Archive | September, 2013

Angry teachers and robot children

28 Sep

Teachers. Los maestros. Those adults who waited for you every morning in the classrooms, ready to start another part of the educational curriculum and keep moving towards the end of the year.

Who hasn’t had in their life a teacher who once inspired them, or terrorized them, or caused them thousands of sweet dreams, or nightmares…? I believe, most of you who bumped into this post, have had at least once in their life a kind of teacher; I don’t mean figuratively speaking this time: I mean it literally. Teachers who had to wake up, eat their breakfast, prepare for school, drive several minutes to their school, endure several hours of same lessons from the same last years, call it a day and return to their respective houses once the job’s over. Those people, not the spiritual teachers or guides or…etc.

Nope, I mean the school teachers.

I want to start this little post with some childhood experience, although without lots of digression. To resume it all, I had lazy teachers. They would come, drop their bags on the desk, give a class, send us to recess, call us back, resume the lessons, end it, and let us go to school. And that was always. Every day. And with the same “Meh” mood.

https://skitch-img.s3.amazonaws.com/20081205-r6p1hhqupf1jprq3242ekj66yg.jpg

Yeah, this kinda resumes the idea.

I had very supportive teachers indeed and some of them did help me shape myself. But despite of them, I never had quite a big admiration or esteem towards these workers; I saw them as nagging, lazy people who wouldn’t care about education or the children, and they were always my—and many other people’s—target to blame when my grades weren’t good or when I learned nothing. I even received some few pedagogy classes before and all the apparent to-be teacher students were girls who would say “Oh yeah, education’s facing a great problem nowdays” but later turn and give a damn, as they’re obviously into it for everything but changing the world. They’re just there for job, money, easy career, etcetera. I just met like two or three students who did want to actually cooperate to make a better world.

And because of all of this, I believed (notice past tense here, before somebody complains) that many teachers around the world are this way, that they weren’t fun and stuff; you could say some haven’t changed at all, and that they help in absolutely nothing to change education…

Until now.

In Mexico, we’re living a huge movement of teachers who are protesting against the educational reforms that will strip them from insurances and that will turn completely our education into little workers’ factories instead of humanity developers. According to this Spanish article, this bill is similar to the No Child Left Behind bill proposed by Bush time ago, so any North-American reader may get an idea of what this is about.

This bill will strengthen the requirements to become a teacher and will bring a system that involves teachers taking tests to keep their job or not. Many teachers have no problem with this—they, at some degree, agree that several teachers don’t do their job correctly and that inherit their posts instead of gaining it honestly (one of the syndicates it’s filled with corrupt people who didn’t even study education, just got the job thanks to several inside contacts), and this must be changed—, but they’re against making a standard test, as every state and school has different context and problems, and thus not all of them will be the same. They also expected this bill to solve a huge problem that has been haunting Mexico for many ages: the quality.

Instead of listening to their pleas of changing several aspects of the content and the school conditions, they preferred to ignore them and keep going with a bill that might fire a teacher in any moment, that will strengthen the children’s competitive attitude and make them competent for the industrial world, and which might even privatize the whole educational world…which means that now parents and teachers must pay for every classroom need. The government will have no responsibility. At all. So this is no education reform: it’s a labour reform. The evaluation will be a final evaluation, and not a progressing one that’s actually watching what’s going on the classrooms.

https://i2.wp.com/www.zoeinstitute.com/clientimages/45863/single-mom.gif

And it will be worse for single moms who can barely keep their children.

But let’s try to focus on the main problem: the content won’t change. It will still be the same repetitive thing that tells them “worship this hero and don’t do otherwise”, “do this math problem, or else”, “you’re an A, you’re a B”… Instead of more cultural programs that challenge the spiritual growth and that feeds a critical analysis. It’ll be the same “hurry up if you want to be somebody in life” process. And let’s not even talk about how they’re now making public schools teach religion too… (Sorry, it’s in Spanish, but you get the idea).

Religion in Public Schools

Again, the image explains everything better. By the way, the image redirects to a nice site of political cartoons, just in case you’re interested.

I am no expert in education systems. In fact, I just took some pedagogy classes in my first days of college, (from where I got my frustration with some future teachers), but I’ve become very interested in this topic because, now that we’re undergoing the awakening of an educated era that no longer believes the lies of the media and uses logic to uncover the truth, it’s vital to avoid greater catastrophes and not become the puppets of cynical people, and this can only be achieved with a well-educated mind and a well-shaped spirit. And I believe everybody, not only teachers, must analyze these problems before it’s too late. It’s not only the education institutions that should worry about this, but everybody. We must keep ourselves informed so we know what they’re teaching to our children, not only in school, but also in their houses.

I’ve felt that our children today are a bit far more aggressive than before. And the bullying phenomena it’s a sign of that disease. They no longer respect people as they were never taught to respect themselves or their surroundings. They might not love others because they don’t love themselves—it’s an insecurity cycle—. They’re not taught to respect, to see themselves as equals between each others, to appreciate other cultures and heritages, and, more importantly, that their future is strongly intertwined with the other people. This is my greatest pet peeve about education today: they teach you to be afraid of being different, to compete in order to survive and to be afraid of your future if you don’t get this grade, instead of being humans that must learn to harmonize with their surroundings and help each other with their different talents and points of view. If everybody thought in gray, this world would be gray and dull, and we need multi-colour visions to expand it and make it lively.

HD Colorful World Wallpaper

Imagine every flower is a child. The field is this pretty thanks to every little colorful brain.

We’re social creatures. We weren’t born to be alone. And school should teach that: to solve your problems with logic, ethic and remembering you’re part of this world and that you must protect it with your talent. They teach us to swim only with the sciences, but rarely humanity studies. And only arts can help people keep caring about the world.

I’m sure many of you have seen images in the internet that spreads the pros of education in many countries around the world, or articles that explain the success of some systems above the others. This article, for example, and specially the last quote from the first page, resumes excellently, the success of the Finnish education (…alright, the second page resumes everything, the first one just had this nice quote ._.). And they don’t stop repeating this: winners don’t need to compete. Education is our salvation!

In Japan, and although I’ve heard that the schools over there are also stressing, demanding and not too different in ideals from here of building obedient workers, they teach children communion with group activities, like cleaning the school with the called souji time. This rooted in an ancient Buddhist belief of morality equaling cleanse. And again, communion and harmony between students is the key of this activity.

You can even make it a race game. I could become the Scrubbity Race Queen!

So everything seems to indicate, in my opinion at least, that school’s success lies not on excellence, but on feeding the spirit of the child with games, without pressure, and making him remember this: everything is communion. Everything! It’s the opposite of what’s been done in the USA, Mexico and other countries. We’re pressuring them with exams, comparing them between each other, and even humiliating them when it’s time to give them their exams (I remember how coldly a teacher told that This McChild got a 0 approval in his exam and the creepy silence that followed…). No wonder why many children don’t like school. And this cycle will keep going and going because the very same parents, with same competitive education, won’t give them an education based on critical analysis, and will just drop their educative heritage into their brains.

Stressed student

Quickly! Study if you don’t want to become a C, Miss B!

In fact, this is the thing, and my opinion: schools are supposed to give you the information and ways to handle it for your own good and society, and families are supposed to educate you in a way you can socialize and become a better person. Both have same responsibility of incorporating the child into society, and although I bet many parents around the world do a wonderful job with this fight (many single moms, for example,  break their back for the best of the children), the contexts always vary, and there are drunken parents, neglecting parents, etcetera…and sometimes because said parents’ educations was poor too. It’s a cycle.

And it becomes a double burden for teachers: they raise and educate these children. Many parents send their children to school, expecting to see them return as future geniuses, whereas in home they did not even receive tools or motivation to study, read, become curious, love the world… Anything that helps them more. And also, some parents leave their children watching TV, with this mentality: “They won’t be watching porn or something wrong, so they will be ok and I can return to this business in the meantime”. And they don’t know that some shows can, actually, shape their mentality for the sake of the powers’ agenda, despite looking “harmless”.

So the teachers aren’t the only ones influencing the children education: parents, environment, and TV–Oh goodness, the TV…!–shape the minds too, and if not watched over properly, it can lead to disgusting results.

For more interesting drawings from these images, click on this one to see some few others from the same author.

In here, teachers don’t mind an evaluation. Thing is, education’s not only a teacher thing, but also an environment thing. You see, how can a teacher make a good class when you do it in the outside, with few materials, in awful conditions, and when the very children didn’t eat breakfast three hours ago, and thus dooze off or barely pay attention? How do you expect to get good grades and excellent students when the poor children can’t even afford food to wake up their brains, must walk miles and miles to get to the building, or have a family to feed and must work? The government will evaluate only the teacher’s performance, but not the quality of the institutions or the content of the programs themselves. And it’s hard to make progress when the children are almost starving when they arrive to class. Or when the roof will almost fall above their heads…!

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…Or when there’s no roof at all.

