Love above all

Translated  by Katrina Hassan A huge cloud appears all of a sudden. What was once a sunny morning becomes a typical winter day. People run frantically from the parking lot towards the supermarket. The rain is from a great big storm. In a matter of seconds the sky darkens and huge drops fall as heavily as hail from the sky. I take my shopping cart and enter the store, shaking the rain off my sweater. I walk towards the vitamin aisle. I search for what I need, but it is difficult because there are two shopping carts in the way. They…

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The Vainglorious World

Translated  by Katrina Hassan We live in a vainglorious world. A world where we praise the sleazy, the backstabbers, the unscrupulous and those that step all over people to achieve their goals. In a world of farce, where the only reality is a joke, we create a place that is fed by our actions and passiveness. This depending on what is convenient and whether  or not the winds blow into our bubble of indifference and egoism. In this world there is no respect for others and any living creatures. We are societies of disposable individuals and cowards. Individuals that have lost all…

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A Strong Will

Translated  by KatrinaHassan It was about the mid 90s in Ciudad Peronia, when a married couple moved in from La Bethania, another town on the outskirts. By then Ciudad Peronia was already populated. Left behind were dusty plots of unmeasured land, empty lots surrounded the market, the bus stops, El Gran Mirador, La Surtidora, and La Cuchilla.  Don Luis and his wife came to town and bought a house that once belonged to a family of ulphosterers. It was normal to see the skeletons of furniture surrounding that house. Their house was the first one on the block, going up the main…

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Write, women, write!

Translated  by Katrina Hassan Girls are given dolls so that an early age they learn their place in society. Their place, to give birth and care for children. Children that will eventually become sons, brothers, grandkids, nephews, boyfriends, lovers, companions, husbands.   Whatever the grade of kinship may be, women’s function in society is to be mothers. Mothers in all the patriarchal context; that being, cease to exist just to serve others. Boys are given toy guns and cars, so they can take to the streets. They know that wars are made up of the male gender. Can it be? Very rarely…

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On The Shoulders of the Undocumented

Translated  by Katrina Hassan Every now and then, I go to a Mexican bakery, Arab owned, selling Mexican sweet bread, where they employ Mexicans. No one imagines that those arabs eat thanks to all the undocumented Latinos that live in the buildings nearby. They arrive in their luxurious Mercedes Benz and park at the back. The customers do not see them come in through the back of the shop. They never serve customers. The majority of millionaires that live in the northern suburbs of the city have their businesses in the poor neighbourhoods where the undocumented Latinos live.  Law practices, medical clinics,…

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Hayashi Fumiko’s Resistance 

Translated  by Katrina Hassan “If this book influences today’s youth, dragged deep in poverty, in-tranquility, and need, to keep living, there would be nothing that brings me more joy.’’  This is the ending to the preface of  Hayashi Fumiko’s Diary of a Vagabond book written in 1939. Published initially in instalments in 1928 & 1930.  Her diary was written between 1922 and 1927. We shall estimate she was between 18 to 23 years old. This was when pain, misery and social exclusion ripped her skin off in pieces. She went through an infinity of badly paid jobs on her way to being a powerful…

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The Language of The Empire

Translated  by Katrina Hassan I’ve always wanted to learn French so that I could read Nausea and The Words in Sartre’s language. In translations, no matter how good they are, at some point, the essence is lost. Purity of the text is retained if read in the language in which it was originally written.   More than anything, I’d love to listen to the great Edith Piaf’s songs in their original language. It’s not the same to listen to a song and not understand what is being said. The language of the heart is universal, and Edith’s is a pure soul. I’ve also…

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Like Sewer Rodents

Translated  by Katrina Hassan The day of the year doesn’t matter, neither does the weather. Even if it is pouring rain, they are always there. From dusk until dawn, breaking their back.  Their bodies, a work tool, and their means of survival. It doesn’t matter if they think or feel. If they ask themselves what time it is. A clock, for the exploited worker, never stops ticking. It matters not that they have blisters or a toothache. No matter if a relative died, or if their child is born. They are always there. Breaking their backs. They are never seen as a  person. On…

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The Fascist We All Carry Inside Us

Translated  by Marvin Najarro  In order for a fascist to win the presidency of a country, millions of fascists are needed, and who in times of democracy end up killing it by giving their vote to a right-wing extremist. Because a bloody dictatorship is one thing, but it’s quite another that millions of people, by their own will, vote for a fascist and make him president. The fascist’s name is irrelevant, we are surrounded by them; we are them: we all have a fascist in our families, among friends, acquaintances, coworkers, in our community; we ourselves have something of a…

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The Solitude of the Ixil People

Translated  by Marvin Najarro  When listening to Luna de Xelajú, the chirimía and the tum, or when marveling at the gigantic kites of Santiago Sacatepéquez we experience a feeling of nostalgia. When the aboriginal peoples’ multicolored clothes leave us speechless, stunned, suddenly a certain something takes hold of us, akin to a kind of pride for a multicultural Guatemala; it’s what we export: something called folklore. The indigenous peoples are used for that, to be the folklore of Guatemala before the world. Those designs embroidered on pieces of clothing worn by the indigenous peoples are seen in blankets, napkins, wallets,…

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The Cream of the Crop

Translated  by Marvin Najarro  They made us believe that progress is in cement; that cement is progress. They made us believe that industrialization means prosperity of societies. That in order to industrialize, deforestation has to be ruthlessly implemented and entire peoples destroyed: stealing their water, land, food and any vital means of subsistence. These peoples, we were told, do not matter, and if they resist, they must be eliminated by sheer repression, that’s the reason of genocides that afflict the collective memory. They told us that civilization is a necessary concept for the survival of humanity, and that we the…

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