Independence and its silence

And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here.”
“And it smells of sulfur still today.” 
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.

When I think of independence, I think of freedom and all the beautiful liberties that come with it. The United States of America is known to itself and the world that surrounds it as the land of the free, a land free from bureaucracy and tyranny.

And then we here Hugo Chavez’s speech, we hear anger, we hear his anger and we hear how he feels about The United States of America.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that’s their democratic model. It’s the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that’s imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. 

It is interesting how sometimes liberty for others does not equal liberty for all. I am not sure if I completely agree but I do in many ways understand his point, the fact that The United States frequently chooses to represent itself as the new world when it still uses the oppressive techniques of the old one is fascinating, to say the least.

The Colonial Experience

“In short, these paintings give us a vision of a hierarchical social order in which racial difference is in sync with a whole series of other distinction. Everyone has a place in this panorama of social society but the internal grid divides one social group from another.”

Slavery ended in Brazil in 1888, an estimated amount of four million slaves had entered Brazil. Being African myself, and studying african history has made me become aware of this, but despite the fact that my roots are very much in Africa I knew very little of the slave trade, south of the United States.

And then I watched this video.

I learnt about the whitening that took place in Brazil, the cultural genocide that took place and the deep societal desire to whiten one’s skin, and I felt disgusted. Disgusted, that even today in the 21st century, over 100 years later there are still systemic vices in society to rid people of colour of their colour.

And this is not just in Brazil, it’s everywhere, in Europe, even in Africa. Even between Africans themselves, there is a hierarchy between lighter skinned girls and darker skinned girls. I myself, am a product of my own environment.

For example, I look at my makeup, the fact that I contour lighter under my eyes, the fact that I have to pay significantly more money to find a foundation shade my colour, the fact that I chemically straighten my hair every two months. I don’t believe that I do these things for fun but more as a means of survival. So that I am not judged, so that I am more respected by those around me.

When I look at the pictures, and I see people who look like me undressed, “savage” it shows me how much work has been done but also at the same time how much work needs to be done




“In 1492 Columbus sailed the open blue”

Whenever I think of Christopher Columbus I think of two things. First, his actual un-anglicized name “Cristoforo Columbo” as that how I learned about him and secondly this video.

I think about the woman staring at the camera, hurt in her eyes, saying “evil, pure evil” I cannot fathom her hurt. I cannot fathom the ways that his “discovery” have ruined her life.

I found this particular lecture interesting. I found this sentence particularly potent.

For the Western Hemisphere 1492, is the great dividing line between the pre-colonial, pre-Hispanic, pre-latin America and the colonial and post-colonial periods.

What is most interesting to me is that Columbo’s discovery was a pure accident, that he truly believed that he was elsewhere. But I do not think this makes him innocent, I still believe that although it was in his best interest to convert the people he met to Christianity for his king and queen. The way he went about it was indeed malicious, he still believed that he was better than those he was interacting with, he still gave them broken glass, as presents, he exploited those he interacted, responded to their kind actions with mockery. So, reading his account has not generated sympathy from me, I do not believe him to be blameless because of his time, his self-importance paved the way for the generational propriety of European self-importance, that led Europe to “conquer” the world under the same guise of Christianity that he did. He may not necessarily be a villain, but I see validity in the fact that he is “evil, pure evil”.


Defining the undefinable


Image result for latin america

(Taken from )

I have always found introductory posts to be somewhat challenging. I say not to sound too pretentious but as a means of trying to explain to you that trying to define oneself is a lot harder than one might imagine.

I could start with my name – which would be to you, Danni, to my parents, Danielle, to my birth certificate Gloria. My intended major, History specializing in International Relations, and why out of all the courses that the University of British Columbia has to offer I chose this one. A simple answer to this question is that I don’t know enough about the continent to confidently tell people I can specialize in the realm of “the international” whilst missing a significant world perspective.

I don’t know if this is good enough for an introduction, but it’s certainly a start. One of the most important takeaways from my first class of Latin American studies is that things are quite hard to describe, just as I struggled to define myself, defining Latin America is not simply black and white, its fluid, its everchanging, its uncertain. We as humans like certainty but even though a lot of history s based on fact, it is also important to note that the story changes with perspective.

You see, I learnt most of my history in England, meaning that if you don’t leave the class with the overwhelmingly smug feeling that Great Britain isn’t simply great, you simply weren’t there. I know that this isn’t true, as I’m sure you do also, dear reader, but at least I’m trying to do something about it.




Countries like Brazil, Columbia and Mexico are just a few of those where drugs have transformed into a key industry and whoever controls those controls the nation.

I thought that this video was really well edited with musical interludes which I feel really moved the videos along. I found the information on “Operation Open Arms” interesting, and how it took place before the world cup and how certain regions do things to cover up things on the world stage. Also about how 97 per cent of investigations by the police aren’t actually investigated. I also find it interesting how it was actually money that came out of the United States that led to the war on drugs, rather than as a few politicians say today a result of an influx of immigrants from Latin American regions. However, I believe that this film was not critical of the surface facts it received, the idea of drugs, especially associated with poorer people is systemic and it is believed for a reason. Whilst the following film looked at Columbus from a variety of perspectives, this film did not focus enough on the root causes of the drug problem.


This film was very interesting, and I found the narrative very compelling, as well as the suspenseful mood music as well as the pictorial slideshow. I found it disturbing how when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas he simply claimed the land as his for his king and queen. I also think it is interesting how Columbus felt that he was superior to the indigenous people of the land simply because he had more clothing on. I wonder if this has any cultural links biblically and this is one of the reasons why he thought he was more heavenly. He also traded them broken glass.