Song of the Day: Lenda

There’s just something about groovy Brazilian music that makes me so happy. Lenda by Céu is the perfect example of this. It’s jazzy vibes with Céu’s voice are the perfect combination. It’s hard not to move along with the groove whenever I listen to it. Perfect for a warm evening night. Bonus: the live version is just as great.

Radikal Readings: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

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Ernesto “Che” Guevara the man is hard to separate from the revolutionary icon he became. Yet The Motorcycle Diaries attempts to do that as the man himself writes notes from the journey through Latin America that forever changed his life. This journey was well before he became Che Guevara, and chronicles what started out as an adventurous trek with his friend Alberto Granado, and turns into an awakening for the compassionate observers of humanity.

After watching a number of documentaries on the Cuban Revolution and Che himself, I wanted to read in his own writing a bit more into his personal life and this life-altering journey. It actually isn’t that insightful if you are looking for a full account of his personal life, yet it is a moving account of Latin America at the time. From his detailed account of Machu Pichu to the visit to the leprosy camp, the travelogue is a perfect read for a would-be or aspiring adventurer.

No matter your thoughts on his revolutionary tactics and his politics, it is hard to deny that Che was absolutely brilliant. The writing is quite eloquent and the events and journeys he describes are punctuated with wit, humor, and style. It is fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of such a larger than life icon and discover the change that caused him to become the revolutionary icon that he is remembered as today.

The Motorcycle Diaries allows you to take Alberto Granado’s place for a moment and live those adventures with Che. It makes you long to get out on the open road just as Che and Alberto did all those years ago and gives you insights to his philosophies. A great read.

Radikal Readings: Looking for History: Dispatches from Latin America

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This is another case of picking up a book found on a whim at my local bookstore. Latin America’s political history (and present) is fascinating. As many describe it, living in Latin America, politics is always at the surface. The book is a collection of journalistic pieces which touch on figures like Fidel Castro, Eva Peron, and Che Guevara, but the bulk of the chapters are focused on Mexico’s Zapatistas and the PRI, the Colombian narco-terrorists, and more. Nations covered include Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Cuba.

Many of these essays first appeared in the New Yorker, but years later are still captivating reads if you are interested in the history and politics of Latin America. Guillermoprieto is fair and balanced, delivering unromantic versions of figures and events. A very insightful read that is a good primer for Latin America’s political history.

War

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned…
Everything is war. Me say war.
That until the’re no longer 1st class and 2nd class citizens of any nation…
Until the color of a man’s skin is of
no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race me say war!” 

― Bob Marley

Song of the Day: Fu-Gee-La

I owe a lot of my musical taste to my older cousins who I grew up with. I remember riding around in the backseat of my Uncle’s old hoopty with my cousin driving and blasting some hip hop or R&B song. One of those songs I clearly remember and still love is Fu-Gee-La by the Fugees. This was one of those life changing songs. A song you hear and you just automatically know it’s special. Now years later as I really listen to the lyrics and truly understand what they are saying, it holds even more meaning in my life.

The Fugees changed music with just two albums – The Score, which features their most popular music was sadly the last. I love every song on that album. It instantly transports me to that time in my life, yet it is still so relevant 18 years later.

When You Write

Image courtesy of Sarah Reid

Image courtesy of Sarah Reid

“When you write, it’s like braiding your hair. Taking a handful of coarse unruly strands and attempting to bring them unity. Your fingers have still not perfected the task. Some of the braids are long, others are short. Some are thick, others are thin. Some are heavy. Others are light. Like the diverse women of your family. Those whose fables and metaphors, whose similes and soliloquies, whose diction and je ne sais quoi daily slip into your survival soup, by way of their fingers.” 

― Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!

“You Can’t Change That”

I had an interesting discussion a few weeks back with friends on the domestic violence case with Ray Rice and the NFL. I have my own strong opinions, but it’s always compelling to hear someone else’s thoughts on any given subject. I won’t go through the whole back and forth discussion, but one thought stood out to me.

As we talked, I voiced my opinion on changing the way society thinks about domestic violence, rape, and crimes against women. Instead of telling our daughters to watch their drinks, to dress a certain way, or beware of certain situations, we need to teach our sons not to commit these crimes in the first place. Violence against women is not a woman’s problem in that we are not the ones hurting ourselves. Until we shift this conversation on the men who are committing these crimes instead of blaming the victims, there will be little change.

The all too often said ridiculous statement was then uttered by a friend, “that’s just the way men are, you can’t change that.”

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Violence Against Women

How can one expect the state to solve the problem of violence against women, when it constantly recapitulates its own history of colonialism, racism, and war? How can we ask the state to intervene when, in fact, its armed forces have always practiced sexual and intimate violence against women as a central military tactic of war and domination?

- Angela Davis, The Color of Violence Against Women