Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

From the point of view of a small businessperson, 18,500 cups of coffee sold over a 32 day period should be worth any sacrifice...  6 weeks without performing aerobic exercise... the discontinuation of my research/studies into health and diet etc...  an exhaustion so extreme that my memory of all I had been focussing upon since March seemed erased.  Aside from increasing our so-called financial security, the only message positively connecting me with my momentarily erased or blocked memories was that although I wasn't focussing at all upon exercise, health and diet, I didn't experience any sign of weight gain.  

During the period of the fair I was carrying with me the 3rd part of Ken Follett's "20th Century" trilogy and finished reading it during the last week of the fair.  Although it was very informative and concluded the sharing with us the most important events of the 20th Century, there was a moment somewhere in the middle of "Edge of Eternity" after the assassination of Martin Luther King when it seemed that Follett felt pressured to finish the book and offer it to his readers in 2014 as had been promised...  All this withstanding, he left me wondering who the fictional characters depicted in real life... and I realized that Follett took various important cultural figures of the 50s-70s from the U.S. to Great Britain, East Germany and the Soviet Union and mixed them creating his very real fictive characters...  

Intrigued about Follett's portrayal of a Soviet writer sent to a Gulag in Siberia who miraculously manages to have his "fictive" accounts of life on the Gulag etc. published in England, I began looking into what controversial books had been written by Soviet writers during the period of Stalin until the fall of the Iron Curtain.  Fortunately for me, this wasn't a subject new for me.  A few months earlier I had endured the entrance into Alexander Solzhenitsen's "The First Circle" and learned just how oppressive Soviet communism had been for artists, scientists, academics, intellectuals and the original revolutionaries of 1905 after the Bolschevic Revolution, although intellectual academics and university students with high ideals for human rights and justice throughout the world continue holding up "banners" promoting "Marxism", Leninism, Castro and Che Guevara's Cuban Revolution and even "communism".  During one of my occasional perusals in used book stores here in Guadalajara in 2014, I decided upon buying the Soviet writer Boris Pasternak's epic "Doctor Zhivago"...  Normally I avoid books made famous by movie portrayals... such as "Arabian Nights". But, for some strange reason and without actually thinking, I brought home "Doctor Zhivago"...  In Follett's "Edge of Eternity", the journalist sister of the personal secretary of first Nikita Kruschev and ultimately Mikhail Gorbachev who helped bring the writings of the fictitious character who spent at least a decade in the Gulag (Siberian work camps) to the "West" mentions the publishing of Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" causing the raising of my eyebrows...  

The week after finishing "Fiestas de Octubre" (the fair of Guadalajara), I did a small search into Soviet writers and read that the Soviet Union restrained from having Boris Pasternak's writings published, due to Pasternak's tendency towards free thinking.  If you read "Doctor Zhivago", you'll realize that Pasternak writes without any party line, nor political leaning.  You cannot find him on the pendulum as a leftist, centrist or rightwing..., although he was born into upper-middle class Russian privilege (the son of the famous Russian post-impressionist painter Leonid Pasternak--of Russian Jewish heritage) who's home was frequently visited by the most famous of 19th century Russian writers (Leon Tolstoi).  In the 1940s, Stalin's Soviet Union was pressuring the Union of Soviet Writers (to which any Soviet writer must have belonged if they wished for having anything published) to have its members sign a contract that they would inform of any anti-Soviet subversion amongst their writer friends or colleagues...  Boris Pasternak refused to sign the contract and realized he would immediately been accused of seditious behavior and wrote a letter addressed directly to Joseph Stalin explaining that he didn't believe himself with the power of determining who should be executed, since any accusation of anti-Soviet behavior (factual or fictious) is almost a guarrantee of execution...  With the personal letter from Pasternak to Stalin, Boris Pasternak was scratched from the list of arrests and future executions...  However, his books would not be published in Russia until after the fall of the Iron Curtain.  

Although Pasternak saved his own life, he "witnessed" the execution and suicides of many of his close writer friends and collegues during the 40s and 50s, before the writing of "Doctor Jhivago", a book I would never have imagined reading before November 2014... nor would I have imagined reading Solzhenitsen...  what a sad, tragic, romantic and strangely beautiful piece of writing... surprisingly without ANY typical dark and depressing footprints of Russian or Soviet socio-political or climactic oppression.  At first I became frustrated reading Pasternak since Doctor Jhivago seemed like a typical Victorian Period description of the lifestyles of the wealthy and comfortable of Moscow that could have been taking place in London, Paris or Boston.  However, the description of pre-Bolshevic life was necessary as a juxtaposition for understanding the extremes the Russian (and later on the Soviet) people were subjected to...  It's one thing to offer more oxygen to those who have too little clean air to breath... it's another thing to decrease the oxigen breathed by almost all the inhabitants in the name of ideals that would never truly be pursued for anyone... You didn't understand that last comment?

During Czarist Russia, a small group of Russians (not necessarily of the ruling class) had access to much much more confort (food, commodities etc) than had most of the rest of the Russian people. While it could have been argued that the Bolschevic Revolution was necessary for bringing progress and health to the Russian People as a whole, that didn't mean that all vestiges of what had been lived and known for centuries should be destroyed without truly understanding the requirements for constructing a positive, healthy and progressive future...  

And what does this have to do with me?  What does it have to do with you?  What does it have to do with us?

Isabelle Allende suffered the Coup d' etat/golpe de estado in Chile in 1973 (the assessination of her uncle, Presidente Salvador Allende)


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