- Justice: a boil that must be lanced / La justicia: un forúnculo que hay que reventar
- HOMILIA EN LA ORDENACIÓN DE SILVIA BRANDON PEREZ Abril 8 del 2017: Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP*
- The marketing of ideals, faith principles, and the small and larger issues of the day, by misdirection
- Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, we are all related, todos somos familia
- Standing Rock: the effects of colonization/ los efectos de la colonización
Karena Acree-Paez on Standing Rock, part 1 –… vivian zelaya on The silver lining to the bad n… ARTICULO BILINGUE:Th… on The silver lining to the bad n… barbara deutsch on Judy Balch Liteky, ¡prese… Judy Balsh Liteky, ¡… on Ahimsa and wu wei
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HOMILIA EN LA ORDENACIÓN DE SILVIA BRANDON PEREZ Abril 8 del 2017: Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP*
En esta ocasión nos hemos reunido para acompañar a nuestra compañera y hermana Silvia, en la celebración de su Ordenación como presbítera al servicio de la Iglesia en el Movimiento y Asociación Internacional de Presbíteras Católicas Romanas.
Somos un movimiento internacional de mujeres católicas romanas, en estado de persistencia y resistencia. Dicha persistencia y resistencia no es nueva, las mujeres llevamos muchos siglos bajo la “teología de la desigualdad” y del sexismo, ¡ya es hora de levantar la piedra, abrir la puerta y anunciar la Buena Nueva!
No es un capricho femenino, no son ansias de poder y, menos una competencia.
Nuestro interés no es un gran estadio, una plaza de toros, o el campo de golf colmado de gente. ¡Esto es un asunto de consciencia! Aquí el poder más fuerte que nos empuja es la energía Divina, recibida en nuestro Bautismo.
Un Bautismo conversando y preparado en familia, entre…
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The marketing of ideals, faith principles, and the small and larger issues of the day, by misdirection
I just returned from picking up from LAX airport, a friend and person who came to me for help over two years ago when her husband of almost thirty (30) years died and his children, who had been her frequent guests, and who were well aware of her almost three decades of unstinting service as wife, caretaker, gardener, and if this were a funny story, chief cook and bottle washer, went about the work of evicting her from the only home she had known during those years. I had a difficult time in writing this finding a name other than “client” for this person who came for help.
Because the work I have done for the past six or seven years has been done at no charge, albeit with the receipt of occasional donations from people who were helped, I hesitate in using the word client. The fact that we use a marketing model for everything that is done nowadays is, in my opinion, one of the problems of the larger and smaller society in the United States, and since we export all our music, goods, and attitudes to the larger world, in the planet. All matters between human beings, between the person and the members of his or her family, between the person and the members of his city or town, county authorities, medical practitioners, and ultimately, the government, are seen as contractual in nature, and contractual is no longer an honorable thing, because contracts are driven by profit motives only.
I am not saying that making a profit is necessarily a dishonorable thing, or that the “contract” as such is a problem. Years ago in law school I studied the old-fashioned “gentleman’s agreement.” I am not now going to discuss the use of “gentleman” or the gender or class orientation of such a term; I am suggesting that the idea of such an agreement was that a contract was something set up to exchange a value or goods, for something else, whether by the payment of money or the exchange of services or some other “valuable consideration.” A contract implied an ability between both sides to have an equal or similar bargaining position. Thus, contracts of adhesion, in which a larger and more powerful party dictated the terms by which the “lesser” and powerless party was bound, were frowned upon and thrown out by the courts.
This is no longer true, and may have never have been true. When I went through the study of jurisprudence, with which I fell in love with at the time, as I had fallen in love with topics of philosophy earlier, these high sounding phrases of trust and equality and freedom filled me with great hope as to the many wonderful things that could be achieved by the law. Yet the society at large was using such concepts to misdirect, delude and enslave others; the obscenely powerful and rich were using such concepts to enslave and to misguide the citizenry; the citizen was quickly becoming “the consumer, client, customer,” ultimately, to paraphrase P.T. Barnum, the citizen was just another sucker born to be fleeced and bamboozled.
I have added to my prayer and healing intention list every day those who hoped that the election of a businessman would prove a boon for the country in general, that the swamp would be drained, and that the common people, those who actually work for a living and make or work on things, whether they be houses or clothing or food or agricultural products, would be brought out of the mire of poverty and desperation. Alas, the policies at the national, state, county and municipal level are full of deliberate misdirection, and the corruption of language and of ideals, so well portrayed by Orwell in 1984 with his description of doublethink, which is that power to hold contradictory beliefs in the mind at the same time, and believing them both to be true. In our society, with its emphasis on war, we equate war with peace, and this is an ability of human beings that is exploited, and a very small example of our current societal ills.
