Things That Matter

Revolutionary Energy Has Reached Chile And The People Are Fighting To Take Their Country Back

There is no question that Latin America is in the midst of a revolution. It seems as if there is a battle between extreme-right governments and the people, except the governments have tear gas. Puerto Ricans revolted against their corrupt Gov. Ricardo Rossello, and successfully ousted him from power. Last month, Ecuador’s indigenous communities revolted against Ecuadorian President Moreno’s decision to end fuel subsidies, among other austerity measures, and won. A month ago, indigenous President Evo Morales of Bolivia won the democratic vote only to be victimized by his own military in a coup that landed a white conservative Christian Senator to replace President Morales, now living in asylum in Mexico City. Colombia’s conservative President is a year into his term and is tear-gassing revolters throughout the country, closing the national border and implementing curfews.

Now, the people of Chile are joining the Latin American revolution to end increasing income-inequality.

What seemed like a small 30 peso increase in public transit fares has led to thousands taking to the streets to chant “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years.”

CREDIT: @ELYGLEZM / TWITTER

Why? Because, like every moment you’ve ever lost your mierda on someone for a microaggression, there is history here, and the United States is more responsible than many might think. Before dictatorship swept the nation, Chile was had democratically elected its first socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Allende delivered on his platform to raise the minimum wage, create universal healthcare, free school lunch, and advocated for the indigenous Mapuche children to be integrated into the public school system. Meanwhile, the United States’ CIA has funneled $3 million to finance anti-Allende campaigns and another $2.6 million to finance Eduardo Frei’s campaign — Allende’s rival. When the people continued to elect Allende, the CIA backed the Chilean military to stage a coup. The very last thing Allende told the Chilean people was his vow that he would never resign. The following morning, the military told Chile that Allende killed himself with a gift from Fidel Castro — an AK-47 rifle. Augusto Pinochet appointed himself Chile’s “Supreme Chief of the Nation,” and a dictatorship was born.

Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet may have been ousted 30 years ago, but Chileans feel like its economic progress has been to benefit the ultra-rich and only served to widen the wealth gaps. After the “Chicago Boys” (a group of economists from the University of Chicago) paternalized Pinochet into privatizing nearly everything and creating a free-market designed to benefit the US, the results have left Chile without a middle class. Many of Pinochet’s policies are still in play, and Chileans can feel it.

President Miguel Juan Sebastian Piñera was elected based on a centrist campaign. Now, he’s become another far-right leader in Latin America.

CREDIT: sebastianpinerae / Instagram

The “Chicago Boys” would become government officials in Pinochet’s dictatorship, and many of their contemporaries remain officials under Piñera’s administration. Everything is privatized, including water and social security, and it has become increasingly expensive for Chileans to simply buy their medications, pay their rising bills and live their life. Many of us can relate to rising living costs without any increase in wages or salaries. Chile is rising up.

While American media might be highlighting “violent protests” in Chile, the bulk of the violence is directed at the people from Chile’s government.

CREDIT: @JOVINOMAS / TWITTER

Last week, The New York Times reported on how an eye patch has exemplified the rising police brutality on Chileans. It’s become a symbol of protest. According to The New York Times, more than 285 Chileans have suffered severe eye trauma at the hands of Chilean law enforcement during protesters this month. “I felt an impact in my eye, and it all went black. I held up my hands so they would stop shooting and then laid on the ground, and they shot me three more times,” Brandon González, 19, who works as a hospital assistant told The New York Times. “I thought, they are going to kill me.” Even though Chileans know that their health is on the line, they’re still hitting the streets. 

Finally, President Piñera, who has a historic low 12 percent approval rating, admitted that the police were abusing citizens. “There was excessive use of force. Abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected,” the president said in a speech to the nation after reports of 22 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries.

Chile wants a new constitution, written by the people, instead of Pinochet.

CREDIT: @ALICHEAIB_ / TWITTER

While Piñera has announced that Chile would rewrite its Constitution, it feels like too little too late for many Chileans. They don’t trust government officials to represent the needs of the people, for fear the ultra-rich will influence the foundation of an entirely new government. “If the people want it, we will move toward a new constitution, the first under democracy,” Piñera said. We’ll see.

