". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Xalapa Dos-Dos

We have returned from the Veracruz - Cortés expedition -- at the height of un bruto of heat and sun -- to find a beautiful blue and black winged butterfly perched on the mirror above the bathroom sink.  Butterflies of all kinds have been around us all day.  

   . . . . One particular part of yesterday's visit to  El Museo de Antropología de Xalapa have remained with me, recollecting with el V afterward, in my dreams last night, and talking about it with Patricá and her mother today. It has to do with women.

With a single exception that is one of the Colossal Great Heads, there is nothing representing women, the female side of life -- anything to do with them at all, in any of the epochs covered until we get to the last section of the chronology, which is the era of the Azteca Empire and then that of the collision of the Azteca and the Conquistadores at the beginning of the 16th century.

Our young woman guide said, "Wait, when we get there it will be good because this culture admired women."

In fact there was an entire gallery dedicated to female goddesses, and, then, of course, even children, those who died with their mothers during childbirth.  Among them is Tlazolteotl, the goddess of filth / dirt / lust. 


She is the one to whom people come to be cleansed of their crimes and bad deeds.  She is also then, of course, a goddess of the dead, and a translator between the duality of below and above.  I remarked, "Yah, of course, here, just like all over the world, men make a mess, and then expect a woman to clean it up and fix it for them.  Both of the two younger women jumped up and down, clapping and laughing, and going, "O yes, that's right, we're always having to do it."

The two males respectfully did not mansplain or interrupt.  Good guys they are!

When I brought this up with el V later, he responded, "Yah.  This is global by now, women knowing and noticing and its making a difference.  I hope. For s.ome of us men, anyway. I hope."

Today, in the car, to and from Veracruz, both Patricá and her mother, as a matter of course, spoke of women having the rights to be more than they have been allowed to be for so long.  One can see how much / how well! her mother has reared her lovely daughter.  It is so good to witness.

Once again I am struck so hard by the incredible being that a latina or latinx woman is, whether she's Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Mexican or Brasilian.  She's strong, educated, energetic, she gets things done, she is so brave.  She's also feminine in a way that I can never be, naturally and elegantly, and never worries about it either.

I am so fortunate that I am able to keep meeting women like this.  O yah, they sing and dance in a way I envy terribly!

     . . . . One other other thing from the museo comes back to me now.  I had noticed that there are shoe stores of every kind everywhere -- so many of them, and so large.  I saw it in Veracruz today too.  Beautiful shoes, boots, sandals, sneakers -- whatever one could want.  The male guide yesterday pointed out the shoes on the feet of so many of the representations we were viewing. 

Olmec Ball Player circa 1500 B.C.

 He said with pride, "We were making and wearing real shoes -- not moccasins or sandals -- 2000 years ago.  Are the number of shoe stores today connected with this, one wonders? 

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