Worse thing of all? The media’s demonizing these rural and abandoned teachers, calling them “vandals” and rooting the cops that beat them up. They make them look like lazy people who have nothing to do, and make fun of them. One of our networks is the worst offender, not only having a long run of sexist shows, racist jokes and overly religious programs that impede involvement of any other type of thinking, but also calling these teachers the “attackers” of Mexico.

They don’t want to change the education system, and even released a “documental” that blamed teachers as the cause of the low quality education in Mexico, ignoring other important factors, such as this one: the fact that many children educate themselves with TV too when their parents are working. And this network’s shows are as educative as Jersey Shore. And Keeping up with the Kardashians. And Maury. Specially Maury. In fact, highlight Maury, never mind my other examples, and I rest my case. So they really expect to have responsible, critical children when they only dump garbage in their brains. And stereotypes of teachers and schools. Seriously.

marchas-monumento-revolucion- carrusel_phixr

Damn those vandal teachers! They just threaten the country with their machine guns and sticks and shields and cars…! They need some good lesson!

I believe the American system is a bit similar to the Mexican one, considering the government here loves to base itself in many American systems. I read several articles and they mention similar issues. Yet, I believe their problems are less severe than here, considering that these rural teachers are condemned, physically attacked and deprived from their sole insurances if they dare to speak out against the system. It’s either my way or the way to your funeral, baby.

In my opinion, schools are the houses of humanization. You send your children to there so they can help you with half the job of humanization. While our role as family is to make them sensitive and humane, the schools must give them the knowledge and tools to help them keep what they learned to love: the planet, the people and themselves. Ken Robinson makes an interesting comment about how school kills this love of life—this creativity—to prioritize the “useful” subjects, like math and sciences, because they’re the ones needed to enter into a competitive world. Children gradually lose their creativity due to this anxiety of future and put into crisis by telling them that they won’t make a living with artistic existences. They’re taught to stop being human and to worry a lot. They’re taught how to survive, but never how to live.

http://theteemingbrain.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/factory-school.jpg

We. Love. You. Big. Brother.

Here’s a video of one of Ken Robinson’s conferences, specifically the one that touches with the creativity issue.

Schools were in the past highly respected places, but nowdays it just exist for the powerful people’s agenda. We haven’t taught the children to always wonder—to have doubts of everything—so they can stay on a never ending journey of finding the truth and discovering themselves. We haven’t shown them enough love to the world and the wonders of our surroundings that fill them with awe and consciousness that they must be protected. Instead, we give them orders, we make them become anxious of their future, and attack their brains by telling them “This is it, we no longer need to think it because it’s enough” by not enforcing them to think, to give their own explanation and to participate with their opinion. We must teach them the wonder of the “Why” and “How”, which are one of the best friends of the thought.

And more importantly, we have deprived them from the fun of learning. Of the games. We treat them as little machines. Not as intelligent beings that can, in many times, call “Bullpoop” on something and give a more logical explanation due to their simple minds. If you watched Ken Robinson’s video, I think then you heard his example of the girl drawing God and her reply to the teacher’s question, which was simple and creative in her own way.

ICub_face

Evil-looking robot toddler playing with a bloody-red ball. Sweet dreams.

They can no longer express themselves. They become afraid and stressed. And children must play and enjoy this beautiful time of their life before actually moving on. They must be taught to love and be loved, and games are the best for that. But it’s a hard thing when the supposed people in charge ignore you, leave you starving in the street and, to add salt to the injury, attack the sole people interested in helping you.

Children must discover themselves and their talents. One of them might become a future Mozart—a Mozart that could soothe and humanize people who listen to his music—but the fear will deprive his chance of studying music and studying something he doesn’t want. Why? Because he was taught he might go nowhere with arts! And despite studying that science—let’s say, economics—, who knows if he will go anywhere? He might not have the talent. He just chose it for the money, and that will make him take risky decisions that might break his brain (jobs are brain-breakers, indeed). He wasn’t taught how to be a human, just to become part of the system if you want to live. They weren’t interested in discovering his talent in humanities, just in making him part of this factory.

This image resumes it (and if you click on it, you’ll get a better explanation):

https://gs1.wac.edgecastcdn.net/8019B6/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lteusu0d0K1r54seio1_400.jpg

No fair. The bird would fly to the top while pretending to climb…!

This is, as well, the Mexican Education Reform in a nutshell. Some teachers have different needs and problems than others, so none will be the same, specially if the rural teachers are always put aside by the big powers.

