Tag Archives: Pilar Rodriguez Aranda

Border Crisis, by Pilar Rodríguez Aranda

Border Crisis, or Juárez City is Inside Our Closets

Pilar Rodriguez Aranda, Writing for Peace Adviserby Pilar Rodríguez Aranda

(To read this post in Spanish, scroll down.)

Everyday I read, listen to, and witness the decomposition of our “human” societies, and everyday I become more convinced there will never be a real change if we do not work on the very base of it all: our own self, our family, our neighborhood and our local community. It is there where we find such barbarities that I really don’t understand why we are amazed these happen, of course amplified, at a global level: abuse of all types, beatings, rape, humiliation, war. What happens inside our homes and among our neighbors is the very reflection/root of our sickness, the microcosms of what happens in the immensity of this beautiful planet, our great home, which we systematically keep murdering. We know it, and yet…

I once was at a conference with all kinds of academic “experts” on violence; while the speaker was offering a summary of his latest research or book, a friend who knew this man told me he had beaten his girlfriend; and in that same conference there were at least two other cases of lecturers who abused women or, similarly, his coworkers. I believe Peace starts within, but not a fantasy/imagined/unrealistic peace, where we all act as if separate from the rest… Peace is something we seek, a conscious act, it requires will and a lot of “work”, because, when you have grown in a home where violence is the norm, then of course we will accept and even crave for it outside: radio and TV announcers who can’t seem to talk normally but always screaming; news about ugliness, war and devastation; commercials which are full of lies and immorality; entertainment which is all blood-kill-explode, full of “bad” people, which are always from some “alien” place, colored people who come from “the other side” of our “border”. Borders…another one of those cruel human inventions. A patriarch will never allow anyone from “outside” to meddle with whatever is happening inside his home, and almost everyone else seems to accept this, still. So, my neighbour beats his kids or his wife, and I say nothing. Remember that “Silence = Death”? Well, we still haven’t gone beyond the tiniest of peeps…

Some think that’s a job for our politicians…yet, everyone seems to loath them! And not only Americans, but Mexicans, Cubans, Chileans, Spaniards, Argentinians… Are there any exceptions? Maybe Uruguayans at this point, maybe Icelanders. So, we complain, we denounce, and nothing happens. These so called “representatives” choose their “causes” according to popularity or economic gain, so, of course, it is not surprise when one of them says that femicides is not a pressing problem, even though there’s a constant increase in all forms of violence against women. A lot is being said and written right now about the thousands of Central American children who are waiting to be deported back to their no-future land… But who is talking about those we know nothing about, the “disappeared” ones, killed for their organs, subjected to prostitution and slavery? This year alone, and only in Mexico, there have been 45 thousand children reported disappeared. Who is talking about them?

The US has never truly been “the promised land”, and yet, the media keeps selling this concept of “America the brave and perfect democracy”, hypocrisy at its height! But even if the “American Dream” is just a lie, if you compares one single fact, like minimum wage, it is so easy to understand, I mean, if I make 8 dollars a day, of course making 8 dollars an hour will seem much more attractive. And if at home the alternative is getting killed or becoming a victim, the choice is even easier. In the documentary “Which Way Home”, a kid says he wants to go to the USA because he wants a different life. The interviewer asks him, what kind of life? and he responds, any other.

We know about US intervention in all of Latin America, about corporate rulings, puppet governments, coups d’état, rigged elections, and so on, and yet nothing has changed. I sometimes try to explain to my Mexican friends that my US friends feel the same as we do, and they are powerless to change the direction of their own government, just as we seem powerless to do the same with ours. But, are we really that powerless, or is this just another illusion?

To be honest, I understand nothing. I look around and no one seems to care. People go about their daily life, working, shopping, entertaining themselves; more people will gather to celebrate a soccer game than to protest about anything! I don’t understand humanity’s fascination with death and the end of the world. Someone once told me it had to do with the prophecy of the apocalypses. So, following this logic, if according to the bible, sooner or later the world is coming to an end, why should we care? We are all going to die anyway, why not hurry the fact? Is that how it goes? I also don’t understand a religion which accepts money to aggrandize their churches and protects their own criminals but has no empathy for those who are (still, somewhat) innocent, and suffer; I don’t understand those can’t open their hearts to an eight year old child who has crossed all of the terrain called Mexico on foot, surviving all kinds of atrocities, and wish to send him back… Him and thousands more like him. And I don’t understand why everyone acts surprised, when for many years this situation has been built by their own government and their own indifference.

