Monday, April 10, 2006

Sleight of hand

Odd about the recent Comments concerning “invisibility” since it’s often on my mind and very much of late.

There are two sorts, I think, having to do with intent.

When the millions of undocumented poured into the streets of LA a couple of weeks ago – and then, even closer to my current residence - surfacing, it was much to the consternation of most of the country. Disconcerted because, despite the numbers bandied about, 12 million or so, no one ever really sees them.

I know this because when I first moved to this vicious, benighted end of the road, I had some time on my hands and wished to be of use. I wandered into the one ragged shopfront that proclaimed it had something to do with “social services,” and offered a few of my own. I imagined there might be a pressing need hereabouts for the translation of documents or papers or whatever, and, as is well known, I come cheap. Free, in fact.

I was met with wide, bored eyes. There was no need, because there were no persons in this town who might require such tasks. No persons who spoke my second language, no one here from below that border just a scant few miles away.

No surprise, despite the fact that I had been using my Spanish here almost as much as I had in Biarritz [another border town, though of very different nature, since there they understood, and welcomed, my Spanish]. Using it with all the workers at the local “grocery store”, with all the gentlemen tending yards, with all the people brought in to clean the apartments in my building, with most people on the lesser streets, with almost anyone with whom I had truck.

But their invisibility was of their own doing, and it has to do with self-preservation. Anyone who crosses borders with regularity, documented or not, learns this lesson. Keeping one’s head down, blending in, even shuffling a bit, perhaps. And once the border is safely crossed, you remain in hiding until the moment comes when you feel at home, safe. Until you feel you belong.

Masks of many sorts.

And, as for the “undocumented” anywhere, all the more reason to wear the cloak. And all the more stunning when the cloak is flung off, as it’s being done right now, by the millions.

The “other” invisibility is the one that is visited upon the one by another. The “forgetting” [the translation I always preferred to “ignoring” because it implied stronger intent] of peoples, of most people. And, oddly enough, coming full circle, exactly what the OC is intending to undo.

Obviously both kinds of invisibility can coexist and often do. I can choose the cloak, but sometimes I wonder whether its demands are cumulative and irredeemable. Not, in fact, giving a tinker’s damn for the tinker.


TripleJ said...

Tinkers used to have a great importance in times gone by. They were the news bearers.

Now we have television and it is an insidious tool since it is more aimed at brainwashing and crowd control.

It's funny, to me anyway, how similar the USA is to the old USSR, one controlled its population through fear, and the other by television. The result was the same, a poulation of zombies :^)

Anyway, in the Hebrides, the tinkers are not so invisible. I heartily recommend "The hills is lonely" and "The sea for breakfast" by Lillian Beckwith for those wishing 1) A great laugh every few pages, and 2) non invisible tinkers among other things.


Comrada B said...

Irl...don't know if you saw it and am certain you're busy enough with translations, BUT narco news is looking for translator's, to bring the Campaign to the rest of the world. Perhap's you know other good people like yourself who can provide this talent in more than Spanish to English? Just a thought.

Stunningly Un-Zombified,


aketus said...

This isn't an attack but does anyone here really support NarcoNews, considering...

Comrada B said...

P.S. If I were curious, and I am most certainly not, I would wonder about the support comment since they are carrying La Otra as it unfolds? Sigh...whatever

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aketus said...

I'm more curious about the intentions of the members, and how that affects their 'support'. There is no need to take offense, you're not part of NarcoNews, right? So not everything is a personal attack. Oh that's right, I'm the egoist :)

Comrada B said...

Constant bickering in post, bespeak volumes of their author.

aketus said...

Absolutely. Which is why it's good your initial '*sigh* here we go again' post has mysteriously disappeared? I was asking a legitimate question in my first post.

irlandesa said...

That was actually another post which was summarily "disappeared" by your thoughtful hostess for a number of reasons, none of which I would dream of boring you with.

And regarding triplej's comment about tinkers as the bearers of news, it brought very much to mind a dedication I've had for decades - to the usefulness of "broadsheets." Actual paper products, passed hand to hand, able to reach, as I mentioned before, beyond modem, DSL and posse.

Spark said...

As seems to be the way, by chance the day after you posted Sleight of Hand I was lucky enough to stay the night at Tinker's Bubble, long term and well known eco-community in Somerset - a divine little place set up by Simon Fairley&Co [Chapter 7 and The Land Is Ours etc]

And on the subject of newspapers, couldn't agree more: there is room&and an urgent need for a [Cosmic Indigi Anarcho, CIA] newspaper/letter here in London.

We have the opportunity for velvet revolution [what with the multi-directional attack on civil liberties now ensuing]: time for a new Bill of Rights, with land rights included, for said CIA to show a different way.

A kind of 'Stop the Law' Coalition.

So much to be getting on with..


Anonymous said...

Atekus and all,

What I've found consistently compelling about the zapatistas is their vision of a horizonal politic, where voice is given and withdrawn by the people. Leading by obeying. With the Sexta, a corner was turned and the attempt now being made is one of leadership/listening.

And now Marcos is calling for workers to expropriate the means of production, as well as expelling from Mexico those who are rich and powerful. Has Zapatismo taken yet another turn in leading by now identifying the program?

d o n e.

As well, it appears Marcos is generating a following of true believers from the self-appointed "authentic" media to being greeted as a savior by those in the towns he's been invited to. And while he is rather subversively turning the Che heroism mythos on its head - abandoning the motorcycle nearly immediately (for whatever reason), ignoring the mainstream press to the point that the favor is returned, while having relatively quiet gatherings with townspeople - myth-making is in play.

I have to ask: is this the limit of Zapatismo's imagination for change? Is it really in the end about gathering followers for class warfare?

Hearts will break.


Spark said...

It is written: the Lion and the Lamb must lie down together, and so end their fighting.

Capitalist and Non-Capitalist Class: understanding each other and going forward from there [together, or not at all].

The revolution must be classless: for every class is invited, without the need for violence, expropriation or expulsion

The Lion must learn the humility of the Lamb, and the Lamb - great leader without - without the need to force or use the mighty weapons of the Lion, must lead - with the Lion's roar: of voice and new example.

Reverently: don't mess with the sheep.

And please don't spoil what you have built so far, for as someone wise has just said, hearts will break.

And a brave and holy example will be lost.

To impatience we must say: timing is everything.

irlandesa said...

I must admit that I've been increasingly sensing in the words a turning back of the clock - by about a century and a half.

And while we all know how much I might prefer to inhabit other centuries, I've been indulging that passion through Balzac and Barzun of late.

I would very much recommend the former [especially Lost Innocence]for a bit of perspective [and giggles] on the "authentic," and the latter for whither imagination.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Irl...

I knew I could come to you for a tonic!

As ever,

Anonymous said...

Oh! lady Dogma
How thy limbs doth twine
desire in righteous fervent Glory

Come hither, Subject
and ye SHALL be
- without question -
my divine conqueror
but only

irlandesa said...

Et tu?