More and more I have come to realize (for many years, because of many betrayals of revolutionary ideals and beliefs), how much it has always been about power and money, from times immemorial, from the first feudal stronghold and then empire and war of one people against another, from the first shedding of blood for the sake of “ideals” — the ideals just something to use to excuse horror…
I don’t have the time this morning to go into these issues with the detail I would like, and I am writing and will be publishing on these topics, but I will give you two recent examples of misdirection, simple “commercial examples” that occurred during my trip to Los Angeles to pick up my friend. My daughter made a reservation at what seemed a very nice hotel in the L.A. area for a large room with two beds (they charged $10 extra for the second bed) with a free breakfast included. She paid in full with her credit card; I had already given her cash, and received a confirmation. When I arrived I was asked how I wanted to pay… and after multiple telephone conversations, I paid cash again, and the man at the desk, who had been an example of how NOT to do customer service, refused to give me a receipt until the next day. The couches at the “waiting area” were ripped, the non-outstanding customer service had already left me cold, and this Dynasty Inn must have belonged to a dynasty of worms (and I apologize to worms everywhere for this description).
These are the times when I thank my perennial PTSD for coming to my rescue. My blood was boiling over, and I said if he didn’t give me a receipt immediately for the cash I had given him, I would if need be call the police. He called some number and mumbled something and then issued me a receipt, which I should not have had to ask for, but that is an issue for the review I will write later about where NOT to stay in Los Angeles. And if you want to know why I didn’t just pack up and leave without paying, I will mention that I had struggled through inching traffic from Hayward to LAX, with frequent accidents adding long periods of time to the trip. My friend will be 84 in a couple of weeks, and she had already fallen asleep in the car. I needed a room immediately to sleep in, and had paid for one.
Oh, the man also told me breakfast would be available starting at 6 a.m. When I went down in the morning, of course the “breakfast” area was completely empty, and the man at the desk said, “Breakfast? We serve no breakfast here!!”
An earlier incident had occurred at a Subway restaurant. My friend had been hungry and had wanted to use the restroom. After being served, when I asked about a restroom, the young man at the desk told us that they had no guest restroom, but only employee restrooms. I wondered about public health guidelines but apparently if a store is sufficiently small you do not need to have a public restroom. I then asked, politely and hopefully, in the Spanish in which we had conducted our entire transaction, mentioning both our ages, whether an exception could be made, and I was informed me that this was store policy, and there was a clear period at the end of that particular statement.
I bet you Fred DeLuca, who in 1965 borrowed $1,000 from friend Peter Buck to start “Pete’s Super Submarines” in Connecticut, to achieve DeLuca’s goal to earn enough from the business to pay tuition for medical school, as well as to help Buck obtain a doctorate in physics, might not have agreed with this refusal to let an 84 year-old pee in the employee bathroom, or her 68-year-old driver. But the corporate model of governance these days will excuse all sorts of things for profit, including paying employees, who double as “chief cooks” and bottle washers, frequently making the sandwiches, charging for them, and cleaning tables and the store for a pittance, while the franchise makes incredible profits.
So it is in our world, another day, another callous dollar.
Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, we are all related, todos somos familia
Imagine being by nature more of a pantheist than anything else, and arriving at a place where ALL life is respected… For me, that was the feeling that permeated my entire being at Standing Rock, despite problems here and there with people who were intent on their own agendas. I went there to pray and to commune with nature and with others of my brethren, and I did that at all times, and the effects of those prayers will remain with me until my last day on this planet and this time around.
Imagínense ser más panteísta que otra cosa por naturaleza, y llegar a un lugar donde TODA la vida se respeta… Para mí, esa fue la sensación persistente durante todo el tiempo que permanecí en Standing Rock, a pesar de problemas aquí y allá con alguna gente determinada a que se cumplieran sus propios deseos… Fui allá a orar y a comulgar con la naturaleza y con otros de mis hermanos, y eso lo hice en todo momento, y los efectos de esas oraciones permanecerán conmigo hasta mi último día en este planeta y esta vuelta.
I am on day one of a water fast. When I went to Standing Rock, both times I fasted, but the second time, with the inclement weather and the Rozol poisoning, I became quite ill on day 4 and was persuaded to begin to end my fast by drinking diluted orange juice, which was first given to me by a water protector who has been bravely there for months, she knows who she is. I had to return to California and have taken over six weeks to heal, but the grace and beautiful energy of Standing Rock will provide energy for the long and hard work ahead in this country and in the planet. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ and Wopila.