Once, while showing films on the violence happening in Juárez City in one of the many “sub-cities” that are part of the immense urban mess called Mexico City, an elementary teacher said, “Juárez is in our closets”. She was thinking about the raped, battered, abused little kids who she sees everyday in school, forced to act as if everything is alright, as if their home is a happy place, and life is a piece of cake. And of course, how can she even suggest this kid’s soul, mind and body is being systematically killed? Her parents will deny it, her siblings and even her grandparents or aunts will deny it. Not a peep. What happens within our walls is our business…

Well, guess what? Not anymore. What happens in the US is as much my business as what happens in Nicaragua or in China or in Portugal, and whatever happens in a child’s home should be as much my business as what happens in mine. A lot is being said (and supposedly done, but who believes in politicians?) about the present crisis in the US border. I have no answers, I don’t even pretend to offer a true analysis, such is the task of “experts”. All I can say about these children is, at least they are alive! There is still hope, except, sending them back means denying them that, once again. Where is the love, the compassion, the braveness in this? Our closets are about to burst.

***

La crisis en la frontera, ó Ciudad Juárez vive en nuestros clósets

por Pilar Rodríguez Aranda

Todos los días leo, escucho y soy testigo de la descomposición de nuestras sociedades “humanas”, y todos los días me convenzo más de que nunca habrá un cambio verdadero si no trabajamos en la base de todo: nuestro propio ser, nuestra familia, nuestro barrio y nuestra comunidad local. Es ahí donde encontramos tales barbaridades que realmente no entiendo por qué nos sorprendemos de que éstas sucedan, claro, amplificadas, a nivel global: abuso de todos tipos, golpizas, violación, humillación, guerra. Lo que sucede dentro de nuestros hogares y entre nuestros vecinos es el reflejo/raíz misma de nuestra enfermedad, el microcosmos de lo que sucede en la inmensidad de este bello planeta, nuestro gran hogar, el cual seguimos asesinando sistemáticamente. Lo sabemos, y sin embargo…

Estuve alguna vez en una conferencia con toda clase de académicos “expertos” en el tema de la violencia; mientras un conferencista ofrecía un resumen de su última investigación o libro, una amiga que conocía a este hombre me contaba que él golpeaba a la novia; en esa misma conferencia había al menos dos casos más de presentadores que habían abusado a mujeres o, de manera similar, a sus compañeros de trabajo. Yo creo que la Paz comienza dentro, pero no una paz fantasía/imaginada/irreal, donde todos actúan como si estuvieran separados de los demás… La paz es algo que buscamos, un acto consciente, requiere de voluntad y mucho “trabajo”, porque cuando uno ha crecido en un hogar donde la violencia es la norma, entonces, claro que vamos a aceptar, e incluso ansiarla, en el exterior: locutores de radio y televisión que parece no pueden hablar normalmente sino siempre gritando; noticias sobre la fealdad, la guerra y la devastación; comerciales llenos de mentiras e inmoralidad; entretenimiento que es todo sangre-mata-explota, lleno de gente “mala”, que vienen de un lugar “ajeno”, gente de color que vienen “del otro lado” de nuestra “frontera”. Fronteras…otro de esos crueles inventos humanos. Un patriarca nunca permitirá que alguien de “fuera” se meta en lo que sucede dentro de su casa, y casi todos parecen aceptar esto, todavía. Así que, si mi vecino golpea a sus niños o a su esposa, yo no debo decir nada. ¿Recuerdan aquél, “Silencio = Muerte”? Bueno, pues todavía no hemos pasado de emitir el más leve de los píos…

