Afganistan… Perhaps is too late now

Perhaps is time to look at the rear view mirror. Maybe just taking a glance to the past will give us some insight to the future, but in the mean time let me tell you: no army has won a war against a guerilla in the last 50 years. With the exception of Alberto Fujimori who captured the leader of “Sendero Luminoso” nobody can claim such victory. But to be honest, when Fujimori captured Abimael Guzman, the “Sendero Luminoso” movement was already dead, killed by the economic progress of the 1980’s in the Latin-American region and abimael Guzaman was already a ‘fatty daddy’ grandpa of the Maoism.

Some other movements died drowned by emerging democracies such as the “Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional – Tupamaro”, the “Movimiento Peronista Montonero” the Mexican guerillas of Lucio Canañas and Genaro Vazquez as well as the most recent “Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN)”, but no one killed by the bullets.

When an army goes to a war, normally they face another army. Both armies have been trained by the same book and the fight by the same code of honor… guerillas have no formal training and follow no code of honor… even worse, they are mad. We saw that in Vietnam. The guerilla fought and fought hard following the most unconventional tactics they knew at that time and at the end the won.

Afghanistan is living a chapter two of his own history. A guerilla war fought against the Russian army put the Taliban government in power. The Taliban government fought a war against the USA army and lost… the Taliban government turns into a Taliban guerilla and now they are winning.

The process is fairly simple. When two armies fight the civilians stay away from them and watch until anyone wins and then they resume their lives following whoever won the war. But circumstances are quiet different under a guerilla of guerillas. In this case the civilians get directly involved. Most of the time they don’t support the guerilla because most guerillas are radical and they don’t offer an alternative other than a new government but no one knows what kind of government they offer. Guerillas are known for been violent too and when they arrive to a new village they terrorize the inhabitants and that way they form an alliance, offering protection and hope even though the people in the village knows there is no hope in that alliance. That way, inch by inch they advance, extending their web until they rich power.

If there is something we can see trough the rear view mirror, I’ll say, let’s look back and analyze the Latin-American history. Let’s look to what happen to the 1970’s guerillas and learn something… the war wasn’t won by the army, but by democracy and economic progress. What people saw in democracy wasn’t the vision of a new world but the vision of a world without worries, a world where normal people could go and find a job, drink a six pack on a given Saturday, have sex every Sunday, play with the kids and go back to work on Monday.

Perhaps is not too late for Afghanistan, but it will be if we don’t look through the rear view mirror, if we don’t build the society that will reject the Taliban’s offer.

 

Love in Obama’s era

We are now in the 21 century, we elected the first black president and the idea that we never been to the moon doesn’t matter anymore… but the time for love is still to come. There’s never been a Martin Luther King for love. The first love revolution jumped from woman to men, white on white, Latino on Latino, black on black to gay and lesbian love.

All dating sites ask you what is your ethnicity and what ethnicity you would like to date. It might make sense since the point of view of the database to narrow a search but at the same time the same time it destroys the basics of human nature, where we date someone based primary by the way they look, before we thought of races. At the beginning the questions was, are you black or white? Then they change it to what is your ethnicity? White/Caucasian, Black, Latino/Spanic , Asian, Middle Eastern, Other. Let’s say that you want to date an Italian man or woman, are you going to call it white? What kind of with are you going to get, an Italian or a Polish, what about Spanish, Cubans or Argentineans or Uruguayans. They are whites and Spanish. I’m not going to list all the possible combination but I hope you get the point. Just try to classify Jennifer Lopes or Ricky Martin, what are they, Spanish or white or Mediterranean?

Where I want to get is to the fact that when is about love, we still see the world in white and black. That when I see and add and somebody say that they are looking for an Spanic male I don’t know if they are looking for somebody like Ricky Martin or Cheech Marin. Both options leave me out of the game, especially since I am a mix of both. If I say that I don’t like black woman, I would be killing my chances of dating Halle Berry… nay way, this discussion is pointless and dead since we came to the era of gay marriage before we could settle our differences about race and color. Gays and lesbians don’t care about all those issues because they don’t want to put stale food on their table; they leave it for us so we can petty about ourselves and our petty problems. They are bringing their issues to the Supreme Court while I’m still crying over a blond that doesn’t date Mexicans because doesn’t know how to bring it to her parents and their suburban thanksgiving celebration… well, that is just a figure of speech.

What are we going to learn? This society is eventually going to legalize gay marriage before we learn how to love without any barriers or preconceive ideas. In a way we can say that gay marriage will come before is the right time, but there is never a right time… it will come to this world like a premature baby or maybe like a prodigy baby… and the other love, the one that doesn’t see color or races will come as soon as our generation dies and with us all the deformities that our grandparents put in this society and we never knew how to shake from our backs, tired of carrying the baggage of thousands of years of human evolution.

