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Chile Mexico poetry public art Social Justice violence against women women's rights

A Rapist in Your Way

Today’s piece pays homage– and it must– to the brave women of Chile and around the world who are standing up for their right to be free from sexual and gender-based violence. Currently, Mexico leads the world in murder of women and other forms of sexual violence. The United Nations, whose research wing may be the only thing it has going for it these days, has this to say:

  • Approximately 15 million adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex (forced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts) at some point in their life. In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of forced sex by a current/former husband, partner or boyfriend. Based on data from 30 countries, only one per cent ever sought professional help . 
  • Globally, one out of three students (aged 11 and 13 to 15 years) have been bullied by their peers at school at least on one day in the past month, with girls and boys equally likely to experience bullying. However, boys are more likely to experience physical bullying than girls, and girls are more likely to experience psychological bullying, particularly being ignored or left out or subject to nasty rumours. Girls also report being made fun of because of how their face or body looks more frequently than boys. School-related gender-based violence is a major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls .
  • Twenty-three per cent of female undergraduate university students reported having experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct in a survey across 27 universities in the United States in 2015. Rates of reporting to campus officials, law enforcement or others ranged from five to 28 per cent, depending on the specific type of behavior.
  • It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.

In Chile the deployment of sexual violence as a tactic condoned by the regime of Pinera, has left hundreds of women brutally assaulted, raped and treated with sexual violence. Disappearances and sexual torture that characterized the Pinochet regime and then “Dirty War” in Argentina under the generals, have made a very real come-back. In Spain, as the courts collude with rapists to let gang-bangers go free, women have also had enough. In Italy and France, sexual violence is endemic and routinely dismissed as a crime “of passion”. Solidarity with women all over the world is so important, because for us, sexual violence, is not an issue, but rather the framework within which our lives are conducted, on the streets, at school, at work, at a party, at a protest, at places of worship, in jail, on-line, or in the bedroom.

Femicide, Kaushalya Bannerji, 2019

A Rapist in Your Way

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and our punishment

is the violence you don’t see.

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and our punishment

is the violence  that you’ve seen.

It’s femicide.

Impunity for my killer.

It’s disapperance.

It’s rape. 

And I ‘m not guilty, not because of where I was or how I dressed

And I ‘m not guilty, not because of where I was or how I dressed

And I ‘m not guilty, not because of where I was or how I dressed

And I ‘m not guilty, not because of where I was or how I dressed

The rapist is you.

The rapist is you.

It’s the cops,

the judges,

the state,

the president. 

The oppresive state is a rapist.

The oppresive state is a rapist.

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

“Slumber gently, innocent girl

without worrying about the riff-raff,

in your sweetly smiling dreams,

will be revealed your loving lieutenant”*

the rapist is you

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

The rapist is you

*(fragment of the Policeman’s Hymn of Chile)

Original Performance, Collective LasTesis, Santiago, Chile, November 25, 2019 where The Pinera Regime has been deploying sexual violence, torture and disappearances in response to recent anti-austerity protests
Performances from Latin America and Europe in Solidarity with Female Victims of Violence, November 2019
Performance from Mexico City, Zocalo, currently the country with the highest rates of femicide

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/06/chilean-anti-rape-anthem-becomes-international-feminist-phenomenon?fbclid=IwAR0qy4PvkMWX11h7EtYz-cuQe0Hlw_nwGF0jQm7JqQ6w722QYypJ31-0Qqo

Categories
Art Indigenous Justice LGBT Loteria Mexican Independence Day Mexico Mexico Social Justice

Loteria: A Homage to Mexico

Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji

This is a work inspired by both living in Mexico for a while, and, seeing its plight in the face of multiple challenges, both internal and external. A complex and fascinatingly diverse land, Mexico cannot be reduced to a single image or emotion. Loteria draws on the rich symbolism of images that portend an uneasy syncretism…one in which domination and subjugation are intertwined in both the sacred and the mundane .