Algunos piensan que ese es un trabajo para nuestros políticos…y sin embargo ¡todos parecen despreciarlos! Y no solo los norteamericanos, sino los mexicanos, los cubanos, los chilenos, españoles, argentinos…¿Hay alguna excepción? Quizá los uruguayos en este momento, o los islandeses. Así que, nos quejamos, denunciamos, y nada sucede. Estos llamados “representantes” eligen sus “causas” de acuerdo a la popularidad o a la ganancia económica, así que, por supuesto no es de sorprenderse cuando uno de ellos dice que los feminicidios no son un problema apremiante, aún cuando hay un aumento constante de todas las formas de violencia en contra de la mujer. Mucho se está diciendo y escribiendo en este momento sobre los niños centroamericanos que esperan a ser deportados de vuelta a su tierra sin futuro… Pero, ¿quién está hablando de los que no sabemos nada, los “desaparecidos”, que han sido asesinados por sus órganos, sujetos a la prostitución y esclavitud? Solo este año, y solo en México, han habido 45 mil reportes de niños desaparecidos. ¿Quién está hablando de ellos?

Los Estados Unidos nunca han sido en verdad “la tierra prometida”, y sin embargo, los medios continúan vendiendo el concepto de “América, la valiente, la democracia perfecta”, ¡la hipocresía al máximo! Pero, aún si el “Sueño Americano” es solo una mentira, si uno compara un solo dato, como el salario mínimo, es entonces fácil de entender, digo, si yo gano 8 dólares al día, es obvio que ganar 8 dólares la hora me parecerá mucho más atractivo. Y si en casa, la alternativa es que te maten o te conviertas en víctima, la elección se hace todavía más fácil. En el documental “Which Way Home”, un niño dice que quiere ir a los EEUU porque desea una vida distinta. El entrevistador le pregunta, ¿qué clase de vida?, y él responde, cualquier otra.

Sabemos sobre la intervención de los EEUU en toda Latinoamérica, sobre el dominio de las corporaciones, los gobiernos títere, los golpes de estado, las elecciones amañadas, y así sucesivamente, y sin embargo, nada cambia. En ocasiones trato de explicarle a mis amigos mexicanos que mis amigos norteamericanos se sienten igual que nosotros, y que son igual de impotentes para cambiar la dirección de su gobierno, como nosotros somos impotentes de hacer lo mismo con el propio. Pero, ¿es verdad que somos así de impotentes, o es solo otra ilusión?

Para ser honesta, no entiendo nada. Miro alrededor mío, y a nadie parece importarle. La gente continúa con su vida cotidiana, va al trabajo, de compras, se entretienen; ¡se reúne más gente para celebrar un partido de fútbol que para protestar por cualquier cosa! Yo no entiendo la fascinación de los humanos por la muerte y el fin del mundo. Alguien me dijo alguna vez que tiene que ver con la profecía del Apocalipsis. Así que, en esa lógica, si de acuerdo con la Biblia, tarde o temprano el mundo se va a acabar, ¿para qué importarnos? Todos vamos a morir así que, ¿por qué no apresurarnos? ¿Así es como va la cosa? Tampoco entiendo una religión que acepta dinero para agrandar sus iglesias y protege a sus criminales pero no tiene empatía por aquellos que son (todavía, de algún modo) inocentes, y sufren; yo no entiendo a aquellos que no tienen su corazón abierto ante un niño de ocho años que ha cruzado todo ese terreno llamado México, a pie, sobreviviendo toda clase de atrocidades, y desean enviarlo de vuelta… A él y miles como él. Y no entiendo por qué todos actúan sorprendidos, cuando por años esta situación ha sido creada por su propio gobierno y su propia indiferencia.

