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Archive for February, 2008

Sticky: History, a Dusty Old Book or Reality?

February 11th, 2008 3 Comments » Filed under Articles


I’ve heard it several times. But this time it hit a nerve.

It was at the Bill Maher’s show. (Thank the gods for Bill Maher)

“But we didn’t know what was going to happen in Iraq”

(What did you say…? I beig your pardon..

What do you mean… we didn’t know

I’m not with you on this one, maybe another one, but not this one…Not.

Nor are with you all the people who showed up on the streets and protested around the world against the war.

Nor the people and communities who gathered in their houses to share the pain of impotence, looking at each other with dismay and disbelief.

We all knew. We have a relationship with History. We have a sense of human nature.

We know that if foreign people invade our houses with weapons, kill the SOB of our father, plus a few family members, and take our resources from our own home, to give us candy afterwards, we are not going to be happy. After all, is our house and our father. Regardless of how evil he was and how weird our way of living seems to the foreign people who invaded us. We’ve been doing this for centuries. It’s Our blood… Our tribe… Our territory. Basic human needs. If those needs are taken away, there is not much else to lose. Is there…?

We also know that Iraq’s political borders are recent, enclosing diverse and millenary cultures in an artificially marked territory… “A country younger than Paul Newman”, in Bill Maher’s words. Another fact that doesn’t make things better at this point, after the fact . Don’t you think that we should get it by now?

Messing with people’s houses, territory, and blood, will only make them want to die for the cause… is a worthy cause, isn’t it? Wouldn’t we do the same? What else do they have to lose?. It’s just human nature. Somebody interfering with the natural order of things and most primary needs of a group of human beings is not going to become their favorite person, or hero by magic. No matter how much you wish. Not even in 50 years.

“It’s amazing” -said my father-“that the Vietnamese won the Vietnam war with a bowl of rice, rudimentary weapons, and agricultural tools. Americans spent the same amount of money spent in the 2nd world war.”

And we went on to have the conversation about the strength of the human spirit and how the power of fighting to defend your land in your land, changes the rules of the game, putting the forces of power to test. Transforming weakness into power and power into weakness. Facilitating the emergence of a larger power. The power of the human condition. We were talking about it in the 70s…!

“The Vietnam Conflict” happened in our lifetime. Less than 50 years ago. Oblivion to history and the lessons carrying the knowledge of the experience is a pretty alarming thing when it comes from anybody in a position of authority. Unless there are other interests, of course, in which case, the experience becomes irrelevant.

Salvadorean people have a great saying.  Trying  “to cover the sun with one finger.”is a pretty futile enterprise.

In the nineties, I had a poster in my bedroom with a picture of Albert Einstein that read his quote: “Knowledge is only experience”. I would wake up every day with Albert Einstein reminding me, that my experience was worth living, because it woud derive in knowledge. Exactly as it is. It stayed there, on the wall, for several years. I guess I took it out when the message was incorporated in my system.

History is there, at your disposal, as a huge database of information. Read the rest of this entry »

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