'A modern day journey through the wild western Balkans'

Saturday, November 18, 2006

White Indian

I met a young Bosnian man during my first months of the conflict here in 1993. He had been processed through the concentration camp at Trnoplje near the town of Prijedor. He was a teenager - just on the borderline age whether or not he would be released or sentenced to the dreadful fate of so many others from that region. We quickly became friends. He was convinced the war would never end. That i had no idea what 'his people', meaning yugoslavs, were like. Naive and ever optimistic, i laughed that off - half to reassure him it would soon be over, half believing it actually might.

At some point and time i made him a bet that i wouldn't cut my hair until the war was over. He readily shook hands with me.

After med school in Argentina I had more of a preppy, clean look. When i left for Mexico I let my hair go for the first time. By the time we liberated Cuba I had a bushy set of hair on my head. Then in Castro's government i kept the beard but my hair was fairly short. It wasn't until i returned to Bolivia that i let my hair down again. The 'last' pictures of me i had fairly long hair, but nothing to brag about. Comrade Tito took me in like a brother, and his doctors performed miracles to change to my looks. I kept the hair short until I met my friend in western Herzegovina.

Not too long after my bet with my new found friend the refugee camp was attacked and ethnically cleansed. I went from seeing and working with him every day to him disappearing into thin air. He was gone. And all i have left of him was the bet we made. So i honoured it. I grew my hair back like the days of revolution. And when the war finally ended I shaved it off. When i did so, however, i realised how fond i was of long hair. Feeling like a white indian i liked the natural sensation of my long hair. The past ten years i let it grow and grow. An old man like me sporting a long blonde (thanks to Tito) ponytail.

Well, times change. Things evolve. Revolutions come and go. I shaved my head the other night. It's been a decade since i felt my scalp like this. Since i felt the cool breeze on my head and the top of my ears. It feels good to let go. Although i continue to habitually grab for ponytail as if i've lost a limb, the new look feels good. Hairy to baldy.

I only wish I could share a photo with some of my companeros that i haven't seen in a long time. But you know they are still looking for me hermanos and hermanas. The revolution we fought is long gone, but certainly not dead. It has returned in different forms and big brother is afraid. A scared dog bites. I don't want to get bitten. So imagine me from my preppy days long gone dear friends, minus the faggy penny loafers and polo shirts.

Hasta la victoria siempre

Friday, November 10, 2006

Defeated Dugout

I know that everyone is talking about it...at least stateside, about the grand elections that thumped that wanker ultra-capitalist monkey of a president. Granted, he still sits in his throne, but it must be getting a little warm in the seat of his pants just thinking about what is ahead of him.

If the Democrats have any balls - and hopefully the Democratic women can bring more of those to the table then the men have - then we may not only see the departure of Hilter's baby boy (Rummy) but maybe also of the cocky, arrogant and most undiplomatic Ambassador to the UN John Bolton. Wouldn't that be grand companeros!? A quick departure of Mr. Bolton back to where he belongs, in the defeated dugout of the Republican criminal clan. It feels so good to vent.

I know the democrats really aren't that much better. But just knowing the Ms. Pelosi might have a say so in the lower house. Just thinking that Joseph Biden, America's most seasoned foreign policy senator might have a word in American foreign policy makes us - across all the seas and continents of pacha mama, sigh with relief.

It wasn't only a good day for democrats, it was a good day for the world. It sent a MUCH needed message that there is still hope for your once great nation yankee brothers and sisters. You elected your first Muslim congressman, bismillah. You elected the first Indepedent Socialist, bravo comrade. And we have the first woman speaker of the house, bless you sister. You sent a message that democracy can change things....now lets see if its for the better.