On October 12th
All along America, October 12th receives a different name: Discovery Day, Columbus Day, Race Day, Hispanic Day…
However, none of them remember the indigenous peoples, their slaughter, their genocide… Excepting in Venezuela, where October 12th has been called “Day of the Indigenous Resistance”, after a controversial process in which Venezuelan native nations expressed their refusal to remember such a date with the names and the identities of the killers, the invaders, the strangers…
“What are you celebrating?” an old Wichi man asked to me in Chaco (Argentina), during an October 12th celebration, some years ago…. Even if I assayed an answer and I tried it… no answer saved me the shame of accepting that we were celebrating ethnocide, destruction, violent contact… How could I cover these ideas with euphemisms? How could I disguise facts that cannot be disguised at all?
We have to keep alive our memory. But Latin Americans –and other nations in the so-called “Third World”- are forgetting all our memories. It´s important to remember all the time, all the facts. It´s important to recover the past, to understand it, to know all the opinions, and to learn to respect the differences. Without all this, we cannot build a future as a society.
Precisely, this is (or should be) our work: to encourage people to think, and to support independent thoughts and opinions, even if this became a painful or a "dangerous" exercise…
Just for keep alive the memory, I want to share with you one of the texts (Text #1) of “Taki Ongoy”, the most famous work of the Argentinian singer Victor Heredia. This text –and the whole work- let the voices of Latin American aboriginal peoples to come out of the silence. By this way, those who were (and still are) defeated, conquered, humiliated, slaughtered, forgotten and enslaved are able to express, finally, all their pains, their fears… and their hopes.
It´s another point of view. The silent one. Now, you can share it with your users.
There was a time where everything was good. A happy time, when our Gods protected us. There was no disease then, there was no sin then, there were no bone pains, there were no fevers, there was no smallpox, there was no chestburns, there was no weakening. Healthy we lived. Our bodies were straight then. But this time finished when they arrived with their pestilent hatred and their new God and their horrifying hunter dogs, their bloody war-dogs with strange yellow eyes, their killer dogs
They came down from their iron ships, with their bodies wrapped everywhere and their pale faces and their yellow hair and the ambition and the deceit and the treason and our secular pain reflected in their restless eyes. Nothing stood, everything was razed, was burnt, was smashed, was tortured, was killed. Fifty-six millions indian brothers are waiting, from their dark death, from their dreadful genocide, that the little light –the one which is still burning, as example of these past great cultures- spreads and burns in a huge flame, and finally enlights our true identity. And, if this happens, let the true be known, the terrible true of how they killed and enslaved a whole continent for sacking the silver and the gold and the land. Of how they took away everything, even our languages, our idiom, and how they changed our Gods, menacing us with terrible punishments, as if could be a greater punishment than confuse them with our own Gods and let them come inside our homes and temples and valleys and mountains.
But they haven´t defeated us. Today, like yesterday, we still fight for our freedom.
(Note: I tried a literal translation, respecting the spanish original, which uses the spanish dialect spoken by Andean indigenous communities, highly influenced by Quechua-language structure. I don´t know if I did a right translation. Anyway, I hope that the sense of the whole text may be understood).