It is quite common these days to put down reformers or those supporting human rights causes by referring to them as communists or even terrorists. I have heard the Republicans often refer to President Obama as a "communist". Going on the same principles, Jesus Christ would surely be a communist, as he supported minorities, cared about the outsiders, and was very much concerned with general well-being. Moreover when he fed the people, he gave them equal portions. All very communistic if you ask me. If the President and Jesus are crypto-communists (to use the old parlance), then I am very happy to join them. I understand a communist to be one who believes in distribution of wealth, equal opportunites for all irrespective of who they are. This does not mean for one moment that I follow Marx or Mao, indeed subscribe to any of the ideologies. I view communism as a component of humanism - a humanism broad enough to include those who are religious as well. What you may ask, has this got to do with the Nobel Prize for Literature which was awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa this year (2010)? The answer is plenty. You see the laureate has in the past in many essays and articles described the position of the "indigenists" as extreme - just as extreme as the Hispanicists. They for him represent the two poles of politics, though he is not explicit about this, he means the Fascist position of Pinochet and the Marxist position of Chávez. What he argues for is a kind of assimilation -
I wrote this in response to the Guardian blog by William Boyd.
Maybe this is a "pension prize" after all. I do wish that out of the thousands of writers in the 200 plus countries that they could have found someone else - oh how about those on their short list! It reminds me of the Vatican when there was going to be an African Pope and then... oh they unleash instead the rottweiller. I wonder what he will do with the prize money - build a swimming pool like A.S. Byatt did? Today when we are faced with the disintegration of numerous values, when war has become a pornography, the environment protection, a hedge fund - should we allow the fate of the indigenous people to become a bumper sticker? I for one think that those with a "voice" and an "influence" should do something about the increasing encroachment of the vestiges of their land - all those interests which Vargas Llosa so eloquently backs, the ones that are supported by us through our continued consumption of products that have blood on their packaging. I remember receiving years back a book which was published by Time Life I believe, it was illustrated with lots of pictures of the Americas - it seemed a fecund, exotic and beautiful locus - a place for the imagination - little did I know about the truth - the horrific history, and I am sure today we know very little about all the terrible things going on in South America - but for me the awarding of the prize to Llosa seems an act of complicity in the deeds. Maybe it is an exaggeration, maybe he deserves the prize because he writes wonderfully about...his continent. But I think one cannot let it go. We have a habit of moving on to the next topic very quickly, as if the holocaust was a snicker bar. If the laureate was to articulate clearly support for the indigenous peoples and to donate some of his prize money to their cause - I think such a gesture, now, while he is in the limelight, could influence a lot of people to change their opinion for the good.