Estoy en el primer día de un ayuno a base de pura agua. Las dos veces que fui a Standing Rock ayuné, pero la segunda vez, debido al envenamiento con Rozol y al mal tiempo, me enfermé en el cuarto día y me convencieron de que dejara el ayuno mediante el consumo de jugo de naranja diluído, que me lo dio por primera vez una protectora del agua que ha estado allá con gran valentía desde hace muchos meses, ella sabe quién es. Tuve que regresar a California y me ha tomado más de seis semanas sanarme, pero la gracia y la energía hermosa de Standing Rock me darán energía para el trabajo largo y difícil que está ante nosotros en este país y en el planeta. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ y Wopila.
Many years ago, having completed a workshop taught by Indian healers in the mountains of Massachusetts and having made a mask of my own face, with no mouth because I sensed I needed to be silent for a while (which is very difficult for me), I engaged in a potlatch ceremony (from at home with my children… I invited them to take anything they wanted with them, and because of how we are raised in our culture of avarice, all of them were sure I had contracted some dread disease… so they asked, and I smiled and just asked them to take whatever they wanted… one by one, they asked me to come to the kitchen for something or other and asked me to “level” with them… The last resort was my only daughter and the baby of the family. By that time I was laughing out loud… I think they spent days and weeks worrying about when the other shoe would drop…
Hace muchos años, después de completar un taller impartido por sanadoras indígenas en las montañas de Massachusetts, y luego hacer una máscara de mi propia cara, sin boca porque yo percibía que necesitaba estar callada por un tiempo (que es algo muy difícil para mí ), celebré una ceremonia de potlatch (del vocablo chinook, nootka patshatl, que significa “dar”) en mi casa con mis hijos… Los invité a todos a llevarse lo que quisieran, y dada la forma en que nos crían en esta cultura de la avaricia,todos estaban seguros de que yo había contraído una enfermedad terrible… de modo que me preguntaron, y me sonreí y les dije que tomaran lo que quisieran… uno por uno me pidieron que fuera a la cocina con ellos para algo, y me pidieron que fuera “franca” con ellos… El último recurso fue mi única hija mujer y la bebé de la familia. Ya para ese entonces me estaba riendo a carcajadas… Creo que estuvieron días y semanas preocupados por saber cuándo se iba a saber lo que estaba pasando…
Years ago I met a woman who had received a large estate from her divorce and had given it all away… I envied her the gesture, and no, I am not ready to give it all away yet but I may be, someday. I do remember that when I was trying to negotiate the life or death of my husband, one of the things I offered is that I would live under a bridge for one more month.
Hace muchos años conocí a una mujer que había recibido mucha propiedad de su divorcio y la había regalado toda… Le tuve envidia por el gesto, y no, no estoy lista para regalarlo todo, pero tal lo vez lo esté algún día. Recuerdo que cuando yo estaba tratando de negociar la vida o muerte de mi esposo, una de las cosas que ofrecí fue vivir bajo un puente si me concedían un mes más…
I do find that I love to give, and that I sometimes give beyond the point of reasonableness. Last February 2016, just after my birthday, I found I had given so much that I didn’t have money to pay for gas or food, and had to sell my bedroom set to finish out the month! That is probably a bit silly… but if I were to follow a saintly man, it would Francis of Assissi, from whom Francisco our Pope has taken his name…
Me doy cuenta de que me encanta dar, y que a veces doy más allá de lo que es razonable. En febrero del 2016, justo después de mi cumpleaños, noté que había regalado tanto que no tenía lo suficiente para comprar gasolina o comida, y ¡tuve que vender mi juego de cuarto para poder terminar el mes! Eso probablemente es algo tonto… pero si yo tuviera que seguir a un hombre santo, sería Francisco de Asís, de quien nuestro papa Francisco ha tomado su nombre.
Francis was a prime example of Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, especially because he believed, as I do, that ALL life is sacred, and that includes our brothers and sisters who walk on four legs or who fly and the plant world and everything, as I keep explaining to the small spider that comes out of my bathroom sink every so often (although by now it is probably her great-granddaughter), and whom I have to talk into a newspaper and let out the window into the beautiful native plum tree that is blooming right now for my sheer delight. My mother and my sister María Elena are probably still talking about the roach I talked into a newspaper and put on the sidewalk in Miami Lakes, there to continue her roachly pursuits…
Francisco era un ejemplo perfecto de Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, en particular porque creía, al igual que yo, que TODA la vida es sagrada, y eso incluye a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que caminan con cuatro patas o que vuelan, y al mundo de las plantas, y a todas las cosas, como tengo que seguir explicándole a la pequeña araña que sale del lavabo de mi baño de vez en cuando (aunque es probable que a estas alturas sea su bisnieta) y a la que tengo que convencer de que se monte en un periódico para poder sacarla por la ventana al ciruelo criollo que está en flor ahora mismo para mi delicia total. Mi madre y mi hermana María Elena probablemente siguen hablando de la cucaracha que convencí de subirse a un periódico y saqué de la casa a la acera en Miami Lakes, para que pudiera continuar sus faenas cucarachiles…
I later met a woman at Camp Casey who was a lay nun, and who had given away all her possessions and gone to live in the street because the people she counseled would tell her that until she felt what it was like to live completely unprotected, she couldn’t really understand… so she did! She was sentenced to a year and a half of hard time in a federal prison for writing School of Assassins on the gates of Fort Benning, by the same judge who pardoned the MyLai massacre architect… Her picture appears below; we were singing on the great stage at Camp Casey.
