Thursday, July 12, 2007

Listen to the walls

"Los ideales son visiones que se anticipan al perfeccionamiento de la realidad." Ideals are visions that anticipate the perfection of reality.
"La rebaja fue paja", "Abajo el imperialismo" The reduction was rubbish, down with imperialism

"La religion es el opio de los pueblos - MonseƱor" *Marx* Religion is the opiate of the people

I began to take pictures of the grafitti here when I realized I could listen with my eyes. Political thought, quotes, and hopes are scrawled on Tegucigalpa's walls. I'm learning to listen with my eyes because the spray paint speaks the mind of the city, or at least the minds of those who are rebel or radical enough to paint their ideas for the public.

More samples of grafitti and my thoughts:

¨Presiona tu sucio gobierno¨ Pressure your dirty government

This is one of a few scrawlings that point to a general sense of mistrust in the Honduran government. I asked a Honduran about this quote, and she said that this refers to the advisors of the president, Mel Zelaya. They are apparently involved in corruption, which the people readily admit exists in their government. The president, though, is not thought to be corrupt. He is sort of a lame duck. It´s not that he´s about to leave office, though. He just doesn´t do much for the people. He was reported to have flown from La Ceiba to the Capital in a fighter jet just for the heck of it (I refer to that in my Palmerola poem). Even doing nothing, he may be better than the line of past presidents who took over through military coups (golpe del estado) or carried out atrocities on their own people during the disappearances of the 80´s, the time that the people refer to as the ´Tiempo Oscuro´, or ´Dark Time´.

I saw at least three of ¨La rebaja fue pura paja¨ The reduction project was pure rubbish

This also refers to a failure of the local government. There is a road construction project, La Rebaja, in Tegucigalpa by the soccer stadium that, according to the taxi drivers I´ve spoken with, is a big waste of time and precious money. It does not serve the people, but is an expensive overpass that does not take traffic where traffic needs to go. In short, a costly road to nowhere. I sense the contempt.

¨Nuestro norte es su sur¨ Our north is your south

Not sure, but I think this refers to the global north. The north of Honduras is still the global south, geographically and politically under the United States. Another thought: We, citizens of the United States, refer to ourselves as Americans. I wonder if this is a little ethnocentric? I was helping unload a cargo of schoolbook donations from the U.S. at a Catholic distribution center here. The social science textbooks, all English, were grandly titled ¨The History of America.¨ I looked inside, hoping to find at least a few chapters dedicated to South America and Latin America, but no. It started with George Washington and continued to tell the proud history of the one and only America, of course, the United States of America. I wish we would realize we are not the only Americans in the world, that people here consider themselves Americans.

¨No a la pribatizacion de la UNAH¨ No to the privitization of UNAH

This quote has an interesting history. I searched online (thank you World Socialist Website), and this is what I learned...
UNAH stands for the Autonomous National University of Honduras. It serves tens of thousands of students in six cities. In 1999 students and professors protested privatization of the University favored by the World Bank. The legislation to privitize the university would have taken away the right of the people to have free university education, and also the hard-fought control students had over the university.

¨No dejes que la hecha de la revolucion de Copan Calel caiga al suelo¨ Don´t you forget that Copan Calel´s act of revolution fell to the ground.

This scribbling also has an interesting history. Who was Copan Calel? Thank you, he was a native chief in Western Honduras who resisted the Spanish conquest in the 1500s. So this quote, I think, reflects a tinge of Honduras´ hopelessness at the hands of greater powers. Or perhaps I am overshadowing the true meaning with the interpretation of my worldview. A great Mayan chief couldn´t resist the Goliath of the time. Neither can Honduras now.

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