FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tattered Magazines

by CHELLIS GLENDINNING

Nucchu, Bolivia.

Here in Chuquisaca I am the privileged recipient of an invitation to stay at Kantu Nucchu, the ex-hacienda of President Don Gregorio Pacheco (1884-88) and the casita where Antonio José de Sucre, wounded in the coup d´etat of 1828, wrote his last message to the nation: “Preservar la obra de mi creación: Bolivia.”/Preserve the work that I have created: Bolivia.

Here – among arias sung by the Río Cachimayo, old mills, French Baroque chairs, trees bursting with lemons, and the incomparable hospitality of Ana Maria and Patricio Marion, I have discovered a pile of tattered magazines — Cuadernos – published by the Congreso por la Libertad de la Cultura in Paris in the 1960´s, with a focus on Latin American politics and cultura.

Ah, history! Ah, history-inside-of-history! And now, with my eyes in the game of observation in 2013, history-inside-of-history-inside-of-history.

I am happily poring over essays written by Jean Paul Sartre and Victoria Ocampo. The poetry of Octavio Paz and Carlos Castro Saavedra. Political commentary by Germán Arciniégas. Critiques of works by Ernest Hemingway, Miguel de Unamuno and Miguel de Cervantes. I am treated to photos of the Eiffel Tower and of pre-Colombian art in Mexico.

One thought, written in 1965 by the Spanish journalist J. Garcia Pradas, jumps from the page: “Hay novedades muy antiquas.”/There are new things that are very old.

For sure, through the must rising from the magazines, it is revealed that, just as controversy over the Cuban Revolution returns and returns again through the decades, I encounter a mountain of familiar themes: the dynamic between reason and faith; the destiny of the original communities in the face of modernism; the attitude of Latin America toward Euorpe and that of Europe toward Latin America; the integration of the continent. From the swirl of words and images produced so long ago and, at the same time striking such contemporary cords, rises an impression of the Great Wheel of Destiny girating and girating again, through the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, of the moon – and of the essential affairs of our human life.

The Colombian writer Hernando Téllez hits the nail on the head of our predicament in his timeless essay of 1965: “Por qué no aceptar que en el orden de las ideas políticas no es cierto que hayamos inventado nada que no estuviera ya inventado?”/Why not accept that in the grand scheme of political ideas it is certain that we have invented nothing which has not already been invented?”

The fine dust settled on the desk where Sucre penned his last proclamation — mixed with the odor of must from the open pages of Cuadernos and the mud encrusted on my blue jeans from the shores of the Cachimayo — presents an archetypal challenge: when all is said and done, we may realize that “all the world´s a stage” and we but “the actors.” But, with our indomitable spirit that rejects all limits, we are going to give this moment in the turn of the Wheel the same passion and intelligence that those of history gave it before us.

Chellis Glendinning is the author of five books, including When Technology WoundsOff the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economyand Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade.  She may be contacted via www.chellisglendinning.org.

 

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Binoy Kampmark
Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
David Busch
Bernie’s Blinding Light
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Winslow Myers
Looking for America
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Tony Christini
Death by Taxes (A Satire of Trump and Clinton)
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail