...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



That's not oil floating out there in the Gulf of Mexico, it's greed.

a disaster that can be prevented



The electricity supply in the sweatshop in the crowded part of old Dhaka where Asma, 10, makes safety pins for a living is so dangerous that the foreman can only turn on the lights using a broomstick.

"If I use my hands I may get an electric shock," he explains.

It's Spring, things tend to balance:

Mojave cross at center of court fight reported stolen
Miss USA Contestants Pose in Lingerie

A Filipino journalist went missing shortly after reporting to the police that a provincial governor and his followers had mauled two members of a TV news crew, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines


...what I'm describing isn't pre-war Germany, but present-day Venezuela
[. . .]
Jewish Venezuelans say their case is different -- because in Venezuela, they tell us, the anti-Semitism stems directly from the government...
Nora Zimmett/HuffingtonPost


guatemala testimonio
guatemala testimonio bakhtin

What comes first, in the light entry I've made so far into all this - Bakhtinian dialogics, consciousness placed in and working within the living chronotope, not in the abstract planes of inhuman geometry where too much philosophy gets done - is the rejection of the audience as primary, the audience experience as purpose, the audiential grasp of the testimony given, as a kind of entertainment, serious and glamorous because of its irrefutable gravity, where the identification with the speaker becomes cathartic without effecting any real change where it's most demanded, that there's something eventually creepy about too much of it, the experience of it I mean, sitting there watching it unfold, listening to it, gasping in shock and sympathetic pain, outraged frustration, seeing it from the safe distance of the comfortable hall or living room, in the documentary frame, on the screen, or the page.
I'm not Rigoberta Menchú, or Roberto Obregón or Rogelia Cruz, I'm me, here, with this other distinct narrative toward which testimonio comes, piercing as it is, but finally tangential to the here and now of this living which is mine.
Still somehow Guatemala has moved toward the center of what the world as I'm having it with me on this trip of being means to me now.
You want illegal immigrants? What the hell difference does the law make there? Being invited into a country legally and participating legally when you get there in the brutally violent, but legal, oppressive dominance of its poorest people.
Fundamentalist evangelicals, military "advisers", US diplomatic agents, all in the country legally, welcomed all complicit in grotesque crimes. The Latin American story.
No laws being broken means what exactly in a context of immoral dominance by those who own and administer the law-making apparatus?
Well, sure there are laws, some, a few scattered around the halls of just-us. But moral imperatives exist before, above, and beyond the law. They're why the laws were made, are made, in the first place.
What happened in Guatemala right up until this moment is what is wrong pretty much everywhere right now. It's local. It's American. It is still unrepaired, and the damage it began in and became and metastisizes is as pertinent as anything happening, or feared to be about to happen, in Arizona.
The almost incomprehensible wrong of what happened in Guatemala is what needs to be articulated, which is what testimonio embarks toward doing, but it needs to be articulated to the heirs of those who were and are most culpable. The diffuse progeny of the blind evil catastrophe of American business, bourgeois Christianity, the near-cartoonish and surprisingly ubiquitous Israeli exporters of death technologies and techniques, and something else I am at least at present only able to conceive of as malevolent spirit, the tangible spiritual presence of evil, a thing like sickness, functionally caused and symptomatically carried out by atomized and invisible-to-us parts, but taken as a whole, seen from outside in cumulative effect a sentient thing which is an illness, whose aim is its own prosperity, if it has anything like an aim, and isn't just the decay and collapse of something else, that never grew into its own possibility.
What happened in Guatemala is not secondary, it isn't collateral or tangential or any other word that means of no real consequence.
It isn't a metaphor, nor is it a substitute for some larger more obscure karmic relation.
It has the air and ground of Wounded Knee in it, and Fallujah, and Jenin, and Sri Lanka, all saturated in innocent blood, and the still growing catalog of wrong that is the only document that counts now.
What you did to get here. What you didn't have to do to get here, but did, and why nothing of what you want now will be free of that, nothing of what you do now, at its best, at its most free and clean and healing and sacrificing toward the truly innocent. It will carry that with it and within it and everything you do is and will continue to be an attempt to evade the weight of it. You want it to be mine. Somehow what you've done ends up being mine.
All right. I'll carry it, but not for you. With you.
You'll carry it with me.
You will carry this with me, conscious, aware, as I am, remorseful beyond articulation. Or you'll never go anywhere but straight to hell.

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