"Balance" by Chicana Muralist Judy Baca (used by permission)

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Are the Ones

We Are the Ones

We've Been Waiting For

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.

Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.

And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.

—The Elders Oraibi
Arizona Hopi Nation

An anniversary—any anniversary—is a marker in space-time. You can look backward, or forward, or both. If you're very attentive, you can let it flow across your hand, letting its weight, its substance, its shape be there for a moment or two. You can decide to pivot your hand just a little to send it off onto to a slightly different course that might change everything. But you can't know with any assurance that it has.

On this first anniversary of Juan's death, I am holding the flow of his words. It has spread out, shallower in the world but broader too. What he said a year ago or two or three is not as fresh as it was then, but that is a good thing. His thoughts and writings are merging with others in what may be a great swell toward the shore of the Fifth World. He faced that shore, speculating about the vast unknown ahead. More see it now, a year later, and more give it words too, and many in the swell are simply heading where their own best human nature takes them.

My brother's greatest fear, one he rarely named but always addressed, was that humanity wouldn't survive the Shift with the rest of the planet. He sometimes speculated that it might be best for the Earth if we didn't, but his terror of that “hard landing” was beyond expression, a living, unending nightmare that drove him to send out warning after warning, to write until the last days of his life.

It was a place I couldn't go with him. I wasn't brave enough.

Today I see him munching down M&Ms, teaching me to stretch my aging, stiffening back in the ways he had learned over the years to relieve his own pain, walking with me across the Third Mesa, forcing me to go back to my small efforts at writing time and time again until I spoke what I truly know. Discovering what I truly know.

The mad rush to Apocalypse is clear now. The doublespeak has made transparent nonsense of words spoken by those leading the rush, those near them, those aspiring to power, those kowtowing to power. We have heard the greatest irony: the Peace Prize accepted with a vindication of war, the greatest orator of our time promising the destruction of anyone who stands in the way of the coming of the last days. We heard Obama's polemic justifying war between and within nations, remaking “just war” into any U.S. intervention in the name of global security, promising us no peace in our lifetimes. We heard it, the true promise of the agent of “hope” and “change.” Obama outlined his path to progress.

And it is, as Juan told us, the path to the Apocalypse, when all but the “saved” are left to a hell on earth. So health care is not only denied to the poor, it is made more remote for those who once had the money to pay for it. Economic recovery is applauded with the transfer of millions of dollars in bonuses to the wealthy and footnoted assurances there will be no jobs for the starving and homeless. Island nations are drowning in rising oceans, while wealthy nations pull up their gangplanks and sail away from Copenhagen.

The Earth heaves in cataclysm after cataclysm, and tens of thousands die while the U.S. deploys its well-armed peacekeeping army and turns doctors away. Food spoils on tarmacs, and soldiers march past people begging for water. Medical supplies are guarded on airstrips, just a few miles from people dying from untended injuries. The call goes out for more sheets to cover the dead, and the second wave of death from decaying and diseased corpses begins.

Obama's hope and change is only a slightly slower path to destruction, to the Armageddon, the great lottery where the god of Christianity, we are told, will draw the tickets of those who are truly saved. And those betting on their ticket have no care for the wretches left behind, for they are the damned.

If you are twenty-five, the mean temperature of the Earth has risen throughout your lifetime. If you are twenty-two, you have always lived with U.S. troops ravaging some small country. If you are eighteen, you've lived half your life with the Patriot Act, the right of the government to know your every move, read your most personal writings, sneak and peak in your home. If you're in the ninth grade, your education has always been about marching into lockdown to learn how to pass the test.

And among these people might be genuine hope: they who have only silly, old stories of what progress means, the ones who've grown up seeing nothing improve and little remain the same. For them, progress is marked only in less destruction. When Peabody Coal is stopped after destroying half the water supply of the Diné, we are told it is a victory. A new hearing that will almost assuredly result in the murder of a political prisoner might become a small opening for ending such killings someday. Leave only a couple of hundred to torture in Gitmo, and Amerika isn't as evil. If a cop goes to jail for the point blank killing of a subway rider, we will hear it is a victory. We are told this is progress, and some of us have lived nothing else.

