As you may guess from this picture, I love biking in the woods. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the ride. Until February 2016 I blogged regularly about books, art, literature and writing.
I am now working on two books.
Unscrupulous people created false profiles and accounts claiming to be me. Please know that this is my only site. You can check the column on your left to access the links to my published works. The latest ones appear on the upper part.
‘1984’ is a
dystopian novel about a country called Oceania
that is constantly at war, but its citizens do not know why it is at war. They
do support it, though, because anybody who is not a supporter is considered a
Hatred and rage fuel
the support of this endless war.
Blind obedience to Big Brother is considered freedom. Anyone who dares to
oppose the dictator’s ideas or think differently is vilified and will
disappear. Those who work for the party are instructed to manipulate the truth
as needed. In fact, nobody really knows
the truth and nobody cares to reflect on it because their lives would be
at stake if they did. Physical movements and facial expressions are closely
monitored by screens in people’s homes, political prisoners are treated worse
than criminals and love does not exist; hatred and fear condition everybody’s
behavior. Blind devotion to Big Brother is what matters. Torture and
starvation await anybody who dares to challenge the system in any way.
Another strategy of the ruling Party is to destroy
words. “We’re cutting the language down to the bone. Don’t you see that the
whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” “There will be no
thought as we understand it now. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
Winston is a thirty-nine year-old man who
works for the Ministry of Truth. He helps to change the historical facts but,
in reality, he is a free thinking person who would like to sabotage Big
Brother’s dictatorship. He falls in love with a woman with whom he feels compelled to challenge the system by loving each other and having secret encounters that
they must plan in advance.
When Winston becomes
a political prisoner a member of the inner Party confesses to him, “Our
civilization is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions
except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall
destroy -everything. Already we have destroyed the habits of thought which have
survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and
parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust
a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no
wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as
one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation
will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish
the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty,
except loyalty toward the party. There will be no love, except the love of Big
Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated
enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science”.
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not
interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power”. “We know
that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is
not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to
safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the
dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture
is torture. The object of power is power”.
The truth is distorted to satisfy the leader’s
interests; conformity becomes the rule.
The society in which
the authoritarian regime thrives is designed carefully to disregard critical
thinking and to believe blindly in their leader. His authority is not to be
questioned, and those who dare do it are punished and labeled as enemies.
George Orwell portrays the dynamics of this society with striking details.
The features that
make Big Brother powerful are the following:
-Use of songs and ceremonies to venerate the leader
The past becomes
mutable. It only exists in the minds of the citizens, and the government can
manipulate their minds by rewriting the historical facts and changing the data
to keep the dictator in power because the omnipotence of the dictator can only
be preserved through lies and irrationality.
The Party claimed to have liberated “the proles”, but, in reality, the dictator
does not care about them.
“So long as they continued to work and breed, their other
activities were without importance.”
“All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism
which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer
working hours or shorter rations”.
Contradictions are at the heart of the regime.
In ‘1984’ the Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth
with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with
question that lingers in my mind is whether these totalitarian leaders succeed
because of the ignorance of the masses or the conformism of the intellectuals.
I think it is a combination of both. As Albert Einstein said, “Few are those
who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”
Handmaid’s Tale" the United States of America is taken over by fundamentalist
Christians. Under the new regime women are not allowed to read, work or think.
They are only expected to obey the rules that powerful men
create. Women are forced to reproduce. The dissidents are severely punished.
in America earn 75 % of what white men make; African American women make 63 %,
even with the same level of education and experience; Latina women only make
54% of what white males earn. These figures show clearly that gender and ethnic
discrimination go hand in hand. We all deserve the same respect, dignity and consideration. (And, by the way, if you don't like to hear a woman yelling, then don't excuse a man for doing so, even if he is white and American).
If you want
to understand how unconscious and conscious biases determine the way women are
judged and treated differently I recommend the well researched book by
Iris Bohnet: “What Works: gender equality by design.” In addition to exploring the complexity and consequences of these biases through concrete examples, she proposes
solutions to this important issue.
After reading Nita Belles's book "In Our Backyard" I was inspired to write my poem "Mr. Pimp," which was published by the New York Literary Magazine. It is included in the "Winds of Time" Anthology. You can read it here.
Nita Belles is a heroine to me. She rescues slaves in the United States of America. Her book educates us on what we can do to end and prevent slavery.
There are many love stories in this novel by Isabel Allende, but it was not the title that attracted me to it. The hook was the first chapter. It narrates the story of Irina, a young woman from
Moldova who is hired to work at Lark House, an imaginary nursing home located
with the residents of Lark House because she is kind, sensitive and caring.
After an unexpected turn of events, Irina is also hired to work a few hours a
week for Alma, one of the residents.
and Alma harbor secrets that hold the suspense of the novel till the end.
they had different backgrounds, Alma and Irina had something in common: they’d
both migrated to America under difficult
circumstances. Alma had moved to the
United States from Poland at age seven when her Jewish parents, terrified by
the rise of Nazism, sent her to live with her uncle and aunt in America. During
her childhood she met Ichimei, a family friend with whom she fell in love.
is narrated from an omniscient point of view. The present and past moments of
their lives alternate and the writer paints the intimate landscapes of the
characters’ thoughts and emotions. We also get to know the Japanese lover through the letters that he wrote to Alma.
encouraged me to learn more about American history. After the bombing of Pearl
Harbor by the Japanese government in 1941 President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. On the West Coast of the United States of America thousands of American citizens of Japanese
background were detained and sent to concentration camps for no other reason
than their race. Their bank accounts and possessions were confiscated by the
had to quickly sell off whatever they owned at knockdown prices, and to close
their businesses. They soon discovered that their bank accounts had been
frozen; they were ruined.”
August, more than a hundred and twenty thousand men, women and children would
be evacuated, old people snatched from hospitals, babies from orphanages, and
mental patients from asylums. They would be interned in ten concentration camps
in isolated areas of the interior, while cities would be left with phantom
neighborhoods full of empty homes and desolate streets, where abandoned pets
and the confused spirit of the ancestors who had arrived in America with the
immigrants wandered aimlessly.”
I think this
is a relevant reminder of how hate speeches fueled by fanaticism, racism and
economic hardship do have consequences. Nevertheless, those consequences were
presented under the veil of censorship.
“It was a
temporary solution and would be carried out in a humane fashion. This was the
official line, but meanwhile the hate speech spread. ‘A snake is always a
snake, wherever it lays its eggs. A Japanese-American born of Japanese parents,
brought up in a Japanese tradition, living in an atmosphere transplanted from
Japan, inevitably and with only rare exceptions grows up as Japanese and not
American. They are all enemies.’ It was enough to have a great-grandfather born
in Japan to be seen as a snake.”
important subject that this novel touches is that of sex trafficking and forced
prostitution. This cruel horrifying “business” is one of the most profitable in
the world, and it makes me wonder why it has not been eradicated yet. Is it
because there are many “customers” out there who are willing to pay for sex
slaves? Is it because society is too busy slut-shaming victims instead of
is about love, friendship and trust, and what I enjoyed the most about it is
that the author merged the political and social aspects of it with the personal
lives of the characters. The end is bittersweet, a reflection on the
timelessness and endurance of love.