It’s an awful irony, especially because the people who want to transform these kids into little machines will also suffer consequences: without doctors with ethics, businessmen without knowledge, or overall people with some heart at all, how can they trust they won’t stab them in the back as they stabbed them? They’re teaching children to care about competition and defeat others to advance—to become mercenaries that will stab others to achieve his goals, and the ethics will be aside. And no one, even less the powerful people, will be safe in a world without attachment, without ethics and, more importantly, without a heart.

This is a talk from Noam Chomsky, in where the first minutes he mentions how the children are educated to not question the system and just keep going.

So, yup. Turns out I was quite unfair to my teachers. Indeed, many of the teachers can be employed unjustly for different reasons or simply don’t act as if they cared. But I must also be fair with them: these “lazy” teachers are victims too. The system they’re into is not fair to them either. It’s dull, it’s tense, and it’s heavy.  They are always under stress and don’t tend to feel lots of motivation with a job that doesn’t propose something fresh and even stimulating to them; they’re forgotten and, in this case, put aside. Or if they try to make the children think, they might face problems, just like these protesting teachers in Mexico.

You could say they’re afraid too. They must keep a family, their houses, pay rents, food, etcetera, and they might lose everything if something goes wrong, so they might become afraid for the children too, but mostly due to having other mouths to feed. They’re humans too, and need help of society. We need new reforms, and certainly beating up teachers won’t help it. Even less if they remember that the country was shaped thanks to these “vandals”.

But I repeat. I know nothing of the educational systems around the world. I investigated, yet I am no expert on systems, and this is more of an opinion I wanted to share to see if it helped somebody, or if somebody could help me expand it or correct it. And more importantly, and just so we all can do something before it becomes a greater problem, to let the world know about the struggle of the Mexican teachers and make them an example of the limits a man can take before, finally, becoming fed up with the injustice and the dehumanization that’s, slowly, sucking the life from the planet.

Hope you can help me build the truth of the 21th Century Education, O Reader.

Any comments, opinions, corrections, etcetera, are greatly welcomed, especially because I want to expand this topic with people around the world.

*All images redirect to the original sites they were found, and some do send you to some interesting places, in case you’re interested*.

Edited so I could add this link that can explain more to English readers about the Mexican struggle.

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Have you heard of Alberto Patishtán?

22 Sep

Blame my weak childhood memory from the beginning of this 2000s, but you could say that we began this century with not a huge knowledge or interest in the struggle of several political prisoners around the world, perhaps due to many distractions. And in the beginning of this new 10s, mostly due to the expansion of info-sharing and (in my opinion) due to Chelsea Manning’s case, we’re finally closer to the fights of the freedom of other people who also got unjustly behind the bars. It wasn’t until recently when I discovered about Mumia Abu Jamal’s case, for example, and his interesting little articles written from prison. And there are many who got behind bars just because they weren’t of the like of the governments. But I would like to mention one in particular who recently got a brief spotlight in Mexico, as they just reopened his case with hopes of finally clearing his name after thousands of proofs of his innocence.

His name is Alberto Patishtán.

https://i1.wp.com/www.m-x.com.mx/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/patishtan.jpg

A tzotzil teacher who wasn’t even in the wrong place or in the wrong time when a crime in his town happened. He was, actually, in his respective place in his respective time. Thing is, they didn’t care.

You can read an article of his whole case in here: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4231-the-case-of-alberto-patishtan-gomez-and-the-culpability-of-the-mexican-state-we-are-governed-by-injustice.

But just to resume the whole story… One guy got shot in the south of the country, and the sole survivor of the whole ordeal pointed Patishtán as the responsible one out of pressure. And Patishtán got jailed without a warrant, without a lawyer and without a translator, despite the huge amount of witnesses and proof that he was in his school while the whole crime happened. The teacher received a maximum of 60 years as a punishment and, according to this, was severely tortured in the prison and neglected when his health deteriorated—and which keeps deteriorating—and needed a surgery.

The proof and the witnesses indicate he’s innocent, and that he’s kept in there for not being precisely the government’s favourite person in the world. Amnesty International has pointed out the serious flaws in his trial and many social movements claim for his freedom, as… Well, frankly, he’s not the sole case of unfair treatment and imprisoning. But it’s enough that, in the world, we don’t have lots of justice towards minorities, rural people, etc., and even worse when the very prisoner’s having health issues that needs to be treated. Issues neglected by the authorities who couldn’t care about this man.