An Oil Malady

It is just the year 2008 since we learn how to track time. Out of those 2008 years, 1000 where spent by humankind doing nothing, 800 discovering the world an ourselves and only the last 200 years transforming the world around us in the name of progress.

The success of the industrial revolution was based on the increased discovery of oil reserves and new uses for its byproducts. Now we can see how almost every industry depends on oil one way or another. Cultures that practice traditional agriculture are submerged in poverty and traditional manufacturing has no place in this economy where is imperative to have a surplus production to be sold outside in the international market in order to generate the necessary revenue to grow and generate employment in a constant circle that makes oil demand bigger and bigger every day, specially as other countries struggle to grow and become part of this industrialized society.

The modern households had changed accordingly, going from burning wood to kerosene and then gas and electricity. Most of the things that we can afford as a society

Human transportation changed its own habits too, and seem like there is a worldwide fever to possess a car. Nobody wants to use the public transportation if they can avoid it. The mere idea of taking the bus or the train for a weekend trip with the family seems insulting and sometimes even a mile walk to the store seems obscene and unbearable.

At the time I started writing this post the whole country was watching in horror how the oil prices were escalating to levels never seen before. This crisis made people realize the need of a different source of energy, an alternative to fossil fuels and they realized that technology needed a change too… At that time I just wanted to make a point about the very bad short term memory this society has. I wanted to predict how everything was going to be forget as soon as the prices of crude went down… and they went down, and we forgot.

An Election Day… What About the Day After?

The famous play “Inherit the wind” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, based on Proverbs 11:29 He that trouble his own house shall inherit the wind:and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart represent in a clear way the electoral process of the united states between Barack Obama and John McCain.

In the play, a progressive school professor who teaches evolution is ostracized by the town’s people for teaching science and he was brought to trial to make it legal. He hired a famous lawyer who defended cases like his before and the the town was represented for a lawyer recommended by the church…

Well, you have to watch the movie or read the play… The church and their lawyer prevent the other attorney from using any science book or the constitution nor even the Bible in defending his client… even like that they loose and at the end a frustrated and delirious church lawyer, unable to defend his position cries out the books of the Pentateuch… Genesis! Exodus! Leviticus! Numbers! Deuteronomy! On his knees, alone, deserted… even by his closest followers and supporters.

Another analogy would be Mortimer Dukecrying out in despair: Turn on the machines! open the market again! in frustration while his brother was taken on a gurney in the movie “Trading Places” … that is how a picture John McCain on the night of November 4 after the elections on his knees screaming; open the polls! Wait one more hour, wait!

Let’s get back to Proverbs 11:29 it reads:

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the windland the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

Now that the presidential campaign has come to a point where each party would do or say anything to gain one more vote, we have found ourselves immerse in the politics of hate. Nobody stops to think about what has been said. All of the sudden we found ourselves as being black, white, Hispanics… etc. The words of an ambitious politician has made us self conscious again of the more primitive differences in this society… differences we thought were left behind at least one generation ago. In the past, people really believed that humans with dark skin were inferior and behind in the evolution chain. Five decades ago a signs reading “No dogs or Mexicans allowed” (or “No Mexicans or dogs allowed”) were placed in some restaurants in Texas. The civil rights movement took care of all that… now Sara Palin came and in her ambition to be vice-president wiped all that off and put the seed of hate in all Americans heart, because when the politicians have not a defined agenda, the only weapon they have is nationalism, patriotism, Racisism, and they don’t hesitate in using all that because they want power.

Now the crowds are angry and their God is blood thirsty. Now we don’t remember the times when we used to call brother to a complete strange wearing a different tone of ski. All because just an ambitious politician put that seed in our brains, and when we left the rally we didn’t go home thinking “well, I guess I have to vote for this candidate” no, we went home thinking how to get revenge, destroy, expel all those who don’t agree or don’t look like us. They went home saying “The white house belongs to me… he has no right to take something that is mine… not a Niger!

I won’t mention any names because what has been said today will be repeated by the other political party tomorrow. But we need to learn how far it is ok to go when we address the crowd. We need to learn that our words can gain us the position we are looking for but we can do a lot of damage to a brittle society. It is not ok to put incendiary thoughts in people’s minds without taking responsibility for our words. Hitler tried that before and it did work… we know now that it is not right, that we all are humans and have equal rights.

It took many generations to heal the wounds of racial profiling. We know now that it takes several generations to heal the wounds that one person or group can inflict to society so let’s all be careful not to troubleth his own house… or we shall inherit the wind… This blog is just a message to all those republicans out there eager to win an election.

 

The Latino Vote Doesn’t Exist

When I say that I don’t mean to diminish any Latino or Hispanic, I just meant they are not what Americans think of them… by Americans I meant ‘American politicians”.

In this country there are three classes of Latinos: the illegal ones, the ones that have found it very difficult to get integrated to this society and the ones that have been assimilated. Which ones of these three are they talking about when they talk about the Latino Vote?

