this pebble sits ordinary in isla verde,
nudged slow by waves,
eroding into sand.
if instead i had found this elsewhere.
the surface would’ve been
of a distinct weathering,
from constant friction
with a slingshot leather.
the fiddler crab concurs
that the mangrove is an anarchist,
perfect in its defiance
from that liminal place
between the land and the sea:
trunks bent close to the ground,
roots interlocked like arms in protest
in this creeping war against the tides.
when the sea appears to be winning,
a million middle fingers
shoots through mud,
giving more life in time.
Violence erupted yesterday after police quashed a peaceful protest held on the grounds of the Capitol of Puerto Rico. The rallyists, composed mostly of students, were dispersed by a phalanx of truncheon-wielding riot squad leaving scores injured.
The rally was held to oppose the imposition of an $800.00 increase in tuition fee at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), among others. Students said that this is a violation of the negotiated deal reached between the UPR Board of Trustees and the students’ negotiating panel, which ended the 2 month-long strike in the eleven (11) campuses of UPR. Environmentalists also joined the rally to protest the planned selling of public lands (northeast ecological corridor and the mogotes).
In response, prominent international artists from Puerto Rico condemned the brutal dispersal. They expressed their dismay at the government’s use of violence to curb a peaceful rally. Dramatist Roberto Ramos-Perea maintained that the series of police brutality is brought about by a “constitutional coup” of Partido Nuevo Progresista (a pro-statehood political party), which instigated an “atmosphere of hostility followed by many reckless actions that threaten public peace and had climaxed in violent and aggressive actions of this government against the parties of the opposition, the organized student movement, the labor unions, the press, the environment, as against every area and institution of Puerto Rico’s civil society.”
Puerto Rican musicians also contributed to the growing public condemnation of the violence. Below are some of the Twitter and Facebook posts of Calle 13, Tego Calderon, and Ricky Martin on the event (with rough translations):
“Porquería de Gobierno..hay que sacarlos del poder ya!! despierta boricua! esto no puede seguir pasando!” (Shitty government… they have to be kicked out soon!! wake up boricua! this cannot keep on happening!” –Rene Perez of Calle 13
“Superintendente se le fue la mano de nuevo, tenga dignidad y renuncie.” (Superintendent, this is too much again, have dignity and quit.)–Tego Calderon on Police Supt. José Figueroa Sancha, head of the police force
“Una asamblea del pueblo o volaremos en pedazos.” (a meeting of the community or we blow up in pieces) –Eduardo Cabra, “Visitante” Calle 13
“Puerto Rico ya es hora de levantarse. Aquí hay que luchar pa’ darse a respetar. No necesitamos paz, necesitamos luchar! La paz llegará luego.” (Puerto Rico, it is time to wake up. We have to fight here to gain respect. We don’t need peace, we need to fight! Peace will come after.) –Rene Perez of Calle 13
“La violencia solo engendra violencia.” (Violence only begets violence)–Ricky Martin
Here’s a video report of the incident:Vodpod videos no longer available.
To read more of the incident, please click the links below:
A friend of mine sent these pictures of the University of Puerto Rico student strike to my inbox. Seeing that our blog, time travelling, is not only about Puerto Rico’s beaches and tourist spots, I am posting these photos of the students’ boycott in several of UPR’s campuses. To know more about the issue, please click here.
Student protesters have extended the initial 48-hour student boycott indefinitely after failed negotiations with the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) administration. The students earlier demanded for the re-audit of the UPR’s financial accounts as a response to the series of fiscal and administrative policy changes.
Here’s more from the Puerto Rico Daily Sun:
The 48-hour stoppage set for Wednesday was called by students to protest the administration’s plan to cut the budget and overhaul the tuition waivers system.
“The stoppage will continue and the only thing that will end it is if the Board of Trustees cancels the resolution on the tuition waiver,” Arturo Rios, the student group’s spokesperson said.
He was referring to a resolution approved by the Board of Trustees in February that established a moratorium on new tuition waivers and develop new policies to grant tuition waivers to ensure “uniformity” in the system and save money. Students are protesting the move, arguing it will leave many needy students without the financial benefit.
Ríos said the group was surprised the president “stood them up” and the fact that communication broke down but “we are still open to a dialogue.”
He said the student committee wanted to discuss with De la Torre the policy of non-confrontation and demand a meeting with the Board of Trustees.
“They are the ones really who have the power. De la Torre does not have the decision making power,” he said.
The students said they will oppose any attempts to hike student tuition to resolve the fiscal crisis at the university, which is slated to end the year with a budget deficit estimated at between $200 million to $250 million. UPR obtains most of its funds from a budgetary formula that this fiscal year provided $835 million. However, with Puerto Rico in the midst of a deep economic recession, UPR’s formula is only estimated to provide $729 million during the next fiscal year.
Growing up, one of the bands that I listen to frequently is The Jerks. Like the fate of all alternative bands during the Marcos years, their albums were seldom found in record stores. Their genius only got passed around by word of mouth and cassette tapes changed hands like contraband. It’s not that The Jerks shunned the mainstream. I believe they’d gladly jump at any chance to change society one song at a time. After all, they’re activist musicians before Rage Against the Machine made raging hip.
Their songs smolder in protest. Take for instance their rendition of Dylan Thomas‘ poem, Do not go gently into that good night. While the original intent of the poem is to rouse Thomas’ father to continue being the fierce man he had previously been, The Jerks retooled the poem and made it an indictment of a moribund ruling system that brought the nation to “the dark ages, an era of lies.” Chikoy Pura, their vocalist, roars on for the listeners to “not go gently into the night” amidst all the injustices but to resist and do our share in changing society for the better. He implores us to
Rage against the dying of the light
Sing a song about this terrible sight
Rage until the lightning strikes
Go not gently, go not gently, go not gently
And rage with me
From 1979 until now, The Jerks are still raging on. In their facebook group, Chickoy Pura announced a reissue of their 1997- NU Rock Awards Album of the Year and 1998-Katha Awards for the song RAGE. If you want to get hold of their albums, do email them through email@example.com.
Rage Against the Dying of the Light-The Jerks
Vodpod videos no longer available.