Category Archives: politics

Demonstratng in the Street

Woman and child in demonstrating

Woman and child in demonstrating

My first public demonstration was with Mothers for Peace & and Veterans Against the War during the Viet Nam war. Alice was a baby and rode on my back down Pennsylvania Ave.

 

We slept in the homes of Unitarian strangers. In San Francisco  I took to the streets again, marching  with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence when Sarcoma Karposi needed to  be recognized as a dreadful, debilitating  medical issue that went way beyond the gay community. And, for several years, I marched (actually tapped, for we were a colorful lot) for animal rights with my friend, Virginia Handley. My last demonstrations were with Annette Kirby and other friends in Tehachapi , CA, against Bush’s insane idea of destroying Iraq for dominion of oil.

Since I decided to get to know our southern neighbors, I have seen demonstrations in several places. It is always the people who have to take to the streets. Wealthy folks have money to fight their battles, we have our voices and our votes if we are lucky.

Yesterday, on my way to the museum, I heard collective voices and musical instruments: drums, flutes, and a couple of guitars. Coming down the street were people representing CERCIA (Centro Rehabilitation Para Ciegos Adultos in Araguipa.) Blind adults, tapping their canes, accompanied by those who took up their the cause, marched beside them, guiding them through the streets. A woman, saw me taking photos and said, pointing to her eyes. Ciego. Que Lastima, as she hurried on. “What a pity.”  Indeed.imageimage

Less than an hour later another, a much larger demonstration filled the main street into the Plaza de Armas. Made up of mostly indigenous, and working class  people  they poured into the intersection. The womaimagen, some carrying babies and toddlers in brightly colored, hand-woven shawls on their backs, and some  with  buckets of food and juice for the marchers bore the heaviest burdens.

Many of the hand-made signs had  ‘agua’ printed on them. Later, at the hostel I found out that there is a severe shortage of water for the poorer folks, those who live away from the city where of course, water is plentiful, because money flows, so does water. At least for a while.

Arequipa is in a deep valley surrounded by desert. It has not rained enough to fill the aquifers, or even close to full. Potable water is scarce. The burden is on the poor. It was the same in Leticiaimage, Colombia where folks demonstrated in the park,  in Brazil, and here. It is or will be, in CA I’m sure. The globe is running out of water, but we are ciego. image

In the US we allow fracking to extract natural gas at the expense of our earth’s water table. “Generally, 2-8 millions of gallons of water may be used to frack a well. Some wells more. A well may be fracked multiple times, with each frack increasing the chances of chemical leakage into the soil and local sources.” (gaslandthe movie.com/fracking)

We are not only ciego, we are stupido.  Maybe folks need to hit the streets, to drown out the sound of the Koch Bros. and oil/gas companies counting their money. To save ourselves.

 

Musings; Birds, Relaxation, Impending Danger

It’s a quiet day here on John”s Island, on my back porch office. This morning was a lazy one, filled with reflection. It’s possible to be grateful, content, meditative, fearful and angry within just a couple of hours.

 Back porch office, Casa de Updike, Johns's Island

Back porch office, Casa de Updike, Johns’s Island

The birds are apparently not hungry. I hear them calling to one another in the woods. It’s a language I don’t understand, but wish I did, a melodic cacophony. Walking through a mall in Beijing comes to mind. Probably they will come down soon for lunch. Peanuts and sunflower seeds every day free for the taking, first come- first served. image

Brash handsome  jays calling, jeer, jeer jeer, graceful doves, cardinals, (love to watch the mom feed her loud, demanding babies), woodpeckers: a downey woodpecker and what looks to be an endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which will both soon be gone due to developers denuding the surrounding forest, a pileated woodpecker, yik-yik-yik,  that was the inspiration for the infamous Woody the Woodpecker, juncos, and other unidentified chirpy sparrows, loud barking crows…  and then, a large predator swooped into the forest. Too much in the shade of other trees for me to see what it was with my binocs, but the crows knew. They gathered together screaming and flapping like regiments in battle,  and forced it back, and off. 

We should be able to do the same to the Tea Party that threatens our way of life in America, just as  the Taliban are in the Middle East. Think about it, & check out the similarities at Politburo of Teabilly Mockery.

*open carry of military weapons, despises and wants to topple the US Government , supports the death penalty, opposes women’s rights, anti-abortion, wants to teach religion in schools, integrate religion and state,  no respect for law, authority, or the president, views homosexuality as evil. Scary.  

Casual Guns

Casual Guns

 

I  can’t imagine the bird scene in the jungle or even the town that is built on the Amazon River in the jungle,  but in seven weeks I will be there. First a few days in Bogota, then fly to Leticia, Amazonas. Can it be anything like I imagine it? image

Walking through the Amazon forest en route to an indigenous village, paper and pencils, maybe a portable CD player, teaching them  our language-learning theirs.  It makes the dreaded yellow fever vaccine, and the mosquitos worth it. 

I spent Sunday with my daughter and her boyfriend at a lake home she is going to buy. In the back is a 12X20′ cookhouse that I’ll turn into my studio. It won’t be the first house I’ve transformed, but probably the last. It will allow me freedom: to be with my family and friends, write, travel, kayak; what else could a nomadic gramma ask for? Lucky me.  

Relaxing with Anna.

Relaxing with Anna.

Dock, Goat Island.

Dock, Goat Island.

Abrazos.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Manifestation
 People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

“`What goes around comes around.” The hostel where I am staying is two blocks from the governor, Sergio Cabral’s, house. It’s a three story glass house    

on a corner directly across from the beach in Lablon, the suburb next to Ipanima. Wednesday night the ground floor windows were broken by folks protesting his corrupt politics.

Policia in full riot gear blocked the streets going north and south in order to confine marching angry protestors to the main east / west street and the street that runs along the beach directly in front of his house. To hear Brazilians talk, it seems that just about everyone but the wealthy are disgusted with him.

As the crowd passed our hostel  

the protestors were peaceable: a few in a party mood. A woman who lives in a favela spied me and began a weird verbal exchange-the kind I probably invoke with my limited language skills here.

“You Cheecaago?’
” No. California.”
“Ah. I know Cheecaago. I know you United States.”
“Not all of them. Only some.”
“You fala Inglas?”
Finally she had me dancing in the street and posing.   

She was with a man and maybe a very pretty girl-maybe her daughter.
When she found out it was against the rules of the hostel to buy her a beer they left.

I walked to the beach and to where the protesters had gathered: to listen, observe, and learn.
The avenue along the beach was quiet. A woman did yoga, dogs were being walked, skaters and bicycles went by.

A few minutes later, while walking home I heard, Bang! Bang! Bang!Then the smell of tear gas stung my eyes, my nose. Fires burning photos of the governor were lighting up the next block. We could hear glass breaking, ambulances screaming down the street. Our street. Suddenly it was quiet. I went to bed. The noise started again. I put the window down.
I took my hearing aids out of my ears and fell asleep.

In the morning I walked among the carnage. Broken glass littered the street. A clothing store on the corner was completely open-I’m pretty sure looted.   

Now it is covered with black boards that have slogans painted on them. Most of the banks along the main street had been vandalized. The young, professional Brazilian woman I walked with said, “the governor is probably in Cancun on the beach. He doesn’t give a shit.”

At the governors’ men were measuring to replace the glass. Policia guarded the street. She was right about him being gone. He is still gone.