Another bit from my adventure teaching English in Mexico:
Sunday, November 6, 2005
I came across one of the few English language children's books we have been provided for our classes, should we choose to make use of them. I wonder how it came to be part of the library. It's published in Nashville. Obviously, originally there was a toy (or toys) packaged with it.
Let's start our mission!
The military tanks are lined up in a row. Ready to protect us, off to battle they go.
Time to roll!
Ther (sic) are small ones and big ones, with loud machine guns. Up and down the hills they climb, in the hot desert sun. (The punctuation and spelling may be Tennessee standard, I don't know, and I probably shouldn't criticize, since I myself lack a good editor.)
Across all kinds of terrain, the tanks roll out of sight. After a long day of battle, they continue to fight. Transporting the troops, they protect us from harm's way, so the soldiers can keep us safe day after day.
The back cover says, "Warning! Choking Hazard!" Indeed, I almost choked when I read it.
I was surprised to see the publication date of 2002 and not 2003, but I guess it was one of those preparing the public (kids) for the invasion of Iraq. "Mission Accomplished." Maybe this is one of the few books the President read.
I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale." --- Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Friday, November 11, 2005
Well, it's Veterans' Day. Support our white phosphorous using, civilian bombing, prisoner torturing troops, who are protecting us here by scorching the earth over there - none of which is news to people who have followed independent news sources on the internet since the beginning of the call to arms. So the latest is that somebody leaked to the Post, and there are pictures of actual victims of the napalm-like bombing of Iraqi civilians? Dahr Jamail published pictures and reports of it immediately following the attack on Falluja. We saw it. We knew it. Why didn't Congress? The same reason, I suppose, that Congress didn't know the documents purporting Iraq's attempt to buy yellowcake uranium were forgeries when they were being touted as the truth by the administration as justification for invasion of another country, and when those of us following the independent internet news already knew they were fakes. CIA secret gulag, rendition of prisoners to countries where torture is "legal" - news? Not if you've done even the most cursory Googling. My congressman doesn't have time to investigate. Or maybe he doesn't have a computer. I wonder what those aides are doing all day? Arranging junket schedules, perhaps.
As David said in class that one night: war is business. And business is good.
Monday (lunes), December 5, 2005
I haven't had a good night's sleep in a while. I'm not sure why, but I expect a combination of reasons. I've been slowly making my way through William Blum's account of all the U.S. military and CIA interventions around the globe (just since WWII) destroying democracy in the name of spreading it and in the process destroying entire foreign families, cities and cultures. I'm nearly done and I'm going to have to quit reading it at night. I get so sickened and depressed by the suffering and hell we bring to the world through the self-serving things that our government and its secret agents (or those interests manipulating it) have done over and over and over. Sometimes I wish it could be that this kind of ruthless, compassionless, cynical, sinister and horrific activity actually did belong to one set of people and could be eliminated by ridding the world of that one group (we never recognize ourselves - it's always some other time or some other culture that behaves so abominably). It's sickening to learn of the reality beneath the platitudes - and it would almost be hopeful now that the surface of CIA activity is being scratched in the 'gulag' exposure that Ms. Condi, for whatever was left of her soul, is willing to defend by saying renditions save lives, and the Bushistas are being exposed for just a few of their lies and crimes, except for the facts that 1) it truly is only the surface and the depths will never be plumbed, and that 2) there are years and years of documentary proof that this is nothing new, that none of the things that are 'shocking' people to learn about what's been happening with this administration are anything new at all, and that each time some similar revelation is made, people shake it off with no more thought than they give to a bad dream and go back to business as usual. And the beast goes back to work in the way that a beast does.
And then there is the further realization that they're totally and singularly human - the things we call inhuman - and they've been happening since the first man took a step on earth and will go on until the last man has disappeared.
More tequila, Sancho!
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Mike, the doctor, was just at a physicians' convention in Mexico City, and he told me that there was a presentation on dementia, after which one of the Mexican doctors turned to him and asked, "So, do you think your president is demented?" Salvador asked me recently if Americans don't want to see the truth about their government. (As Bob said in his blog, Mexicans, at least, know their government is corrupt.) How do we answer the increasing questions from the rest of the world? Personally, I see us as the family of an alcoholic, perhaps not as much in denial as in wishful thinking that if we refuse to admit that dad is an alcoholic, other people will believe the facade we try to present. Or at least we can almost convince ourselves.
Time has really flown here in Mexico, although there were moments teaching in Peribán that I almost despaired of ever finishing. Five months in Peribán and two in Tepoztlán. I would have preferred it the other way around, and I'm sorry that I'm going to have to leave Tepoztlán. I'm also sorry to have to return to the U.S. at a time when the very people supposedly chosen to represent and manage our nation are now selling her to the highest bidder, are the very same people who were once implicated in money laundering, arms and drug sales, but who now are back in the highest offices of the land and apparently never gave up their nefarious and criminal practices. The same people who approve and defend torture and humiliation, endless war with carpet bombing and napalming of thousands of innocent men, women, children and babies; who interfere with the democratic elections in other countries while spouting on endlessly about the virtues of democracy; who cynically threaten the citizenry of their own country with interminable jail sentences without representation or recourse because of the sound of their names or for actively protesting government policy, while they themselves "leak" the identities of agents working to protect the national security. Needless to say, the very same people who are dismantling the social protections and insurances the country struggled for decades to attain. Is this the path we chose? What country am I returning to?