The hour of the little ones, III


For the "café" men and women in the United States.

"we are the emigrants/the pale anonymous ones with the heathen and carnal century/on our backs where we accumulate the legacy of questions and perplexities"
Mario Benedetti

Durito recounts that, once over the border, a wave of terror struck out at him and pursued him. It is not just the threat from 'immigration" and the "kukuxklanes." It is also the racism that fills each and every one of the corners of the reality of the country of the clouded stars and stripes. In fields, on the street, in businesses, in school, in cultural centers, on television and in publications, even in bathrooms, everything pursues you to renounce your color, which is the best way of renouncing one's culture, land, history, that is, surrendering the dignity which, being other, is in the café color of the Latinos in North America.

"Those brownies," say those who hide behind the classification of human beings according to the color of their skin, the crime of a system that classifies according to purchasing power, always directly proportional to the sales price (the more you sell, the more you can buy). If the "brownies" have survived the campaign of bleach and detergent by the Powers of the American Union, it has been because the "café" Latin community (not just Mexican, but also Mexican and Puerto Rican, and Salvadoran, and Honduran, and Nicaraguan, and Guatemalan, and Panamanian, and Cuban, and Dominican, to mention some of the shades in which the Latin American café color paints North America) has known how to build a network of resistance without name and without hegemonic organization or as a product that is sponsored. Without ceasing to be "the others" in a white nation, Latinos carry one of the most heroic and unknown histories of this dying 20th century: that of their color, hurt and worked until it is made hope. Hope that café will be one more color in the rainbow of the races of the world, and it will no longer be the color of humiliation, of contempt and of forgetting.

And it is not just the "café" that suffers and is persecuted. Durito recounts that, in addition to his status as Mexican, must be added the black color of his shell. This courageous beetle was, thus, "brown and black," and he was doubly persecuted. And he was doubly helped and supported, since the best of the Latino and black communities protected him. In that way he was able to travel through the main North American cities, as those urban nightmares are also called. He did not walk the tourist's route, the glamour and the marquees. Durito walked the streets of below, where blacks and Latinos are building the resistance that will allow them to be, without ceasing to be the other. But, Durito says, that is a history for other pages.

And now "Black Shield" Durito, or "Escudo Negro" Durito (if you are not globalized) has begun insisting on the importance of my announcing, with great fanfare, his new book, which he has called "Cuentos de Vela en Vela." He has now given me a story which, he says, he wrote in remembrance of those days when he was a "wetback" or "mojado" in the United States.

"Above and Below are Relative... Relative to the Struggle that is Waged to Subvert Them" Letter 4C. (included in the story).

"It's a very long title," I tell Durito.

"Don't complain and put the story in or there'll be no treasure," Durito threatens with his hook. Va, then:

"Once upon a time there was a little floor that was very sad because everything was happening above him. Why do you complain? the other floors asked him: What else could happen to a floor? And the little floor remained silent about his dream of flying lightly and having the little cloud fall in love with him, the one that appeared from time to time and paid him no mind. The little floor became more and more unhappy, and his sorrow was such that he began to weep. To weep and weep and weep and weep"

"How many times are you going to put "and he wept'? Two or three would be enough," I interrupted Durito.

"No one is going to censure the great "Black Shield" Durito, much less a big-nosed cabin boy, and, even worse, one who has the flu," Durito threatened me, while pointing out the fearsome plank over which the wretched walked to the bellies of the sharks. I gave in silently. Not because the sharks are frightening, but because a dip would prove fatal to my perennial flu.

"And he wept and he wept and he wept. The little floor wept so much that all and everyone began slipping if they were above, or walking above, him. And now he had nothing and no one above him. And the little floor wept so much that he was becoming very thin and light. And, since he no longer had anything or anyone above him, the little floor began to float and he flew very high. And he got his own way and he is now called sky. And the cloud in question turned into rain and now she is on the floor and she writes him futile letters saying: "cielito lindo." Moral: Do not look down on what is beneath you, because, on the day you least expect it, it can fall on your head. And tan-tan."

"'Tan-tan'? Is the story over?" I futilely asked. Durito was no longer listening to me. Remembering his old days, when he worked as a mariachi in the East End of Los Angeles, California, he had put on a cowboy hat and was singing, off-key, the one that goes: "Ay, ay, ay, ay, sing and do not weep, because when you sing, cielito lindo, you bring joy to hearts." And afterwards, an out of tune shout of "Ay Jalisco, no te rajes!'

Vale. Salud and I believe we will be late in setting sail. Durito has become determined to make modifications to the can of sardi...excuse me, to the frigate, so that it will look like a "low raider."

El Sup Órale Ésssse.

P.S. OF WACHA BATO - Can anyone help? Durito is determined that the menu on board will include "chilli hot dogs" and "burritos." A qué carnal ésssse!

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

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