… time slips, zips by …
Eighty-eight days now since I landed on the shores of Valencia from London. Eighty-eight whole days and nights. It feels like a lot, and yet nothing at all.
While my sweetie slogs his guts out all day and well into the night trying to keep up with his work and adapt to his new ‘working from a distance routine’, I (looking back on it now) feel like I’ve flitted from one thing to the next the past 88 days and have very few coherent and finished products to show for my efforts.
… doing a bit of this, and nothing of that …
My head’s been in the clouds, while my feet trod on air yet some how I am moving forward. I know I am. My time has been taken up with –
- finding and establishing a new home,
- doing translations for the Zapatista Translation Collective,
- developing a new course for the Ecodharma Centre,
- supporting the release of my friend Gustavo from unjust detention in Honduras,
- studying Spanish, though not as much or as organised as I think I should.
Then there’s a list of other projects that I hold in a tangle that doesn’t seem to go anywhere –
- getting involved with a local community garden project, maybe this one,
- finding ways to support asylum seekers, migrants and refugees,
- doing Western Sahara solidarity work, to carry on a stalled project
- keeping up with this blog,
- working on a book about the Zapatistas,
- ring-fencing time for regular self-care, such as meditating twice a day.
… go slow …
A friend visited over the weekend. She listened to my woes and gently reminded me that moves like this take time. She advised feeling OK about going slow, and that it will all work out in due time. I appreciated that, and it has got me thinking about how the mind deals with the past, erasing some memories to make change feel more seamless and easy. I think that’s partly what’s been going on. I’ve invented the memory that moving countries is easy by forgetting how hard it is in order to be able to make another move.
Then there’s this other narrative I’ve invented that compared to other moves I’ve made in my life, (from the US to Japan, from a big city in Japan to a small, mountain town in Mexico, from Mexico City to London, and now London to Valencia, Spain) this one will be easy. Spain and the UK are closer on the intercultural continuum than those others. I (mostly) speak the language. I’ve visited here several times before. I know some people already. So why does it feel so hard? Why do I feel like my head is in the clouds and my feet stuck in the sand?
Rather than focus on ‘why’ my friend (wisely) suggested to just let it be, the pieces of the new life routine will eventually settle into place. So that’s my work now. That and another translation from Galeano’s book ‘Chidren of the days’. This one about the people of Western Sahara and their long struggle for self-determination.
19 april: children of the clouds
In 1987, the King of Morocco finished building a wall which crossed the Sahara desert from north to south in territory that doesn’t belong to him.
This is the longest wall in the world, only surpassed by the ancient Great Wall of China. All along it, Moroccan soldiers block the Saharui people from entering the homeland stolen from them.
Several times, and several times in vain, the United Nations has confirmed the Saharuis’ right to self-determination, and supported a plebiscite so that the Saharui population can decide their future.
But the Moroccan King has refused this vote, and continues to refuse. This refusal of a vote amounts to a confession of guilt: Morocco has usurped this territory from the Saharui people.
For forty years the Saharui people have been waiting. They are condemned to a life sentence of anguish and nostalgia.
They call themselves the children of the clouds because they have always pursued the rains. They also pursue justice, which is ever rarer than water in the desert.
19 abril: los hijos de las nubes
En 1987, el reino de Marruecos culminó la construcción del muro que atraviesa el desierto Sahara, de norte al sur, en tierras que lo le pertenecen.
Éste es el muro más extenso del mundo, sólo superado por la antigua muralla china. Todo a lo largo, miles de soldados marroquíes cierran el paso de los saharauis hacia su patria usurpada.
Varias veces, vanas veces, las Naciones Unidas han confirmado el derecho a la autodeterminación del pueblo saharaui, y han apoyado un plebiscito: que la población del Sahara occidental decida su destino.
Pero el reino de Marruecos se ha negado y se sigue negando. Esa negativa equivale a una confesión. Negando el derecho de voto, Marruecos confiesas que ha robado un país.
Desde hace cuarenta años, los saharauis esperan. Están condenados a pena de angustia perpetua y perpetua nostalgia.
Ellos se llaman hijos de las nubes, porque desde siempre persiguen la lluvia. También persiguen la justicia, más equivale que el agua en el desierto.
want to know more?
News story from Al Jazeera, Western Sahara’s struggle for freedom cut off by a wall. Young man in photograph says, “My dream is that day when I can cross this wall, like what happened in Germany with the Berlin Wall, and I can meet my relatives who are behind this wall whom I haven’t seen my entire life.”
Short account of my journey to the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara in June 2014, nonviolence and boots.
I’ve made a new home so many times over the years even I have taken ‘fully furnished’ for granted. Different story now as I ‘hunt’ good pieces from all the second hand shops nearby and far … and then carry them all home one piece at a time. This, as you may appreciate takes time and physical power. Here are the first three pieces I brought home.