholic Reporter


In January, my husband, Herman Ruether, and I will lead a travel seminar on Caribbean religion and society, focusing on the three islands of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. Originally we were going to go to Haiti, but the intensification of violence there made us decide to go only to Cuba and Jamaica. We will study about Haiti and hear from leaders of the Haitian exile community. In Jamaica we will stay at the Caribbean School of Theology, where a former student, Dieumeme Noelliste, a Haitian, is the dean. He will speak to us about both Haiti and Jamaica.

In preparing for this trip I have become aware how little I knew about the region. Many of my friends have a hard time taking it seriously as a topic of study. They take Cuba seriously because they know it is communist and therefore "bad." Haiti is poor and violent - and therefore also "serious." But the image of Jamaica and the other islands is that of vacation spots, a warm place to go in January with beaches, palm trees and "smiling natives." The usual response to my saying we are going to Jamaica is a knowing chuckle: Obviously this is a getaway junket.

I have become increasingly irate at such responses. Jamaica has not caused the sorts of problems to the United States that might earn it the favor of a military invasion. (It did annoy President Reagan considerably with its efforts at social democracy a decade ago.) Jamaica shares a common history with Haiti, Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean that is deeply marked by violence, poverty and ecological disaster. This history can be summed up by the words colonialism, genocide, sugar and slavery.

The European invasion of the Americas began in the Caribbean when Columbus landed and visited several islands in 1492. The Caribbean islands became the base from which the Spanish then launched further exploration and conquest of North, Central and South America.

The first effect of this colonization by the Spanish was the almost total genocide of the indigenous peoples, one of which, the Caribs, gave their name to the region. During 1494-96, when Columbus administered Hispanola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), 100,000 of the 300,000 indigenous people died. Almost all the indigenous people had vanished from the islands within 50 years of Spanish control, through a combination of war, slave labor and European diseases.

When it was apparent there was no gold on the islands, their fertile land was turned to growing sugar. The Spanish and later the Dutch, English and French imported Negroes from Africa as slave labor to work on these sugar plantations. This history of slavery is also one of unspeakable horror. The estimates of the number of Africans seized from their villages, marched to the west coast of Africa, packed like sardines in slave ships and transported to slave markets and plantations in the Caribbean for 300 years vary from 20 million to 100 million.

What is not disputed is that the mortality rate for these slaves was about 90 percent: about 30 percent died in the forced marches; 30 percent in the middle passage; and 30 percent from the overwork and beatings at the sugar plantations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Tourists Must Look beyond Walls to See the Scars
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.