Missionary work is one of the main tools used by colonial powers. Sure, you go and get your experiences with native people, and you come back with memories and pictures and all the feel good you brought from your encounter with loving and grateful people. You never get to see the destruction and degradation you left behind, nor the way the colonizers and oppressors will use the tools you left there for them. You can remain blind to the way in which you came to a foreign land to tell them their native ways are wrong, that they need the Bible and you church, that their millenary spiritual ways are wrong. You come with money and charm, and drop a paradigm on them designed to make them abandon their wisdom and ways in favor of your Jesus and your cult. How different it would be if you came here with the simple desire to learn and be a guest, with respect. How different if you didn’t have the putrid desire to change the natives into followers of your ways.
Que vuelva tu risa.
Que tu luz no se apague.
Que se espanten los miedos y te huyan las sombras.
Que tu cama te acoja seca y suave.
Que la loma sostenga tus pasos y te vea correr.
Que la luna no te llame en vano.
Que tu voz ya nunca más resuene en ecos de paredes frías y duras cuando llames a tu mamá.
May your laughter come back.
May your light not extinguish.
May the fears recoil and the shadows run from you.
May your bed embrace you dry and soft.
May the hill hold your steps and see you run.
May the moon not call you in vain.
May your voice never more resound in echoes of walls, cold and hard, when you call for your mom.
If you are worried that the pandemic is being used to push for a vaccine, or even make one mandatory, then ask yourself why Trump, Fox, and the fake, corporate sponsored, white supremacist conspiracy theorists are all coordinated in trying to make people not observe social distancing.
Why did the governments of so many industrialized countries told their citizens not to pay attention to the scientists?
What is the federal government and white supremacist groups now pushing for a premature lifting of the precautions?
Why now, when the lockdown is succeeding in flattening the curve?
The answer is obvious. They care about money and not people. If there is a sure way to push for a vaccine, it is to make sure as many people as possible die. While they’re at it at it, they make sure enough minorities and elderly people die. They want to contaminate as many as possible. They create division and ignorance on the people through massively distributed disinformation and lies.
The solution, as El Salvador is demonstrating, is not in vaccines. It is in the time proven method of isolation and helping one another. It’s worked before, and is working now. Yes, it has. Only the lack of knowledge of history is allowing these liars to manipulate so many.
At least try to remember this. Trump and the greedy kept telling you to ignore the warnings and recommendations of scientists and epidemiologists. People started dying. When we were succeeding at flattening the curve, Trump and the greedy pushed hard to stop what’s working. When more die, see who gets richer, and who dies.
If you have been complaining of the suffering you are enduring because of the lockdown, AND comparing seeing people in masks with a police state and Nazi Germany, this message is for you.
I understand you are suffering because you can’t go to the beach, you can’t get your latte and sit down on your computer, you can’t get your massage, your facial, and go to your yoga class. I understand seeing people in gloves and masks scare you because life is not business a usual. I get it. You are going through a disruption of your routine and you complain. Your friends commiserate and tell you they are with you.
Well, I’ve lived in a police state, under martial law, repression and civil war. I respect the feelings of everyone here for not being able to go to the beach and engage in your favorite form of relaxation. I do. But think again before you compare your plight to nazi Germany, or any other true police state. To be asked to wear a mask and stay semi away for a couple of months (without consequences if you don’t comply) is not the same as running from bullets, being tortured, and seeing your loved one taken in the trunck of a car to be tortured, raped, and dismembered for reading a forbidden book, for attending a rally, or for listening to the wrong guitar player.
I get this is new for you, and that you believe what right wing conspiracy liars are saying (I know you’ll say this is not so and you do your own research and everyone else is sheep and asleep—I know you believe that—but these ideas all were crafted and promoted by right wing white supremacist groups; check it out). Either way, even if you are right about what is happening and this virus that have killed so many is a hoax, you are way far from the suffering of a police state. I know, the suffering of the entitled hurts just as much in their limited experience, but consider the possibility that this is simply you suffering a slight alteration of an otherwise good existence, and don’t compare it to other experiences you haven’t had, not in front of those of us who have.
While we are here clarifying terms, this lockdown is no martial law, and White entitled supremacists in the South having a rally protesting a right they were never deprived of is no brave act of patriotism. Their ignorant disregard for the safety of the vulnerable does not make them freedom fighters.
“But this is not a conspiracy theory, it’s really happening. Our rights will be taken away and we are seeing the beginning of a dystopia,” you say. It’s okay you believe that. I’m just asking you to look again at your actual situation and, if you like, complain and others can commiserate if they want to, but don’t claim your situation is the same as the oppressed minorities in Nazi Germany, or those under a police state. Yes, it can get like that. But you still have no idea how bad it actually has already been for the rest of the world while you enjoy the results of the pillaging and oppression we all have endured for your entitled, myopic, and uncaring life.
Kicking and screaming
I was dragged into this world;
naked, toothless and bald.
And when this shadow world
drags me, kicking and screaming,
through the carnival of life…
I contemplate in the mirror
the fruits and profits of a life:
the naked smile
the balding mind
the raw nerve of a true heart.
How did we get to a point where so many people actually believe that the economy and political system is rigged in favor of the poor, the oppressed, the undocumented, and the racial minorities?
How did we get to a point where, intellectually, we know the billionaire class has created an oligarchy that plunders, starves, and enslaves the people, but emotionally we keep blaming each other; and where we act as if peaceful protest is rioting, as if insulting the downtrodden is speaking honestly, and as if being part of the class that destroys humanity, and the planet that hosts it, constitutes a successful life?
The thunder and clouds brought a herald of paradise. They penetrated the veil of night and arrived playing with the dawn. Behind stayed the oppressive heat of the last days. They stay almost in the oblivion while the sky plays with lights and stentor, teases with rain, and caresses my body with fresh breezes of lost days.
Could these be the lost days, the ones I didn’t live, the days of exile? Could this be why these lightnings smell like remembered oblivion? Could this be why this rain comes without being here, and wets the earth without falling? Could it be why this day I live without being here, remembering what I never lived, and I hug you welcomed in the absence that never was and in the void that fills me in plenitude?
El trueno y las nubes trajeron un aviso de paraíso. Atravesaron el velo de la noche y llegaron jugando con el alba. Atrás quedó el calor opresivo de los últimos días. Se quedan casi en el olvido mientras el cielo juega con luces y estruendos, coquetea con llover, y acaricia mi cuerpo con brisas frescas de días perdidos.
¿Acaso serán estos los días perdidos, los que no viví, los del exilio? ¿Será por por esto que estos relámpagos huelen a olvido recordado? ¿Será por esto que esta lluvia viene sin estar, y humedece la tierra sin caer? ¿Será por eso que en este día vivo sin estar aquí, recuerdo lo que no viví, y te abrazo bienvenido en la ausencia que nunca fue y en el vacío que me llena a plenitud?
Don’t be afraid of the rise of fascism. Bring stability into your heart. Know the truth for yourself. Look around and see how many people actually are moving away from bigotry and racism. See how many or us are really, really thirsty for justice and equality.
How many of us truly can see in each others eyes and see something divine? If you are one of us, know we are going to be okay. The way we conceive the world is how we are shaping it. We are dreaming the new world together.
They have loud voices, and they want you to panic. They are giving a message of fear, so they make it seem like a loud roar, but that’s all there is. Here, in your heart, know that death is all around us and that that is no reason to panic. We still have this life, and in this life we get to create, write, speak, etch, mold and share a moment with one another, and we get to practice the truth that is in the heart, no matter what the patriots and the fanatics and the fearful say. They will not win.
So, welcome the foreigner into your home. Welcome your brother and sister. Open your heart to all manners of religious expressions, to all manner of sexual identity. Open your heart to humanity. The hatred is waning.
There is still work to do, but we have to go through this moment. It’s not that the world is getting worse. We are simply getting to the limits of what we can tolerate. We are seeing the forces we won’t tolerate trying to go back to the “glories” of racist policies, to the “great times” of segregation and the Middle Ages. understand that they are freaking out. The world as they thought it was is shaking. Their world feels unstable and they are panicking. This is why they are acting the way they are acting. Their world is dying.
After all the wars and all the oppression and all the racism, we who have been alive in this continent for the past 500 years, know that we are awakening and we see the new world. We have seen it. Now remain calm––steady. Let them scream and rage. Their rage is the dying whisper of the old world. We are bringing the new. Keep your heart steady and loving. When you see the door, it is with that calm efficiency that we will walk through it.
I was a refugee once. I knew nothing of an “American dream,” nor did I seek economic prosperity or opportunities. Nothing about your dollar called me. I came here because the army in my country was getting paid one million dollars by your government to kill people like me.
There are so many of us who came here, not to find a better life, but simply to survive. A better life? For life, period.
The road is dangerous for most. We know it well. You risk aggressions, robbery, rape, and death. You give yourself to the fates, the blessing of the elements, and the hope for the kindness of the brotherhood of humans.
You are grateful when you arrive, but you know the ordeal has just begun.
I was lucky to have been able to prove I was persecuted back home, for being a student of Philosophy, for working for war refugees, for speaking up for justice and a better world. Those were my crimes. That made me dangerous. I considered myself fortunate. I arrived to the US unscathed, and I stayed without once being detained. I went to court, and I was able to prove my case. I was one of less than 2% of Salvadorans granted political asylum. The Reagan administration was adamant to not grant any more than that, lest the public knew what he was really doing to my people. I was lucky. There were so many more more deserving, more in need, and more invisible.
The love for your family forces you to suffer all indignities in a place where you don’t feel alive. Between a cold hell and the fear of death, you take one more step each day towards a future where perhaps your children will feel like they have a place to call home.
For the love of them you leave the people you love and the land where your spirit thrives. For them you accept as normal a life of racism, police harassment, and the indignities of always being the lesser, the other, the silent forgotten. For the sake of your children you give up even the hope of truly belonging to the society you give your life and work to.
Your mind is forever now on the day to day issues of survival, raising children who forget your language and adopt the manners of the people who won’t ever see you as one of them. Your aspiration is to one day see your children happy. Your mind settles for the hope of one day being normal, but the heart forever longs for that place where you once felt a human being.