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Chile: Bloggers and Social Network Users Question Bicentennial Celebrations

On September 18 Chile commemorates 200 years of its Independence from Spain with a Bicentennial celebration. The date has generated a surge of blog posts and opinions that question the celebrations that would take place while the Mapuche indigenous group continue their prolonged hunger strike over an anti-terror law, as Global Voices previously reported, an event which has brought to light issues like identity and discrimination in Chilean society in the heart of the celebrations dedicated to the “homeland.” Questions, criticism, activism, memory and resistance are part of the assessment during the Chilean bicentennial.

Image "Chile toward the bicentennial?" by flickr user Cosmopolita. used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commmons license

Questions

Blogger and singer Alonso Núñez in the citizen news agency Medio a Miedo [es] asks: “Are we really so worried about the Bicentennial?.” “Are we all celebrating?” wonders Matías Valenzuela in SSCC Debates [es].

Tomas Bradanovic also asks, “What are we celebrating on the 18th?“:

No puedo evitar enrabiarme por esta tontera del “bicentenario” La historia que nos enseñan es una colección de fábulas, llenas de héroes que se rasgan la camisa para poner el pecho, pero en realidad la mayoría fueron ineptos, tontos y comidos por la ambición, sus actos los retratan mejor que sus discursos. La mala clase de nuestros padres fundadores es pecado original en toda América Latina, una mochila que cargamos hasta el día de hoy.

I can't help feeling enraged over this nonsense of the “bicentennial” History teaches us is a collection of fables, full of heroes that tear their shirts to show their chest [and power], but in reality most of them were inept, dumb and devoured by ambition, their acts portray them better than their speeches. Our bad founding fathers are the original sin throughout Latin America, baggage that we still carry today.

With a tweet by Patricia Ojeda (@patiojedamayorg), Twitter users like Javier Sánchez (@sanchez_javier) criticize the celebration:

64 días en huelga de hambre los presos Mapuches y los chilenos se preparan para celebrar el BICENTENARIO… NADA QUE CELEBRAR.

64 days of the Mapuche on hunger strike and Chileans are preparing to celebrate the BICENTENNIAL….THERE IS NOTHING TO CELERATE

LOsorio (@aqui_leo) comments on another tweet which has been passed around on Twitter, evaluating the latest news circulating the Chilean web:

Cada vez me gusta menos este Pais Bicentenario, casos: Mapuches, Mineros, Jumbo, infiltrados en marchas, Barrancones, y un largo etc.

I'm disliking this bicentennial country more and more, cases: Mapuche, Miners, Jumbo [supermarket], infiltrations during protests, Barrancones [thermal energy project], and a long etc.

Memory and resistance

The celebration has also been overshadowed by another indigenous conflict, this time with the Rapa Nui, the native inhabitants of Easter Island who are requesting the return of their ancestral lands usurped by the state, as Ricardo Silva (Caio) [es] informs in his blog. On this issue Metiendo Ruido [es] comments that the Rapa Nui started occupying the land a couple of days after an eclipse, “a natural phenomenon that caused the inhabitants of Easter Island to experience a collective catharsis which resulted in forming a movement to reclaim the ancestral lands they had lent the Chilean state.

Hector Ramirez Estay (@hectorm81)  re-tweeted a message which connects this issue with the bicentennial:

RT @TerraChile Parlamento Rapa Nui: “Acá no nos interesa nada del Bicentenario” http://bit.ly/br6jcO // Mapuches y Rapa Nui… ay ay ay…

RT @TerraChile Rapa Nui Parliament: “Here we are not interested in the bicentennial” http://bit.ly/br6jcO // Mapuches and Rapa Nui…oh dear..

Marly Rayen (@marlyrayenpg) shares an interesting perspective:

desde fuera se ve muy extraña la celebración del bicentenario, con los mapuches en huelga de hambre, y peor todos culpándose

from the outside the celebration of the bicentennial looks very strange, with the Mapuche on hunger strike, and worst of all everyone blaming each other

In an old video posted by CiberAmerica-Chile [es], the Mapuche poet [es] Elicura Chihuailaf warns that between the Mapuche and Chile the conversation is not interrupted because the conversation is actually non-existent; he also says that Chilean society needs to assume their beautiful dark, indigenous features.