READ: Mon Laferte Goes Topless At 2019 Latin Grammys To Protest Violence In Chile

TSA Agent Accused Of Using Native American Woman’s Braids As ‘Reins’ And Says ‘Giddyup!’

Things That Matter

TSA Agent Accused Of Using Native American Woman’s Braids As ‘Reins’ And Says ‘Giddyup!’

TaraA Zhaabowekwe Houska / Facebook

A Native American says she’s “angry, humiliated” after a TSA agent grabbed her ponytails and told her to “Giddyup!” She is calling the agent out on Twitter. Tara Zhaabowkwe Houska is an indigenous rights activist who was returning home to Bemidji, Minnesota through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Aiport when a TSA agent described as a “middle-aged blonde woman” told her that she needed to pat down her traditional braids. Houska later recalled how “she pulled them behind my shoulders, laughed & said “giddyup!” as she snapped my braids like reins” in a tweet that has since gone viral. Houska says she is “angry, humiliated” because her hair is part of her spirit. “Your ‘fun’ hurt,” Houska indirectly told the agent through her followers.

When Houska told her that her actions dehumanized her, the agent replied to say, “Well it was just in fun, I’m sorry. Your hair is lovely.” Houska maintains that “that is NOT an apology and it is NOT okay.”

Tara Zhaabowkwe Houska tweeted about her uncomfortable, abusive experience with the federal employee.

CREDIT: @ZHAABOWEKWE / TWITTER

“Going through @TSA at @mspairport, the agent said she needed to pat down my braids,” the indigenous climate change activist tweeted, adding, “She pulled them behind my shoulders, laughed & said “giddyup!” as she snapped my braids like reins. My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman. I am angry, humiliated. Your “fun” hurt.”

Her followers are shocked. “What the f***??? I’m really sorry this happened to you,” tweeted one doctor.  Several Indigenous folks have offered their prayers to Houska, praying that “a balm wash over you whenever this incident comes to mind. Relax your shoulders. Feel your breathing, in and out over your upper lip. I will DM you. This must never happen again.” Non-native folks are also chiming in to express their horror.What the actual f***? I’m not native anything, and I’d find that seriously inappropriate just based on decency. I can only imagine what it’s like for a Native American to experience this! Disgusting behavior on that woman’s part,” tweeted one Mika Johnson.

Houska is highlighting how harmful it is when aggressors claim their racism is “just in fun.”

CREDIT: @KaitlinCurtice / TWITTER

When I informed the middle-aged blonde woman who had casually used her authority to dehumanize and disrespect me, she said “Well it was just in fun, I’m sorry. Your hair is lovely.” <— that is NOT an apology and it is NOT okay,” Houska followed up in a separate tweet. “Humiliating and demeaning other people is not fun. It’s an abuse of power. The ‘I’m joking,’ ‘it’s all in fun’ stuff is garbage talk,” added NBC journalist Margaret Larson.

Other’s are saying that this is “white privilege at its worst.” Not all middle-aged white folk are this tone-deaf. Well, if they didn’t grow up in America. One Copenhagen white man was shocked, tweeting, “The US society REALLY have some serious problems respecting people of colour or just being different. I really hope the US can get to a point where this is not OK. It is white privilege at its worst.”

In the end, Houska is being offered endless support by empaths in her feed.

CREDIT: TARA ZHAABOWEKWE HOUSKA / FACEBOOK

The MSP Airport responded to her now-viral tweet to say, “We are so sorry to hear about your experience, Tara, and we’ll send this tweet along to @TSA leadership for follow-up. We’d also be happy to file a formal complaint on your behalf, if you DM us your contact information.” Tara responded to inform the official account that direct messaging isn’t available on their account but offered her email address, along with a curt, “Thank you for responding.” TSA’s publicity control Twitter account (AskTSA) also responded to the tweet to say, “We regret to hear that you had a bad experience at the security checkpoint. If you’re willing, please DM your email address, so that we may gather more details.”