Loteria is a game played in Mexico and similar to the U.S. game of Bingo. The images have been around for 0ver 500 years, apparently originating in Italy and being brought to Mexico in the late 18th century. Popularized by the beginning of 2oth century, even the Catholic Church in Mexico issued its own set of Loteria cards.

As a person of colour, a lesbian , a visitor to Mexico, and a “Latin Americanist” by academic training, my take on Loteria aims to subvert some of the traditional imagery and symbolism of the classic Loteria drawings. For example my use of the rainbow flag for the traditional image of the Mexican flag/La Bandera. This speaks to the hope held by LGBT activists in Mexico, that Mexico may combat its own homophobia, to which hundreds have fallen victim in the few decades. While wealthy gay tourists may enjoy resort communities like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has a long way to go in challenging and overturning LGBT-phobia for ordinary Mexicans, both judicially and in the popular imagination.

Equally, a card like the Lady/La Dama generally represents a fair skinned woman, where as I have chosen to use the image of a brown skinned native woman. In Mexico, indigenous women are generally seen as inhabitants of a world of historical subjugation and contemporary marginalization since they are so often treated like 3rd class citizens in their country. The high rates of femicide in Mexico affect indigenous and poor women disproportionately. Thus I take a partisan stance!

For the World/El Mundo, the image of Atlas, is replaced by that of a woman of colour whose overlooked labour fuels a variety of socio-economic systems, such as slavery, debt peonage, share-cropping, informal markets and household services and maquiladora manufacturing around the world. For the image of the brave one or El Valiente, I show an elderly disabled Indigenous man, celebrating the courage it takes to live on a pittance with mobility and other problems.

With the cards of el Apache and El Negrito/the Little Black Man, I was confronted by the highly stereotyped imagery of previous cards. I wanted to show the agency of these historically disenfranchised peoples, through both the use of colour and the image of a “slave”, breaking his chains. Many do not know that the Southern coast of Mexico was historically home to a slave-based plantation economy, relying on African labour, as in the Caribbean. There are nearly 1.5 million Afro-descended Mexicans! In recent years, Afro-Mexicans are organizing and taking their rightful place in Mexican society politically, economically, and culturally.

Like the Tarot, numerous stylized images of Loteria are testament to the way in which it captured the popular imagination over centuries. The original game had the caller sing out the cards through the form of riddles. While these riddles may no longer be integral to the game, Loteria is still a potent symbol of Mexican popular culture. I hope I have contributed to an interpretation of Mexico that celebrates its beauty, colors, and hope for a more representative and just future!

Below, I have included the Wikipedia information on the Loteria riddles. Enjoy!

The following is a list of all the original 54 Lotería cards, traditionally and broadly recognized in all of Mexico. Below you will find each card name and number with the riddles (in Spanish) sometimes used to tell the players which card was drawn. However, there are several less traditional sets of cards, depicting different objects or animals.

1 El gallo (“the rooster”)

El que le cantó a San Pedro no le volverá a cantar.
The one that sang for St. Peter will never sing for him again.

2 El diablito (“the little Devil”)

Pórtate bien cuatito, si no te lleva el coloradito.
Behave yourself buddy, or the little red one will take you away.

3 La dama (“the lady”)

Puliendo el paso, por toda la calle real.
Polishing as she steps, all along the royal street

4 El catrín (“the dandy”)

Don Ferruco en la alameda, su bastón quería tirar.
Sir Ferruco in the lane, wanted to toss away his cane.

5 El paraguas (“the umbrella”)

Para el sol y para el agua.
For the sun and for the rain.

6 La sirena (“the mermaid”)

Con los cantos de sirena, no te vayas a marear.
Don’t be swayed by the songs of the siren. (In Spanish, sirens and mermaids and their song is synonymous.)

7 La escalera (“the ladder”)

Súbeme paso a pasito, no quieras pegar brinquitos.
Ascend me step by step, don’t try and skip.

