The Nobodies

The Nobodies ( Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latina America, 1971)

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog,

and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: 

that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on

them—will rain down in buckets. 

But good luck doesn’t rain down

yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. 

Good luck doesn’t even fall in a

fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, 

even if their left hand is tickling, 

or if they begin the new day with their right foot,

or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. 

The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, 

running like rabbits, dying through life, 

screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.

Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.

Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.

Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.

Who don’t have culture, but folklore.

Who are not human beings, but human resources.

Who do not have faces, but arms.

Who do not have names, but numbers.

Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police

blotter of the local paper.

The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.” 

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, Charles Ebbett (attribution), 1932

Series, The Nobodies (Mexico), Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji, 2019
Series, The Nobodies (Mexico), Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji, 2019
Sebastiao Salgado, Figure 8, British Journal of Photography

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