Luego conocí a una mujer en el campamento Casey que era una especie de monja laica, y que había regalado todas sus posesiones y se había ido a vivir a la calle porque la gente a la que ella aconsejaba le decía que hasta que ella supiera lo que era vivir completamente desamparada, no podía realmente entender, de manera que eso hizo. Estuvo presa cumpliendo un año y medio de tiempo difícil en una cárcel federal por escribir Escuela de Asesinos en los portones de Fort Benning, por el mismo juez que indultó al arquitecto de la masacre de MyLai… Su foto se muestra más abajo; estábamos cantando en el escenario en el campamento de Casey.
So today I began in prayer and Reiki healing to all water protectors and to my brothers and sisters there, wishing I could have gone back, and I will remain in prayer throughout. You are all an inspiration and a gift to the world. And the movement you have inspired will carry us forward through these hard and dark days of imperial tyranny and white supremacy of the 1%. There have always been traitors who sold out for a few coins, but I carry you in my heart of hearts, and am proud to consider you my brothers and sisters, now and forever. May you be blessed, and may we follow your leadership always until we deport greed from the world.
De modo que hoy comencé el día en la oración y la sanación de Reiki para todos los protectores del agua y para todos mis hermanos y hermanas que se encuentran allá, siempre me quedé con el deseo de volver, pero sigo en la oración de forma continua. Ustedes todos nos inspiran y son un regalo para el mundo entero. Y el movimiento que han inspirado nos ayudará a seguir adelante en estos días duros y oscuros de la tiranía imperial y la supremacía blanca del 1%. Siempre hubieron traidores que se vendieron por unas pocas monedas, pero los llevo en el fondo de mi alma y me siento orgullosa de poder llamarlos mis hermanos y hermanas, ahora y siempre. Que reciban todas las bendiciones y que sigamos su liderazgo siempre hasta que deportemos a la avaricia de nuestro mundo. ¡Wopila!
May the Creator forgive the betrayers and those with greed rather than blood in their veins, and may they awaken to love and peace, the peace that passeth all understanding. Wopila!
Que el Creador perdone a los traidores y a aquéllos que en vez de sangre llevan la avaricia en las venas, y que despierten al amor y la paz, la paz que sobrepasa el entendimiento. ¡Wopila!
This is a bilingual post. Este es un artículo bilingüe.
After sleeping 12 hours, reading Emma Goldman for one hour at 2 in the morning, and sleeping for another 4 hours, I am finally up. I have been thinking, for months, about taking up the study of colonization and decolonization. Advice to all of you: read Emma Goldman, that beautiful anarchist from the last century./ Después de dormir 12 horas, leer a Emma Goldman durante una hora a las 2 de la mañana, y dormir otras 4 horas, finalmente me he levantado. He estado pensando, durante muchos meses, acerca del estudio de la colonización y la descolonización. Mi consejo para todos: lean a Emma Goldman, esa anarquista maravillosa del siglo pasado.
Before I left for Standing Rock I broke away from many of the groups I was working with, in some cases taking an indeterminate leave of absence. At the time, I was thinking more in terms of white privilege, white supremacy, and “American” exceptionalism. I was thinking of starting a movement, as such, as a latinoamericana, to be called America is not a country. I may have actually filed something in Oakland with that name… / Antes de irme para Standing Rock me separé de muchos de los grupos con que estaba trabajando, en algunos casos tomándome un permiso indefinido para estar ausente. En esos momentos, pensaba algo más acerca del privilegio blanco, la supremacía blanca, y el excepcionalismo de los Estados Unidos. Estaba pensando en comenzar un movimiento como tal, como latinoamericana, a llamarse la América no es un país. Incluso es posible que haya registrado algo en Oakland con ese nombre…
Then came Standing Rock. Standing Rock is important because it is a place where the generations and the races, cultures, genders, are meeting to explore and change, sometimes explode the existing paradigms, plural. It is a place where we clash, the indigenous and their allies, as we seek to define who and what we are about. It is a place where colonization and its effect on every single one of of us rears its ugly head. And so my next “job” is to study it and think about it and attempt to deal with it, and to deal with how we decolonize ourselves and our world. Part of that will be white privilege, of course, and much of it will be “American” exceptionalism. But part of it will be to begin to understand just how fucked up we all are by the policies that have made us colonized without realizing it. / Entonces vino Standing Rock. Standing Rock es importante porque es un lugar donde las generaciones y razas, culturas, géneros, se están reuniendo para explorar y cambiar, a veces explotar los paradigmas existentes, en plural. Es un lugar donde chocamos, los indígenas y sus aliados, a medida que buscamos definir quién y qué somos. Es un lugar donde la colonización y su efecto sobre cada uno de nosotros levanta su cabeza horrible. Y así es que mi siguiente “trabajo” es estudiar el tema y pensar sobre el mismo y tratar de lidiar con él, y lidiar con cómo descolonizarnos a nosotros mismos y a nuestro mundo. Parte de eso consistirá en el privilegio de los blancos, por supuesto, y gran parte se tratará del “excepcionalismo” de los Estados Unidos. Pero parte de ello será comenzar a entender lo jodido que todos estamos por las políticas que nos han colonizado sin darnos cuenta.