8 La botella (“the bottle”)

La herramienta del borracho.
The tool of the drunk.

9 El barril (“the barrel”)

Tanto bebió el albañil, que quedó como barril.
So much did the bricklayer drink, he ended up like a barrel.

10 El árbol (“the tree”)

El que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.
He who nears a good tree, is blanketed by good shade.

11 El melón (“the melon”)

Me lo das o me lo quitas.
Give it to me or take it from me.

12 El valiente (“the brave man”)

Por qué le corres cobarde, trayendo tan buen puñal.
Why do you run, coward? Having such a good blade too.

13 El gorrito (“the little bonnet”)

Ponle su gorrito al nene, no se nos vaya a resfriar.
Put the bonnet on the baby, lest he catch a cold.

14 La muerte (“Death”)

La muerte tilica y flaca.
Death, thin and lanky.

15 La pera (“the pear”)

El que espera, desespera.
He who waits despairs. (A pun: espera “to wait” and es pera ” to be a pear” are homophones in Mexican Spanish.)

16 La bandera (“the flag”)

Verde blanco y colorado, la bandera del soldado.
Green, white, and red, the flag of the soldier.

17 El bandolón (“the mandolin”)

Tocando su bandolón, está el mariachi Simón.
There playing his lute, is Simon the mariachi.

18 El violoncello (“the cello”)

Creciendo se fue hasta el cielo, y como no fue violín, tuvo que ser violoncello.
Growing it reached the heavens, and since it wasn’t a violin, it had to be a cello.

19 La garza (“the heron”)

Al otro lado del río tengo mi banco de arena, donde se sienta mi chata pico de garza morena.
At the other side of the river I have my sand bank, where sits my darling short one, with the beak of a dark heron.

20 El pájaro (“the bird”)

Tu me traes a puros brincos, como pájaro en la rama.
You have me hopping here and there, like a bird on a branch.

21 La mano (“the hand”)

La mano de un criminal.
The hand of a criminal.

22 La bota (“the boot”)

Una bota igual que la otra.
A boot the same as the other.

23 La luna (“the moon”)

El farol de los enamorados.
The street lamp of lovers.

24 El cotorro (“the parrot”)

Cotorro cotorro saca la pata, y empiézame a platicar.
Parrot, parrot, stick out your claw and begin to chat with me.

25 El borracho (“the drunkard”)

A qué borracho tan necio ya no lo puedo aguantar.
Oh what an annoying drunk, I can’t stand him any more.

26 El negrito (“the little black man”)

El que se comió el azúcar.
The one who ate the sugar.

27 El corazón (“the heart”)

No me extrañes corazón, que regreso en el camión.
Do not miss me, sweetheart, I’ll be back by bus.

28 La sandía (“the watermelon”)

La barriga que Juan tenía, era empacho de sandía.
The swollen belly that Juan had, was from eating too much watermelon.

29 El tambor (“the drum”)

No te arrugues, cuero viejo, que te quiero pa’ tambor.
Don’t you wrinkle, dear old leather, since I want you for a drum.

30 El camarón (“the shrimp”)

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.
The shrimp that slumbers is taken by the tides.

31 Las jaras (“the arrows”)

Las jaras del indio Adán, donde pegan, dan.
The arrows of Adam the Indian, strike where they hit.

32 El músico (“the musician”)

El músico trompas de hule, ya no me quiere tocar.
The rubber-lipped musician does not want to play for me anymore.

33 La araña (“the spider”)

Atarántamela a palos, no me la dejes llegar.
Beat it silly with a stick, do not let it near me.

34 El soldado (“the soldier”)

Uno, dos y tres, el soldado p’al cuartel.
One, two and three, the soldier heads to the fort.

35 La estrella (“the star”)

La guía de los marineros.
Sailor’s guide.

