One Planet. One People.
Workers, not 'Stars' [Victor Jara]
Notes from the Frontline #1
Caramba! August already. And I’m 74 in a few days’ time. Is that possible?! Coming here 28 years ago in a stumbling effort to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these impoverished people made ‘The Poor’ by my greedy UK/US lifestyle, never thought I’d make 60 let alone 70! Well, 150 next stop! Largely thanks to you, my dear family and family of friends. Without your support all these years I probably would’ve snuffed it long since. My birthday will be spent remembering and thanking you all (not to mention all The Poor from our barrio who literally donated me life with their very blood when I needed a full transfusion a couple of years ago).
If I never thought I’d still be here, I certainly never expected to be so happy. These are astonishing times in Nicaragua - immense problems still of course, but fresh winds, lifting. For today’s Nicaragua is part of one of the great experiments in human history, ALBA. ALBA (‘Dawn’), the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America, is a trading block founded on solidarity and justice rather than individualism and dog-eat-dog, and it maintains itself by peace, not war. (See Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign UK video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGfYnPukRBo
Is ALBA perhaps humanity finally beginning to grow up, the Two-Thirds World offering our Me-First World a working model to enable us to re-connect with one another, with other countries, with the very planet? (5% GDP growth says ALBA even works by capitalism’s own truncated yardstick).
From Death Squad LA years ago I used to send out Letters from the Frontline’: exiled Salvadorans, Yanira and co., Victor Jara. In these newly-stirring times, I thought to resurrect them. So, true to form, I began battering out a great screed. However, since nowadays one hardly has time even to open attachments much less read them, I’m chopping the purple prose into email-sized bites. So this is a first edition ‘Nicaragua: Notes from the Frontline’. It’s also attached in case you can share it around, and will soon be blogged. Hope you’ll find it of interest – at least it’ll be positive when hope is in pretty short supply. If you don’t want it, just let me know - we’ll send the heavy mob round.
I swore I wouldn’t wooter on. So let’s stop. But looking at that original screed things really are pretty exciting over ħere; there’s plenty to discuss: ALBA, climate change, women’s representation, the betrayed wonder of cellphones, new songs, what Yanira’s up to these days (clue: ‘Mother Jones’), Joel, family doings … happiness even! Oh, and how could I forget? Nicaragua’s plans for ‘El Gran Canal’, a mega coast-to-coast job even larger than Panama’s; plus the 40th anniversary of the Pinochet/Kissinger coup in Chile, and Victor´s murder. 9/11 2013.
Would love it if you’d feel able to respond from time to time, especially with helpful hints on undoing global warming by next week, especially with your own news. Practical ideas (especially), more/other information, requests, discussion, disagreement (even!), all welcome. Sorry to have to send these ‘Notes’ out broadside, but I’ll certainly try to respond individually. Meantime, much love from us all, and thanks again for all your own work and loving support.
Fátima, Joel, Tia Suzy, Paul and all the Nica-gang.
PS. Why ‘Frontline’? Well, even beyond ALBA’s radical challenge to business as usual (not to mention the Grand Canal), wee Nicaragua is right smack in the path of a climate change perfect storm, whipped up primarily by US/Euro abuse of the very resources they extorted from Nicaragua/the “Third World” in the first place- 3-5 degrees C hotter/25% less rain by time our 15 year-old, Joel, is my age. (Managua, hotter? Is that possible??!!). Thus our beloved Nicaragüita is part of humanity’s frontline every which way - a time and place where our worst nightmares and our loveliest dreams collide.