Eccentricity is high in Green Dogs…
Being yourself. (image: Irish_Eyes)
I met Betty years ago when I moved to a place teeming with all sorts of progressive people. Still, Betty stood out. She was a large lady dressed in layers of brightly colored clothes who walked with the help of a carved walking stick. Because her eyesight was so poor she often asked for help reading street signs. I was the lucky person she asked one day.
We hit it off immediately, riffing on words and laughing wryly about politics. But when I made a banal comment (probably about the weather or something equally trite) Betty wanted none of it. She asked why I bothered to say it. While I was busy thinking about her question she moved on to far more fascinating topics. Her honestly was more overt than the huge pendant dangling around her neck. I admired her for it. I was newly married…
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Donald Trump was recently on his first trip abroad as President of the United States. The itinerary could not be more revealing: Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican and Brussels.
If it is not clear to you why this is astounding , I’ll try to explain.
Trump repeated endlessly during his campaign-and many if not all of his followers believed- that he was an independent outsider, that he was not a part of the Establishment like his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The problem is that if you participate in the election process, you automatically become part of the establishment. I have doubts as to whether he was aware of this fact but he has no excuse for not knowing, being a wealthy man with access to any information that he needs.
Everything he promised during the election campaign has turned out to be in vain, the attempt of an egotistic being of assaulting the White House for his own purposes. It seems as though he has been told in no uncertain terms what the score is: you as the president are not free to impose your views over the agenda of the Masters. Trump’s only difference with his predecessors is that he is openly blunt and doesn’t try to hide his contempt for foreign nations, other ethnicities than his own or for those Americans who don’t agree with his policies.
Mr. Trump went to close a millionaire gun deal with Saudi Arabia on his first stop. Yes, the same Saudi Arabia that breeds ISIS and beheads anyone who disagrees with them and which some countries like Sweden or Belgium have appointed as the head of the United Nations Women’s Rights Committee. They were already presiding the United Nations Human Rights Commission. After that , he went to shake hands with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and offer US support, meaning millions. Then, The Vatican. The Pope’s face was a poem. A twice divorced, thrice married man in Saint Peter’s basilica, arguably the moral reserve of the western world. His fourth stop was in Brussels, headquarters of the EU, where he was pushy, dismissive and impolite. He did not consolidate his relations with the leaders of Europe. There was nothing about him that could act as a buffer between his ego and those of his European peers.
As I have said, the difference between Trump and his predecessors is only a question of manners, not mindset. Why has he gone back on his word? Why did Obama go back on his regarding Guantánamo prison among others? How can seemingly opposite characters behave in such similar ways? You must assume that there is something greater than them that sets the pace and the policies.
Who benefits? Americans? Europeans?
It’s corporations and big banks that grow through these manoeuvres because they hold the purse strings to the economy. The war against terror is not meant to be won. There are too many vested interests involved. Some corporations make money from killing off people in faraway lands and pitting sectors of western societies against each other. Divide and win. As Adam Smith wrote in his book, “The Wealth of Nations”, ‘All for me and nothing for the rest has always been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.’
Does this sound like a conspiracy theory to you?
The list of countries bombed by the USA since the Second World War exceeds twenty. The only requisites needed to provoke the wrath of the American establishment (and with it, NATO and the EU) are to stand in the way of American interests, be they resources, raw materials or strategic geographical enclaves. With the excuse of maintaining peace, they actually promote an ongoing war which results in millions of people killed, maimed and/or their houses wrecked. Entire countries succumb to the greed of the Empire, which is the greed of the powerful, obscenely rich people who see fit to keep the rest of humanity in shackles if it ensures their own boundless wealth.
However distasteful you may find the current American president, be warned: this is not the biggest problem we face.
Open your eyes to the reality we are immersed in: democracy is but a shell of its former self, deprived of all but the symbolic value of the suffrage and bombs that beat ballots into submission.
I am, indeed, the lucky one
whose every dream has come undone
and where I go, always I see
the others who are lost in scenes
of splendour, unreal,
on every corner
of every street.
No one’s around,
there’s not a sound
to be heard.
Still, my heart pounds
it always frightens
that flutter their wings
inside my head
and make believe
that my dream
is not just a scene
of splendour, unreal,
on every corner
of every street.
What is a family? How does a family come to be a family? Who is responsible for keeping the family together?
To me, the point of family is to nurture, protect and support people and in exchange these people accept certain common ‘burdens’ such as doing tasks and looking out for each other even if it means not putting yourself first always.
My birth family (cousins, aunts and uncles)are normal people. They seem to get along well. They don’t particularly dislike me but I am not particularly welcome either. They can take or leave me, like an extra potato chip left in a bowl.
As I was neither born nor raised in the same country as my cousins, it seems I was expected to take the steps to reassure them that I am grateful for their ‘support’ and acknowledgement of my existence. It has always been like walking in the dark, never knowing if I was going to get it right or not. Unconditional love was not a given. Furthermore, there are many unwritten rules that everybody seems to know, agreed upon stories that, if questioned, relegate you to outsider status. This has taken me years to comprehend and I still don’t quite grasp it entirely.
I suspected early on that I was an intruder of sorts and that I couldn’t rely on my family except for emergencies, that I would not be welcome to just stop by for coffee and a chat. I tried and the outcome left me numb and out of sorts.
It is unsettling to be made to feel out of place in the one place where you should be accepted just because you are YOU.
Whether for this reason or not, I seem to be incapable of creating a sense of family. By this I mean inspiring those closest to me to be close to each other and to me. It seems I am good at fostering independent individuals but not a group identity. This would be less important if I had a group of my own, a tribe of sorts, made up of friends and neighbours. But again, I seem to not know how to do it. I have few friends and more often than not they are far away and we do not communicate frequently. While I treasure these friendships which have survived decades and distance, it appears that the universe conspires to leave me without a support system nearby.
I have this theory that I must have belonged to a big family in another life, a rather nondescript child, neither the youngest nor the oldest; nor the most beautiful or the most hideous.
I have always been adrift on the sea of life, understanding deep inside that I was perhaps the odd one out for a reason, unrelated to the ones I should be, unaccepted, unmoored from the safety of the family dock.
This also reflects on my friendships. I wouldn’t call myself shy, although I am an introvert. I am comfortable in my own company and find small talk only acceptable in equally small doses. I have never had more than one or two friends at a time, in spite of hanging out with larger groups at certain moments of my life.
Is it just me? I often feel like a balloon floating in the sky, something that people point to but doesn’t really matter.
Can anyone relate to this in any way?
Food for thought…
Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and the Feminist Struggle
It is the demand by which our nature ends and our struggle begins because just to want wages for housework means to refuse that work as the expression of our nature, and therefore to refuse precisely the female role that capital has invented for us.
To ask for wages for housework will by itself undermine the expectations that society has of us, since these expectations—the essence of our socialization—are all functional to our ageless condition in the home. (19)
To say that we want wages for housework is to expose the fact that housework is already money for capital, that capital has made and makes money out of our cooking, smiling, fucking. At the same time, it shows that we have cooked, smiled, fucked throughout the years not because it was easier for us than for anybody else, but…
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Wait for it…The end is perfect!
I hate platitudes. You know those annoying statements people say to make you feel better about a situation. I come from a line of women who live long lives, into their eighties and nineties. Based on that kind of lineage, I anticipate a long life too. I’d prefer to be one of those women who age gracefully (whatever the heck that means).
My mother, a proud woman, wore her crown of white hair and the wrinkles on her face with pride. Coloring her hair would have been an insult. “I earned every one of these gray hairs raising six kids, ” she said, more times than I can count. Never at a loss for words, Mother had quite a few trite statements and tiresome clichés in her repertoire of advice. None of which prepared me for the grim reality of aging. I would’ve preferred the truth.
In honor of…
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I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog award by the gracious and always interesting (and multilingual) Sara E. Ackerman, Author! These are the rules if you wish to participate:
1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award. Thank you to Sara Ackerman, Author!
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.
I am delighted to share the answers to her questions.
1. Out of all the countries you have visited, which did you like the best and why?
I lived in three countries on two different continents by the age of thirteen. I was born in Havana, Cuba, to Asturian parents. Asturias is a region in the northwest of Spain. I always promote it because it is not well known outside of Spain and that’s why I decided to start the #TheOtherSpain collection of photographs. If I had to choose, I’d choose Spain. However, I feel I will change my mind when I visit Scotland…
2. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?
Changing my place of residence from a city to a village of about 60 inhabitants. I lived there for 19 years. People thought I wouldn’t last a couple of years. Lesson: never challenge a Green Dog.
3. If you could take someone with you in your travels, who would it be?
I would undoubtedly take my wonderful Scot, the man who gives the best hugs in the world.
4. If you could give someone $1 million who would you give it to?
If it has to be a person, I’d give it to my sons, equally divided.
5. For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?
For my health and the people in my home.
6. Given the choice of anyone living or dead, who would you choose to have dinner with and why?
I ‘d choose Noam Chomsky because I find the way he explains the world both thorough and easy to understand.
7. Give some advice to other bloggers or blog starters.
The only advice I feel qualified to give is enjoy it and write what you would like to read.
8. What is the most scandalous thing you have ever done?
I haven’t done anything really scandalous. I am allergic to unnecessary drama. I’m scandalous enough just being me!
9. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Raising my sons and learning that I am capable and worthy. Accepting that I am A Green Dog and proud of it.
10. If you could do any career in the world, what would you do?
Write and travel. Or cook.
11. If you could live one day over again, what would it be and why?
Probably the days that my sons were born because I was too worried about doing it all so perfect that I didn’t live it like I would have liked.
ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME
1. I am the Green Dog because my oldest son said that I was like a green dog in the middle of a herd of cows to explain how utterly weird I was in comparison to other people.
2. I am bilingual (Spanish-English) because I grew up In New Jersey in a Spanish family. I also speak French and the dialect of western Asturias, Fala.
3. I am an only child. If I’d had brothers, I would have left home before I was 18. The double standards would have been unaceptable.
4. I am an ESL teacher.
5. For almost two decades, I was a cattle farmer in a small village in the mountains.
6. Just recently, I found a word that describes how I feel: Monochopsis, the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
7. I mix up words in Spanish and English and have a knack for speaking both in the same sentence, changing from one to the other every few words. Tu sabes what I mean?
8. I have a hard time understanding most jokes.
9. I am a chocolate addict. Once, I ate 11 (lol!) chocolate bars in one go!
10. I am a chronic overthinker.
11. I found love on Twitter. So far, so good…
I would like to nominate the following blogs:
Now, here are my eleven questions for you!
1. If you could erase a moment in your life, which would it be and why?
2. Who’s your favourite literary heroine?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4. Do you like to cook?
5. Who would you change lives with if given the chance? Why?
6. What would you never change about yourself?
7. What would you tell your younger self?
8. If you could fast forward 20 years, would you? Why or why not?
9. What superpower would you like to have, mind reading or strength?
10. Who is your hero?
11. What would you want people to know about you instantly and why?
Por Guadalupe García Fernández
Hay una cosa que nadie se da cuenta: urbanitas, ecologistas, funcionarios y ganaderos se está tirando los trastos a la cabeza. Todos quieren lo mismo :que no se queme el monte, pero unos quieren imponer sus normas a costa de las necesidades-tradiciones-estilo de vida-conocimiento de la flora y fauna.
No todo el mundo está capacitado para dirigir a los demás, pero sí para ayudar.
Y en este caso espero ayudar a comprender algunas cosas que muchas veces se olvidan o se ignoran.
Los jabalíes campan a sus anchas en ciudades como Oviedo o Gijón, pero mucho es porque en el monte NO HAY NADA QUE COMER. El motivo es la falta de desbroces y quemas controladas QUE SIEMPRE HUBO BAJO VIGILANCIA para que los toxos, artos fulgueiras y otras lindezas de ese tipo no invadieran los montes. Antes el ganadero y CUALQUIER VECINO acudía al monte con el carro o el tractor y llegaba a casa con el mullido para hacer las camas para los animales y para HACER ABONO ECOLÓGICO. También aprovechaban para traer los árboles secos y los que impedían el paso por los caminos, antiguas de agua (por donde bajaba el agua años atrás pero que ahora no tiene agua pero si llueve mucho puede ser que vuelvan a llevar agua), orillas de ríos y arroyos, etc.. Tanto antes como ahora se hacían quemas controladas, pero siempre se procuraban hacer en momentos que no se produjeran situaciones de peligro, pero no todo se puede controlar, por ejemplo: el tiempo, el viento, la lluvia, etc.
Hoy los montes están sucios y se han quemado cientos de hectáreas y sólo se culpa al ganadero, sin tener en cuenta que acaba de terminar la campaña de saneamiento, con lo cual ya podemos sacar a nuestros animales de las cuadra y enviarlas a los montes, unos montes que están faltos de un mantenimiento, ya que muchas de las solicitudes que hacen los ganaderos para la realización de desbroces no pueden llevarse a cabo por la falta de medios, casi siempre económicos, ya que no somos millonarios, no somos ni “condes” ni “duques” ni millonarios, pero se nos considera un “pozo sin fondo” que tiene un agujero en el bolsillo, del cual el dinero sale a espuertas y lo vamos tirando por donde pasamos, porque llevamos bajo nuestro culo un tractor que cuesta 30000€ (y más) al que se le deben añadir los aperos: remolque (4000€), rotativa (6000€) o segadora (6000€), fresadora (5000€), arados (3000€), cuba (7000€), y más maquinarias que se utilizan a lo largo del año a temporadas, según las tareas que realicemos.
Todo eso sale de nuestro bolsillo a base de MUCHO ESFUERZO.
Eso es lo que la gente que viene de la ciudad ve, no el que muchos se levantan a las 5:30 de la mañana para ordeñar las vacas, para darles de comer, limpiarlas, alimentarlas, acariñarlas…. Porque a todas las conocemos por su nombre y a alguna también por el número de su crotal. El trabajo que es levantarte 365 días al año para hacer una visita a nuestros animales y comprobar que están sanos, que están bién, que el lobo o los buitres no se han comido a ninguno de nuestros animales, porque claro, ese es otro problema que también tenemos en el campo: LIDIAR CON LA FAUNA SALVAJE, tratando de convivir con ellos sin que nos ahoguen.
Pero siempre nos toca oír el típico “los lobos estaban primero” sin pensar que los lobos vivían en la sierra, no en zonas tan bajas, que se han desplazado por dos motivos:
1º- Los montes están tan sucios que no tienen donde alimentarse, ya que los jabalíes y corzos no tienen donde alimentarse y son los primeros en buscar zonas donde les es más facil alimentarse.
2º- La consejería a estado soltando desde hace años lobos criados en cautividad. Estos no tienen miedo del ser humano, ya que es quien lo alimenta. Pero para cuando llegan a estar en libertad no saben cazar puesto que es “el hombre” quien los alimentaba. Por eso se acercan a las zonas rurales en busca de alimento facil: animales que están cercados y no tienen a donde escapar.
PERO ESA ES UNA REALIDAD QUE NO INTERESA A POLÍTICOS Y/O ECOLOGISTAS.
Hoy en día los ganaderos no pueden ir al monte a tirar leña sin permiso del forestal; las piñas no se pueden recoger aunque los habitantes de las zonas rurales SABEMOS MUY BIEN que las ardillas solo se comen las que han cogido ellas y los ratones de campo NO las comen y SON TEAS; si encienden una hoguera para quemar los rastrojos de las fincas necesitan permisos y si no los tienes las multas son de aúpa; si se produce un incendio los primeros en salir a extinguir el fuego son los vecinos y ganaderos con mangueras o con bidones, si está cerca de las casas, sino los ganaderos cogen sus tractores y cubas, las llenan de agua y van a ayudar en los trabajos de extinción.
El monte, hoy por hoy, tiene demasiados “novios” y se olvida de aquél que toda la vida vivió en él siempre lo trató con respeto, ya que es donde encuentra los recursos para poder vivir, tanto si es un ganadero que envía sus animales al monte para ahorrar forrajes y que nos duren hasta pasar el invierno, como si es un vecino que va al monte a buscar un árbol, de la especie que sea, que haya tirado el viento impidiendo el acceso a cualquier finca u otro lugar.
Si has aprendido algo comparte, si tienes dudas lee el libro “El Último Cazador” y si todavía sigues sin comprenderlo no te molestes ni en contestar.
ALGUIEN QUE VIVE EN LA ZONA RURAL DESDE QUE SU MADRE LA ENGENDRÓ
Conversaciones con Silvia Federici (I/II)
Por Gladys Tzul Tzul
Silvia Federici. Teórica y militante feminista italiana. Autora de Calibán y la Bruja (Pez en el Árbol, 2013); la Revolución Feminista Inacabada (Calpulli, 2013); la Revolución en Punto Cero (Traficantes de Sueños, 2013). Federici participó y acompañó luchas de las mujeres por la defensa de las tierras comunales en Nigeria; en los años setenta realizó una campaña por el salario al trabajo doméstico. Sus reflexiones abordan de manera histórica las luchas políticas de las mujeres por producir lo común, con una fértil mirada sobre la reproducción de la vida. En esta conversación que sostuvimos en Puebla, México, nos presenta elementos teóricos para interpretar de manera más amplia el funcionamiento de lo que ella llama el patriarcado del salario. La conversa nos dota de una serie de detalles de la historia del capitalismo que sirven para comprender nuestras luchas.
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