Asynchronous Blog Post on Even the Rain

While making a film about the incursion of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, a Mexican director and a Spanish producer find the Bolivian indigenous people protesting contemporary exploitation and claiming the rights to water and ultimately dignity and survival.

Instructions:

Watch Even the Rain (Icíar Bollaín, 2011) and choose ONE prompt. Post your answer in the comment section below. 200-word minimum. Due on 9/23 before the class. 

If you do not have access to Netflix and cannot rent it on iTunes, please see OPTION FOUR down below.

OPTION ONE

In his landmark essay Discourse on Colonialism Martinican poet, playwright, and politician, Aimé Césaire argues:

“What, fundamentally, is colonization? To agree on what is not: neither evangelization, nor a philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance, disease, and tyranny nor a project undertaken for the glory of God, nor an attempt to extend the rule of law […] colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest […] is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt. ” (Pages 32, 41)

Discussing at least two scenes, answer this question:

.How does the film Even the Rain showcases the hypocrisy and tyranny that Césaire describes when examining colonialism?

OPTION TWO

Discussing at least two scenes, answer this question:

.How does the film crew WITHIN the film reproduces the same colonial mentalities and practices they are representing in their Christopher Columbus movie?

OPTION THREE

Discussing at least two scenes, answer this question:

.How does the contemporary issue of access to water connects to the Taino people’s resistance in the Caribbean?

OPTION FOUR (for people without access to Even the Rain)

In his landmark essay Discourse on Colonialism Martinican poet, playwright, and politician, Aimé Césaire argues:

“What, fundamentally, is colonization? To agree on what is not: neither evangelization, nor a philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance, disease, and tyranny nor a project undertaken for the glory of God, nor an attempt to extend the rule of law […] colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest […] is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt. ” (Pages 32, 41)

Discussing at least two scenes, answer this question:

.How does the film Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972) showcases the hypocrisy and tyranny that Césaire describes when examining colonialism?

Dubbed English Version:

Original German Version:

OPTION FIVE

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about Even the Rain or Aguirre, The Wrath of God do you want to bring into the discussion?

 

*A note on acknowledging secondary sources *

Especially with films, there is a lot of criticism available on the internet that could help you develop your reflections. I want to read especially your own interpretations, but, if you do research you are welcome to bring SOME ideas from a secondary source (an article; review; etc.) If you do, please make sure to acknowledge the authors and thinkers and include in-text citations (quotes).

Example of in-text citations:

As critic X argues in his/her article X: “The indigenous people…”

Reviewer X proposes that: “Indigenous people in the Americas…”

YouTube commenter X suggests that: “Indigenous resistance was…”

Tainos: Mythology and Cosmology (Chapter 7)- Sebastián Robiou Lamarche

Entry Questions

After watching the video, discuss in the chatbox:

.What is the function of this myth?

.What aspects of Caribbean eco-systems and/or Taino society, the myth looks to explain?

Sebastián Robiou Lamarche is a historian dedicated primarily to the study of the Tainos and Caribs, the two main indigenous people of the Caribbean. The chapter “Tainos: Mythology and Cosmology” from his book Tainos and Caribs The Aboriginal of the Antilles offer us a description of the recuperated Taino myths, ancestral storytelling, cosmology, and spiritual views.

Oral/slide presentations on the essay “Tainos: Mythology and Cosmology” (Chapter 7)

Asuncion,Paulina

Baker,Alexis

Caraballo,Katelin Regalada

Cosmology

Robiou Lamarche organizes his re-count of Taino myths by dividing them into different cycles.

The first cycle (pp.106-110) describes Taino origins  in the spiritual realm:

.Yaya also know as Yocahú is the spirit, cause, and essence of life. He lives in heaven and is immortal. He has no beginning and his mother is Atabey.

.With Atabey we can identify the feminine/fertility principle in Taino culture.

.The struggle with son Yayael leads to a sacrifice and the creation of our world. It also initiates the cult of ancestors.

The second cycle (pp. 110-112) corresponds to the creation of the Taino universe in the Antilles:

.The Tainos emerged in the Caribbean from Ayiti (Haiti).

.Caves were considered a kind of uterus, the portal of entry and exit to the underworld.

.When leaving the cave some Tainos were transformed by the sun into different natural beings: stone, tree, and bird.

.These myths let us know the deep connection between Tainos and their ecosystems.

The third cycle (pp.113-115) is dedicated to the formation of Taino Society:

.Guahayona and Anacacuya were among the first Taino to emerge from the Cacibajagua cave.

.Their troubled relationship lets us understand the division of power and gender within Taino society.

.Guahayona separates women from men and submerges Anacacuya into the sea.

.Anacacuya, the mythical cacique, is associated with both the underwater world and with Polaris, the star at the center. Astronomical knowledge was a pursuit of Antillean Tainos.

.Guahayona, the behique or shaman, is connected to navigation, travels, and spiritual rituals.

The fourth cycle (pp. 116-117) is the stage of growth, development expansion, and consolidation of Taino people.

.The ancestors of Taino women are androgynous celestial beings.

.The women were transformed by woodpeckers by carving Jobo trees.

.This cycle represents the reunification of men and women.

Group Discussion

Pass the baton activity

According to the video, in which ways have the native Taino legacy perdured in Puerto Rico?

Asynchronous Blog Post on Tainos: Myth and Cosmology (Chapter 8)

In the comment section down below pick ONE of the options and write a response (200-words minimum). The deadline is 9/9 before the class:

OPTION ONE

Expand on how the yucayeques or Taino villages had a social and cosmological organization. (122-125)

OPTION TWO

Describe and explain the importance of areíto ceremonies and ball games in Taino societies? (Pages 119-122; 125-128)

*Recommended Video:
Once Upon a Time in Puerto Rico (Daniel Ramirez, 2016)

4:40- 7:40 (Areito sequence)

OPTION THREE

Why Chacuey in the Dominican Republic is considered an important site to understand the Tainos’ perceptions of time and astronomical knowledge? (Pages 129-132)

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about chapter eight do you want to bring into the discussion?

Discourse on Colonialism- Aimé Césaire

Entry Question

Beyond the “three gs” of la conquista española presented by Khan Academy, what other intentions and gains the conquistadores had?

Use the chatbox to answer.

Discourse on Colonialism

Poet, playwright, political theorist, and politician Aimé Césaire was born June 26, 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique in the French Caribbean.

He is the author of Discourse on Colonialism (Monthly Review Press, 1950), a book of essays which has become a classic text of Francophone political literature and helped establish the literary and ideological movement  of Negritude, a term Césaire defined as “the simple recognition of the fact that one is black, the acceptance of this fact and of our destiny as blacks, of our history and culture.”

“We lived in an atmosphere of rejection, and we developed an inferiority complex. I have always thought that the black man was searching for his identity. And it has seemed to me that if what we want is to establish this identity, then we must have a concrete consciousness of what we are- that is,  of the first fact of our lives: that we are black; that we were black and have a history, a history  that contains certain cultural elements of great value; and that Negroes were not, as you put it, born yesterday, because there have been beautiful and important black civilizations.”

-Aimé Césaire, AN INTERVIEW WITH AIME CESAIRE

Robin D. G. Kelley on Césaire 

What are the central ideas of this writer, thinker, or artist?

Main argument: Europe is a “decadent,” “stricken,” “dying” civilization and that is “morally, spiritually indefensible.” (31-32)

“To agree on what it is not [colonialism]: neither evangelization, nor a philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance, disease, and tyranny, nor a project undertaken for the greater glory of God, nor an attempt to extend the rule of law. ”

Analyze one specific section by your chosen author that best communicates what you identified in the question above.

“I find that hypocrisy is of recent date; that neither Cortez discovering Mexico from the top of the great teocalli, nor Pizzaro before Cuzco (much less Marco Polo before Cambuluc), claims that he is the harbinger of a superior order; that they kill; that they plunder; that they have helmets, lances, cupidities; that the slavering apologists came later; that the chief culprit in this domain is Christian pedantry, which laid down the dishonest equations Christianity = civilization, paganism = savagery, from which there could I not but ensue abominable colonialist and racist consequences, whose victims were to be the Indians, the Yellow peoples, and the Negroes.”

