Swim, by Mitra Azar.


Yo recuerdo el tiempo de las mariposas amarillas:
abundaban entonces los Macondos
los Melquíades anunciando profecías
una profusión de Remedios La Bella
se elevaban al cielo tras sus sueños.

Nacían y se reproducían en estas tierras nuestras
alegres hordas de cazadores de quimeras
buscadoras de un Dorado -final de las injusticias-
Quijotes prestos a morir y a derrocar tiranos.
¡Qué lejano nos es ahora aquel realismo mágico
del heroísmo anhelando la difícil paz agazapada!
¿Quién nos habría dicho años después
que de tantas muertes ofrendadas a los sueños
transitaríamos a éstas modernas guerras floridas
donde por callar decir o saber
hay cientos de miles de desaparecidos, asesinados,
cadáveres desmembrados
en sanguinarios sacrificios humanos?
Hombres y mujeres condenados a muerte
sin saber por qué, por quién, para qué.
Las selvas donde se alzarían las utopías
Convertidas en guaridas de ladrones.
¿Dónde están las mariposas amarillas?
¿Dónde estan los creadores de quimeras?
¿Dónde los sueños tras los que salir a cabalgar?
¿Dónde las razones más allá de la rabia y la compasión
para romper en masa
los muros de este laberinto por el que andamos a tientas?
Contemos. Cantemos.
Yo digo 43, pregunto 43, pregunto.

Gioconda Belli


Suicide was seen as the only way out by the slaves of the Haiti’s plantations, who killed themselves by the thousands notwithstanding the prospect of becoming zombies forever.
In an article published on the New York Times, Amy Wilentz explains the story behind the mythology of the zombie.

“For the slave under French rule in Haiti — then Saint-Domingue — in the 17th and 18th centuries, life was brutal: hunger, extreme overwork and cruel discipline were the rule. … The only escape from the sugar plantations was death, which was seen as a return to Africa, or lan guinée (literally Guinea, or West Africa). This is the phrase in Haitian Creole that even now means heaven. The plantation meant a life in servitude; lan guinée meant freedom. Death was feared but also wished for. Not surprisingly, suicide was a frequent recourse of the slaves, who were handy with poisons and powders. The plantation masters thought of suicide as the worst kind of thievery, since it deprived the master not only of a slave’s service, but also of his or her person, which was, after all, the master’s property. Suicide was the slave’s only way to take control over his or her own body.
For the slave only death opens the way to freedom and makes possible a return to the homeland which is beyond the Ocean. The black Ocean of death is the gate of the bright paradise lost. But not everybody will be able to go back home, many will get lost and become zombies. This was the scarecrow keeping slaves from killing themselves.”  (Amy Wilentz: A Zombie Is a Slave Forever, New York Times October 30th 2012).

According to anthropologist and ethno-botanist Wade Davis, a living person can be turned into a zombie by the inoculation into their blood stream of two types of powder, both available in Haiti: tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin that can be found in the flesh of the pufferfish, and datura, a dissociative drug. Davis wrote two books on this subject: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985) and Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie (1988). Life was frozen mid-way, through its suicidal journey to heaven. – only the fear of getting lost remains as the ultimate suicide barrier between the slave and its release through suicide. It is not surprising that the myth of the zombie has returned today, as it features a prominent role in the contemporary imagination, and particularly in popular culture and cinema.

In an attempt to discourage the factory’s young workers from committing suicide, Foxxcon will no longer pay compensation to families of employees who kill themselves. According to speakers of the Shenzhen’s complex the company had “concrete evidence” that some of its employees killed themselves in order to win compensation money for their families. Some victims’ families have received more than 100,000 yuan ($14,640), according to the press agency Xinhua.

“The act is wrong. Life is precious. To prevent such tragedies, Foxconn is to cease releasing compensation other than that provided by law,” says the official communiqué of the management. Don’t forget: life is precious.
Like the plantation masters also the Foxxon managers think of suicide as the worst kind of thievery. And they threaten to create new zombies: deaths without compensation.

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