Though this is not a review for the book and tv show with the same title, it is about some of the topics portraid in both: The colonization of our planet and how our socio-economic make-up came to be as influenced by “guns, germs, and metal.” I had thought of writing about it before and have been procrastinating it for quite some time. I believe the reason behind this delay was because I wasn’t confident I’d be able to properly express my ideas in writing without making it sound boring or without proper foundation. Though my confidence in my writing skills haven’t really changed, I strongly feel that someone should say something about it.
Having spent my first 16 years of life outside of the U.S., I first learned about the subject of history while attending fourth grade in Brazil. If I remember correctly, everyone learns “Ancient World History” in fourth grade. We were taught about ancient Egypt and Greece, with its magnificent history and mythological figures and events. As we “travelled” along the chronological time-line, we were introduced to the first great nations and their conquests… Names such as Gengis Khan, Cesar, Napoleon, etc became part of our vocabulary. With every passing year we’d cover newer eras and learn about the great explorers and how their acchiements helped shape our world.
I must admit that it took me nearly 20 years to realize the obvious: All so called “heroes” were flawless! Everything they did was for the good of civilization and I cannot recall ever reading a passage in all the history books I had read that depicted the “other side” of historical events! It was only after I became an adult and was able to think independently that certain historical facts became a little bit more clear to me. Show me an explorer who conquered a nation (or any piece of populated land) and I’ll show you a bully and a coward! America was colonized at the cost of literally millions of innocent lives and their (mostly precious metal of some type) possessions. Start with Christopher Columbus! During his first visit to what I think is the Dominican Republic today, he retributed their hospitality with the imprisonment and/or massacre of the native inhabitants. Has anyone watched Pocahontas??? What about the blood-thirsty Francisco Pizarro, single-handly responsible for the decimation of the Inca empire in Peru? The Alamo? How about our American Indians??? Can anyone honestly sit through a Western movie and not see what our founders did to an entire nation? How about the purchase of Manhattan from the Manhattan indians for supposedly $24 worth of merchandise??? Can you see a pattern evolving here???
The truth is I am utterly disgusted with our history and how we seem to have forgotten all the atrocities done to the less fortunate inhabitants of the Americas. We even celebrate these tyrants of history by reserving a special day just for them: Columbus Day??? It should be a day of reflection and mourning for all the deaths his so called “discovery” brought upon this continent. All the gold and silver that line some of the European cities today are a sad reminder of what a nation with guns, germs, and metal can do to people who have often been label as “salvages." The irony…