Thursday, October 12, 2017

Día de la Raza — Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly Columbus Day)


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El 12 de octubre es fiesta conocida en varias regiones y épocas por muchos nombres: Día de Colón, Día del descubrimiento, Día de la hispanidad, Día de las Américas, Día de la raza, Día de los pueblos indígenas.

En México en 1928 a la insistencia del filósofo José Vasconcelos, entonces Ministro de Educación, se le nombró Día de la Raza, denominación de la Unión Ibero-Americana en 1913 para declarar una nueva identidad formada del encuentro de los Españoles y los indígenas de las Américas. En 1902 el poeta mexicano Amado Nervo había escrito un poema en honor del Presidente Benito Juárez (indio zapoteca) que recitó en la Cámara de Diputados, titulado La Raza de Bronce alabando a la raza indígena, título que más tarde en 1919 el autor boliviano Alcides Arquedas daría a su libro. El bronce (metal noble fundido de varios metales) llegó a ser metáfora del mestizaje. Según el pensar de Vasconcelos una Raza Cósmica, la raza del porvenir, es la raza noble que se forma en las Américas a partir del 12 de octubre de 1492, la raza del mestizaje, un amalgama de las gentes indígenas de las Américas, de los Europeos, los Africanos, los Asiáticos, las razas mundiales — en una palabra, la raza humana compuesta de una mezcla de todas las razas que Vasconcelos denominó la Raza Cósmica.



Pero no se puede ignorar que esta raza ideal se forma a gran costo de los pueblos indígenas Americanos (y de la gente africana traídos aquí como esclavos). Desde 2002, en Venezuela se le llama a la fiesta Día de la Resistencia Indígena.

Sea como sea, por cualquier nombre que le demos, de cualquier modo que la cortemos, es la misma torta — la fecha conmemora la llegada de los Europeos a América (que para ellos era un “nuevo mundo”), no una visita sino una invasión, un genocidio, subyugación de las gentes de ese “nuevo mundo” que hoy conocemos por el nombre de un cartógrafo Europeo que apenas pisó el suelo sagrado de los continentes que llevan su nombre. Lo que marca la fecha es una continua colonización, explotación, abuso, ultraje de los pueblos indígenas de las Américas que escasamente ha menguado, que ha persistido estos quinientos y veinte y cinco años.


Bien se le pudiera nombrar Día de la Globalización. A partir de ese día se comprueba concreta y definitivamente que la Tierra verdaderamente es redonda, una esfera, una bola, un globo. Y desde esa fecha se les trata imponer forzosamente a las gentes indígenas del “nuevo mundo” una cosmología, actitud bastante extraña hacia a la vida, hacia a la Tierra, hacia a la economía, hacia a lo sagrado, hacia al ser humano mismo — una sola verdad estrecha e intolerante, un desdén rapaz hacia la Tierra vista solamente como un recurso para explotarse, un concepto del progreso difícil de distinguir de la codicia y el hambre del poder.

La causa de los indígenas clama por justicia: se les sigue robando sus tierras y terrenos, se los destruyen por sus valiosas maderas y minerales; sus creaciones agrícolas, tal como el maíz y la papa, que han salvado del hambre a gran parte del mundo, se modifican al nivel molecular y se controlan por corporaciones rapaces; sus medicinas tradicionales se patentan por esas mismas corporaciones; el agua sagrada misma se privatiza y se les roba; aun no se les respeta el derecho a sus creencias y culturas. Aun poniendo al lado la justicia, todos deberíamos aliarnos a las gentes indígenas de las Américas (y del mundo entero) en su resistencia contra tal abuso porque lo que los amenaza a ellas nos amenaza a todos en el mundo entero — y a la Tierra misma. Tienen muchísimo que enseñarnos acerca de una relación sana del hombre con la Tierra.

En una Tierra, mucho más chica y frágil de lo que imaginábamos, nos encontramos en plena globalización y pugna contra la imposición de un capitalismo desenfrenado y del fascismo, su lógica extensión, que lo acompaña. Sigue la resistencia indígena que jamás ha cesado durante estos cinco y un cuarto de siglos a pesar de una represión brutal y ahora todos nosotros de la raza cósmica de mera necesidad debemos aliarnos a su lucha, pues esa lucha es nuestra de todos si hemos de sobrevivir en la Tierra, bendita madre de nuestra estirpe, la estirpe de la raza humana — y de toda nuestra parentela los otros animales, las plantas, los minerales. En la Tierra redonda y sin costura son ficticias las fronteras y lo que amenaza a unos nos amenaza a todos. Pensar al contrario no es solamente inmoral sino locura.