And yes, at Standing Rock I tried very hard never to curse, but I am in Hayward, California, home of much talk about homelessness while our councilmen and women continue to have anti-homelessness laws on their books, passed by them, and making it a crime to be homeless, to sleep in your car, to raise children while homeless. I need not talk today about the blight of unbridled capitalism, which is the law of the land on most of our planet./ Y efectivamente, en Standing Rock traté de no decir palabrotas o malas palabras, pero estoy en Hayward, California, hogar de mucha conversación sobre la falta de vivienda, mientras que nuestros concejales continúan teniendo leyes contra la falta de vivienda en sus libros, aprobadas por ellos y ellas, y que hacen del estar sin hogar, dormir en el coche, criar a niños sin hogar un crimen, una falta penal… No tengo que hablar hoy sobre el capitalismo desenfrenado, que es la ley de los países en la mayor parte de nuestro planeta.
So let us get educated together. I have been on a similar path for years, and it taken me to many places, including Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan, and now Standing Rock. Let us figure out how we hurt each other and our planet, our society, our women and children and elders, because we have accepted the policies of our oppressors. / De manera que tendremos que educarnos juntos. Yo he estado haciendo un recorrido similar por muchos años, incluyendo Crawford, Texas con Cindy Sheehan, y ahora Standing Rock. Tendremos que darnos cuenta de cómo nos hacemos daño los unos a los otros y cómo le hacemos daño al planeta, a nuestra sociedad, a nuestras mujeres y a nuestros niños y a nuestros ancianos, por haber aceptado las políticas de nuestros opresores.
I never promised you a rose garden… but there is one in the offing. In the meantime, read this letter which I liked quite a bit. / Nunca les prometí un jardín lleno de rosas… pero hay uno en perspectiva. Mientras tanto, lean esta carta que me ha gustado bastante.
Last night I watched the heartfelt public apology by Wesley Clark Jr. and all the US vets who knelt at the feet of native elders and felt a profound gratitude. Just the depth of love and support and humbleness in the heartfelt apology is something that has been missing since the start of the nation. Breathtaking! / Anoche vi la disculpa pública y sincera de Wesley Clark, hijo, y todos los veteranos de los Estados Unidos que se arrodillaron a los pies de los ancianos nativos y sentí un agradecimiento profundo. La profundidad del amor y del apoyo y de la humildad en este pedir perdón de por sí es algo que nos hacía falta desde los comienzos de esta nación. Es algo sobrecogedor.
As I have said earlier, the energy and the healing at Standing Rock are other-worldly, supernatural in the sense that this is not the way our modern world operates. This is indeed holy ground. / Como dije antes, la energía y la sanación en Standing Rock es algo de otro mundo, sobrenatural en el sentido en que ésta no es la forma en que nuestro mundo moderno funciona.