The debate has been amplified by statements such as those written in a post by Tere Marincovic, where she calls the Mapuche “spoiled [es]” because of their actions. The post has received more than 1000 comments.

Bicentennial assessment

On the blogosphere the tendency has been toward assessment and reflection. In Distrito Digital Miguel Jesús Pedreros writes in the post, “The Mapuche: Bicentennial Denial”:

Y no solo es el estado, es un país completo el que les da la espalda a los pueblos originarios, en especial al pueblo mapuche. El desinterés evidente que reina sobre la situación del pueblo mapuche, sobre esta huelga de hambre, sobre su cultura, lo confirma. Somos un país desarraigado porque no nos interesa mirar el pasado, sino, solo cuando está lleno de vana gloria. Sin embargo, nuestra historia como seres, está llena de altos y bajos, de alegrías y dolores…como dije antes, chile tiene una asquerosa memoria selectiva, olvidamos que los mapuches fueron el único pueblo indígena que se resistió totalmente a la dominación española, eso, ya es heroico.

And it is not only the state, it is a whole country that turns their back on the indigenous peoples, specially the Mapuche. The evident lack of interest that reigns over the situation of the Mapuche, over the hunger strike, over their culture, confirms it. We are a country without roots because we are not interested in looking to the past, but, only when the past is full of vain glory. However, our history as beings, is full of highs and lows, joys and pain…like I said before, Chile has a gross selective memory, we forget that the Mapuche were the only indigenous group that completely resisted the Spanish domination, that is heroic.

From an activism point of view, the blog IMC: Information Mapuche Chile [es] announces:

Del mismo modo, hacen un llamado a la ciudadanía en medio de estas fechas de esparcimiento popular a la reflexión y conminan a quienes llevan la conducción pública del estado a terminar con situaciones de injusticia, atropellos y desigualdades. En la misma línea, hacen un ferviente llamado a los sectores democráticos respetuosos de los Derechos Humanos A NO SER PARTE DE ACTOS PUBLICOS DE FESTOJO DEL BICENTENARIO, por respeto a la situación humanitaria que enfrenta el Pueblo Mapuche. BICENTENARIO: Mucho Por Cambiar, Todo Para Transformar

Similarly, they call on the public during these popular recreation days to reflect and they compel those who carry the state's public responsibilities to end with situations of injustice, abuses and inequality. They also make a fervent call to democratic groups who respect human rights to NOT PARTICIPATE IN PUBLIC ACTS OF THE BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS, to show respect toward the humanitarian situation the Mapuche are facing. BICENTENNIAL: There is a lot to change, everything needs to be transformed.

To conclude, the editor of the Center for Journalistic Investigation and Information (CIPER) [es] Francisca Skoknic, analyzes [es] why there are Chileans that look at the bicentennial with indignation:

El problema es que esto no es personal. La gente se informa por los medios. Sin ellos no existen los mineros, no existen los mapuche. Internet y las redes sociales en algo ayudan, pero no nos engañemos, aún no llegan a todos….Entonces se siente la indignación del bicentenario. Esa que aflora cuando las cosas no se pueden ocultar. De pronto están ahí y todos las vemos. Y no es lindo como nos quieren hace creer.

The problem is that [the indignation] is not personal. People get informed through the media. Without [the media] the miners do not exist, the Mapuche do not exist. Internet and social networks help a little, but let's not fool ourselves, they still don't reach everyone…So people feel indignation toward the bicentennial. That indignation that crops up when things can not be hidden. They are suddenly there and we can all see them. And it is not nice like they want us to believe.

2 comments

  • Jim

    The problem is that hatred is self validating. Anger can function like an emotional narcotic and in Latin American Society that narcotic is more epidemic than cocaine. It is easy to hate or be angry especially when one is searching for self validation. So what we see from people is a torrent of indignation, and a complete lack of piousness. They lack the ability to see beyond their own myopic hatred, that what the world needs is self control, leadership and virtue.

  • Manseo Rk

    I am a professional guest blogger. Having author access on several HQ blogs/websites. E.G., examiner.com,huffingtonpost.com etc. Want the Chile Bloggers to contact for business promotion or good business opportunity of earning.

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