“I’m so sorry you were treated that way, very grateful for your activism, and admire your compassion toward the numbskull TSA agent, wishing simply for better training as a remedy, you are a better person than many of us.  Love kindness & mad respect to you,” tweeted one follower. “Disgusting. This goes beyond unprofessional and directly to demeaning, humiliating and disgusting. Your employee needs to apologize publicly and be disciplined,” another horrified follower tweeted. 

Many are demanding this woman be fired. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.

READ: A Woman’s Obsession With Hot Cheetos Just Got Her Into Some Hot Water With TSA

An Ancient Mayan Book That Was Discovered By Archeologist Is Being Called The Oldest Book In The Americas

Culture

An Ancient Mayan Book That Was Discovered By Archeologist Is Being Called The Oldest Book In The Americas

hyperallergic / Instagram

Something pretty exciting is happening in Mexico. Yes, the Popocatépetl is erupting again. All of that volcanic activity is ejecting new life into the old world of Aztec and Mayan civilization. As you may recall, archeologists recently discovered a thousand-year-old Mayan palace located 63 miles west Cancún in Yucatán, Mexico. Before that, the  National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) also found hundreds of archaeological artifacts nearby the Yucatán that, as experts put it, contain “invaluable information related to the formation and fall of the ancient City of Water Sorcerers, and who were the founders of this iconic site.” This year a new study confirmed that a gold bar found in 1981 in a Mexico City park was part of the Aztec treasure that was stolen by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago. It feels like our ancestors are trying to tell us something. 

After decades of research, experts concluded in 2016 that a book they found years ago, in fact, is a 900-year-old authentic astronomy guide from the Mayan period. The book is called the Grolier Codex, and archaeologists say this is the oldest book found in the Americas.

Credit: hyperallergic / Instagram

One of the reasons the authenticity was always questioned is due to the backstory of how the book was found in the first place. According to ArsTechnica, the Grolier Codex was found by a Mexican collector named Josué Sáenz in 1966. Sáenz said that “a group of unknown men offered to sell the book to him, along with a few other items found “in a dry cave” near the foothills of the Sierra de Chiapas.” 

What made this book even more fascinating, yet troubling, was that Sáenz said the men told him if he took the book, he wouldn’t be able to show it to anyone. Others then told Sáenz that the book was a fake, but did allow archaeologist Michael Coe to show the book in New York. He later would give the book to the Mexican government.

The 10-page book is said to be an insightful guide into astronomy and how the Mayans kept track of the sun and the planets. It was their early forms of calendar-keeping.

Credit: kushkatan / Instagram

ArsTechnica said the book was written during trying times — the late Mayan period. Brown University social scientist Stephen Houston described how each picture in the book offered critical information that Mayans needed for day-to-day duties. 

The images are of “workaday gods, deities who must be invoked for the simplest of life’s needs: sun, death, K’awiil—a lordly patron and personified lightning—even as they carry out the demands of the ‘star’ we call Venus. [The Dresden and Madrid Codices] both elucidate a wide range of Maya gods, but in Grolier, all is stripped down to fundamentals,” Houston said. 

What’s also fascinating about the timing of the book’s confirmation is that Michael Coe, the Yale anthropologist, who decoded the text, died last year at the age of 90.

Credit: kushkatan / Instagram

The New York Times wrote in his obit that Coe was instrumental at deciphering Mayan code and giving the Mayans credit for their work when many wrote off the images as just that. 

In “Breaking the Maya Code” (1992), he theorized that anthropologists had never given the Maya adequate credit for their linguistic advances because of what he called ‘quasi-racism,’ or an ‘unwillingness to grant the brown-skinned Maya a culture as complex as that of Europe, China or the Near East.'”

As we previously noted, a more recent discovery was made just this week. A gold bar that was found in a park in Mexico City in 1981 was finally determined to be an authentic Aztec treasure.

Credit: National Institute of Anthropology and History

It’s quite fascinating to see that just because artifacts are found, doesn’t necessarily mean they can be authenticated by archeologists with a snap of a finger. Their research takes years, sometimes decades. 

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said they used special equipment to research the gold bar including an X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) which is “a proven multi-elemental technique of high sensitivity, non-destructive, non-invasive and extremely fast.” 

With so many recent discoveries, we can only imagine what other types of treasures are still buried underneath the ancient lands of Mexico.

READ: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End