Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 30)

“It makes the water come to my mouth when I think of the State of Cuba as one in our family.”

– 1895 An American politician & financier

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u.s.-cuba

Cuba remained hostage to the United States, while U.S. companies and investors took control of the major sectors of Cuba’s economy. By 1905, 60% of Cuba’s rural land was owned by U.S. citizens or companies. U.S. investors also controlled 90% of Cuba’s tobacco trade, the country’s iron, copper, and nickel mines, its railroads, and its electricity and telephone systems.” — Historian & Author Aviva Chomsky

So, as we are wont to do, we occupied a nation & called it “freedom.”

We hijacked Cuba’s postal service and customs, in order to control what came and went, and make sure anything valuable found its way into our own government coffers.

And in 1903, we allowed Cubans to draft a Constitution.

But we wrote it.

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Friday Blaque List 29

What I’m…

DOING

Perching high up in a tree in the woods, dry leaves swirling around me like confetti. The branches form an uncomfortable V around my butt, but this particular perch gives an incredible panoramic view of the forest.

sylverblaque-tree-perch

Photo: Sylver Blaque

I love writing & watching wildlife from up here – for as long as my butt can take it!

No wildlife-watching today, however. Have the goobies with me. :)

Mally‘s  jumping around & up in the air, trying to catch swirling leaves. But MegaDeath is yowling back at the wind, as if to say, “Yes, Mother Nature, I hear you. Now hear THIS!”

Nope, no wildlife-watching with the goobies around! :roll:

sylverblaque-mally-and-megadeath

Photo: Sylver Blaque / Mally & MegaDeath

Have 2 other foster-goobies this week: Apache & Soldier. They’re twins (well, 2 of sextups, actually), the only survivors of a murderous ex-owner who killed their siblings, one by one.

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 29)

book-why-do-people-hate-america?I learned a lot from that Israeli encounter.

And from the reactions of other foreigners to our 9/11 tragedy. I mean, I just always assumed that everyone everywhere felt the way we Americans do about it.

I guess I’m learning the value in seeing how others see you.

Because, the truth is, you can never really see yourself objectively.

Yet, even this awakening I’m experiencing here – this dirty view of us through foreign eyes – only makes me feel more determined to fight to right the wrongs. I mean, you have to fight for what you love. And I love my country. In spite of everything I’m learning, that will never change. It’s like how I love my family; no matter what they do, they’re still my blood & always will be. And you don’t give up on family. If they’re broken, you fight for them, fight to fix them, fight to save them.

I told Karli & Dana tonight about the Israeli airport encounter, and they didn’t seem surprised. Karli told me about similar 9/11 conversations she’s had with foreigners in other countries. Dana’s view is that those foreigners are just jealous of America. But Karli thinks, as I do, that it has a lot more to do with our foreign policy, the things we’ve done and continue to do to other countries.

Crashing bees’ nests for honey

Why do we need all that honey? And why are we so okay with spilling their blood to get it? According to those Israelis, spilling foreign blood means our blood will follow. Are generations of our blood worth spilling for honey?

But, I mean, what are we citizens supposed to do about that?

Most of us, like me, don’t even know what our government is doing. We only know what the news tells us. We don’t even know who’s controlling our news. We think our news is democratic & objective, you know, because we live in a democracy. We think we’re getting the whole story. So we don’t dig any deeper than the most convenient American news sound bite because, hey, if it’s on the news, it must be true.

And who has time to dig, anyway? We have jobs, families, a social life.

But even when we do find out horrendous stuff about our country, patriotism (or the fear of being called unpatriotic) propels us to justify our atrocities. Or we retreat into denial. Or defensiveness. Like in the museo today, when the Whites in our group became so defensive about American benevolence, even in the face of our racist destruction of a Brown nation.

Or like how I just wanted to run away…    Continue reading

Writing Off Assholeys

broken-heartRemember how, in high school, when you thought you were the only girl in the world for some undercover asshole, he’d do something assholey that would dent your developing ego and piss you the hell off?

What did you do about it?

Some girls ranted & raged. Others curled up & cried. And then there were the ones who grabbed the nearest object & hurled it right at assholey’s head (or other parts).