And as I said, his case was reopened recently to check the new proof and give a new verdict. As you can guess, the authorities said “There’s not enough proof”. And he’s still jailed, mistreated and forgotten by the people who should be the first ones to remember him. And just to add some salt and lemon to the wound, around the same time, they released in another state a drug lord from the north, who was a proven killer, by the same sentence: “There’s not enough proof”. And days later, everybody said immediately that was the worst decision. Ever. This irony’s so awful, it’s not even funny.

I am sharing this story to the world, so everybody can pressure the authorities, reopen once more the case, accept the evidence of his innocence, and finally make real justice towards this man. I will thank you if you can read his case, share and sign to help this man gain freedom, specially because his health’s not the best nowdays, as he has spent so far 13 years in prison in not the very best conditions of all.

We’re living a massive awakening in this century. Let’s wake up everybody so the unfairness can disappear once for all.

http://fronterasurmx.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/patishtan-12.jpg

To read the English documents referring to Patishtán’s case, click on the image and check them out.

“Practice First, Then Theory:” The Zapatista Little School Shares Lessons Learned During 19 Years of Self-Governance

21 Sep

A very interesting article about the Zapatista’s schools!

Warrior Publications

By Kristin Bricker, CIP Americas, September 5, 2013Zapatista youth fists
The first night of my homestay during the Zapatista Little School, my guardian and her husband asked if their students had any questions.  My classmate and I both had experience working with the Zapatistas, so we politely limited ourselves to the safe questions that are generally acceptable when visiting rebel territory: questions about livestock, crops, local swimming holes, and anything else that doesn’t touch on sensitive information about the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

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La literatura es mejor que la autoayuda

19 Sep

It’s in spanish, but it tells about a “bibliotherapy”. Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin mention that the best remedy for “invisible scars” in humans are several novels instead of self-help books and manuals, as those are for “visible scars”. I thought it would be nice to share it if, if by any chance, a spanish speaking persons bumps in here and feels like reading the article ;3

QuéLeer

Los avances de la ciencia y la tecnología nos han hecho creer que el hombre es capaz de solucionar todos los males. Mediante una pastilla, una inyección, un botón o una tecla hemos accedido a remedios infinitos, evitado dolores y combatido el paso del tiempo o las situaciones de angustia. La psiquiatría y la psicología, por su parte, han encapsulado píldoras y consejos o terapias para ayudarnos a ser más felices. Pero Ella Berthoud y Susan Elderkin saben que el remedio más efectivo es tan antiguo como la historia y tan rudimentario como el pergamino.

En su libro The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies (Penguin) estas dos autoras aconsejan un libro para cada uno de los males, de la A a la Z, que puedan aquejar al lector. Pero atención: recomiendan un libro literario. Ambas están de acuerdo en que no debemos acudir a los libros de autoayuda…

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Independence Day is about freedom, apparently.

18 Sep

Independence Day in Mexico. Día de la independencia. The holiday of the nation. Ah, this day… Most of you, O my readers surely have a similar day in your respective countries. I bet at least one of you—at least one, seriously—must know of a holiday in where we celebrate the deeds of our historical figures which, somehow, changed the nation and put it in a new path of existence. Yes, yes, I am sure most of you have the overall idea of what I am talking about. These are the days in where we raise our cups, say “Hooray! Long live our historical heroes!”, and get extremely proud of our roots, lifestyles and identities…

http://twoasiansnabottle.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/toasting.jpg

“Cheers, honey~!”

Now, before I begin, I would like to explain a bit our context in here, starting with what happened in this particular day. You see, in Mexico, nobody (sane or aware of the facts, at least) is really in the mood to, this time, celebrate our past heroes and the ones who freed us from the colonization. Several things are the cause of this. One: several debates, regarding the actual facts and deeds of some heroes, are making people rethink if some of our historical figures actually did what the storybooks say (and I found a little gem explaining a little theory that one of our stories was actually modified so it could become a romantic tale of patriotism to brag in front of several foreign diplomats). Two: our government has seen the return of an almost centennial authoritarian party who has a clear record of violence and censorship towards the citizens who oppose it. And three: said party just recently suffocated violently a huge teacher march in this weekend just to sweep the streets and prepare everything for the celebration of the Independence Day, and there are records that the policemen were terribly violent. And four: what are we celebrating again?

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“We want you to leave the goddamn place so we can celebrate that you’re free of oppression, silly people!”