Berkeley, Alta California


© Rafael Jesús González 2017

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-October 12 is a feast-day known in various regions and times by many names: Columbus Day, Discovery Day, Hispanic Culture Day, Day of the Americas, Day of the Race, Day of the Indigenous Peoples.

In Mexico in 1928 at the insistence of the philosopher José Vasconcelos, then Minister of Education, it was named Día de la Raza (Day of the Race), denomination of the Iberian-American Union in 1913 to declare a new identity formed by the encounter of the Spaniards with the native peoples of the Americas. In 1902, the Mexican poet Amado Nervo had written a poem in honor of the President Benito Juárez (a Zapoteca Indian), which he read in the House of Representatives, titled La Raza de Bronce (Race of Bronze) praising the indigenous race, title which later in 1919 the Bolivian author Alcides Arquedas would give his book. Bronze (noble metal amalgamated of various metals) came to be metaphor for mestizaje (the mixing of the races.) According to the thinking of Vasconcelos, a Cosmic Race, the race of the future, is the noble race that is formed in the Americas since October 12, 1492, the race of mestizaje, an amalgam of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the Europeans, the Africans, the Asians, the world — in a word, the human race made of a mixture of all the races which Vasconcelos called the Cosmic Race.
 


But that this race is formed at great cost to the indigenous American peoples (and to the African peoples brought here as slaves) cannot be ignored. Since 2002, in Venezuela the feast-day is called Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance.)

Be that as it may, by whatever name we give it, however way we cut it, it is the same cake — the date commemorates the arrival of the Europeans to America (which for them was a “new world”), not a visit but an invasion, a genocide, a subjugation of the peoples of that “new world” which we know today by the name of a European cartographer who barely set foot on the sacred ground of the continents that bear his name. What the date marks is a continuous colonization, exploitation, abuse, outrage of the indigenous peoples of the Americas that has scarcely lessened, that has persisted these five-hundred and twenty-five years.


It could well be called Day of Globalization. Since that date, the Earth is concretely, definitively proven to be truly round, a sphere, a ball, a globe. And from that date is imposed by force upon the indigenous American peoples a quite strange cosmology, attitude toward life, toward the Earth, toward economics, toward the sacred, toward the human being him/herself — a single truth narrow and intolerant, a rapacious disdain toward the Earth seen only as a resource to be exploited, a concept of progress difficult to distinguish from greed and the lust for power.

The cause of the indigenous peoples screams for justice: their lands, their fields continue to be stolen from them, destroyed for their valuable woods and minerals; their agricultural creations, such as maize and the potato, which have saved a great part of the world from famine, are modified at the molecular level and controlled by rapacious corporations; their traditional medicines are patented by those same corporations; sacred water is privatized and stolen from them; even their right to their own beliefs and cultures is not respected. Even putting justice aside, we should all ally ourselves with the indigenous peoples of the Americas (and of the entire world) in their resistance against such abuse because what threatens them threatens us all throughout the whole world — and the Earth itself. They have a very much to teach us about a healthy relationship of humankind with the Earth.

In an Earth much smaller and more fragile than we imagined, we find ourselves in full globalization and struggle against the imposition of an unbridled capitalism and the fascism, its logical extension, that accompanies it. The indigenous resistance that has never ceased these five and a quarter centuries and some continues in spite of a brutal repression and now all of us of the cosmic race, of pure necessity, must align ourselves with their struggle, for that struggle is ours if we are to survive on the Earth, holy mother of our race, the human race — and of all our relations, the other animals, the plants, the minerals. On the round, seamless Earth all borders are fictitious and what threatens one threatens all. To think otherwise is not only immoral but insane.


Berkeley, California

© Rafael Jesús González 2017






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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

love & blessings


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 [L]o más digno de celebrarse 
es lo capaz que uno ha sido 
en amar. 