Well, that was me.

Except I always grabbed words & regurgitated them all over assholey’s psyche.

I became high-school famous for this.

As one of the popular girls (social stratification in high school is unavoidable :roll: ) it wasn’t expected that I’d put embarrassing feelings right out in the open like that. But I did. And doing so encouraged other girls in school to do it, too.

We victims of assholey-ness started a writing club, and anytime boyfriends assholey-ed us, we’d commandeer the gym or outdoor field in the middle of sports practice, and regurgitate our stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. all over the jock’s psyches.     Continue reading

Friday Blaque List 28

What I’m…

WEARING

Bat piss & guano.

bat-in-tree-branches

It’s in my hair, on my shoulders, splattered across the back of my neck, and God knows where else.

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WHY

We’re rescuing a colony of bats that got trapped in someone’s attic, and pooping is an animal’s fight or flight response to being captured.

But guess what?

It’s part of our fight or flight response, as well.

It’s why sometimes people get so scared they pee on themselves. Like my coworker just did because he’s never seen so many bats in person. I won’t talk about how hilarious it was to see his reaction when they all started flying around, grazing his head.

flying-bats

He’s in the van now, cowering.

Men. :roll:

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 28)

danger-angry-americanWhat happened next involved shouting, shoving & airport security.

I think the only reason it didn’t involve blood was because the other American girl & I jumped in front our raging fellow American, and talked him down.

Well, that and the fact that he realized he was outnumbered by a group of actual bee-crushing Israelis. And airport security.

In hindsight, I think those Israelis were trying to communicate with us in a direct way which agitated our American play-nice sensibilities. We Americans rarely express anything that directly, so we were pissed off by the Israelis’ bluntness. We’re used to p.c. phrasing accompanied by smiles & all kinds of other make-niceties that many foreign cultures just don’t engage in.

So, we definitely do not see ourselves as “tyrants.”

When we look into our national mirror, we see the good guys. We see ourselves as the victim of tyrants. When we war, we’re only fighting back.

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 27)

boot-stepping-on-faceThe American dude was pissed.

His face darkened, his body language was confrontational, and I’m pretty sure his aura was a deadly shade of black & blue…

Another of the Israelis chimed in calmly, as if nothing was amiss, nobody’s American blood was boiling, no Israeli was about to get his teeth smashed in. Just a friendly group of travelers, shooting the international sh*t.

When you crash a bee’s nest, and destroy the bees to get to their honey,” this Israeli began patiently. “Those bees will fill with hatred for you. They will buzz to their children the stories of how you demolished their homes, their families, their lives, their country. And those children will come. They will come to avenge their ancestors. Generation after generation. Because you continue to crash their nests.”

Another of the Israelis looked right at us Americans. “September 11th will happen again,” he said. “It will happen to you, and it will happen to us. Because our countries think ‘why’ doesn’t matter.

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 26)

lynching-of-blacksOur racist policies didn’t work in Cuba.

At least not in the way it worked back home.

Because while Americans were all for hanging Blacks out to dry, Cubans were fervently against it.

Cubans — Black & White — rose up in unified, adamant protest against our racist policies on their island.

But a lot of good it did them; we reluctantly responded by allowing a minimal number of Blacks back into the sectors of society we had originally ousted them from — but we reinstated those Blacks in a segregated format.

Brown cops had to be separated from White cops, Brown soldiers could not share barracks with White soldiers, etc. Wherever we gave in to Cuban outcry against the banning of Blacks, our reinstatement condition was always that Blacks be separated from Whites.

racist-sign-no-negroes

Circa 1920. The Texas Restaurant Association posted these signs at the entrances and exits to all restaurants in the state.

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Hence, the U.S. was responsible for the re-introduction of segregation onto the island of Cuba. Victor said the effects of our systemic racism still exist here today – just as it does back home.

Which, of course, we’re all in denial of.

Well, all except minorities.

But Victor said we did good things in Cuba, too. And I noticed that where the Browns in our group had been riveted by Victor’s history lesson from word one, it wasn’t until this part of the lesson that the Whites in our group began listening intently.   Continue reading