No, really, care somebody remind me what are we celebrating…? Huh? Independence? Freedom of rule and chains? Oh, good. So glad to know we’re now free of colonial rule. So glad to know that nothing’s controlling our life. It’s so really nice to be free, to walk outside without fear, to have our own identity, to not feel pressed by other people, to breathe and say “Darn, I am so free!”…

https://i1.wp.com/i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/010/649/A7oiIih8uESN53mTLKhMxQ2.png

…Now, you can guess where I am trying to go. We really have nothing to celebrate in here. Independence Day is, in my opinion, supposed to be a holiday of freedom, of being ourselves, of not having anything to be afraid about, of—mostly, which is kinda the point of the day—not having somebody controlling us. And yet, our little vendors and national merchandise are shunned and left to rot in the corner while international merchandise, such as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, etc., come and devour the life of people, and make them forget that our people needs help too with their businesses. We’re the playground of these international merchandises. We’re at the hands of the foreign people. They even passed a bill in where foreigners can buy land in Mexico and do whatever they want with it. And most of that land’s usually home of many indigenous people who are shunned and left to rot in the corner as well. And the TV has this mania of ignoring the pleas of these people, putting them as troublemakers, and then airing commercials in where people with warts and pimple are bullied and shunned by prettier people, and tells you that your sole solution is to buy this cream so you can be accepted again!

And yet, we’re supposed to celebrate a holiday in where we’re all FREE of domination…! Seriously!

https://i2.wp.com/conspiracy-theory-secrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/016-Map.jpg

Name an area Shelltania and save us from trouble already.

But see, this is the Mexican context. I am posting this not entirely due to Mexico, but because I am sure that this is not the sole case. I am not saying that all Independence Days in the world are celebrations of nothingness (in fact, I bet there’s a country I don’t know whose similar holiday surely celebrates the whole glory of freedom; I believe that, if Cataluña wins its independence from Spain, the celebrations would be some of the most sincere in these years due to its recent status, specially if Spain remains with its little issues around), but rather that I am sure that there are people who have noticed that we’re not really that free as we’re supposed to celebrate. I remember watching an RT documentary, titled “La feria de las caridades” (sorry, can’t remember the English title >.<; If anybody knows, please do tell), which spoke about the delivery of American food support to several African countries not entirely out of kindness, but also due to political intentions. That is: winning a good position inside the continent just to keep a good watch in the surroundings. That can be bought once you deliver food to the needed people. Because they are ignored by their governments because they’re glad that other people are doing their job. When they could just help them get some water to work their own lands and agriculture. And so, the drama continues.

https://i2.wp.com/www.patriagrande.com.ve/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/africa_0.jpg

Some help to bring water to their areas could solve all their problems, but noooo…

That documentary, alongside this holiday, made me wonder about this. It made me wonder if we really should keep celebrating something (at least in the usual way, I am not saying “Let’s cancel all celebrations! They’re evil!” ;P) that we haven’t achieved yet. In my opinion, marking a holiday involves the culmination—the unanimous vote that we have achieved—of a certain value that will stay with us forever. And celebrating independence of colonial rule or even a national identity is a bit awkward. I feel that we’re still a colony not only from foreign powers, but also of fear. How “fear”, you ask? Well, simply that: fear. The fear of not being the person you want to be. Fear of not being what the media you must be, of not having the “correct” clothing, of having the “incorrect” clothing, of becoming silly nerds, of having an ugly smile, of not having sex lots of times as the “champs” of the TV, of not being fashionista enough… Fear which can be “solved” if you buy this brand of clothing, if you buy this toothpaste so you can finally have an acceptable smile, if you buy all the insignificant things from the malls just because they’re cute and in the mouth of everybody… Solutions offered by you by most companies, who are almost everywhere around the globe. Who don’t like competition at all from tiny and modest local places and bribe to get more stores (am I right, Wal Mart?). And who, by complete irony, also celebrate the patriotic holidays with discounts and special products, as if they never were fighting for land to sell themselves.

Basically, they tell us of what to be proud of, but not why. And they start these campaigns to create the image they want that both safeguards their interests and keep us satisfied. Let’s take Chelsea Manning as an example. She just wanted to help her country in an unusual way in the common standards (by showing everybody the Collateral Damages video to park debate); and what does she get as a thank you or a “Well, maybe we should indeed debate because we love this country and humanity”? 35 years of prison. Why? Because she broke the law… So yeah. And then they released a photo of her in a wig and make up for no reason, but with a clear intention of ridiculing her and ignoring her intention and actions. And thus, give to the public an indirect statement that no, no, people, this is not the patriotic attitude you must take, it’s wrong, it’s breaking the law, you’re loving erroneously your country. As if this was worse than the many war criminals that she wanted to denounce.

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The irony? I bet she needs 100 years to be finally hailed as a hero… Hopefully, she will be well remembered in the Independence Day when that time comes.