Una vez en que mostrábamos películas sobre la violencia en Ciudad Juárez, en una de las muchas “sub-ciudades” que conforman el inmenso caos urbano llamado Ciudad de México, una maestra de primaria dijo, “Juárez está en nuestros clósets”. Ella pensaba en los pequeñitos que ve todos los días en la escuela, violados, golpeados, maltratados, forzados a actuar como si todo estuviera bien, como si su casa fuera un lugar feliz y la vida una rebanada de pastel. Y claro, ¿cómo va ella a sugerir que el alma, la mente y el cuerpo de este niño están siendo sistemáticamente asesinados? Sus padres lo negarán, sus hermanos, e incluso sus abuelos y tías lo negarán. Ni pío dirán. Lo que sucede detrás de nuestros muros, es nuestro asunto…

Pero, ¿saben qué? Ya no más. Lo que sucede dentro de los EEUU es tan mi asunto como lo que sucede en Nicaragua, en China o en Portugal, y lo que suceda en la casa de cualquier niño, debe de ser tan mi asunto como lo que sucede en la mía. Mucho se está diciendo (y supuestamente haciendo, pero, ¿quién le cree a los políticos?) sobre la actual crisis en la frontera de los EEUU. Yo no tengo respuestas, ni siquiera pretendo ofrecer un análisis de verdad, tal es la tarea de los “expertos”. Lo único que puedo decir sobre estos niños es que, ¡al menos están vivos! Todavía hay esperanza, excepto que, enviarlos de vuelta significa negárselas, una vez más. ¿Dónde está el amor, la compasión, la valentía en todo eso? Nuestros clósets están a punto de reventar.

Pilar Rodríguez Aranda @100TPC 2012Writing for Peace Adviser, Pilar Rodriguez Aranda is a poet, video artist, translator by trade and border-crosser by vocation. She was born in Mexico City, but lived in California, Texas, and New Mexico, for a total of 13 years; she presently lives in Malinalco, Estado de México and tries to commute to the capital city only when necessary.

Click here to learn more about Pilar.

Writing for Peace News

Writing for Peace Young Writers' Contest2014 Young Writers Contest

Bios are up for our 2014 Young Writers Contest Winners. Learn more about these talented young writers, and leave them a kind word! Submission Guidelines for our 2015 Young Writers Contest will go live on September 1st, 2014.

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts

Our beautiful “Contrast” 2014 Issue of DoveTales has been delayed due to printing issues. We should have a release date very shortly! We apologize for the delay, and thank you for your patience.

 

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

I Do Not Wish to Obsess, by Pilar Rodríguez Aranda

This spring, Writing for Peace looks at gun violence, as well as violence against women and other issues of women’s equality.

Pilar Rodriguez Aranda, Writing for Peace Adviser

No es que quiera obsesionarme

by Pilar Rodríguez Aranda
Translation by Rosarela Meza

No es que quiera obsesionarme
pero cuándo
dejaré de escuchar
noticias absurdas y violentas
(penetración en todos los orificios)
En todos
En todas

Cuándo
dejaré de leer
sobre feminicidios irresolutos
(sospechosos en camionetas negras)
La esperanza ennegrecida
Negro el futuro

Cuándo
dejaré de enterarme
de números y estadísticas
(Más años de cárcel recibe un ladrón
que el asesino de su mujer
si se sospecha que ha sido infiel)

Cuándo
dejaré de conocer
los detalles de sus muertes
(acuchillada 57 veces)
Violada
Torturada

Cuándo
dejaré de alterarme
al imaginar su mirada
su ignorancia y su inocencia

Cuándo
dejaré de creer
que para ser mujer hay que negarse
(no salgas, no vistas, no seas)
que si te atreves a afirmarte
te obligan a callarte
te golpean, te matan
y al final
te culpan

No. No me quiero obsesionar
pero cómo
dejar de pensar
que esos asesinos victoriosos
(que no pueden ser hombres)
existen en la misma superficie
y respiran el mismo oxígeno

Siento que va a caer
una lágrima, pero en vez
bien adentro, algo se endurece

La piedra de la fe, lava
que se enfría
cuando debiera explotar y derretirlo todo

pero para ello, necesitaría un poco más de ternura…
Si no, cómo
podré entonces soltar
esta desesperanza endurecida
para que no me rasgue por dentro
como hicieron con ellas
Todas ellas…

¿Cómo fue que extraviamos
nuestra alma colectiva?
Cuándo… cómo…
No hay duda del qué ni del dónde
Aquí y hoy
aquí y hoy

