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Posts Tagged ‘mass transfer of working people

Hojarasas (Hurricane): the mass transfer of working people everywhere

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote this novel when he was 18 and it was published years later, before he expanded on the story in “100 years of Solitude”.

Marquez could Not at this age write an epic story of the phenomena as John Steinbeck did in the Dust Bowl, the thousands who left their land to move to California during the financial crush of 1929.

This mass transfer of people following the trail of multinational companies, carrying them to where is their next exploitation of land and downtrodden people has been practiced in ancient civilizations but started actively and documented in the 19th century. People who learned to live for the “present” and could no longer take roots anywhere.

I figured out that this phenomena started after USA civil war when the urgency of linking East and West with train rails and the mushrooming of temporary villages along the way.

As the the company moves on, the people moves along, and the residents are left with an environment much degraded, in landscape and older people down on their fate, not able survive on their own toil and resigned to State subsidies, if any.

All the colonial powers performed the same “feat”, first with their poorer classes at home and then transferred to their colonies at a vast scale.

The older ugly face of slavery has mutated into a mass moving slavery, transferred everywhere where multinational companies settled for a while.

This phenomenon is the same, , even today, everywhere multinationals decide to exploit an under-developed country, or a country reeling after a civil war, or a pre-emptive war, planned, funded and executed by the colonial powers.

In the Hojarasas, Marquez mentions the Great War. I guess it is the period that started in 1880’s of endless civil wars in Latin America. Panama was part of Columbia and the USA wanted to conquer Panama and fomented most of these civil war. And also to pave the way for its agro-multinationals (Banana companies) to exploit the land and people in Latin America.

Marquez opted Not to give names of his major protagonists. There are the colonel, the doctor, the cleric El Cachorro (the Savage who was a terrible rebel, joined the army, rose to grade of colonel before reverting to be a man of religion). Even the daughter of the colonel has no name, neither his grand son. Names are totally irrelevant in period of calamities.

So many colonels in civil wars and so many captains, even today.

The author even asks questions, repeatedly, and never offer answers.

For examples: the second wife of the colonel, Adelaide, suspected she recognized a resemblance of the doctor with someone when he first visited them. She threw a lavish dinner in his honor. She got totally disappointed when he didn’t match her conservative attitudes or offered any explanation on who he is. The doctor said: “I eat only grass, like what the donkey eats”

The doctor and El Cachorro have many resemblance. So many half brothers and half sisters are generated in civil wars and when the hojarasas are on the move. Martin, the husband of the colonel’s daughter moved away when the Banana company folded, never to return, and left behind a son and his wife.

The doctor and El Cachorro arrived to Macondo on the same day and same hour. I doubt that was a coincidence: Some one must have dispatched them to Macondo, hoping they meet and link up. Probably it was colonel Buendias who was still fighting in Panama and who must have had many illegitimate sons and daughters.

We don’t know anything of the origin of the doctor or how he lived before he arrived to Macondo, as this small village experienced the mass transfer of workers to join the banana company.

The doctor lived in the colonel house for 8 years: he was allocated a room that opened to the street. He practised from his room and ate after the household finished eating. He never paid any dues to his room or the food he ate and waited  Saturday for the maid to come a clean up his filthy room.

The doctor got even more recluse when the company sanitary services robbed him of his clients.

There was a period when he decided to get out on evenings, trying his best to look presentable and smelling of cheap cologne. He sat outside the barber shop. Was he trying to find a hapless girl to marry and follow the trail of the company? Possibly, the doctor must have experienced before the hojarasas phenomenon and was willing to undertake another exodus?

The doctor was unable to explain the complex disaster and calamities of that period to non-educated or cultured people, which also would open wide the reasons for multiple questions on his former life.

Actually, it is the doctor who pronounced the term hojarasas to the colonel, as the village flourished for a while and he expected the coming calamities when the company moves on to “greener pastures”

Meme’, the Indian girl, a guajira, who lived in the colonel household since childhood had secret sexual relationship with the doctor. She got pregnant once and the doctor helped her abort. She got pregnant again and this time she wanted to keep the child.

The colonel demanded explanation and the doctor had to move to the corner house with Meme’ in order to save the “honor” of the colonel, since they were not married. Did Meme’ gave birth? Probably not: the doctor had funded a shop for Meme’ and she was never seen holding a baby to feed for 4 years.

The doctor doesn’t lie, and doesn’t respond when he has to lie, kind of observing his right of the “fifth”. The doctor told the colonel that Meme’ had left him, 4 years after she barricaded herself with him in the small house. The municipality broke into his house and dug the garden, hoping to find the body of a “murdered” Meme’ and found nothing.

Militias had entered the village and many residents were injured. The residents deposited the injured in front of the doctor door, but he refused to open or tend to the injured. He said: “I know nothing anymore to care for them and it is no longer my business”.  I guess he was frank and didn’t want to get involved in anything or get in touch with the community.

The community decided not to bury him after he dies and when once they wanted to burn the house, El Cochorro intervened and calmly told them: “No one is to approach this house”.

The doctor finally hanged himself and only the colonel came and did the necessary arrangement to be bury the doctor. The colonel asked his daughter to join him, and the daughter brought along her 8 year-old son to the deceased house.

The colonel had promised the doctor to bury him when the doctor saved his life after he seriously fell and broke his leg. The doctor told him “you cannot bury me if you die before me”

Note 1: The Hojarasas is fraught with repetitions and redundancies. I doubt an 18 year old would use this style: Marquez must have edited his original to mark the repetitious tendency in conversations in Latin America literature, or mainly in Columbia

Note 2: The oldest main colonial powers were Spain, Portugal, then England, France and the USA. Later on Germany abused of the people in Namibia and East Africa, Belgium in the Congo (over 5 million were mutilated for not satisfying the daily quota of rubber collection off the trees), the Netherlands in Indonesia, Italy in Ethiopia and Libya, Japan in Korea and China, and Russia and China with their own citizens.

All these “prosperous” nations got their wealth on the blood, sweat and suffering of the indigenous people and their own downtrodden citizens.  The price of adopting the “Capitalism” system was pretty high for the poorer classes everywhere in the world. And communism refused to be left behind in cruelty and humiliation of its own citizens.

 

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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