Archive for July 21st, 2004

Legends of Ancash 3

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[Translator’s note: This is the latest in a series of Legends
of the Ancash region high in the Peruvian Andes. Notes on their collection,
and
translation by the Dowbrigade are here
.]

Cak’ca Ramak

Primitive men had no eyes and lived submerged in obscurity. Cak’ca Ramak
had mercy on them and flew from the heavens up to the sun, part of
whose fire he stole. Returning to the Earth, he gave the fire to
Men, who from that moment on possessed eyes, discovering the Earth
and its
beauty.

[It’s Prometheus all over again, but is it evidence of independent
development of trans human archetypes or of the cultural imposition
of origin myths
by dominant cultures on dominated ones?
]

But the Sun got its vengeance, and by his will Cak’ca Ramak sired an
evil son, and when he got to be a teenager he wanted to know
how he had been
born, and so he cut open his mother’s womb.

[This part sounds like a slasher movie, or an indication that adolescent
rage is a widespread human trait
]

The Sun punished this crime. He unleashed upon the Earth: lightning
bolts, thunder claps, diluvial rains and volcanic eruptions.
Cak’ca Ramak was
rendered powerless, and was tied to a mountain near Nepe?a. His
evil son was turned into a rapacious bird of the night, condemned
to live
hidden in the caves of the high mountains, emerging only at night
to seek sustenance.

Every day, from the heights of the Huaylas range, a condor would
descend to torture the giant

[Now here we have echoes of the Prometheus myth again, with the iconic
image of a restrained man being tortured by a rapacious bird]

To the south of Nepe?a there lived a people , strong and warlike,
called the Chavin. This was the home of Huantar, Cak’ca Ramak’s
brother.

Huantar felt sorry for his brother, so he killed the condor,
and took its body to Chavin as a trophy, where local artists
engraved
its form
on many rocks. And to prevent other condors from descending
to continue the punishment of Cak’ca Ramak, he raised, from South
to North, two
gigantic walls, piling mountains one upon another.

These walls became so high that the condors could not fly
over them, and even if they made it over the heights, they
ended
up so exhausted
that they would fall dead before reaching the coast.

Over the passage of time, these walls became the Black and
White mountain ranges.

But Cak’ca Ramak remained trapped on the mountain, for all
eternity. On the route that joins the North of the Huaylas
Valley to Nepe?a,
all travel ors
hear in the nighttime can hear his groans, which mix and
alternate with the sad quacks of his son.

The name Cak’ca Ramak means "he who harvests the rocks, or who plants
them."

The Holding Pen is Mightier than the Sword

1

An
article
in today’s Boston Globe describes the area being prepared
for the Democratic National
Convention protesters resembles a concentration camp, complete with
tall chain-link fences, stretches of barbed wire, armed guards, and even
a roofing net to prevent "objects" from being thrown over the fence into
crowds.  In addition, 2500 jail cells have been cleared out and
made available for the expected arrests. Sure sounds like a lot of fun,
and a must-see for the well-rounded convention blogger…

Much of the area is located under abandoned elevated
Green Line tracks that slope downward. The setup, which one netting installer
called ”an internment camp," will force tall protesters at the
southern end of the zone to lower their heads to avoid banging them on
green metal girders.

”We were given every assurance that there would be an adequate space
for people to assemble for purposes of protest that is within sight and
sound of the convention and the delegates," said John Reinstein,
an ACLU lawyer representing activists planning to protest at the convention.
“This is neither. . . . It’s a pen.")

from the
Boston Globe