I am now at the “psyched’ part of the journey; my living room looks like a warehouse at inventory time, my bedroom and garage are more of the same, and Bernardo’s pickup is so full it can’t be believed (pictures below!). I feel almost as though I could outfit the entire state of North Dakota…/ Ahora estoy en el punto en la jornada en que tengo las pilas requetecargadas; my sala parece un almacén a la hora del inventario, mi dormitorio y mi garaje andan por el estilo, y el camioncito de Bernardo está tan lleno que no puede creerse (¡fotos más abajo!). Casi me siento como que podría suplir al estado de Dakota del Norte entero…
People have been so generous, and in some cases it has been the case of the widow’s mite, where even some who didn’t have enough have contributed. My heart is full… / La gente ha sido tan generosa, y en algunos casos ha sido la pequeña ofrenda de la viuda, donde incluso los que no tenían lo suficiente han contribuido. Mi corazón se desborda…
Some of the miracles of Standing Rock for me include my ball and chain of rage… I suffer from PTSD and walk around with a huge and very heavy ball and chain of rage, coming from childhood abuse, two revolutions that I lived through, including my homeland of Cuba and my adoptive land of the Dominican Republic during the counter-coup in 1964-65, la Universidad de Puerto Rico and the interference of the United States Imperial Government everywhere, with untold abuse and the giant triplets, as Dr. King famously wrote, of racism, militarism and materialism, which so rule our world, even to a greater extent than Dr. King could imagine. / Algunos de los milagros de Standing Rock para mí incluyen mis cadenas y grilletes de furia… Sufro de síndrome de estrés postraumático y ando por el mundo arrastrando cadenas y grilletes muy pesados de furia, que provienen del abuso infantil, de dos revoluciones que sobreviví, incluyendo mi patria de Cuba y mi patria adoptiva de la República Dominicana durante el contragolpe del 64-65, la Universidad de Puerto Rico y la interferencia del gobierno imperial de los Estados Unidos por todas partes, con una cantidad enorme de abusos y los trillizos gigantes, como escribiera insignemente el Dr. King, del racismo, el militarismo y el materialismo, que son los que rigen seguramente nuestro mundo, a un nivel mucho más grande del que pudo imaginar jamás el Dr. King.
Right now I am trying to make a list of what I still need to do. For example, I needed to fix a tire that had a nail, and I went to Costco’s 3 separate times, because I bought the tires and insurance there, and each time I left and forgot to have the tire checked and fixed. / En estos momentos estoy tratando de hacer una lista de todo lo que tengo que hacer aun. Por ejemplo, tenía que reparar una llanta que tenía un clavo, y fui a la tienda de Costco tres veces por separado, porque había comprado las llantas y el seguro en esa tienda, y cada vez me fui de la tienda y se me olvidó pedirles que me revisaran y me arreglaran la llanta.
Soon I will have to pick up fuses and cables for the inverter and solar cell I bought; that has to go on the list too. That is the store where when they found out I was going to Standing Rock, the price dropped practically to cost… / Pronto tendré que recoger fusibles y cables para el inversor y la célula solar que compré; eso también tiene que ir en la lista. Esa es la tienda donde rebajaron el precio casi al costo cuando se enteraron de que iba a Standing Rock.
There are so many examples… the guy who drove the tow truck when a car I had been lent died along the way, who refused a tip and instead gave me money for gas for the trip to SR… the man whom I bought a bumper sticker from, who returned the money and gave me some extra cash, and so many more examples of love and generosity and solidarity that just that has made my heart sing with joy. The tenants I helped get a settlement, whom I hadn’t charged because I have been helping people for free, are giving me a donation; they are working class latinos and can’t really afford to pay rent on what they make in modern-day Hayward… the mechanic who is working on the car yesterday took us out to dinner… it goes on and on. / Hay tantos ejemplos… el hombre que manejó la grúa cuando un carro que me habían prestado se me quedó parado por el camino, que se negó a aceptarme una propina y en lugar me dio dinero para comprar gasolina para el viaje… el hombre al que le compré una pegatina, que me devolvió el dinero y me dio algunos pesos adicionales, y tantos otros ejemplos de amor y generosidad y solidaridad que han hecho que mi corazón cante con júbilo. Los inquilinos a quienes ayudé a obtener una suma de dinero, y a quienes no les cobré nada, porque mis servicios son donados, a su vez me hicieron un donativo; son personas latinas de clase obrera y realmente no ganan lo suficiente ni para poder pagar el alquiler en el Hayward de hoy en día; el mecánico que estaba arreglándome el auto ayer, que me invitó a comer… y la lista sigue.
Today I love the world, and I will go to what my friend Daniel calls The Holy Land. He is a talented musician and I am sure we will have a song or a symphony or a mass or some type of religious composition based on the Holy Land of Standing Rock. I know my heart is singing, and the sound behind my breath is the native flute. / Hoy amo al mundo, e iré al sitio que mi amigo Daniel llama la tierra santa. Es un músico de mucho talento y estoy segura de que tendremos una canción o sinfonía o misa o algún tipo de composición religiosa basada en la tierra santa de Standing Rock. Yo sé que mi corazón está cantando, y el sonido detrás de mi aliento es la flauta nativa.
My mentor Rev. Debbie Lee left for Honduras and she took with her my song to Berta Isabel Cáceres; because of Standing Rock I composed several more verses and sent them to her. / Mi inspiración la reverenda Debbie Lee se fue para Honduras y se llevó mi canción para Berta Isabel Cáceres; debido a Standing Rock compuse varios versos más y se los he enviado.