Those are the people who don't hope for progress, who have no memory of a time when protesting wasn't a pre-negotiated surrender to the same cops who would just as willingly beat them if they step out of line. They know that justice is only an abstraction, nine dusty old geezers deciding who should be President or that a business is a person. They know that their favorite video game and TV show are indoctrination and sedative in one-hour doses.

They might just recognize that Amerika is under siege. Cops routinely prowl neighborhoods in military gear. Our cell phones track our movements across the country, and from the living room to the bedroom. Satellites take pictures of our streets, and cameras capture us as we walk along them. Our food supply depends on distant markets. Jobs depend on the largesse of bankers. Take it to court, and you and your lawyer might both end up in a prison for terrorists. Tens of thousands of us can't leave, trapped by “no fly” lists within national boundaries. The rest of us will soon stand naked before anonymous airport security guards if we try to get out. Some of us have known nothing else, have never walked the streets unobserved or eaten fresh-picked food or driven over the border without a passport. Freedom is an illusion, like the rest of it. Some of us know there is no hope, no change, and no progress, and no freedom.

We are nearing the crossroads, and human nature might just prevail over the purveyors of doomsday. It may be that people who have never seen progress, who've seen only lesser and greater despair, take a different path. It may just be that they see that progress is the mask of destruction, and change must change everything.

And it is these people, the ones without memories, who might create something new. They might truly be free to dream of a different kind of world, to freely celebrate its coming, to follow the Hopi instructions and come together in community and clarity about what must be, because, as Juan told us, what is will end.

We are a year closer to the Apocalypse Juan warned us of. Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. If you know these are the questions and the answers, if this is what you remember to be true, then you belong here.

Since you've stumbled across this nearly abandoned website, stop for a moment. Read just one article, and then stop to feel its flow across your hand. Put what you discover somewhere close to your heart for a day, carry it with you. You might discover what you already know, as I have. Then come back to discover more.


tillytoo9 said...

I've spent the last hour reading one of Juan's articles, thinking some to the time, it will be great to see what he wrote today. Then, as I navigated to the home page, I read your post about the anniversary of Juan's death. For a moment, I felt regret that I found his work now, my heart sank. It was too late.
Then I thought, and felt again, it's never too late.

Thank you for posting follow ups. And thank you for your words in the last post.

Rob Court said...

On to the 5th World Sketch

Late last night a spontaneous sketch began to take shape. Suddenly, like an Aztlan lightning bolt, I thought of Juan Santos; it had been months since reading his blog. I quickly clicked his bookmark to catch up with his latest soulful writings. I was deeply saddened to find that he passed away on January 22, 2010. I will miss reading the poignant, poetic clarity of Juan's words. He's now a spirit at peace, but certainly not at rest. Write on, Rafa!

This sketch is a token of my appreciation of the man and the powerful words he was kind enough to share: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robcourt/4632388941/

Unknown said...

Thanks for the information, I’ll be making the necessary changes thanks to your tips. I enjoyed the post about "We Are the Ones" in the The Fourth World blog, you have a nice site. Thanks for sharing.


Leslie said...

Rob, I guess it's been years since your sketch and your comment. I just now found it--and you've caught Rafael's spirit beautifully. Sometimes finding gifts long after their given is the best surprise, or maybe everything happens in its time. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi i like your post keep it up.Edegra

Thyme2bee2 said...

Words fail me at this moment, I have only found out that he is now passed on to light. I was excited to share with him news that the Kogi/Mamos from Columbia are coming to the US. I know that he would understand what this meant. Peace to you

Oldscad said...

Thank You for keeping this site intact.

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

Oldscad and the rest, you're welcome. I keep hoping one day I or one of us will have the next chapter of Apocalypse Now!

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