36 El cazo (“the saucepan”)

El caso que te hago es poco.
The attention I pay you is little. (A pun: caso “attention” and cazo “saucepan” are homophones in Mexican Spanish)

37 El mundo (“the world”)

Este mundo es una bola, y nosotros un bolón.
This world is a ball, and we a great mob. (A pun: bola can mean both “ball, sphere” and “crowd, mob”, bolón is a superlative with the latter meaning)

38 El Apache (“the Apache”)

¡Ah, Chihuahua! Cuánto apache con pantalón y huarache.
Ah, Chihuahua! So many Apaches with pants and sandals.

39 El nopal (“the prickly pear cactus”)

Al nopal lo van a ver, nomás cuando tiene tunas.
People go to see the prickly pear, only when it bears fruit .

40 El alacrán (“the scorpion”)

El que con la cola pica, le dan una paliza.
He who stings with his tail, will get a beating.

41 La rosa (“the rose”)

Rosita, Rosaura, ven que te quiero ahora.
Rosita, Rosaura, come, as I want you here now.

42 La calavera (“the skull”)

Al pasar por el panteón, me encontré un calaverón.
As I passed by the cemetery, I found myself a skull.

43 La campana (“the bell”)

Tú con la campana y yo con tu hermana.
You with the bell and I with your sister.

44 El cantarito (“the little water pitcher”)

Tanto va el cántaro al agua, que se quiebra y te moja las enaguas.
So often does the jug go to the water, that it breaks and wets your slip.

45 El venado (“the deer”)

Saltando va buscando, pero no ve nada.
Jumping it goes searching, but it doesn’t see anything. (A pun: venado “deer” sounds like ve nada “see nothing”

46 El Sol (“the sun”)

La cobija de los pobres.
The blanket of the poor

47 La corona (“the crown”)

El sombrero de los reyes.
The hat of kings.

48 La chalupa (“the canoe”)

Rema que rema Lupita, sentada en su chalupita.
Lupita rows as she may, sitting in her little boat.

49 El pino (“the pine tree”)

Fresco y oloroso, en todo tiempo hermoso.
Fresh and fragrant, beautiful in any season.

50 El pescado (“the fish”)

El que por la boca muere, aunque mudo fuere.
The one who dies by its mouth, even if he were mute. (In reference to a fish being hooked by its mouth, even though it doesn’t utter a sound.)

51 La palma (“the palm tree”)

Palmero, sube a la palma y bájame un coco real.
Palmer, climb the palm tree and bring me a coconut fit for kings. (Lit: “A royal coconut.”)

52 La maceta (“the flowerpot”)

El que nace pa’maceta, no sale del corredor.
He who is born to be a flowerpot, does not go beyond the hallway.

53 El arpa (“the harp”)

Arpa vieja de mi suegra, ya no sirves pa’tocar.
Old harp of my mother-in-law, you are no longer fit to play.

54 La rana (“the frog”)

Al ver a la verde rana, qué brinco pegó tu hermana.
What a jump your sister gave, as she saw the green frog.

La Sirena, Loteria Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
El Cotorro, Loteria Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
La Arana, Loteria, Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
La Mano, Loteria, Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
La Pera, Loteria, Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
La Sandia, Loteria, Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
El Violoncello, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Arbol, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Calavera, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Nopal, Loteria, Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji
El Corazon, Loteria, Copyright 2019 Kaushalya Bannerji
La Palma, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Estrella, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Pescado, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Pajaro, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Corona, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Luna, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Paraguas, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Gallo, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Rosa, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Alacran, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Sombrero, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Sol, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Valiente, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Bandera, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Bota, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Borracho, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Garza, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Bondolon, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Botella, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Muerte, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Arpa, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Cantarito, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Cazo, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Musico, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Dama, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Venado, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Maceta, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Pino, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Diablito, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Barril, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Campana, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Soldado, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Apache, Loteria Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
Las Jaras, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Chalupa, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Rana, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
La Escalera, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Camaron, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Negrito, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Melon, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji
El Mundo, Loteria, Copyright 2019, Kaushalya Bannerji