Cuándo
dejaré de sentir
que hoy y aquí
no nos merecemos

México, DF, 2010

I Do Not Wish to Obsess

I do not wish to obsess
but when
will I stop listening
to absurd and violent news
(penetration in all orifices)
In all of them
All of them

When
will I stop reading
about unresolved femicides
(suspects in black SUVs)
Blackened hope
Blackened future

When
will I stop finding out
numbers and statistics
(a thief gets more years in jail
than a man who has killed his wife
because she is suspected of infidelity)

When
will I stop learning
the details of their deaths
(knifed 57 times)
Raped
Tortured

When
will I stop feeling upset
imagining their gaze
their ignorance and innocence

When
will I stop thinking
that to be a woman one has to deny oneself
(don’t go out, don’t dress up, don’t be)
that if you dare to be assertive
you are forced to be silent
they beat you, they kill you
and at the end
they blame it on you

No. I do not wish to obsess
but how
can I stop thinking
that those victorious murderers
(who cannot be men)
exist on the same surface
and breath the same oxygen

I feel a teardrop about to fall
but instead,
deep within, something hardens

The stone of faith, lava
getting cold
when it should explode and melt it all

But for that, I need a little more tenderness…
If not, how
can I then let go
of this hardened hopelessness
so that it doesn’t tear my insides
like they did with them
All of them…

¿When and how was it that we lost
our collective soul?
When… how…
No doubt about the what and the where
Here and today
here and today

When
will I stop feeling
that today and here
we do not deserve ourselves

Translation by Rosarela Meza

About Pilar Rodríguez Aranda

Pilar Rodríguez Aranda @100TPC 2012Pilar Rodriguez Aranda is a poet, video artist, translator by trade and border-crosser by vocation. She was born in Mexico City, but lived in California, Texas, and New Mexico, for a total of 13 years; she presently lives in Malinalco, Estado de México and tries to commute to the capital city only when necessary.

She originally wanted to become a filmmaker, and started doing video while in college. Her piece “The Idea We Live In,” won first place at the 1991 Athens International Film and Video  Festival, in Ohio, and at the Bienal de Video de México, 1992 (plus an honorary mention for scriptwriting); “The Unexpected Turn of Jim Sagel,” was “Best New Mexican Film” at the Roswell Film Festival in 1994, and “Return, or the Inexactness of Centre” was selected for the 2008 International Videopoetry Showcase (Argentina). Her video work has been shown in several festivals and museums in Europe and America. She has received grants from the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE), the National Fund for the Culture and the Arts (FONCA), and the City of Austin Arts Commission, among others.

As a writer, she published her first poem in a student magazine, and since then, she has continued to publish poetry, articles and reviews in various magazines and anthologies in North America, like Voices of Mexico, Replicante, Ruptures, Tribuno del Pueblo, Saguaro, The America’s Review, Bilingual Review, DoveTales, and Mujeres de Maíz Flor y Canto, and Voces sin fronteras II, Éditions Alondras, Montreal, Quebec, to mention a few. In 2012 she published her first book of poetry, Asunto de mujeres (Story of Women), Cascada de Palabras, México. In february of 2013, she received as an award for her poem Nuestras Luchitas, a scholarship to participate at the 8th Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference.

She makes a living as translator (http://pilartraductora.blogspot.mx), but has also published, most recently in the anthology Cantar de Espejos: poesía testimonial chicana de mujeres (Song of Mirrors: Chicana Women’s Testimonial Poetry) UNAM/Univ. del Claustro de Sor Juana, 2012. She just edited and translated into English, the anthology ¡Esos malditos escuincles!, 25 young Mexican poets 30 and under, for Big Bridge webzine.

She considers herself an “artivist” and is a founding member of the collective Contra la violencia, el arte (Against Violence, Art), and coordinator for 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Mexico chapter.

