Friday, November 11, 2016

Aqui No Se Rinde Nadie

These were the first words I saw as I crossed the border from Honduras to Nicaragua in 1986. My once near perfect knees bent down and picked up a few pebbles by the side of the road. I rolled them in my hand, waiting for my bus, as I read the words on the billboard. Aqui, no se rinde nadie- "Nobody gives up here."  Above, the broad, almost mocking campesino face of Sandino, the hero of the Nicaraguan revolution, namesake of the Sandinistas. I spent several months traveling over land to come see the revolution. What a magical place, in spite of the war with America's proxy, the Contras, the blockade, the bombing of their harbors, the intention of the most powerful nation of the world to destroy what they built, a tiny revolution by the poor and oppressed. I spent three months in Nicaragua traveling, seeing, touching, listening. Much listening.

Remember the times. The worst days of the Cold War; nuclear war with Russia seemed, if not likely, at least a strong possibility. Tickle-down economics. Death squads. Apartheid. Marginalization. Despair.

This morning I am in my favorite cafe writing this post. I have letters to write and calls to make; friends and students are in pain and are confused. In spite of how absurd everything seems this week, I have much to do. I have dogs to love who know nothing of politics. I have a daughter with whom I will work out later, talk about her freshman year of college, about the nature of hope, hope as small acts of obligation and loyalty. I have clients who are suffering, and for whom the tenure clock will not stop.

And I have these stones, I roll around in my fingers now, thirty years later. 

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