Standing Rock is the miracle that will bring us all together, that will make us forget our differences, whether of skin or gender, national origin or sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs… Daniel says it is the new Selma… and it well may be. To Standing Rock, to love, to us all, no exceptions. / Standing Rock es el milagro que nos unirá a todos, que nos hará olvidar nuestras diferencias, ya sean de piel o género, de origen nacional u orientación sexual, religión o creencias políticas… Daniel dice que es la nueva Selma… y posiblemente lo sea. A Standing Rock, con amor, a todos nosotros, sin excepciones.
Standing Rock: Day 1 November 22nd
I found another woman who is also driving, and we are leaving later today in her school bus for Standing Rock. That means I will have to fly back, because I have to see to the final settlement of an eviction case involving three families with young children. I also have an interpreting job on the 29th that I can’t miss. The plane tickets are very expensive (about $500), so I am hoping someone will be driving back and I can get a ride…
November 22nd: We are finally heading to Standing Rock on a small hippie school bus and we prayed our way out of Berkeley and smudged both the bus inside and out and each other. We hope to drive straight through…
November 23rd: Morning has broken like the first morning…
November 23rd: When I in awesome wonder consider how the world thy hands have made…
When it was my turn to drive I kept singing spirituals and religious songs, and getting choked up…
November 23rd: This was earlier in the day as we were driving through Nevada and the sky and the mountains were so beautiful that for once I was speechless. Tonight we had to stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, because there was a sudden snow storm. We were told temperatures were dropping in our next stop at Evanston, Wyoming and the traffic was horrendous. People, especially the drivers of big rigs, were speeding through the highway and covering our windshield with snow and rain. We had hoped to arrive early tomorrow but now we will likely be there in the late evening. Except for the stress of not sleeping properly for a couple of days, this is a wonderful trip. I am a great lover of mountain landscapes, and the mountains here are stunning.
November 25th, National Genocide Day, also known as Thanksgiving:
Yesterday Elizabeth’s cousin Cindy brought us Thanksgiving dinner and we had a wonderful time not just because everything was delicious but because they had collected donations and made these wonderful things and were willing to share and spend some time in the messy school bus we have been driving. We are now maybe 3 hours away. We had to stop again to sleep last night because it was too cold.
November 26, 2016
When we pulled into camp, even though I had promised I would not cry, I began to sob wildly and extravagantly. There are thousands of people, hundreds of tents and other types of buildings, and smiles and friendliness and an amazing array of human beings, gathered in incredible solidarity. I have carried Jim’s ashes with me, hoping to have a small ceremony. He would have been here, and still is, even if in another dimension. I do have to return soon, because of other commitments, but I will be back soon.
November 27, 2016
I am in the Ramada at Bismarck, North Dakota, maybe 4 miles from the airport where I will fly back home tomorrow at eight in the morning, because I have a meeting on Monday with a landlord who was evicting all his tenants and I will be there to ensure he keeps up with the terms of a settlement agreement.
Last night I slept under the stars with my two subzero sleeping bags one inside the other. I meditated using the Silva Method to warm myself up, and prayed for some time asking for guidance. I woke up at 1 in the morning incredibly warm. I had pulled off one of my ponchos during my sleep as well as my hat and gloves, and I never was able to find them. One of my traveling mates, Andrea Prichett, who had provided much needed support during the trip, had put a heavy-duty tarp over my sleeping space and helped me put together the sleeping bags. We had spent time during the drive telling stories about her time in Africa and listening to her play beautiful songs; I am grateful for her practical and emotional support and her amazing soul.
To be able to commune with the heavens in a detoxifying body (I was doing a water fast) and to hear in the background the flute and the voices of native singers is a truly spiritual experience, and I came to bring supplies and to help, but most of all to pray… I had answered a call for religious people to come pray, and yesterday at orientation they talked about this being prayerful spiritual resistance.
At first light a young woman from Israel who was at the camp woke me up to make sure I was all right. I had slept, twice, very well (how could you not sleep well when you are listening to the lullaby of native flute and voices…) and even though parts of one of the sleeping bags were wet and icy, and one of my ponchos was wet, I was very comfortable and felt no cold whatsoever.
I decided to get up and greet the sun and the new day, and because I had decided to fast as part of my prayer for guidance, I did not have to worry about getting something to eat. We have been asked to give back more than we took from our brothers and sisters.
