“Hombres Necios,” or “Foolish Men”

A mashup in the spirt of decentralization and “Scene Apps” by Uráyoan Noel

 Hombres necios que acusáis
a la mujer sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis:
 

   si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
¿por qué quereis que obren bien
si las incitáis al mal?

This is your day. This is your celebration.

It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers.

Combatís su resistencia
y luego, con gravedad,
decís que fue liviandad
lo que hizo la diligencia.

Parecer quiere el denuedo
de vuestro parecer loco,
al niño que pone el coco
y luego le tiene miedo.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted.

Queréis, con presunción necia,
hallar a la que buscáis,
para pretendida, Thais,
y en la posesión, Lucrecia

¿Qué humor puede ser más raro
que el que, falto de consejo,
el mismo empaña el espejo
y siente que no esté claro?

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere.

Con el favor y el desdén
tenéis condición igual,
quejándoos, si os tratan mal,
burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

Opinión, ninguna gana:
pues la que más se recata,
si no os admite, es ingrata,
y si os admite, es liviana

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in hope that other powers will pursue the same course

   Siempre tan necios andáis
que, con desigual nivel,
a una culpáis por crüel
y a otra por fácil culpáis.

¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada
la que vuestro amor pretende,
si la que es ingrata, ofende,
y la que es fácil, enfada?

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.

But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.

Mas, entre el enfado y pena
que vuestro gusto refiere,
bien haya la que no os quiere
y quejaos en hora buena.

Dan vuestras amantes penas
a sus libertades alas,
y después de hacerlas malas
las queréis hallar muy buenas.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new Governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them.

¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido
en una pasión errada:
la que cae de rogada
o el que ruega de caído?

¿O cuál es más de culpar,
aunque cualquiera mal haga:
la que peca por la paga
o el que paga por pecar?

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

But in regard to those continents circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different.

   Pues ¿para quée os espantáis
de la culpa que tenéis?
Queredlas cual las hacéis
o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

Dejad de solicitar,
y después, con más razón,
acusaréis la afición
de la que os fuere a rogar.

You will never be ignored again.

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord.

   Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo. 

Everyone is listening to you now.

 

Sources:

President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address given Friday, January 20, 2017

The Monroe Doctrine, expressed during President Monroe’s seventh annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823

Foolish Men” by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

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Baby-Chicks as Symbols of Corruption

In Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel, Tram 83, the baby-chicks symbolize the corruption of the City-State, revealing the destructive relationship between wealth and those impoverished by its desperate pursuit. The baby-chicks, prized for their youth and casual attitude toward sex, are used by the men of the City-Sate without regard to the baby-chicks age, health, or future. The risky nature of prostitution leaves many baby-chicks victims of, according to Lucien’s list, abortion, childbirth, rape, pneumonia, sequestration, and sexually transmitted diseases (Mujila 76). Despite the pleasure they bring their clients, the baby-chicks are left to fend for themselves and at great cost. This attitude parallels the corruption and desperation of the City-State, in which mines are divvied out as political favors and shut down as punishment. The tourists, or foreigners who develop mining operations, use the City-State’s mines and to the disadvantage of its native citizens. The mines use great quantities of electricity and, rather than investing in the City-State’s utilities or taxing the tourists, the dissident General opts to turn off citizen’s electricity on a regular basis and at increasingly frequent intervals. About the dissident General’s methods we’re told,

“As time passed, he adjusted his decree to two days, then one, then two hours, reasoning that the processing plants for the minerals so dear to the tourists require more electrical power, that the inhabitants of the City-State don’t have much need for it” (Mujila 73).

By restricting power usage to benefit the tourists, the dissident General is stunting the development of the City-State. The baby-chicks represent this restriction on potential, serving as temporary attractions until their health or age inevitably end their careers. Both the baby-chick’s profession and the exploitation of the City-State are unsustainable. Shortcuts to wealth taken by government officials and the tourists damage the nation’s infrastructure and hasten its collapse.

The Translator’s Dilemma

In Eliot Weinberger’s work, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he examines varied attempts at translating a century-old Chinese poem, of which no original copy has existed for hundreds of years. No matter how different the translations are, none of them seem to capture exactly what Weinberger believes Wang Wei’s poem to be. What Weinberger eventually points out is a translator cannot stay true to both the grammar and meaning of the poem without sacrificing its poetry. Each translator has compromised something—be it images paralleling Wei’s empty mountains and bright patches of forest or the syntax used to depict these. This compromise reveals the personal choices that, intentionally or not, influence all translations. Ironically, Weinberger criticizes the 19+ translations only to then point out that the point of translating poetry isn’t grammatical accuracy. He writes,

“The point is that translation is more than a leap from dictionary to dictionary; it is a reimagining of the poem. As such, every reading of the poem, regardless of language, is an act of translation: translation into the reader’s intellectual and emotional life” (Weinberger 46).

In this passage Weinberger suggests something interesting, that a translation reveals the translator’s inner world. If a text can be translated perfectly between languages then its ideas and images do not require very much imagination, which indicates it is likely not a poem. Poems require an internal saturation for its ideas to take hold in the reader. The reader must imagine something in response to the poem to understand it. If a text requires imagination, as poems do, then it’s naturally interpreted differently by each reader, even by readers who can understand the poem’s original language. Language is one barrier among many that create unique responses in readers (and translators). But rather than viewing this as an impossible border between cultures, it is the collective reading of poetry across cultures that indicates the borders are really bridges.

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Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash