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COUNTERPUNCH

'Road to El Dorado' Has No Respect for History

April 10, 2000|OLIN TEZCATLIPOCA | Olin Tezcatlipoca is director of Mexica Movement, an indigenous rights education organization for people of Mexican and Central American descent

Imagine that you are living a couple of centuries in the future, and you have never heard of World War II or Nazis. Further imagine that you are being shown a movie about the Nazi commandant (portrayed as a happy-go-lucky, romantic guy named Fritz) at a concentration camp. This is a "recreational" Jewish camp where everyone is picnicking and having a great time.

Fritz is constantly looking to get rich off the Jewish campers, and they freely offer him their gold fillings, Swiss savings accounts and other valuables. He meets an evil rabbi who wants the valuables for himself, and a beautiful Jewish girl who offers herself as a sex toy. Without ever mentioning World War II, Nazis or the Holocaust, the film ends with Fritz living happily ever after with the wealth he has acquired from the Jewish people at the camp.

This racist-sexist scenario of lies is the equivalent to what is being done to us, the indigenous people of Mexican and Central American descent, by the new animated film "The Road to El Dorado."

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks (the producer) and Universal Studios (the distributor) present the story of two Spaniards who stow away to the New World in the 16th century and wind up saving the village of El Dorado from a powerful priest intent on carrying out human sacrifices. This is an outrage, given the reality that the Spanish conquerors were responsible for the genocide of 23 million of our people--killing 95% of our population.

The film makes it look as if we were immoral and evil when it was the Spaniards who were immoral. They stole our gold, labor and land. They raped and culturally castrated our population, enslaving us to their Spanish names, language and interests.

DreamWorks is claiming that the film is a "complete fantasy fairy tale," but the scenario of the concentration camp above would never be accepted as a "complete fantasy fairy tale" by anyone. DreamWorks thinks it is acceptable here because the story is only about indigenous people. They have no respect for our people--no shame!

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To target this racist-sexist poison to children, who know nothing about this history, should be considered a crime.

"The Road to El Dorado" must be removed from the market before it goes to video, cable and commercial television around the world. Spielberg, shame on you! Universal Studios, stop your distribution of this abomination.

If you don't know this history, read "American Holocaust" by David Stannard, "Stolen Continents" by Ronald Wright and "A Little Matter of Genocide" by Ward Churchill. These are the histories that should be taught in our schools today to ensure that racist films like this are never made again.

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