[M]ost worthy to celebrate 
is how able one has been 
to love. 


-----------~ Rafael Jesús González

"Naui Pantli: Cuatro banderas/Four Flags"








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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Día de Muertos exhibit, Oakland Museum of California Oct. 18, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018


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Oakland Museum of California

Día de Muertos Exhibition:

Metamorphosis & Migration

October 18, 2017 - January 14, 2018

 
This year, OMCA’s biennial Days of the Dead exhibition is inspired by the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. Known for its mass migration each winter, this butterfly’s journey spans several generations, all of whom follow the same routes their ancestors took. In Mexico, the returning Monarchs also symbolize the returning souls of loved ones who have passed away.

In Metamorphosis & Migration: Days of the Dead, explore ofrendas and artworks inspired by the Monarch’s migration and themes of tradition and transformation for reflection and empowerment in these turbulent times. Metamorphosis & Migration, guest curated by Evelyn Orantes, honors the departed and inspires the living in an exploration of ancestral legacies and immigration stories of today. View rarely seen butterfly specimens from OMCA’s collection alongside newly commissioned artworks and ofrendas by seven artists, including Jet Martinez, Rafael Jesús González*, Fernando Escartiz, Bea Carrillo Hocker, Favianna Rodriguez, Chris Treggiari and Peter Foucault, and others.
 
* The piece by Rafael Jesús González is titled “Ofrenda del Señor Xochipilli al Señor Mictlantecuhtli/Ofrenda of Lord Xochipilli (god of art) to Lord Mictlantecuhtli (god of death)”.

It is an Ofrenda to artists (and who is not an artist in some form or another? — we sing, we dance, we sew, we make delectable food) who died in the process of Migration, and in memory of Roberto Almanzán & Juan Domingo, founding members of Xochpilli Chicano/Latino Men's Circle who died at the beginning of the year.


The piece breaks the usual boundaries of sculpture, installation, conceptual art and blurs the distinctions between the sacred and the profane. It denies the division between the spiritual and the political. It is a statement of grief for the suffering and deaths of migrants. It is a cry of outrage at the attacks upon immigrants by our government whose foreign policies force migration.


The "ofrenda" is created as fully as possible from recycled material, borrowed objects, and donations in kind from the community. Whatever could be saved creating the installation is placed upon the altar in the form of a cheque to be delivered to Causa Justa/Just Cause, for its work in defense of immigrants, when the exhibit closes.

Don't miss our 23rd Annual Days of the Dead Community Celebration on Sunday, October 22! Learn more

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

full moon: Moon Over the Land of Enchantment


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Luna sobre la tierra del encanto



A la luna sobre las lomas
de chamiso en flor
los cántaros, las ollas, los jarros
de sus gargantas angostas,
de sus bocas abiertas
le cantan sus cantos
del barro encantado.




======== © Rafael Jesús González 2017









Moon Over the Land of Enchantment



To the moon over the hills
of flowering chamiso
the pitchers, the pots, the jugs
from their narrow throats,
from their open mouths
sing their songs
of the enchanted clay.




------------© Rafael Jesús González 2017




 



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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Assisi
-------Hermano Francisco

-----He pecado contra mi hermano asno.

--------------------------- Francisco de Asís


Hermano Francisco,
muchos te han de haber visto
como un simple
hablando con los pájaros,
haciendo amigos con el lobo,
compadeciendo al conejo y al pez.
De tales bobos hacemos gloria
----------en la Tierra.
Ahora tonto es el que no vea
nuestra hermandad
con los otros animales
-----con los árboles y las hierbas
----------con las piedras y guijas.
Sólo reconociendo esto nos salvamos
-------no digo el alma
-----------mas nuestro querido asno.




-------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2017






       






---------Brother Francis

-----I have sinned against my brother ass.

--------------------------- Francis of Assisi


Brother Francis,
many must have seen you
as a simpleton
talking to the birds,
befriending the wolf,
pitying the rabbit and the fish.
Of such fools do we make glory
----------on the Earth.
Now fool is he who does not see
our brotherhood
with the other animals,
------with the trees and grasses,
------------with the rocks and pebbles.
Only by knowing this will we save
-------I do not say our soul
-------------but our dear ass.




-------------------------- © Rafael Jesús González 2017







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