Saturday, September 1, 2012

Community radio and indigenous rights, part III

Talking about the Maya as political subjects (sujetos políticos) as a way of inspiring the people present to take up the struggle. This is one of the best exhortations I have heard in any language --speaking in terms of the power of the word, of the strength of his discourse. He combines humor, political analysis, and specific anecdotes, along with invocations of the spirits of past generations. "Si esta abuela tiene los ovarios para defender su territorio, porque nosotros no?" (If this grandmother -- showing a photo of an elderly Maya couple -- has the ovaries to defend her territories, why not us?).  

He is now talking about the coming Oxlajuj Baqtun (the "change of calendar"), and the commercialization. What we are going to say on the 21st is to demand autonomy. We are not going to kneel so that people can take photos of us. We are not folklore. We are the owners of time (dueños of the time).

There has been a lot of publicity regarding the "end of the Maya calendar", this coming 21st of December. Throughout the commercial radio broadcasts, commercials refer to "the end of things as we know them", sometimes in a more serious form and sometimes in a jocose manner. Radio broadcasters on the commercial stations also make frequent references. Throughout the indigenous communities there is an effort to correct some of the ideas that this is the end of the world, and so forth, and to a degree this has been covered in the mainstream print media. But there is still a lot of anxiety about how the event will be commercialized, folklorized, turned into a tourist attraction that will not, in large part, benefit the Maya communities.

Now the discourse has shifted to defend life... basically expounding about the project of CPO and why it exists, what it stands for.  "Our project is for the life of the new people, the grandchildren will communicate our thought."  He just made a reference to the white folks (Kaxlan) using indigenous garb (traje), commenting "It would be nice if when they put on our clothing, our thoughts entered them as well."

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