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14:27 - Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2004
a gorilla's dead kitten, meticulously spiced kabob, carefully blended milk and tea
This morning, there was a combination of heady spiced Middle Eastern food with Thai milk tea, orange, sweet, peppery, creamy...
and my memories of an hour earlier, seeing a PBS documentary about the gorilla who wanted a kitten. Perhaps you have heard about this gorilla; Koko, who could speak sign language. The kitten was her best friend and then it got run over by a car outside the Gorilla Foundation. When Koko was told that her kitten had been hit by a car, she sat silent for a second, a black hulking mass of fur, and it almost seemed as if she reverted; as if, confronted by such a massive concept, she had reverted back to pure animal emotionless state to protect herself from having to feel and communicate pain. But a few seconds later, she reached up and pulled at her bottom lip, tugged it with a clumsy index finger. 'Koko sad,' she signed. 'Sad, frown, sad. Cry.'
That, and the food, in the food court, remembering her crying reach out to the grass, surrounded by Chinese men reading the newspaper, caused me to feel something very strange while not concentrating on my Tom Robbins novel. My heart does not usually manifest itself physically; its beat is normal and quiet, not strong, or erratic, and it never twinges with any heart-attack warning pain. People have described it as swooning, I think, when something hits you so hard and with such ambiguous leanings that your face twitches to its own rhythm and your mind gets confused as to what to tell the rest of the body to do. To cry, the default, or scream, or crumple, or laugh. A gorilla's dead kitten, meticulously spiced kabob, carefully blended milk and tea.

00:06 - Sunday, November 21, 2004
this class, that class
my maya class notes:

Barrios - dictator who wants to 'modernize' Guatemala. so 1st rail & road systems created. Sate supported permanent standing army. Takes 70% of land from campesinos, church, gives it to 2% Ladino population so trade and export can begin.
Enacts vagrancy law: anyone who owns less than 10 acres of land must work for gov't for free 3 months out of the year. Focus on export crops rather than subsistent crops.
Bananas imported and planted.
United Fruit Co. gets 99 year land concession - 40% of most fertile land to grow bananas with no property taxes, beginning in 1904. More land in Guat. owned by United Fruit (U.F.) than Guatemalans. U.F. also controlled rail, electricity, only port with international service.
1944 - Miss Chiquita Banana ads shown as movie previews.
1942-45: U.S. concerned that South America will join Germans, so they hire archaeologists as spies to pretend to excavate ruins, but actually are conveying intelligence back to U.S and spying on German subs. Sponsored by U.F.
1951- Jacobo Arbenz elected democratically. Schools constructed. Unions legal, farmworkers have right to strike. They do. US thinks Guat. becoming Communist, because Arbenz wants to purchase land and resell it to campesinos. U.F. does not like this. So CIA sponsors Operation PB Success in 1954 under Eisenhower - trains 65 Guatemalans, gives them guns, calls them the National liberation movement. Pretends they did not train them, claims they are threatening democracy of Guat. with communism, and bombs Guatemala for 'protection' - then pretends Russians did it in support of the 'National Liberation Mvmt'. Arbenz is forced to flee. Military dictatorships succeed him.
1962 - When workerrs protest over workers' rights, U.S. gives money to Guatemalan army and instructs them in torture interrogation to weed out these 'communists'
1966 - mass disappearances
(most actual communists are middle class Ladinos who want to help the poor - instead they are targeting them)
1970's - Rios Monte takes over government, declares military state, suspends civil rights, has the right to kill anyone suspected of anything. Develops model villages - moves Maya to government housing
In response, there is an anti-government movement. Catholic church offers aid and 19 priests are killed. Lots of young women disappear into houses of prostitution. When they get pregnant, they are killed or their children sold. Churches are used as torture chambers.
'Civil defense patrols' - groups of Maya are told they will defend village against entering Communists. They are in effect spies, and further divide villages.
1990's - 3 Americans disappear and U.S. vows to withdraw aid (although CIA secretly continues) - instead of purporting to be fighting Communism, they are now purporting to be fighting drugs.

I guess the problem is that there are classes taking notes on this kind of thing, and that a teacher who knows all this is teaching a class instead of going public with it. The problem is, right after that class I have to rush to another class that has nothing to do with that class - or the world, really.


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