". . . 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

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Narcos -- After Finishing

I finished watching Narcos last night.

Excellent, all around.

One of the elements I liked most about the series is what the creators did not do: show any of the figures, whether they were criminals or DEA, as particularly sympathetic, with whom one does heroic self-identification.  All around, this is a show about a grubby world, particularly that of the preposterous, over-the-top indulgences of criminals without much education or imagination beyond doing business.

Luis Carlos Galán. who was gunned down by Escobar's orders (1989), while he was running for the presidency of Colombia, because he would not repudiate extradition to the U.S. of Colombian criminals exporting drugs to the U.S.

Gaviria ran and won Colombia's presidency after Galán was killed; Escobar so escalated his bombing and murders that finally Gavira had to accede to Escobar's demands.  He's presently still doing well, as can be seen here.
There are some authentic heroes, and martyrs:  the first of the two men who campaigned for the country's presidency, centering drug trafficking to the U.S. as an extraditable offense to the U.S.; some of the national court's judges; and one Colombiano cop and the incorruptibles he recruited to fight the narcos' cartells. When have we seen any politician, judge or cop as an authentic hero lately, unless in fantasy series such as Elementary and White Collar?

I also appreciated that the series allowed us some eye-witness reminders how great is the suffering of the nation and its people when criminals overtly war upon all of the legal and political institutions, from the local cops to national courts and the judges.

It also shows how one cannot be immersed in that kind of violence and money, even as the right-thinking, right-motivated force, without it ratcheting up one's own capacity for violence and will to ignore humanitarian and legal systems, because one believes that obeying the laws will let the bad guys operate freely forever.  Catch 22 of law enforcement and bad guys. Not to mention if one is the CIA and believes the only problem is commies.

Take-away: a narco state is a very bad thing.  The amount of money is unbelievably great -- at one point Forbes Magazine classified Escobar as the 7th richest man in the world -- so there will always be war to control the drug supply and its market.  And there always will be large numbers of the innocent who will be sucked into the war, one way or another -- falling in love with the wrong guy, and even just by standing in the wrong place at the right time,

No comments: