The Ojo Internet Mailbox
(Wherein we publish some comments about our previous issues.)
Thank you, Alexsi Currier, for relating this poignant story. Beyond Israel, nationalism is on the rise today in Poland and Hungary, England and France. And in the United States, witnessed by the rise of presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Economist news magazine calls these movements authoritarian populism. How sad to consider, as your Grandfather lamented, that history is repeating itself and decades of progress in trade, peace, and tolerance is slipping through the collective fingers of the world. – Brian Dalziel, Texarkana, Arkansas USA
A MOST CONFLICTED PRIEST
Duran was of course not the only priest to champion indigenous Americans against the colonizer Oligarchs of the day. Bartolomeo de las Casas, a Catholic Friar, stands out among others. He made numerous trips to Spain (a dangerous undertaking) to denounce the rapacious cruelty of the Spanish, carpet-bagging fortune-seekers (even more dangerous) to the King.
He wrote, in his 1542 denunciation, ‘Account of the Devastation of the Indies’: “Yet into this sheepfold, into this land of meek outcasts there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening wild beasts, wolves, tigers, or lions that had been starved for many days. And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during the past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard of before, and to such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola once so populous (having a population that I estimated to be more than three million), has now a population of barely two hundred persons.”
I fear that no similar champions or document exists from the time that the northern part of the continent was being cleansed of the native tribes who owned it by the northern counterparts of the Conquistadors – European ‘Americans’. It was not until four hundred and twenty years later that Angie Debo could write, and have published, her heartbreaking ‘History of The Indians of the United States’. This opened a dialogue of sorts in the USA but unlike the case in Mexico, it was, frankly, too late. The damage inflicted on the Natives for well over three centuries had marginalized and traumatized them to near extinction. Their road of pain and tears puts most other state-organized atrocities pale in comparison.
I applaud Mr. Piekow’s focus on priests like Duran and Las Casas, in whose tradition Hidalgo and many modern Catholic Bishops and priests also stand. It is far too easy and common to paint all Spaniards, and especially the Church, in nothing but shades of black.
Terse, hard-hitting, believable story. It makes me think of the saying: “In the beginning is the end.” Hear a mantra often enough, internalize its meaning and it becomes part of your fabric. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.” So sad!
Powerful and elegant in the telling. You achieved a lot more by doing a lot less. Your story packs a wallop.
MORNING IN AJIJIC
We really enjoyed our stay there – got to know Ajijic a bit and was a very pleasant stay…till next time. BTW, I’m husband of Teri Saya.
What a beautiful tribute to Margarita with also a touching remembrance of someone who was an important part of your past. We do have choices. How wise of you to choose to live in the now and to have such a wonderful companion with whom to share your life.
Great mix of facts and fiction. I loved this story. The only thing better than reading one of your stories is to hear you read it!
AN OLD MAN’S MUSINGS
A beautifully told nostalgic story! How vividly you bring to life your childhood memory of the train, and how well, those of us who remember those huffing and puffing huge steam engines, can relate. When I was eight years old, growing up in South Africa, my sister and I traveled to boarding school from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg on trains like that. If you stuck your head out of the window, you’d feel the blistering desert heat and come back inside flecked with soot. How we loved those journeys! Thank you for the reminder of past days.
JIGSAWS AND WRITING
Your essay on writing and the value or point of even bothering to be creative, leaves the reader with plenty to think about. As you rightly point out, everything is ephemeral and short-lived. If creation only concerned itself with longevity, we would exist in an arid world, actually we wouldn’t exist at all. The crumpling of the completed puzzle after it had lain around to be appreciated for only a few days, reminds me of some of the extraordinarily creative sand sculptures I have seen. They are made to be enjoyed for a day or two, before weather and vandalism turn these meticulously molded works of art into piles of sand again. And then there are the colorful sand and sawdust ‘tapetas’ painstakingly made for one night only to celebrate the Day of the Dead, adorning the road where cars would normally drive. Thankfully there are always those who create for creation’s sake, no matter how fleeting will be their outpourings.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GOVERNMENT-HATER
How true. Excellent article
WELCOME TO MEXICO! – NOVEMBER 2016
A good suggestion, Victoria. Most of us who are reading this magazine can afford to stretch our generosity and be mindful that a few extra pesos left in tips can go a very long way to helping our Mexican hosts, who have so much less than we do.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com