09 October 2005


In the land of mock-reality television programs Survivor: Guatemala trivialises the daily hardship that many native Guatemalans know as their only experience with a government as nasty-psycho but not quite as nast-psycho-cute as a wired tribal council whose primary purpose is exploitation and elimination. A situation that's only been worsened by the devastation caused by Stan the Hurricane.

Survivor: Seven Oaks, set in a Toronto senior citizens’ nursing home, is reality for people who no longer have true freedom of choice on where to live if they want to live and living in Seven Oaks means living with a heighten risk of dying from infection maintained and circulated within the institution taking care of them in their twilight years, their final palliative care days.

Survivor: Guantánamo is reality for people who no longer have any choice. It’s all been taken from them, roof and walls and everything gone, removed. Replaced with bright oranges overalls, deprivation and questionable practices. It’s not a Cuban holiday, or a special Survivor: Socialist Dream miniseries. It’s not set in Cuba. Rather it’s set in Guantánamo—the last high-priced American resort on the island under arrangements made with pre-Castro government(s). Washington maintains that it’s a legal lease.

Washington sends a cheque to Havana every year. But Castro doesn’t cash the cheques. Doesn’t acknowledge the lease. Yet Cuba has no say over what the USA does on that piece of their island that Washington calls its base in Guantánamo. Washington officials maintain that Guantánamo is not American soil, is not the USA, that what happens there (even if it involves Americans—military or not) does not happen on American soil or under the laws of the United States of America or any international agreements that they may have signed.

Guantánamo is a no man’s land, an oubliette, for those others, the ones that Bush labels “evildoers”, the unwashed, undesirables, that America claims it is most afraid of, that are enemies of the state, threats to national security, American beef, international peace and stability, the war on hugs, consumption culture, the war on invitational terrorism, international tourism, corporate profitability, Mickey and Mini Mouse, Uncle Sam, Son of Uncle Sam, Sam I am, Coca-Cola, ad nauseam.

If you want to survive, you might want to turn off the television, turn off the telephone, the cellphone, the computer that you’re reading this on. You might walk away from the soapbox, the pulpit, the fast cars, exercise machines and tanning beds. Stop drinking pop or soda or soda pop or soft drinks or whatever you call diabetes candy water. You might want to know your land, the woods and streams, where the fish and wildlife are, where and when the berries are best. You might want to be able to live without a million dollar carrot tricking you into fighting your tribe before you’re no longer a tribe or a tribe of one (and a tribe of one is a dead end, a cul-de-sac, a soyanora on a icefield, an ice floe adrift . ..

Shirt: polo sport
loc: Hawkeye Island, Eastern Shore
temp: 11 C
Sound: Highway 61 Revisited Revisited

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