Saturday, May 27, 2017

Yasmin Hernandez: Willie Colón & Oscar López: The pathology or revelation that colonialism inspires in the psyche

The artist Yasmin Hernandez does some deep and necessary work here and teaches and feeds us with the following on her great blog Repatriating Boriken:

Yo creo en muchas cosas que no he visto y ustedes también, lo sé
No se puede negar la existencia de algo palpado por más etereo que sea
no hace falta exhibir una prueba de decencia de aquello que es tan verdadero
el unico gesto es creer o no.
algunas veces hasta creer llorando
se trata de un tema incompleto porque le falta respuesta
Respuesta que alguno de ustedes, quizas le pueda dar

(I believe in many things I have not seen and I know you also have
The existence of something palpable cannot be negated for however ethereal it may be
It is unnecessary to provide proof of that which is so real
The only choice is to believe or not
Sometimes even believe crying
This is about an incomplete song [or topic] because it lacks an answer
An answer that perhaps one of you might provide )

“Oh que será” (What can it be?) has been, and has not ceased to be, my favorite song by Willie Colón. It is a song that contemplates the “magical realism” of our existence, of what is, even when others or we ourselves cannot see it. I have loved this song since I was a little girl. Perhaps my upbringing and continued beliefs in espiritismo drew me to Colón’s voice singing “son fatasmas, son los fatasmas.”

This is the song that came to mind as I contemplated the recent controversy with Colón denouncing the New York Puerto Rican Day Parade’s decision to name as one of its honorees, the recently released Puerto Rican Political Prisoner of 36 years, Oscar López Rivera. Actually it was a collection of Colón-shaming posts involving his family that brought this song to mind. This isn’t a simplistic testimony in defense of Colón. Nor am I here to judge him. The accounts of sexual pathology, drug addiction, negativity, inferiority complexes, throwing oneself and each other under the bus, actually read like stories of my own family and yours too probably. Remember, as a colonized people, our trauma and pathology run deep.

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