Time: It’s a pain.

In Rugelo’s book many of the people are affected by time.

The past being the backdrop on which the future is painted unto.  If we think about

our main character is at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is put on trial for it.

Though it is important to say that while time is cruel and sometimes random.

Especially in this book. People are looking for a way to change their present temporal

course. If you think of time as some that doesn’t dissipate it’s an ever present entity.

The present will become the past. The Future will become the present. But for the people

in this book. Time is stagnant. It will remain the same regardless of the time passed.

In his book Rugelo writes, “Youth running all over, Old age running to it’s end. The fat

muscle, the bare bone. Living and Dying.” (13) and he asks us to consider this.

Humans are supposedly created from the earth the clay. But when we die we return to

that earth in the form of a funeral. We may play when where young, and wait to get old.

But it remains the same. That rush to the grave is depressing, but its truthful in a sense

of order.

What does this mean in the grand plot? We should consider that in this world

life is a constant struggle in this country. For some Time is  long strand, and for others

it can be cut short rather easy. In the end all they can hope for is the chance to live with

what time they have.  In his book Rugelo writes, “Time and man. What does man live

through? perhaps our ancestors asked themselves.” and it goes to the same notion.

Time hasn’t left us its shouting at us. An every present being shouting like Nyrumagi at

his trial. To give a testimony of the truth that is going to happen to the people.





Disability in Baho!: Nyrumagi and the other.

In Rugelo’s Baho! we are shown a character who is tried for rape. He is unable to defend himself because of his inability to speak. His inability to speak makes Nyrumagi an outsider among his people. In his society to be a man in a masculine sense he needs to carry himself well this includes vocally. In the book Rugelo states,”He is superstitious he believes in man. and since one should seek meaning only in the comprehensible, he endeavors to come to terms with the fears of man. Man dismantles, creates, and destroys again. This much is apparent. Behold, the master of the world.” When one reads Rugelo’s interpretation of this scene. Nyrumagi is supposedly master of the world, but cannot verbally ask for a cup of water. He is dependent on a world where it is essentially everyone for themself.

Communication in this world is important. So is education, but in order to be educated he had to be able to communicate. So this puts him at an disadvantage communication wise. Especially when it comes to his hearing. He is being tried for something he didn’t commit, but cannot communicate his innocence. When one looks at the way they try to explain his affliction they rely more on superstition than medicine. What does this mean to Nyrumagi? That justice is meant for people who look and act like the people in the courts. If he isn’t then he is automatically guilty. Part of that mentality is fear of the unknown. The disabled person in this case is something that needs to be cured not understood. In his book Rugelo book states, “You degenerate excuse of a man!” rages the vigilante Judge. As he spits in his face.” (30) As soon as it became clear he can’t form the correct words it becomes easier to question his masculinity. To see him as different. Rugelo mixes both Language, and societal pressure to give this sense of injustice. He didn’t commit the act of rape, but it doesnt matter to the court. Plus when you read Nyrumragi’s torture he is treated less than human or in this case without a soul.
Nyrumragi is souless, and treated without compassion.

His father talks about him not possibly being able to go to the school. But at the same time he is not treated well by anyone. In the book his father would say, “Why the White man’s school select those who are normal, and not you, my child? The strong, the intelligent, those who know how to speak.” (53) By being mute he has lost his identity in either world. He cannot be apart of the Education brought by the Europeans or Agriculture culture of his village in Africa.  He is a stranger to both. Nor can he hope to mimic, at best he can gesture. What most holds him back is being alone to fend for himself. In school Nyrumagi is laughed at, and Rugelo says, “A cheerful laugh, as any child is capable of…” (54) From a young age Nyrumagi is made to feel an outcast. Feel different from the things that tie him to god, the culture, his sense of identity. In some ways he views himself to blame for his condition. But in a society where life is very hard the one’s incapable of keeping up are usually left behind.

So Rugelo ties muteness as a medition on how the human condition is. It’s not always kind to everyone. It’s brutal to those who people see as less human or different. It goes to the overall meaning of  justice. He is outcasted, and tortured for something outside of his control. The justice is called into question.




The city state: Real or Imagined

Fiston Mujila writes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the state colonization left it. Mujila often refers to it as a city-state meaning he floats between two systems of power. The term city-state is a reflection of the old form of democracy.His references to what democracy  was meant to be, and what it is is. One of the ways Mujila describes the city state is this, “The inhabitants of the city-state mumbled when asked about their profession. High voice. Evasive answers. Narrowed eyes. Vague and uncertain look like the trains that depart with diggers and students.”  (Mujila 32) We are looking at a country which just won its independence, but do they know what to do with it? By adding the college students with the diggers and the prostitutes Mujila paints a nation still struggling with its identity. It wants structure, but it its unfinished. Left without a blueprint to finish and be whole.

Though what evidence does Mujila give us that the City state actually runs and is something that is real. It’s not the dissident general who’s power exists because he’s the wealthy guy in charge. In fact by the end of the book the general is almost as vulnerable as the people are. Mocked and laughed at for his appearanceBy the end of the book the general’s power crumbles, Mujila states, “There was a dissidence within the Dissidence. A hundred mercanaries broke away from their leader and switched arms and ammunition.” (205)  If the city-state exists it is dependant on the people, and the people in it. The tram being the symbol (metaphor) of the city state, is the heart of the people. The people are in a state of chaos, and so remains the city-state. What it lacks in structure it fills with forms of rebellion. Music, art, pornography, drinking all these things meant to fill that gap. What is keeping them alive is the mines, and its not just work.  Everybody who does business at the trams, tourists who spend money there. What’s left of the culture is depended on the unfinished structure.

What is the people? That is an interesting title to give. It could mean different things. For instance “The people” could be the only one that counts. For example, to the dissident general the one he recognizes is the one that profits from the mines like himself. Not the one’s at the tram. Which is why he can close it so easily. The people supply the city state also struggle to supply themselves, and because of this division there can hardly be a city-state or representative democracy. In the book Mujila writes, “As soon as dawn breaks you wonder what you’re going to eat, and then, with the sun, you reintegrate with the cycle of the City-State, you fish, you dig, you scavange, you glean  you divise, you fuck, you sell, you trade, you peddle, you abuse, you corrupt, you drink you shit, in the stairwell, you identify with jazz, you taunt the white tourists.” (75) and as you read this you can see that the city-state gets progressively worse.  It could be hopeless to do all that work, and see nothing change. The city-state is a real thing, but reality crushes it. As the person feeds the cycle it becomes less and less a state. More like a country of individual wants. Which is fine, but in order to have a true city-state cooperation is needed. The country cannot have that until the leader serves it in return. Which becomes less and less as the book goes on.



Makina dead or just passing through?

Makina in the opening of our book says “I am dead.” But what does it mean to be dead? Does our heart stop beating or our brain no longer functions. Or does the body she finds count as dead. Until the only thing that is left is a corpse un-named. I get a sense that what she means by death is a transition period. One that goes from one body to a next. To experience something that is completely unfamiliar to her.

I am sure there are examples of literal death, but i get the feeling that’s not the case. That she is seperate from the living world. When I read of her crossing to the other side I am reminded of Pirates of the Carribean at world’s end. The place Jack Sparrow is sent to spend eternity. Nothing but sand for miles, and rock like crabs only to be pulled back from that sad fate in Davey Jones locker. In this case Makina is pulled back by Chuco, and the dead body. In many ways like Jack she is alone. She is sent to the United States for her brother, and forced to fend for herself. Which she does very well. Striving to be strong, and survive she suprises all maybe even herself. She like being dead enters a different state of being.

Much like when hardly recognizes her brother at one point. A changed man. In the book Yuri Herrera writes,  “She stopped breathing for a second, placed the fingertips of one hand on the desk as to not lose her balance and reached out the other to the apparition that was this man as not she asked to see.” (Herrera 84)  If we were to treat her journey as dead walking in the same world as the living. Then I am dead makes sense. She is identifying herself as spirits like the apparition that is her brother.

Looking in and commenting on the other world. There is much symbolism and spirituality in this book. One of the reasons why we think of this is as en epic story is because  Hererra uses the phrase “I am dead” it means the epic was left untold and unfinished.  The past represented as a spiritual travel speaking through the character Makina and to us the reader.


19 ways work in progress

In reading Eliot Weinberger’s tribute to Wang Wei, and his nature poem we are asked to examine interpretation. Though the problem of it is that Wang Wei isn’t around to file a complaint. So we are free as translators of his artwork to change it, and interpret it as we see fit. What is the point of Weinberger’s book though? he could have used 10 poems or less and it could have had the same effect. I’ve asked myself when reading if i created my own interpretation of Wang Wei’s word’s would i get the same interpretation of it in the same class. Because i am reading from a English point of view, and attempting to communicate a chinese language poem. The meaning of said poem could be lost in that clash of two worlds. I could translate my take on this poem, but every reader will take it differently. Much like the many translations in 19 ways to Wang Wei. 

However,  is it enough to read the poem, and get its meaning? It’s hard to improve something when where to start is up in the air. Weinberger in his book states of one of his translations, “The redundant human voices is an incongruous allusion to T.S. Eliot (“Human voices wake us and drown”) and the 19th century resound is only there to rhyme with ground.” (Weinberger 19) I notice there is to make it fit. When were talking two different ways of being. To use a human-centric viewpoint and the word “I” lessens it in Weinberg’s view.  Why cant it be a display of nature and not let humans have a voice in it.  To the point where we need to validate it to be real. It’s possible Wang Wei saw something real. Should we leave it that way?

I think that is where some of the translators go wrong. It’s unlikely that we would have known about this poem without translators, and people attempting to interpret what the  author really meant. We can’t really fault them for that. The reason i think he chose to do 19 is because there are 19 or more translations. Some he likes and many he has disagreements with. But is it that necessary? 19 versions of the same poem when reading Weinberger’s book waters it down. I think it is effective after the 10th time you read the same poem, but 9 more hits it home.