I was born in New York City to a Bolivian father and a Sicilian mother. My grandfather was born in Holland to a Bolivian father and a Dutch mother. So, I am Dutch/Bolivian/Sicilian and American by birth.
But if you ask me, point blank, what are you? (I’m Batman) – I answer: I’m Bolivian. Or I’m Bolivian/American. My European lineage shows most in my appearance and, growing up, I was never considered a Latino in school. Also, my Spanish is rather refined and free of the colloquialisms of Chicano/Boricua language patterns. So… I was always just a “white kid.”
But I’m Bolivian. And, some glitches aside, I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent, thoughtful person with a sense of culture and taste.
I feel it is necessary to preface with that lengthy intro because I just want to make one thing very clear to all of you in the ether that are reading this right now: Bolivians are not, by nature, morons.
I just want that to be clear. And I would like to reiterate: BOLIVIANS ARE NOT MORONS.
Some, even many, of them are and they are the subject of this little post. But we are not, by nature, stupid. A Bolivian senator can go on live television and declare that Hungarians, Croatians and Irishmen are, by nature, terrorists. But I don’t feel I should be making those same kinds of generalizations. It’s just not my nature. You won’t see me saying things like: All Argentines are arrogant pricks (especially the Porteños). Or: All Irishmen are alcoholics. Or: Being English = Bad dental work. Or: Italians are melodramatic assholes. Or: Jews are cheap bastards. Or: British people age badly.
Or: All Bolivians are ignorant morons.
But I don’t blame you if you are having those kinds of thoughts given what’s been happening in this little country over the past few weeks.
Should I get rid of my BB Pistols? Should I tell my friend Mike to throw away his grandfather’s Luger rifle?
Should I stop playing Call Of Duty online? That one’s easy. I barely do now.
I’m working on my next film project. It’s a complicated dramatic piece that examines race/class relations here in Bolivia. What if Evo goes to the premiere (I don’t plan on inviting the bastard, but what if he crashes?) and decides that: the person who made this film is an imperialist enemy of the people who wants to murder me and destroy the government… Just like the Spaniards who would chop off our hands 500 years ago so we couldn’t learn to read.
And they would cut out our tongues so that we couldn’t learn to write.
And off would go our ears so that we couldn’t see…
I ask myself this because when playing paintball makes you a terrorist, I think all bets are fucking off. I suppose it’s a little sad that the Minister of Defense can go on National TV and turn Bolivia into the laughing stock of the world with his allegations.
And it would be hilariously funny too…
If it wasn’t so fucking terrifying.
Last week, a Hungarian, Croatian and Irishman were shot dead in their hotel rooms because they were in Santa Cruz – presumably to help the authorities of that Department prepare for a possible defense against an Andean militia that may come in protest of their impending autonomy.
This made them terrorists.
And yet, there were no weapons to be found in their rooms. And no evidence has been shown to attest to this. Other than a picture of people in Santa Cruz playing paintball from an Airsoft website.
So, what we have here is three Europeans shot dead in the middle of the night in their underwear… That’s all I’m seeing. And when President Evo Morales Aima responds to the Europeans asking for evidence by saying: I should be suing and raising charges against YOU. You want evidence? You want to support terrorism?
All bets are off and no one is safe, right?
I work as an English teacher and interpreter/translator. I wish my film and music pursuits paid the bills, but they don’t. So, that’s the way it is. My big job right now is that I’m the English teacher exclusively for the Banking Superintendency… (Oh… Sorry… No more Superintendents. It’s now the Bolivian Authority of Financial Supervision).
This has some State connections.
What if Evo Morales decides that I’m teaching them The Forbidden Language Spoken By Our Imperialist Oppressors so that they can use it against him and overthrow the government. Does that make me an enemy of the people? Am I going to show up naked, face down in my bedroom with six bullets in my back on the noon newscast?
Watch this space, I guess.
But just remember… Bolivians are not stupid. Not all of us anyway.
And we kicked Argentina’s ass. Six to ONE! (Couldn’t resist Tati, sorry)
It’s not all bad.