And thus, her attitude was wrong, but the soldier’s is correct because he fights directly and in a clear way for the country, and more importantly: by not doing what Manning did. You must pamper the good ol’ nation because it is already perfect, correct, and better than other places; because we’re already free from the terrible chains and from the evil Others! Because our problems are now in the past! And what better way to keep it than a holiday that celebrates such thing. A holiday that repeats the same speech over and over again—our heroes of the past, people!—, but never updates itself to the contemporary issues and that opens the debate that we’re also in an epoch in where we can see and create more heroes of liberty and identity like Manning. Oh no, it’s just a celebration of the past. Because the problems were in the past, so let’s celebrate we’re now better!

Independence Day’s supposed to celebrate our identity, our freedom. In Mexico, and other places like Africa and Latin America, we’re still bombarded by foreign powers. Identity’s a keyword in these holidays: they’re the cause of the celebration. We must celebrate that we’re who we are and are protecting our mother land by just shouting proudly “I am from this country, the best one of all!”. But it’s really hard to celebrate when they insult you for protesting for the sake of your own people (who happen to be the offenders too), when the foreign powers come to dictate what stays and what must leave in the nation, and when the government jails you for “treason” just for wanting to spark a debate about foreign policies in one of the most sincere, if not uncommon, expression of patriotism. I recently readed José Vasconcelo’s essay “La raza cósmica”, which deals with some racial identity in Latin America, and said that we can’t really celebrate our independence holiday if we can’t look at the other liberty heroes, way before the official ones, who did other things. And I would like to take his statement, but also add “the heroes of the future and contemporary”, which nowdays are taken as terrorists, vandals or criminals. And need a century to be finally recognized as warriors by the media and the governments.

The four races of the world create the fifth one, which will bring the ultimate glory and peace of humanity, according to Vasconcelos.

I am sometimes afraid to think that this holiday’s saying “We’re in the best condition now. Let’s celebrate! We are perfect, so there is no need to keep struggling to reach something we already have” instead of “Let’s celebrate we managed to get freedom, which means we can keep getting it with more struggle”. I am this afraid, people. This afraid.

I remember myself as a child, who would love to go to the church festivals to celebrate this holiday and say “I am so glad to be of this country!”, and it wasn’t until these years in where I finally took a seat and wondered what I was celebrating. What identity I am proud of. From whom I am free now. Because I just recently realized that we’re not free. We will never be free as long as ignorance in the past, in our identity and in the understanding of the word “colonization” keeps going in our collective mindset. I really feel a bit irked when I read somebody say “Viva México” because I want to ask them “What is it that you’re celebrating? What makes you proud of?”. And I know some of them would say “We’re free of the colonial rule, what else?”. And then I would point them that a Spanish company owns a bank in Mexico, so we’re not really free, but… I tell myself “Maybe later”, but I am afraid the chance might never come. And I am sure this is not only in Mexico, but around the world. Are we really free? What are we celebrating…? Why do we remember such days? Why? And what for? What’s the point of it?

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I forgot Texxon had a city called Dell Paso. I need geography classes again.

I am not saying that foreign products are evil, mind you. Oh no, I am just saying that either people sell themselves to these powers and let them interfere in the country or lifestyle for their own benefit, despising the local markets with people who need to make a living with their hands too and playing foul games to win power and influence inside, or are a bit contradictory and hypocrite in their own notion of national identity, just to protect their own interests. I am just telling an opinion and a preoccupation towards the world. My greatest reference is life itself. It’s what happened to the teachers in Mexico, to Chelsea Manning and Africa’s new colonization for its goods. I am afraid, O readers. I am afraid of what’s going on. But we’re on the Information Age. We’re now on the new age predicted by the Mayans. We’re living an Apocalypse—a lift of the veil—and understanding truth finally. And now that we’re getting it, we can finally help each other once we get what we did wrong and where we did right. And I believe that we will be able to celebrate independence in the future once we get rid first of the fear colonization—by not being afraid of what others will tell and teaching our future generations to care about the world (which is becoming a rare value among the youth who are becoming obsessed with junk TV and violent games) and to protect it, not only to honour it (and not with wars. Seriously, please…)—and then we can finally change the way our societies are handled.

dog enjoys a beautiful sunset

Let’s meditate together, looking at the sun… Not directly, though: you’ll go blind.

Any comments, corrections and/or expansion of this post are greatly appreciated. Just for the sake of building truth, people.