Writing for Peace News:

Pilar Rodriguez Aranda Joins WfP Advisory Panel

Pilar Rodriguez Aranda, Writing for Peace AdviserEver since I understood the positive effect breaking the cycle of silence and bearing witness, I have felt my writing had a purpose. So, I have tried bringing to light subject matters that usually are kept secret (incest, abuse), or that are unpleasant (like femicide) to talk about; I also have felt strongly the incoherence of War and the discourse behind the “reasoning” for its existence. A society that accepts the death penalty or justifies war, is only reinforcing the acceptance of violence as normal.  Everywhere I’ve lived, I have become involved with the community, and the themes and concerns have usually been the same: art and culture, women’s issues and peace. However, it really has been in the last 2 years that I have found a way to finally merge my passion and my writing through my participation in 100 Thousand Poets for Change. In both editions I have found myself working (and learning from) the youngest of poets as well as from very young students who are still searching for their calling. After having learned more about Writing for Peace and their work with young people, it seemed natural to follow my “habit” of laying out bridges. I am grateful to be part of this project and hope to bring to it many Mexican and Latin American young voices.

~Pilar Rodriguez Aranda

Check out Pilar’s links here.

DoveTales is now available for purchase!

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013We are excited to announce that the print copies of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, “Occupied” 2013. Support Writing for Peace  now by purchasing your copy here.

DoveTales is a full color journal, featuring poetry, essays, and fiction from our contest winners, established and emerging writers, as well as art and photography. Writing for Peace Artist-In-Residence Pd Lietz’s artwork is featured on the cover and throughout the journal.  We are grateful for the support of Colgate University Research Council, which provided a $500 grant as a partial underwriting of the initial publication of DoveTales.

In our first issue of DoveTales, writers and artists explored the many definitions of the “Occupied” theme in brilliant and unexpected ways. Contributors include: Chrissie Morris Brady, Andrea W. Doray, Kim Goldberg, Veronica Golos, Nancy Aidé González, Sam Hamill, Denny Hoffman, Michael Lee Johnson, Adam Jones, Ron Koppelberger, Pd Lietz, Paul Lindholt, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Ellen Meeropol, Mark A. Murphy, Tricia Orr, Kenneth Pobo, Linda Quennec, Nausheen Rajan, Shirani Rajapakse, April Salzano, Nizar Sartawi, Laura Solomon, John Stocks, Julie Stuckey, Samantha Peters Terrell, Richard Vargas. Contributor biography pages will appear on our website soon.

All proceeds for Writing for Peace publications and products go to support our mission, including future Young Writers Contests, DoveTales and other peace publications, and workshops. We invite you to show your support for the Writing for Peace mission by  purchasing your copy today!

Young Writers Contest

Winners for our 2013 Young Writers Contest were announced on May 1st!  Check out the announcement here. Winners will be contacted soon to make arrangements for award payments. Every participating young writer will shortly receive a certificate of participation. Finalists will be notified individually and may be considered for future publication.  The 2014 Young Writers Contest Guidelines will be posted on June 1st, 2013.

Open Forum: MCH-What’s Going On?

Writing for Peace Adviser, Mary Carroll-Hackett, invites all young writers to join her students in posting and discussing current event articles on her open Facebook page,  MCH-What’s Going On?Learn more about Mary Carroll-Hackett’s work here.

In Our Blog~

This spring, Writing for Peace will look at gun violence and women’s equality, two important issues that are often intertwined. We’ll take a step back from the inflammatory gun control debate by exploring the subject through poetry, essays and fiction. Links to previous posts on these topics can be found below:

Silent Day, by Richard Krawiec

What Happens When We Lose Our Innocence? by Andrea W. Doray

Where Peace Begins, by Cara Lopez Lee

Opportunity, and Public Encouragement, by Richard Krawiec

A Stranger in Trouble, Part One, by Vicki Lindner

A Stranger in Trouble, Part Two, by Vicki Lindner

Exit Wound, by Melissa Hassard

Circle Jerk, by Pd Lietz

A Glimpse, by Alexandra Kinias

Every Month is Women’s History Month, by Andrea W. Doray

This is Where I’ll Die, Translated by Maija Rhee Devine

Like Taking Off Boots, by Maija Rhee Devine

The Flaming Cliffs of One’s Heart, by Adriana Paramo

Weary of a Violent Vocabulary, by Andrea W. Doray

 

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.