Our Screams Are Not The Same

“The scream of the man, seeing before him the very abyss of death and destruction, was so thunderous and deep, it was as if I could hear all of humanity seep forth from his tongue. We could all hear him, all of our collective agony, truth, and utter despair.”


These words come from a movie critic, reviewing a war-film that follows a white man in a war in the far east and in the far south and on a far island-nation-state-savage-wild-jungled-place, where he is surrounded by his fellow soldiers and NGO employees from the US (all of whom are white and/or very light skinned and/or token coins), with two dark skinned natives distantly in the background as onlookers and aesthetic mannequins. The dark skinned natives are not in the credits.


This is a response. 


The critic says this man gave out a universal howl, one where all of humanity birthed a singular, grand, momentous scream because this man, this man, this man was the mouthpiece of a species, the singular voice of homo-sapien-sorry-human (the term homo-sapien, in some Universes-aka the XMen universe-is derogatory).


See, this man, this man, this man who finds himself in a dramatization of war, making a hollywood spectacle with fire and glitter and perfect oiled skin and broody cinematography that is going to win an Oscar, maybe one for acting or one for the solitary tear that fell for his brother or one for the several tears that fell for his other brother, this man….


See, I know screams. I was born screaming, even in the cosmos of my mothers womb before I stepped through the caves of my ancestors and into this world, I knew the screams of my red-earth-water-sky-mestizo sangre. I am no stranger, I was never afforded to be a stranger to my screams. But when I hear this man, this man, this man scream, it wasn’t that I didn’t know it, but it wasn’t my scream….


This man, this white man, this-white-wealthy-hollywood studded-perfect jaw line-blonde hair-blue eyed-Hitler would have used him in his propaganda film-man, who had never seen war like my broken and whole and complex brothers and sisters or my father or my Abuela or my ancestors, screamed a scream that was so silent, so hollow, so nothing that I did not understand how this critic, adored by the Times of each major city, thought of his scream so “universal”? The critic heard how in his scream the stars, the sounds, the comets, the rivers and falls, the mountains and quakes, the collapse and rise of civilizations, the universe, all of everything in the single scream at the pivotal moment of “climax”.


I did and do not understand.


My scream, my scream, my scream that has in it the bowls of horror of 500 years, that has in it the sheathing of bloodied steel in the hearts and lungs and skulls of the Aztec, Maya, Inca, of the Pipil and those of Cuzcatlan and Aonikenk and Kolla and Wichi and Diaguita and Mocovi and Huarpe, and of old, young, ancient, new, of mixed, of brown, white, black, muddied sangre to make ripe contradictions and colonial statues with bloodied flowers….in my wailing is the lost names of the disappeared, those whose ghosts find me to utter their names in the darkness of the Atlantic or the Pacific or the ribs of the earth that swallow them amongst bullets and untouched bombs, with the wood of Spanish ships beneath them…. in my screech is the rio grande and its waves and the heat of the desert sun….in my yelling is the joblessness from theft and the yanking of gold from teeth and wrist and neck….my cries carry with it my Madre, my Padre, my Hermana, my Abuelas and Abuelo, they carry mi familia, their memories of the trees and the oceans and the valleys and tall grass that they walked on, bled on, made love on, lost on, won on….when I scream, my tongue burns from the names, the slurs, the disbelief, the dehumanization of the rest of my body, my name, my eyes, my history….


When I scream, I do not scream alone. When I scream, the supernovas of an entire continent burst again and again to give birth to new caves, new feathered serpents, new woods, new suns, new memories that remind us of who we are. When I scream, it is a scream that man will never be able to scream….


When I finished reading the review, I sent it to my kin, to my sister and brothers of soul. They read. We came together. We agreed. That man, that man, that man did not scream for us.We went far, not east, not west, not south, not north, but we went far. We all had pain, we all had hurt, we all had memory. We were many, my soul-kin. We went far, because we wanted to scream amongst each other. And we did.


Those who sit and swim and live high in the woods of holly and stolen gold and silver screens, they cannot hear us, not because they do not have ears, but because they made that choice, a century ago when the image began to move….


Far away, we stood in a circle, high in the sky and low in the sea, when one of us said, “let us scream together.” but then she came forth, and said to us, “No. Let us scream one by one. Because our screams are not the same, and we need to listen to each other.”


And so we did.






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