Decolonial anti-imperialists are developing an alternative to Valentine’s Day: Death of Captain Cook Day. Much more rooted in love and liberation than the crass colonial commercialization that is valentines.
On February 14, 1779 Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy was killed by natives in Kealakekua Bay, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Cook was a true savage, who sailed across the world bringing murder, rape, disease, and colonialism to native peoples all over the Pacific. When he was killed, Cook was trying to kidnap the Hawaiian Aliʻi (tribal chief) Kalaniʻōpuʻu in response to an unknown person stealing a small boat. In the process, he had threatened to open fire on the islanders.
At this point, the Hawaiians decided they had enough of Cook’s bullshit. Realizing that he had been manipulating them throughout the course of his stay in Hawaii, witnessing the sexual depredations of Cook’s men, seeing how brutish and toxic European culture really was … and now being threatened with mass murder and the kidnapping of one of their tribal leaders, the Hawaiian islanders finally gave this piece of shit what he deserved: a beatdown on the beach, and a knife to the chest. This put an end to a lifetime of predatory behavior and conquest of lands in the service to the British empire.
So how about instead of celebrating a boring consumerist holiday like Valentine’s Day, we celebrate something awesome, like the death of Captain Cook … Happy Killed Captain Cook Day!
Okay, cool, let’s just ignore the fact that Cook was one of the world’s greatest navigators and surveyors, an expert in nautical science, an excellent sailor, cartographer and anthropologist. He all-but eradicated scurvy thanks to scientific method, and he correctly postulated that Pacific Island culture shares common roots despite its vast separation, and that it originated in Asia. Despite being at war with Britain at the time, in 1779 Benjamin Franklin issued a directive to all American colonial warships stating that if they came across Cook they were “not to consider her an enemy, nor suffer any plunder to be made of the effects contained in her, nor obstruct her immediate return to England by detaining her or sending her into any other part of Europe or to America; but that you treat the said Captain Cook and his people with all civility and kindness, … as common friends to mankind.”
1. “If the Brits didn’t come here, someone else woulda.”
If I didn’t bash that nerd in school someone else woulda. If I didn’t abuse that orphan homeless girl someone else woulda. If I didn’t put a sweatshop in that country someone else woulda. “Someone else woulda” doesn’t justify anything.
2. “The Brits were a more advanced society.” They had more advanced weapons, that doesn’t make them a more advanced society. North Korea has nukes. They could blow us up tomorrow. Does that make them more advanced than us? No.
And seriously, compare how 1700s Brit society and 1700s Aboriginal society treated their citizens. Women? Kids? Disabled? The hungry? Paint the worst possible picture of both if you like, you’d be hard pressed to say Brit society looks better (and I’m not saying Aboriginal society was a utopia either).
3. “What’s the point of going on about it, it’s in the past.” *Rafiki coconut staff to the head* The past still hurts in real tangible ways. One example, from about 1910-1970 Aboriginal people were forced, by law, to work and live where the Government put them for 16 hour days, but then in many cases the Government “withheld”/“lost” their wages. These are the Stolen Wages cases. Now, lots of these people are still alive. They are now old and they have bugger-all money for their retirement even though they worked hard for decades. This didn’t happen to white fellas, just black ones. Why? Well, to fully explain it we have to talk about how disempowered Black people became due to invasion. This put them in such a crap position by 1910-1970, that they could be exploited like this, with the flow on effects flowing on to this day.
But if you still think there’s no point going on about tragedies from the past, let’s scrap Anzac Day.
4. “I didn’t do it, Brits 100s of years ago did, why should I feel guilty?” I don’t feel guilty. I don’t want you to feel guilty. I just want you to stop standing in the way of accepting the truth of what happened so we can all move on. As stated above, the past still has impact today. Yes you and I personally didn’t do it. But you and I still reap great advantage from what happened then. Hell, the reason my government has so much money sloshing around is cause they still have all that “stolen wages” money - with interest! And all that money that shoulda gone to Aboriginal people when their land was first taken! And all that money that through inheritance laws is in the hands of white people when it should be in the hands of black ones! The injustices of the past are completely paid forward to create the inequalities of today. Not all inequalities! But some of them. So yep, you and I didn’t do it. But by denying this past injustice and allowing all the injustices that still flow from it to fester, you are perpetuating it. If you really want all of us to “move on” you need to acknowledge this history. We can’t “move on” till we do.
5. “It was normal at the time in that society.” Should we cut 1940s Germans slack because “Jews are awful and Nazis are great” was normal at the time in that society? Should we cut current Saudi Arabians slack because “women are second class citizens and gays are scum” is normal at the time in that society? Nup. There were heaps of people back in the 1700s, 1940s and now that knew and shouted loudly that the Brits, Germans and Saudi Arabians respectively were doing something crap. It was normalised because someone had something to gain from normalising it. And there were people then who could see through it. “Normal at the time” doesn’t justify it.
Think about it. “I genuinely believe that black people are inferior so I am entitled to take their land,their resources, have sex with the ones I find hot whenever I like and use them for slave labour so I don’t have to do the hard work.” What a spectacularly convenient thing to “genuinely believe.”
I don’t finish the anime series because it was err… just say it reminds me to another sport anime that also makes me err… didn’t want to continue to watch it. But, these kind of arts are too great to be not shared (is my English correct?) :D
Victor Nikiforov’s okonomiyaki and pancake art by Keinagaki. He’s an otaku chef in Japan and I’ve been following his IG for long. He and his staffs have great talents to make such amazing arts like these. I salute them!
Oh, and also, he made Levi’s pancake art, too. Just check his IG and be amazed by their works! I would like buy and eat those pancakes someday!