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  1. #1
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    Default The Contradictions of Living in a Developing Nation

    Something different for a change, not practical but philosophical:

    The Contradictions of Life in a Developing Nation:

    Where the state cannot guarantee the safety of its citizenry, so everyone goes about armed, a people at war with itself.

    Where education is in such low esteem that the poor who attend school learn just enough to stay poor, and the rich who attend private school, learn what they already know, that god and government exist to serve their interests.

    Where telecommunications are among the best in Latin America, but there is no electricity to run it all.

    Where a peon rides into town on a mule, and a baseball player rides out in a hummer.

    Where the public realm is an arena in which private interests clash in a drama regulated by the conventions of a telenovela.

    Where a president exercises the prerogatives of strong man politics in order to preserve and amplify a democratic state.

    Where a pliant god colludes in the failings of mankind, since, after all, whatever happens, it is his will: Si Dios quiere.

    Where progress is a gravy train for the elite and an opiate for the masses, stoned by the light of its televised spectacle.

    Where ideas are censored not by the Church or State, but by the free market and the exorbitant price of books.

    Where the simple virtues of country life are praised above all others, and everyone frantically tries to escape them.

    Where white is the color of money, and no one is black.

    Where the eternal rhythms of life are still manifest, and may be ended abruptly by the thief who kills for a cell phone.

    Where a peasant will regale a guest with a meal worth three times the pocket change he would deny that same guest.

    Where a mulatto people obsessively pursue a regimen of self-improvement: they straighten what is curled, they bleach what is blackened, they trade chacabanas for jeans, sombreros for baseball caps. . . . Pero no se puede corregir lo que nace doblao.

    Where the beat of palos echoes through the culture, but no one is African.

    Where language expresses ideology instead of ideas: like the dealings of government, it is opaque, the better to obscure the relation between intentions and actions. Appearances count for everything and conspicuous consumption is next to godliness. Xmas begins two months early to make more room in the temple for the usurers.




    If it is true, as Galeano once wrote, that we are what we do to change ourselves, that our identity consists in the synthesis of our daily contradictions, then life in a developing nation may be said to be the suspension of this process, its paralysis. Thesis and antithesis forever staring at one another across the breach in which we all dangle.

  2. #2
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    I see plagiarism isn't one of your personal taboos...

    Why not give proper credit to the author?

    Unless, of course, you're Jon Anderson.

  3. #3
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    plagiarism? How so? Oh I see. Yes, It is I, Jon Anderson, just posting in various places to have a little fun with this series of aphoristic observations. Galeano fascinates me, his style, his ideas. I wanted to see if I could adopt that style. It aint easy. He's a master, I am a mere acolyte.

  4. #4
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    Default He is Jon

    And glad to see you back from Sonador... your wit has been missing...

  5. #5
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    still in Sonador, though we may be moving to the BIG CITY of Bonao -- I prefer the campo but the inconveniences lately are adding up to a big headache. ONe of which is the lack of a good internet connection in the house, which is one reason I dont post here much anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by macocael View Post

    Where a pliant god colludes in the failings of mankind, since, after all, whatever happens, it is his will: Si Dios quiere.
    Better yet, people get from the Creator what they invest in following his principles. In LA, religion is left in the street at the entrances to businesses and government. No wonder ethical practices are almost non existant. This is a stark contrast to Western countries application of these principles, it is easy to see the difference.

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    Only place I know where you can walk into the bank with a gun, but not with a hat. Where you can get a ticket for driving without a seatbelt but nobody stops a family of 5 including babies, without helmets, on motoconchos. Where the police and the proscuters are the criminals. Where your worst enemy in court is most likely your own lawyer.

  8. #8
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    Default Only in the "developing world"?

    Can't say I agree with all of what you have said, but I vote this among the best things I've seen on DR1.

    My question is whether your contradictions are really the province of a "developing nation" (I won't start on the challenges to the use of that term)?

    A surprising number of your observations seem equally applicable (sometimes with a very minor tweek) to every country I have lived in (from the Bahamas, Mexico, Honduras, the DR, and South Africa to the US, UK, France, Italy and Spain):

    Quote Originally Posted by macocael View Post

    Where education is in such low esteem that the poor who attend school learn just enough to stay poor, and the rich who attend private school, learn what they already know, that god and government exist to serve their interests. ...

    Where a president exercises the prerogatives of strong man politics in order to preserve and amplify a democratic state....

    Where progress is a gravy train for the elite and an opiate for the masses, stoned by the light of its televised spectacle....


    Where white is the color of money, and no one [wants to be] black....
    Wonder what that means for the world?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by macocael View Post
    It aint easy. He's a master, I am a mere acolyte.
    Hey, macoceal, you're doing ok. One heck of a lot better than I could even begin to fathom. Welcome back!

    Quote Originally Posted by macocael View Post
    If it is true, as Galeano once wrote, that we are what we do to change ourselves, that our identity consists in the synthesis of our daily contradictions, then life in a developing nation may be said to be the suspension of this process, its paralysis.
    I don't agree that that process is suspended here - many of the contradictions you describe so eloquently are external to the psyche. If the internal is 'whole' then the process isn't paralysed because it has a dynamic quality. Where I do agree with Galeano is that immortal phrase about Latin America being condemned to amnesia - certainly in the case of the DR.

  10. #10
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    quite true Lambada. I am exaggerating a bit, but for the purposes of the exercise I felt I could take a bit of license. Though in some ways the process is suspended. Still I have faith in the people. We are living in interesting times -- which is a proverbial Chinese curse! But ultimately I take a more optimistic view of things. Although, that amnesia line, by the way, is certainly true. I agree.

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