Césaire distinguishes two historical stages, one that is about showing military power (la conquista) which is unapologetically violent and sadist. The second overlapped stage, colonization, or the establishment of colonial society, requires the imposition of ideology (intellectual production; reasoning; equations; apologies; laws; codes) and the eradication of native cultures and languages and eventually those of the enslaved (we can circle back to Césaire’s interview here).

Two examples: the encomienda and the casta systems (see video 5:55 on).

Pose a critical question about the text to the group.

Rejecting the equation colonialism/Christianity = civilization, Césaire proposes a new equation that says “colonization = thingification” (42). What do you understand by that? Can you think of contemporary forms of colonization?

Use the chatbox to answer.

Conclusion 

“Between colonizer and colonized there is room only for forced labor, intimidation, pressure, the police, taxation, theft, rape, compulsory crops, contempt, mistrust, arrogance, self-complacency, swinishness, brainless elites, degraded masses.

No human contact, but relations of domination and submission which turn the colonizing man into a classroom monitor, an army sergeant, a prison guard, a slave driver, and the indigenous man into an instrument of production.” (42)

Asynchronous Blog Post on Discourse on Colonialism

In the comment section down below  write a response (200-words minimum) to a set of two questions (due on 9/2 before class):

OPTION ONE

.Césaire argues that colonization works to decivilize and brutalize the colonizer. He says that “a poison has been distilled into the veins of Europe and, slowly but surely, the continent proceeds towards savagery.” Explain. (Pages 35-36)

.Césaire holds that “nobody colonizes innocently.” Discuss what he means by that. (Page 39)

OPTION TWO

.Césaire proposes that colonization is based and justified on contempt for the native and that it changes the colonizer. Amplify. (Page 41)

.What are the effects of colonization on the colonized? (Page 43)

OPTION THREE

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses.

.Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree?

.What other observations about Discourse on Colonialism do you want to bring into the discussion?

Oubao Moin- Juan Antonio Corretjer

Entry Question

During the period of European domination (1492-1898), what were some recurrent colonial practices happening throughout the Caribbean and Latin America?

Answer with a short sentence or phrase in the chat box.

Oubao Moin

The title of this song means “The Island of Blood” in the language of the Taino, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.  It was written by the celebrated Puerto Rican poet Juan Antonio Corretjer. The music was composed by Nueva Trova (folk) artists Roy Brown and Aires Bucaneros to tell the history of Boricuas and the hope of the poet and the musicians for an independent future. To this day it is an anthem of the pro-independence movement and a  celebration of working people everywhere in el Caribe. The song is also representative of Latin America as a whole as it discusses the struggle of indigenous, black, and indentured workers to be free from all forms of colonialism.

The Corozal river of the golden legend, its current carries gold, its current is bloodied. The River Manatuabón has the golden legend, its current carries gold, its current is bloodied. The River Cibuco writes its name with golden letters, its current carries gold, its current is bloodied. Where the plantation (arboleda) sank its roots in the golden ground, there the branches drip blood, the plantation (arboleda) is bloodied.

Where the Indian’s brow frowned, whether on land or water, under the weight of the chains, in prison irons, there the land stinks of blood, and the water is bloodied.

Where the black broke his shoulders, whether on land or water, and the branding iron marked his body and the whip opened his back, there the land stinks of blood, the water runs bloodied.

Where the poor white suffered the horrors of the labor gang under the machete of the overseer and the account book of the working day
There the land is cursed, the water runs poisoned.

Glory to those Taino hands because they worked. Glory to those black hands because they worked. Glory to those white hands because they worked. From those hands was brought forth our homeland.

Glory to the hands that dig the mines. Glory to the hands that care for the livestock. Glory to the hands that sow the tobacco, the cane, and the coffee. Glory to the hands that work the roads. Glory to the hands that turn the wheels. Glory to all the hands of all the men and women who work.

And glory to the hands, all the hands that work today, because they build and from them shall come the newly liberated country. Praise! For them and for their homeland. Praise!

Group Discussion

.The song “Oubao Moin” proposes to look at the past to start imagining transformations in society and (decolonial) futures, do you agree with these ideas?

.How do history, poetry, and the arts help to bring change in our individual and collective lives?