I walked around camp and met some wonderful young people including Aaron Hackett and Rob who teach permaculture and survival skills at the Living Earth School in Virginia. Many others had slept under the stars as I did, and Aaron, for example, talked to me about having taken a six week course from the man known as Wim the Ice Man. I signed up for that today, because I want to be self-sufficient when I return for a longer stay at Standing Rock. Mind you, I am not happy about the cold showers… but I have always been interested in self-sufficiency. I tried to share survival skills many years ago with my children during camping trips to places in New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Most of the people in our modern society are so accustomed to prepackaged life that they would not make it in the event of a disaster…
I had obtained donations of about a hundred pounds of dried beans, also rice, tuna, peanut butter and other good staples, as well as diapers. I had gone into a Walmart for the first time in more than a dozen years when we had to stop because of a sudden snow storm and had bought a small propane heater, additional subzero sleeping bag and ugly men’s boots I could wear with heavy socks. The workers at Walmart are always very nice even if the owners are not. It was difficult to purchase things there but these were things I was planning to donate and I didn’t have my own car. So it was a situation of one cause against the other and I donate to Our Walmart on a monthly basis, to change the living conditions of the workers for the largest and most brutal employer in the world.
The orientation that morning was amazing. I want to express my gratitude for the careful sharing of needed information. The official site for the Oceti Sakowin Camp where we arrived is http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/, and you can obtain historical information as well as lists of needed/wanted items. During orientation we covered the seven Lakota values, which are prayer, respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility and wisdom.
There is a desperate need of volunteers, particularly before the 5th of December, when the Army Corps of Engineers has announced eviction of the main camp. Since this is treaty land, it is incredible that our First Nations are once again being violently dispossessed. (The Army Corps of Engineers has apparently rescinded their threat, but now the Governor of North Dakota is pursuing the same “remedy,” citing similar reasons, including inclement weather. It would be wonderful if he would prevent the local highly militarized police and guards from attacking our peaceful protesters…)
The amazing thing about the people at the camp is the generosity and kindness found almost everywhere. I was particularly impressed by the young people, who speak knowledgeably about the unbridled capitalism (and corporatism) and consumerism in our society. I feel the same sense of hope I felt during Occupy Oakland, even if I agreed with the request of our Ohlone brothers and sisters to change the name to Decolonize Oakland.
With regard to the people attending, there were indigenous people native to the area and also people from other lands. There were elders such as myself and others who were much older, and there was an attitude of complete respect for those elders, as they have the wisdom from a long life.
I am so grateful to so many, including Jennifer, a new Argentinian friend who lives in San Diego and who actually drove me to the airport in Bismarck. She gave me her seat during orientation and we spoke about many things, including shamanism.
I am returning to the Bay Area but will head back out in my car by the second of December with more supplies, and hope to stay for two or three weeks. I will stop in New Mexico to see my widowed friend and then head out again.
Later I will speak about a conversation I had with Andrea, who teaches history, about Valley Forge and the simmering of what became the first US Army. I truly believe we are at a crucial time for the planet, and this gathering of over three hundred indigenous nations and thousands of allies of every race, color, creed, national origin and sexual or gender orientation is an amazing occurrence in these otherwise dark times of an ever more brutal corporate empire.
We were asked to take no pictures or videos, and there is almost no internet connection at camp, but the inner pictures and feelings I am bringing back are life-changing.
Peace to you all! (I am going to carry around a curse jar so I can make donations anytime I curse, which seems to be so much a part of my being…) Cursing is also a no-no at camp, because of the negative violent context in a peaceful place of spiritual resistance… (On the curse jar, I already have $8.00 in it. I will either stop cursing or go bankrupt…)
Silvia out, with abrazos and namastés to go around.
P.S. November 27, 2016: Fidel Castro Ruz, presente
I found out about his death in the cab/shuttle that took me to the Ramada before I left for Hayward from Bismarck. My driver was a Pakistani with strong opinions about U.S. interventions in so many countries, including most recently Syria, Iraq, Libya and too many others to mention. I met el comandante three times as a child and have a vivid remembrance of his warmth and larger-than-life persona. I remember at 9 being accidentally stepped on by what seemed to me his huge foot at Santa María beach and being picked up so he could smile, hug me and apologize. He smelled like my father, of strong Cuban cigar. Years later, although not a smoker, I would smoke my first Cohiba and remember. As in Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu,” so many times a smell or taste has brought back another lifetime…
I have spent years identifying myself as “cubana pero no gusana.” I do so again today. I shudder at the Miami scenery, at the refusal to remember the persistent and shameful occupation of our land by the United States, at the deep-seated racism and the retelling of lost property, some of it a made-up memory. The exile has produced monstrosities such as the Menéndez brothers, convicted of slaughtering their wealthy parents out of pure unadulterated of greed.
For me, I think of el comandante as a hero who incredibly survived hundreds of assassination attempts at the hands of the CIA and who helped a small nation in the Caribbean survive a punishing embargo for over half a century, becoming a beacon of freedom for many countries the world over. Despite mistakes and continuing economic problems fueled by the United States, Cuba’s literacy rates and delivery of health care far surpasses those of the United States. This was largely fueled by the leadership of Fidel Castro Ruz. Fidel Castro Ruz, ¡presente!