took their voices with them
their voices with which they sang
their tongues and languages
We became accustomed to not hearing them
while we searched for them
we dreamt that some day
they would be waiting for us at the corner café
or in the schoolyard
as if nothing had happened
because it was a bad dream in some
short story by Borges
With them we also lost the transparency
the illusion of every day
that it was always the present the moment
the transparency of objects
And so we grew accustomed to filling ourselves with absence
to a gray silence on our cracked faces
to forgetting their voices
to really believing that perhaps not one of them existed
that these disappeared
were not real
And so we too disappeared from history
we shriveled up
the sky also smaller
we no longer searched for anyone
we did not question anyone
we grew silent in order to die or perhaps to live in miniature
and one day like them
we also disappeared
we were aware
we dressed in mourning
we joined forces with fear
little by little indifference defeated us too
We expected nothing else
except occasionally thinking yes,
perhaps they would again appear in that corner café
or in that instant of the sun when summer is a
ceremony of delight.
Link via RSB
Jacues Rupnik on why 1968 needs to be remembered not so much for the Parisian student revolt as for The Prague Spring. 1968: The year of two springs
The French Left rejected the market and capitalism at the same time as, in Prague, Ota Sik was putting forward a “third way” between eastern state socialism and western capitalism.
Scientist DP Sen writes on the problems of the communist movement.
A middle class leadership for a working class movement is a contradictory arrangement and cannot continue forever. The above two classes have different class interests, more so in a developing country….In China, the middle class leadership has allowed capitalism in the name of development. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and also a Polit-Burean member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist , proclaims every alternate day, so to say, that they are practising capitalism. If so, why the name: Communist Party of India-Marxist?
Initially what I saw in the painting is the man, presumably the philosopher in the center of the painting, under the staircases that seem to represent both the cascading movement of the mind as well as the transience of time- the philosopher is situated in a particular position in time and is thus also limited by it. He basks in the glow, as it were, of enlightenment within those confines.
As one looks closely at the painting, one can also see a woman, and there is another source of light. The source of light comes not from the skies or the external world, but from the hearth. Unlike the man, the woman is not sitting placidly and reflecting or basking in the light, but is in the act of keeping the fire, the source of the illumination going.
There is not one, but two philosophers in the painting. Or perhaps there is indeed only one. And it’s not the one seated next to the window.
Link via Flowerville
A decade ago, the triumph of liberalism in Europe was so overwhelming that even parties that traced their political lineage to the early 20th-century revolutionary working class movement did not to speak openly about the radical transformation of society. Communist parties closed down or hastily reinvented themselves as Social Democrats, while Social Democratic parties became liberal parties.
In the same newspaper, Victor Sonkin, writes on the nostalgic blogging of the Soviet years.
The sub genre of literature blogs seem especially interesting. One blog consists of short memoirs of not very distant times, which are now becoming increasingly “retro.” Before reading the website I thought that most mundane details of everyday life escaped attention, were forgotten and eventually lost. How, for example, did one pay the fare for a Moscow streetcar in 1979?
“Through the years, a man peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, tools, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his own face.”
As a bonus, the article also gives the correct pronunciation of Borges’ name!
A repeated use of red, blue, yellow and black is a striking feature of Sawarkar’s work. Colour activates the surface of the piece, as if there was a fierce struggle between the figure and the surface grounding it. To borrow a phrase from Mikhail Bakhtin, you might even call Sawarkar’s art a “carnival of the grotesque”. He keeps returning to the fact that what we often recognise as normal — whether it is the human body or human ways of thinking — must take into account the grotesquerie that is an everyday experience for many people.(link)
Check out the gallery at his site. The paintings that I saw in his studio were very scathing, the ones at his site look relatively more tempered. One that is etched in my mind specifically is where a dalit man is carrying the village waste (night soil) on two pots hanging at the two ends of a stick, and is spitting into one of them.
The pot that he is spitting into is marked with the swastika and below it reads the word: “Om”.
Paintings by Diego Rivera : From the cycle: Political Vision of the Mexican People (Court of Labor):
The first May Day celebration in India was organised in Madras by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane beach. The Hindu newspaper, published from Madras reported:
“The Labour Kisan party has introduced May Day celebrations in Chennai. Comrade Singaravelar presided over the meeting. A resolution was passed stating that the government should declare May Day as a holiday. The president of the party explained the non-violent principles of the party. There was a request for financial aid. It was emphasized that workers of the world must unite to achieve independence. “(Wikepedia Source)
each ex-voto narrates a saint in action, intervening in a near-disaster, accident, or illness that befalls ordinary human beings or animals. Each commemorates the miraculous intervention and expresses the gratitude of the survivors or loving families—husbands and wives, parents and children.
Take this image, for example:
About 1900 in Mexico City, the horse-drawn tranvia gave way to the electric trolley, leading to a rash of accidents involving horses, bicycles, and pedestrians. This four-part drama shows moments in the life of a young woman struck down by a trolley: first as a devout young girl; second, as a fashionable young woman falling in front of the on-coming trolley; and third, as an unconscious invalid in a four-poster bed attended by a praying woman draped in a black shawl. Each scene is set off in a burnished alcove, like episodes from the life of a saint, but the woman’s fate remains mysterious. The legend, though etched in an elegant hand, has vanished into a script as thin and ineffable as a spider-web.
I’m beguiled by these straightforward captions, believing that through their deceptive specificities—names, places, times (sometimes down to the hour of the day of the year)—the story can be decoded. I want to do my research, my homework; I want to get the miracle straight. The text painted on or scratched into the surface with a stylus is frequently faded to near-obscurity by the time I get my hands on it. The names, cryptified by dialect, effaced by rust, or painted over previous scenes, tell me little more than I can already surmise by studying the painted scenes. Yet, something about the scuffed and scratched surfaces of ex-votos conspires to increase their mysteries. Secreted beneath the multiple strata of revelations contained beneath its skin, I know, there lies the essence of personal despair and redemption.