Let’s see. Giuliani idea of winning the Latino vote was flooding Florida with advertising in Spanish, Ted Kennedy was singing in Spanish, George Bush brought some Mexican singers to his campaign in LA mumbled some words in Spanish “como esta amigou?” I think (by the way Vicente Fernandez the singer at that event need the singing crash course… three hours would do) and his nephew (Jeff’s son) gave an speech in Spanish.

All that reminds me of the old times (or maybe actual times) when the Mexican politician brought thousands of people to their political rallies with the promise of  giving them lunch (a torta, a soda and an orange)… over time it became a tradition and a symbol  of political campaigning in Mexico. Those were the famous “acarreados”  or the “carried ones” and many of them voted for that politician because they felt they have to pay that way for the lunch that they received.

When it comes to romancing the Latino vote in America seems like they have read the same book than their Mexican counterparts. They show to those events surrounded by a bunch of mariachis and bark couple words in Spanish and then talk about immigration and farm labor … but all those things are of importance only for the illegal immigrants, and they don’t vote.

 

The are some other issues that are important like the low education levels in the Spanish population, deserting school, teen pregnancy, early marriage, woman abuse, religious intolerance, etc. those are the things the politician should be talking about when campaigning the Latino populated areas, but they don’t because they are afraid of offending sensitivities. This group of people doesn’t care really. They display his apathy by not voting or voting for whomever brings more mariachis or calls tem “amigous”… most of them have no interest in participating in the American politics.

The third group is crowded with educated people, business people, students, activists, celebrities, and Mexican descendants from the time when Texas belonged to Mexico or newer generations. This people have made their mind base on their own analysis of the American politics, the economy, their values and they vote either Republican or Democrat… Look at Bill Richardson… a democrat with an American agenda or Mel Martinez… a Republican with an American agenda too.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright… a Place in History?

I’ll start saying that I like Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I just mean that he seems to be a nice person and probably a very good pastor for those who might need his spiritual advice or support. Same as millions of Americans, I don’t know much about him but the couple of YouTube video clips that everybody has seen (most probably courtesy of Hillary Clinton) and his two appearances on TV… and that is what I want to talk about.  For some reason I thought of the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto cardinal yesterday while I was watching the reverend’s speech. I thought of Ernesto’s poem “Cuidate Claudia”

Be careful, Claudia,
when you’re with me,
because the slightest gesture,
any word, a sigh
Claudia,
a minor oversight,
perhaps one day
will be examine by scholars
And this dance Claudia
might be remembered for centuries
Claudia… I’m telling you.


I wonder if Jeremiah Wright is conscious of the place that he was taking in history.  Seems to me that thirty years ago the tickets he bought were for upper balcony seats, and at the end of the show he found himself sitting in the first row wondering how did this happen?  Or maybe just like a basket ball player finds himself with the ball in his hands a second before the game is over… what do I do now?Same as thousand of people across the country, I followed yesterday’s (Sunday, April 27, 2008) speech with curios attention. Not just about what he would say on his relationship with Barack Obama, but wondering, what does this man have to say to the world?  Why he didn’t say anything before? What makes him deserve national attention all of the sudden? There are dozens or maybe hundreds of pastors just like Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the United States, and I know for certain that they are no different from one another. I have had my share of black gospel on TV and I have dropped in from time to time to a black church just to see what is going on… so I can say with certainty that they don’t differ from one another by much… just some differences in the show, the people on stage, the choir, the band and the gesticulation are different, but the spirit is the same. So the question is what makes Reverend Jeremiah Wright different? Some people had become famous for free, not having to do anything.  An example would be Paris Hilton who’s only merit was to be born into the Hilton family or Nicole Richie who’s only merit was to be friends with Paris.  Well, Jeremiah Wright was the pastor of the church where Barack Obama went from time to time. Now we know that Barack Obama didn’t listen to the pastor because he said that “if he had listened he would have distanced himself from the church”.  So, he went to that church but he didn’t listen to the sermons, just like most Sunday churchgoers… but the reverend is now a celebrity.TheNAACP awarded the reverend because he is the “hottest brother”. Isn’t that the most lame reason ever heard of?  If Barack Obama never attended that church, would the reverend still be awarded?     Like most people, I wasn’t taken by surprise by the sardonic sarcasm he used in his effort to look smart, his defiant position, his allegory, his poor use of somebody else’s studies (Do you speak American? by Robert MacNeil and William Cran), and surprisingly, his simplistic view of the African American culture and religious tradition.Hewasn’t asking people to take him at face value, but to take him “as is”. He didn’t show to the world anything that we didn’t know … or maybe something, he showed to us that he hasn’t earned the position he is taking right now… if I am wrong, he will use this position to propel himself to a place in history… if I am right, tomorrow nobody is going to remember him… not even his name.

A Journey trough life