The Remnants of Continuous Departures

Splatsplatsplat. Over and over. Butterflies. Mile after mile of hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. The painted ladies are doing well this year. Unfortunately for them, their migration route is intersected by Interstate 40. Here, outside of Ludlow, California, I’m committing vehicular lepidopteracide at an alarming rate. In a manner that is both macabre and hypnotic, I’m captivated by the split second before each impact when time seems to stop: the butterfly hovers mid-flight only feet away in crystal clear profile against the blue, late-morning sky, orange wings outstretched as it strives towards its singular purpose, oblivious to impending calamity. That suspended instant unfailingly passes as Chronos reasserts his reign and 3,000 pounds traveling at 75 miles an hour collides with 0.5 grams of Vanessa annabella. In a most unnatural metamorphosis, butterfly transforms into yellow smear on windshield with an onomatopoetic splat.

Crows line the highway, feasting on carcasses. At rest stops, every car appears to be covered in egg yolks or to have been shot with yellow paintballs. I think of the thousands of vehicles daily covering this stretch of interstate and wonder at how many butterfly fatalities that must add up to. Of unintended consequences in this seemingly desolate landscape of high desert. Of how I-40 killed Ludlow itself – now with a population of 10 and consisting of a gas station-cum-Dairy Queen – when it superseded Route 66. Of how I came to be driving it at that moment, saying goodbye to more than just butterflies and ghost towns.

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Oaxaca, the fight for the air

Originally posted on El Enemigo Común

radio-oaxacaBy Jaime Quintana Guerrero
January 20, 2016
Desinformémonos
Translated by Scott Campbell

Bi, in the Binnizaá or Zapotec language, means “air”, means “spirit.” “For us, air not only represents life, it also carries loved ones who have died. When one dies, their spirit becomes air and returns to the people.”

The struggles against the wind farms that abound throughout the state also, then, contain this element: “They want to change the path of the wind, of the air, of our spirits, of our loved ones.”

Carlos Martínez Fuentes, a member of Radio Totopo in Juchitán, Oaxaca, is the one who explained the above. Radio Totopo, with its nine years transmitting together with the spirits in the air, also belongs to the Popular Assembly of the Juchitecan People.

The emergence of the radio was a result of sheer necessity. On the one hand, as a tool in the resistance struggle to Plan Puebla Panama, which includes the wind farm system being put into place between those two locations.

As well, because the tradition of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca (as with most) is oral. The radio fits perfectly, then. “In Oaxaca, 16 different languages are spoken. The indigenous oral tradition is the key reason behind the existence of community radio stations and community assemblies, their main supporters,” explains José Juan Cárdenas, member of the Integral Community Communication organization.

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