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Bruno Buendia and the Memory of the 50's Generation
by Alexandra Pereira
2007-10-28 09:41:05
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Peru’s 1950’s generation was a generation of ácratas, cursed vanguardists, a generation which actually “generated” something significant, more than a group of individuals with about the same age and mere reserved ambitions. Many members of this highly innovative generation of artists were coming from the provinces of the country, and they were somehow excluded in the boom-populated Lima because that's where they really got excluded (suburbs, fringes of the big city...), even more than in the provinces. Some of them travelled abroad for a while.

At the same time they refused – very reasonably, for someone who was born in the same cradle as some of the most amazing, complex and humanly developed ancient civilizations – to see Europe as the spiritual center of the world, they would denounce the political, religious and militarist abuse of power and human rights in their own country. Most of these artists ended up dead at some point, either killed, addicted (to alcohol, drugs) or suicidal, due to social and political pressures.

In spite of their original and critical works, this important intellectual movement which arose in the 50’s is not enough researched nor praised yet, as modern day Peru lives difficult times and academic-related, Spanish-inheritance fundamentalist scholars connected with the power and corruption structures dominate the country’s scenery.

In this scenery, Bruno Buendía, a 47-year old Peruvian writer, the son of another writer/painter/actor who was an important figure in the 1950's (Felipe Buendía), struggles in his own lonely fight. He tries to surpass all sorts of adversities in order to buy his father house in Lima and keep alive the memory of a whole generation of vanguardist artists (including his father) who were continuously cursed and put apart by consecutive Peruvian governments and the official establishment.

In Peru, drug businesses rule most private and non-private companies, unemployment level is great, corruption levels are huge, illiteracy is very high. There is famine right now (since the race for dollars made its invasion, due to influence of neighbour Chávez, and food got incredibly expensive for the common people). Bruno Buendía lives "well" compared with most Peruvians but can only eat two small "meals" a day, breakfast and lunch (which is not a good deal, because he has epilepsy, thus should eat very well always), and the money he gets with his books (which he distributes himself, around the country, and explore the richness of the ancient mythology, cross it with psychology, quechua, cryptology and a deep knowledge of contemporary literature tendencies) is never enough, nowadays, for daily expenses, the payment of taxes and to buy the house or keep memories alive. He has to buy medication and the food and basics are too expensive, although he's forced to work in other jobs as well… when they happen to exist.

Internet or mobile phone prices are not something reachable for a common Peruvian person. A refrigerator or a gas bottle for the cooker are luxuries in Peru. A lunch or dinner, in Peru, costs 1 euro. Half the population is under the poverty line. Epilepsy medication costs 30 to 40 euros in Peru… Most Peruvian families have to live with 63 euros per month. 90% of tourists go to Peru to consume or buy drugs, any money they leave they do it in Macchu Picchu or Lima and somehow does not reach common people. A lunch or dinner in Peru costs 1 euro. Save a beer per day and help to feed many people.

If you want to help Bruno Buendía in his endeavour to fairly keep alive the memory of an important and neglected part of Peruvian art and culture, please contact:

Bruno Buendía Sialer
Jiron Angaraes 855 - 204 Lima 1
Or send an e-mail to: trilce77@yahoo.com

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Emanuel Paparella2007-10-28 17:59:40
Some musings on the above vital issue of distributive justice: John Paul said on World Food Day in October 2003 that to be an authentic Christian one must be a champion of social justice and human rights, and challenge the “war of the powerful against the weak” within an economic system that leaves so many starving while others live in opulence. He pointedly asked: “How can we keep silent when confronted by the enduring drama of hunger and extreme poverty, in an age where humanity, more than ever, has the capacity for a just sharing of resources?”
One wonders if this is a voice shouting in the wasteland of contemporary Western culture? Be that as it may, the social justice issues will not go away, if for no other reason than within a few decades 80 per cent of Catholics will live in developing countries. Global poverty and hunger are undoubtedly the most immediate issues, followed closely by the new arms race and the threatening collapse of environmental sustainability. I am afraid that if we refuse to give some attention to the voice of the wise among us, eventually we within Western civilization, all our push button technocratic tools will not save us and we will reap the inevitable whirlwind.

Alexandra Pereira2007-10-28 19:58:45
I think catholics and non-catholics, they all can make a difference. I'm an atheist myself.

Alexandra Pereira2007-10-28 20:26:37
...And I should remember how harmful the corrupt power structures of catholic church have been in Peru, for example.

Alexandra Pereira2007-10-28 20:42:48
That is: at the same time as the Pope would say that, there were entire generations of boys harassed or raped by catholic priests in high schools or colleges in Peru (and not only there...), the more fragile and poorer boys on top. Just to give an example (won't mention drug traffic nor political relations nor anything).

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-28 21:53:34
When the Church keeps silent on issues of distributive social jusice she is accused of siding with the rich and powerful and failing in her moral duty. When she speak out against injustice she is told to shut up, because only the sinless can condemn injustice and uphold the law. Which way do we want it? Chesterton made a profound observation on this phenomenon: when an individual or an institution gets it from the right and from the left, form the top and from the bottom, it may well mean that it is in the right place; "in medio stat virtus" said the ancient Greeks and Romans and harmony and balance and an appreciation of the ambiguous in life is necessary for an unbiased fair view. Indeed sometimes irony and even satire is needed but it ought not to be confused with shallow caricatures and slander which usually leads to a superficial view of institutions, especially those which have been around for millenia. I dare say that the atheist Santayana who was a satirist of many institutions including that of history making would agree.

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-28 22:20:50
P.S. Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say that if we were to wait for the utopia of the perfect sinless Church to consider entering it, most of us would not be worthy to enter it. It is indeed a pilgrim Church of sinners not of Supermen and it is misguided to confuse the cross with the sword as I have attempted to suggest in my last contribution which also was mostly ignored. Actually the film The Mission speaks about that even more eloquently that I could ever do. I highly reccomend it.

Jack2007-10-28 22:38:25
Whether Christian or not, the most helpless and hungry do not care. Only that you care. I fully endorse Feed The Children which distributes food to the most needy of children, nearest of all food agencies that I know of, with well over 90% used to go toward food. Mr. Jones is a feeder of the hungry first, a Christian second.

Alexandra Pereira2007-10-29 23:34:45
...My point was just that it shouldn't be converted into just a catholic duty, as it's everyone responsibility, and non-catholics shouldn´t feel less responsible. The Pope did good in saying that. Personally, I prefer other examples as Geldof, the Dalai Lama or even Madonna - but that's just a matter of personal taste.

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-30 10:32:14
In De Chardin's The Divine Milieu one finds as clear a statement as one can that to love and build the earth, and work for justice is not a duty of Catholics but of Man, even unbelieving Man. I think the Pope would be in full agreement with that

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