*Images not mine, found in the internet. Some do go back to some pages in where I found them, and others I believe are free of use. If not, I apologize and will remove them if I receive a complain*

A warm greeting, or why I decided to create a blog

14 Sep

We’re in the 21st century. We’re the sometimes called Digital Age, the Digital Revolution, the Third Industrial Revolution (according to Wikipedia, of course), etc., etc. So it’s to be expected that we just entered into a century in where many things are being replaced by new stuff or transported to new vehicles, mostly to computers and all this tricky technology that one day can suddenly break itself and destroy all your documents and precious photos (don’t ask; it was an awful Wednesday…). From typewriters, we moved to a printer. From the VHS cassettes, we suddenly arrived to blue-rays. From CD Players, we traveled to the MP3s. From this, we arrived to that. And so on and so on.

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In his time, telephones were also weapons!

Nothing, in my opinion, ever “dies” or vanishes in this world: it just merely advances to a new face, one that fits in this new century and the new needs. It’s like Pokemon (say hi to a Pokemon fan, by the way), but instead of three phase evolutions, we can go beyond millions of evolutions. And all because we need to get stronger and move to the closest gym. And all so we can become Pokemon Masters and reach some kind of high plane of existence once this goal is accomplished. We’re always on a journey. And we will never stop, if my calculations are correct and the anime keeps going.

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You could say we’re on the Charmeleon phase of the world, but the current events hint we’re close to become a Charizard…

Now, you may wonder why I am rambling so much–why lots of yadda yadda and no cute kittens so far (because let’s face it: internet is nothing without kitten gifs. It is like some sort of law…)–and why I still haven’t explained more about this blog. Well, I thought it would be nice to simply explain a bit more the context of these decades before moving on. You see, I always wanted to express my ideas somewhere, somehow, sometime, but since I couldn’t find a proper way in the world of paper, I decided to move on to the newest, easiest and most innovative (in my opinion, of course; some people may think otherwise) way of info-sharing and expression of this century: blogs. Specially because I find it as the same thing as newspapers and essay books like Montaigne’s Essays, but simply inside computers and through sites that can be visited by everybody. It’s the same thing, but with different vehicle. Both the VHS cassette and the Blu-Ray have the same end: to project movies anywhere they’re taken to. And thus the essay books, newspaper columns and the blog are the same in terms of goal, just different in way of reaching it. All of them are the same person, just driving a different car.

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And with this kitten, I officially belong to the internet now. Hooray!

I want to post about what’s going on in the world and immortalize these pieces of the 21st century in this blog. Not exactly in a news format–I don’t want to utilize this blog as a news page as I am no professional journalist and it’s not entirely my goal to inform people of what’s going on–, but more of discussion. We discuss, we understand, we get conclusions, we get something for our life… All of that. And since I couldn’t find a proper way to express myself, I decided to join forces with my enemy-lover, the internet, and start a blog to experience a taste of this century, as I find blogging as perhaps one of its landmarks in info-sharing. It has become the adventure journal from the past centuries, and I want to experience it before the new era comes and takes it away.

As I would deal with many current things in the world, you could say this is a political blog. But in that case, let me add quickly a “Whoa, no, no, hold your horses” before I invite you to sit down and sip some coffee to clear the doubts. Y’see, I don’t want to restrain a blog to a simple theme when many things around the world deserve to be discussed and given an opinion.

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Let’s sit and have some coffee, shall we?

I can’t choose a simple topic to make a blog. I like everything: video games, movies, TV shows, literature (I LOVE READING)… So I decided to make a blog about everything that’s going on, but with the goal of not simply giving an opinion and give my five cents to the world, but to create a conclusion. And that’s why I decided to create a blog: to semi-kinda-rant, to post curiosities from this life, and to kinda immortalize the 2000s in this blog so, in the future, we all can look back and wonder several whys which might have been resolved so far or not.

I actually decided to finally make the blog after several events in Mexico, my home country, that made me want to scream loud and express my indignation after several violent riots. I will write an entry about it later (damn ye, duties!), because it’s one of the things I want to give an opinion about and get the world to know. That’s why I am also writing in English (my second language): I want people from around the world to know the situation in here, to share their views and see if my views can also help a bit. This is, you could say, an open diary for everybody who’s livin’ la vida loca in this 21st century. Any topic is welcome. Any intention of expressing an opinion for sake of helping each other think and grow is welcome. So this blog welcomes everybody, and I hope everybody can welcome my blog and opinion.

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My hat’s off to you, O Reader~!

Thanks a bunch for reading and I hope this blog can be useful!

*None of the images belong to me. They were found on the internet*

*Updated in September 16th due to image issues*