Archive | March, 2015

BREAKING: Mumia Abu-Jamal hospitalised; family cannot contact him

31 Mar

Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, PHL

freemumia

Renowned Black revolutionary Mumia Abu-Jamal has been hospitalised, and is being held captive in intensive care at the Schuykill Medical Centre, Pottsville, Pa., since approximately 13:00 today, 30 March.

Sources from the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ) report that Mumia is being held in the ICU incommunicado, and that his wife has not been allowed to contact him. He is reportedly on an insulin drip. The International Action Centre this evening reports that, as they stand “feet away from Mumia’s hospital door,” 15 supporters are confronted with a total police blockade of the room where he is being held.

Significantly, this abduction coincides with the date set for a trial, in Harrisburg, Pa., to overturn the recent law passed by the state of Pennsylvania muzzling the free speech of the state’s prisoners. Comrades and civil rights activists in Pennsylvania call the new law the “Silence Mumia Law,” because the state and…

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Our bodies are not terra nullius 

20 Mar

kwetoday

I will not be linking to any media articles for this post. There is enough out there for my readers to find the articles on their own. Be forewarned that what you will read may shock you with how the media is treating this violent death. If it doesn’t shock you, you will understand when an Indigenous woman who dies a violent death, it is “just business as usual.”

People are asking who else wrote about this, who else is talking about this besides the media. Basically, nobody. Typical. In that same breadth, pay attention who stays silent. It scares me.

I am scared. I am angry. I am sad.

Yesterday I received the news of the verdict. “You must have heard by now,” my friend sent me. I didn’t. I just got off the plane. I was on my way to an interview. I checked twitter. Practically silent. I…

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50 Great Novels About Madness

18 Mar

Happy March of Madness, everybody!

Flavorwire

Not so much into March Madness? Well, perhaps you should look at it another way. March is the perfect month for reading books about madness — it is a transitional time, after all, possessed of both lion and lamb. Plus, you’ll have ample reading time, both outside and inside. The books herein, it should be noted, are those that deal with a kind of literary madness — obsession and absurdity and hallucination — not directly focusing on mental illness proper, whenever the two can be separated. So you won’t find The Bell Jar or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper here, though those are all excellent reads.

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Have you read Los días terrenales?

17 Mar

Ever since I participated in a specific Daily Post Challenge and used one of my favourite books of them all for it, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, I had the little urge of working more with books, as it is part of my educational formation and, obviously, I need to give some use to what I’ve learned during these years of excruciating pain, don’t you think?

And thus, I thought it would be a nice idea to present some Hispanic little gems to the English-speaking public (as I tend to read Latin American literature over other international titles), especially with this specific author that suddenly reminded me of the dark side of life.

José Revueltas.


As you may guess, José Revueltas is a rather unknown author, even in Mexico, possibly because of his status as communist (let’s remember that the only red that our actual government’s tolerating so far is that of blood) and because of the few demand of his books. I happened to meet his work by chance for a school assignment, but I reread a book of his some days ago in search for inspiration for a project I am currently working for. And this rereading made me catch several key factors that I didn’t see in the day I met this text, and thus I decided to talk about it and, hopefully, open the curiosity among my English speaking readers so they can come give a try to this magnificent piece of underrated literature.

The book I am talking about is Los días terrenales, whose literal English title is The Earthly Days.

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What’s Los días terrenales about? Well, there’s not much to tell on this book. In fact, the plot it’s very, very simple: it’s the daily routine of the Mexican communists during the first half of the 20th century. That’s all. I swear to you, this is all. Or better said, it starts with a young Mexican communist, Gregorio Saldívar, helping a group of indigenous people during a fishing night, until they accidentally kill the head of a local group when they mistake him with a crocodile. This triggers some discomfort inside of his party, which will call for him in the next days to reassign him to another task for the communist agenda, which is, as you may guess, hidden and secret from the public, to conceal itself from the regime.

And…well, this is not all, but it’s the actual and straightforward plot of the book. In fact, Los días terrenales distinguishes itself from other Mexican works because of its prose and ambivalent way to connect past with present. You might be reading, for example, how Gregorio’s admiring one of the heads of the indigenous group, El Tuerto Ventura, and then suddenly the prose will jump to the day Ventura lost his eye and narrate it in a rather dark and violent way. It might sound annoying and even unnecessary, but trust me: it is done in a masterful way, almost as if it was the only way possible to give this character his background and humanity, as Revueltas is not a noob in literature. He really knows what the hell he’s doing and he achieves it with his style.

As a matter of fact, I think it is the Revueltas’ prose the pinnacle of this book.

Such simple plot is interwoven with very philosophical prose and a poetic description of the characters’ motivations and political ideas, aside of their emotional struggles with their life and themselves. For example, one of the main characters, Fidel, appears only from two to three chapters in total, and we only see him typewriting coldly and submerged into the communist agenda while the corpse of his baby daughter, Bandera, is abandoned in her cradle, with his wife, Julia, as the sole mourner of the poor child. This is the sole action of those two characters in a scene: writing and mourning. But the prose dives us into their psyche, their memories, how they met each other and how they’re reacting internally to their daughter’s premature death in her very own home.

In fact, if you’re looking for a book that includes lots of dialogue and external action, this book might not be for you. Most of the action occurs inside of the characters, in the way they contemplate and philosophize their life, and in the way the narrator presents to us the real personas behind those modern rebels which, in appearance, might seem too idealistic, cold or even naïve, as all of them have a distinct view of what Communist should be like.

Just in case you don’t believe me, allow me to translate the very first lines of the book so you can have an idea of Revueltas’ apocalyptic prose:

In the beginning, there was Chaos, yet suddenly that excruciating spell shattered into pieces and life came to be. The atrocious human life.

Contrary to what it might seem, Los días terrenales wasn’t actually a darling among the communists back then. In fact, because of its rather harsh criticism towards the ideology of that time (courtesy of Fidel’s rather cold, if not inhuman, left wing tendencies, which include treating his daughter’s death as a sacrifice in favour of the party), it was both unpopular with the right wing leaders and the left wing leaders. Revueltas was a proud red wing activist, but he was also dissatisfied with the local communist party and the way it leaded itself. Go figure how much controversy this book got!

Possibly because of that extremist left wing approach, and because of the author himself, this book is just known by very few people inside of the nation, and obviously he’s almost a ghost outside of Mexico.

However, I truly want this to change, as I think this book is a vanguard if we take into consideration its context and the power of its poetic prose, especially during the ending. In fact, the ending is the whole sum of power that Revueltas’ prose can bring into the reader. I recommend it due to its philosophical approach to the life and Communism, and even more because it is not as long as one would expect it to be.

Sadly, and as I said, I am not sure there is an English translation, so Spanish readings are the only ones available. However, if you happen to find it on English, or in any other language you read as well, trust me, it’s worth the time. It truly opens your mind and your conception of language, politics and even of Communism itself.

A recommended reading.

Thanks a lot for reading!

Have you heard of Carmen Aristegui?

14 Mar

Whoa! Two posts of the same category on a row! I’m on a roll, baby!

Errhem… Anyways, I don’t tend to do this, especially with such neglected category that is my HYHO posts archive, but this time it is a dire thing I must do, as I must inform the people around the world—preferably the ones who can understand English, that is—one big injustice that’s happening as of lately in Mexico.

Surely, some of you might have heard that Mexico’s not precisely the land of reporters and media. And you might have heard correctly. Mexico is more of a reporters’ cemetery than a paradise. The journalists in service of The State abound on radio and on TV, and they do receive more media coverage than the honest ones, which sadly tend to end in pits or hanging on our local bridges, luckily with their head still intact. Honest reporters in Mexico are scarce and most of them are now dead.

Most. But not all.

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Who is Carmen Aristegui, you might ask. Well, she happens to be one of the very few Mexican voices who dare to raise her own to speak against the unfairness that’s slowly killing us in Mexico. She’s a well renowned reporter, with several accolades and the recognition not only by the sane side of the media, but of the Mexican people as well. In fact, when she appeared on the relatively unknown MVS Noticias, boom! Its ratings flew off the charts.

This is Aristegui’s power, and more than power, trust that we Mexicans have on her. It’s no mystery for some that she’s one of my role models and personal heroines.

You might say that I’m exaggerating, that she can’t be the all-around perfect reporter. Possibly; nobody’s perfect, that’s a fact, but so far she hasn’t made a mistake in her reports and hasn’t offended anybody unlike others. And also, if it weren’t because of her, we wouldn’t have discovered the PRI’s brothel management inside their very own party headquarters and the white house scandal, property of the First Lady herself. Thanks to her—and her team, of course, which includes Irving Huerta and Daniel Lizárraga, coordinators in the white house scandal investigation, because they’re the ones doing the dangerous stuff in the coverages, so they also do need an important mention,—we finally got the PRI cornered and with some questions to answer to the public. It was Aristegui the one who kept fighting despite the censorship that the previous big cheese in term, Felipe Calderón, imposed on her, and the one who’s still fighting to shed some light of truth on the Mexicans’ minds.

She’s been fighting for many years against the media censorship and the corruption. And she will keep fighting…despite the new censorship.

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See, thing is that Aristegui was fired yesterday once she announced her partnership with MexicoLeaks, which is, like its inspirational parent, a Mexican WikiLeaks. It is a media partnership, organized by several reporting pages and groups that want to bring out public documents while protecting the identities of the denouncers. Technically, they won’t publish something that hasn’t been verified first, just like WikiLeaks, but it’s mostly for Mexican affairs, unlike the creation of Julian Assange.

Aristegui announced her affiliation, alongside that of her team, to this new portal and her involvement to the running of this project. She included MVS Noticias name too…but for not some shady reason, MVS didn’t want to be in the project. Why? Surely presidential pressure.

MVS Noticias not only denounced Aristegui for “affiliating” them to the project without their permission, but they also did fire her—her and her whole team—for, according to this, “abusing their trust”. Which, I am afraid, it’s Morse for “We were told by the big cheeses to end up with this madness”. In fact, and according to one rumor, Angélica Rivera, the Lady Cheese herself, even called Aristegui to tell her to stop this “child’s game”. How much truth it is, I am not sure. But we all Mexicans do know that her expulsion of MVS Noticias is not because of “trust” issues. Why? Well, the channel was with her the whole time; with the brothel scandal, with the white house scandal… Why the “trust” issue now? Obviously, this has “Government” written all over its face.

And indeed, this why most Mexicans are now pissed off.

chayotes.aristegui

Right after the news spread, people started rallying in front of the channel studios and started protesting in Aristegui’s defense. There’s now a popular hashtag going on—#EnDefensaDeAristegui—and people have showed their support for her everywhere, especially on the Internet, in where many people have started attacking MVS Noticias for this unusual move against her, and unfollowed several of its sites in protest to Aristegui’s dejection.

I am sharing the online petition to make her stay at MVS Noticias, as it now wants to reach 150,000 signatures to make it sound how much love Aristegui has received from the Mexicans.

If you’d like, I invite you to sign in favour of this honest and powerful woman not only for justice, but as a sign that maybe clarity’s finally bathing the people’s minds as of this Two Thousand century…

Who knows? Maybe the TV Media has some trustable microscopic places after all.

 

Thanks for reading!