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.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
John Laforge
Federal Regulator Halts Move to Toughen Radiation Exposure Limits
Norman Pollack
Farewell Address: Nazification of Hope
David Swanson
Imagine the Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Peace
CJ Hopkins
Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works
Ron Jacobs
Striking in Reagan Time
Missy Comley Beattie
The Streep
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: The Potential Impacts of Collective Inaction
Uri Avnery
Confessions of a Megalomaniac
Kenneth Worles
Black Without a Home: King’s Dream Still Deferred
Geoff Dutton
The Russian Patsy
Jill Richardson
The Coming War on Regulations
Jeremy Brecher
Resisting the Trump Agenda is Social Self-Defense
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail