Essay I wrote on Pablo Neruda’s boat the SS Winnipeg and his spectacular solidarity with Spanish civil war refugees he transported to the then-safe-haven of Valparaiso Chile, now gets a reprint in the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative after first publication in Anomaly. With the watercolour Le Balcon by Nour-Eddine Jarram, (recalling the repetition of such crises today, but where are the grand gestures like Neruda’s? I make this update from Athens, Greece, my window looking onto the street of shipwrecks near Oumonia, diverted fountain in the district of Exarchya.)
SS Winnipeg was Neruda’s Winged Fugitive Ark for war refugees. Where are such grand gestures today?
Stateless and dispossessed persons in the world today amount to a towering 65 million. If we are to trust the “census” of such an unstable and stateless population, it is the highest number of refugees in recorded history (at least, in history recorded after the infamous case of Babel.) The scattered ones mount shouldering upon the flotillas; upon the waves, burnt by exposure to the wind and seawater, the cold, the sun and coastguards, and under the Greek and Semitic constellations. On the shores of Europe, the shipwrecked either hide from the immigrations police, or are processed by techno-bureaucracies. A resident status is ‘’pending,’’ assets confiscated in storage facilities; petitioners are confined in the forced passivity of detention centers. Many years go squandered, lost in waiting. Waiting, during a grueling process for the approval…
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”Reading the Argentinean Resistance Writer Rodolfo Walsh in the Trump Era” my article I wrote as a preface to my English translation of Walsh’s 1977 ”Open Letter to the Military Junta” reappears now on the blog of the noble ”Global Literature in Libraries Initiative” (first print was in Open Democracy’s Latin American section.) Walsh was a founder of Argentinean ”New Journalism” a la Capote and his Open Letter is as relevant now in the wake of the news of the forced disappearance of the young Argentinean Santiago Maldonado who was taken by the gendarmerie this year for his involvement with the Mapuche indigenous demanding the return of their lands from the Benetton co. Thanks to Rachel Hildrebrant of GLIL and to Democracia Abierta and Francesc Badia y Almacés
Rodolfo Walsh’s Open Letter to the Military Junta used to be distributed in Argentina as a pamphlet by the historical memory and human rights organizations in the first decade of this century. Today, after the 2015 election of a historical-revisionist administration in Argentina, the transmission of its message and Walsh’s struggle to the new generations is, again, a peremptory necessity.
Today, its translation into English can also be useful to international readers in general and Americans in particular not only to understand Argentina, but also to better reflect on the despotism that they are beginning to experience, following the election victory of a would-be dictator, Donald Trump, who in his demagoguery and senility recalls the repressive government of Isabela Martínez Perón before being overthrown by the Military Junta, with its programs for national registries of data on militants (today, Trump is seeking to establish “national registries” for Muslims and Mexicans).
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