Someone vandalized this Cervantes statue in San Francisco. People need to know this man was just a writer! He was the one who wrote Don Quixote and had nothing to do with Cristopher Columbus. In fact he’s considered the best writer Spain’s ever had (Picture)
The great irony here, however, is that Cervantes, unlike every person “protesting” Cervantes’s image, knew what it was like to be a slave. As described by Fiona MacDonald for the BBC:
In 1575, after fighting in military campaigns against the Turks in the Mediterranean, the Spaniard was captured by Barbary pirates and taken to Algiers. There, he was kept as a slave for five years. When he was freed – with a ransom raised by Trinitarian friars attached to the convent he was to be buried beneath – he had become the man who would write one of the greatest novels in history.
“His five-year captivity in Algiers left an indelible impression on his fiction,” Cervantes scholar María Antonia Garcés tells BBC Culture. “From the first works written after his liberation, such as the play Life in Algiers (c. 1581-1583) and his novel La Galatea (1585), to his posthumous book The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda (1617), the story of this traumatic experience continuously speaks through his work.”
Cervantes was just one of countless Europeans enslaved by slave traders (especially the Muslim Barbary Pirates) over the centuries, kidnapped in coastal raids by pirates along the coasts of Italy, Britain, Ireland, and the eastern Mediterranean. Saint Patrick, of course, had been enslaved in such a way, by Irish pirates.