Professor Stannard of Honolulu University researched the American Holocaust, finding it to be one of the greatest crimes against humanity in human history resulting in the losso of over 100 million lives.
His interview provides some insights into such questions:
"HONOLULU: In your book, you quote Captain Cook's surgeon, William Anderson, about the introduction of syphilis to Tonga: The injury these people receiv'd from us by communicating this certain destroyer of mankind is not to be repaird by any method whatever... The man who has rob'd, murder'd and been guilty of all the Catalogue of human crimes is innocent when compar'd to the one who did such a thing knowingly.
Are you implying that European explorers deliberately introduced diseases to these isolated Pacific communities?
STANNARD: I would not contend that they introduced diseases in the same way that smallpox-infected blankets may have been given to some American Indians. They did not come intending to destroy the people. However, they came with an extraordinarily irresponsible willingness to let tens of thousands of people die from contact with them-because they knew that was going to happen. That's the point: Anderson knew what was happening, he was a surgeon, he was very close to Cook. so Cook knew what was happening. And remember: Anderson wrote those words 18 months before Cook's men came ashore in Hawai'i.
HONOLULU: But you're not contending it was deliberate genocide?
STANNARD: Genocide occurred, that is, the mass killing of an ethnically identifiable people. Whether it was murder or whether it was manslaughter might be worth arguing about.
HONOLULU: Couldn't it have been an inevitable microbiological tragedy?
STANNARD: That's what culpable people say about blame that is placed at their doorstep: I couldn't do anything about it. That's what happened in Germany, right? I didn't know what was going on, I just lived down the street from Auschwitz.
People need to be held responsible for their moral decisions. I'm a lot less interested in whether or not Captain Cook is culpable-Captain Cook is long dead. I'm more interested in how what happened is understood by people today-because the history of Hawaii is an example of a colonial society that rewrites the history of the indigenous people. It exculpates responsibility for the first white people who got here. You won't find an article or a book by the best scholars that mentions Cook and the introduction of syphilis that doesn't say, "Cook tried very hard, however, to keep his men from going ashore." They have to put that in there, they have to get him off the hook somehow, because there is a desire on the part of the colonizing people to evade responsibility for what happened."
Great answers start with great insights. Content becomes intriguing when it is voted up or down - ensuring the best answers are always at the top.
Questions are answered by people with a deep interest in the subject. People from around the world review questions, post answers and add comments.
Be part of and influence the most important global discussion that is defining our generation and generations to come