Translated by Marvin Najarro
We, the generation of amnesia, the useless herd of children who grew up in Latin American post-dictatorship, were left with nothing but the bagasse. They took the books away from us, the musical education, art classes, and physical education. All at once we were left with no school yard, they left us without desks, ceilings, and finally without schools; in these countries plundered by mobs of ungrateful sons who dared to spit out the bowels where they came out. And then one day, they left us without a home.
Consequently, thirsty, we absorbed the gall of betrayal that was our nourishment since the first years of our childhood, without knowing that we were fed with ideas introduced by others in our immature brains, deprived, and in need of mischief which is the habitual thing in chilhood. And we grew up, ignorant of reality, of history and memory; and we learned with accuracy the text that others made us dictate in Spanish Language and Social Studies classes.
They changed the names of rivers and towns. Dignity was manipulated and impunity imposed on the chalkboard; of that piece of chalk they made the first brainwashing tool in school. Later, and little by little, in elementary school, high school and college we were finished off using a curriculum that eliminated the true history of Latin American peoples. We, feeble creatures, were incapable to look into, used to be spoon-fed; we were unable to think carefully that we were part of a plot; the herd taken to the slaughterhouse, and we automatically hated those we were told to hate. Oh! Poor hopeless herd!
And then with the roots of the trees they made racism grow, and we learned to hate our own ancestral heritage. We wanted to be from everywhere but where we were from. It was a brutal blow to see on our face our indigenous features, and we felt miserable, oh damn luck, and we wished that everything had vanished with the scorched earth. Because there is no crueler punishment than wishing to be Caucasian and knowing you are a mestizo; a poor Latin American prieto.
We hated the red, a simple color. We were taught to hate colors, the soul of arts. That the genocide of indigenous peoples was deserved because they were sub humans, and that forced disappearances were necessary to cleanse Latin America of the lazy people who did not want to work and instead wanted to grab the possessions of others. And so we learned by heart and repeated it, as a calligraphy lesson, and as a recess punishment.
They told us everything the other way around, distorted the facts, gave us the bagasse, and fed our soul with waste. That is why we are blockheads wandering around, not knowing where to put our feet, rootless, without any support to help us along the way. That is why we are greedy, incapable of offering a hand expecting nothing in return.
Unable to share a meal, a conversation, a walk, or the pleasure of silence that precedes creativity. Creativity, we were told, is a thing for lazy people, like the arts; that nostalgia is for the weak, and that utopia belongs to those who never wanted to work. We were unable to love, neither the rain, nor the flowering milpa, or the smell of wet earth; the mist of dawn; the smell of ocote burning in the polletón. We could not love, on the contrary, we like to possess. We were turned into insensitive beings, aliens, enclosed in a bubble of indifference, unable to react; wimps. It’s never been about an ideology.
And of course, they also taught us to hate Cuba, just for the sake of it. Just as today they are teaching the younger generations to hate Venezuela. And we are so despicable that in this generation of amnesia we’ve never been able to ask ourselves, what if what we were taught was not what really happened? But we are afraid, because the reflection in the mirror does not lie, even if we put on a thousand masks.
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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado