Exiled from Almost Everywhere by Juan Goytisolo

Exiled from Almost Everywhere by Juan Goytisolo

Author:Juan Goytisolo [Goytisolo, Juan]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Published: 2008-09-15T05:00:00+00:00


“Alice’s” long-term strategy is variously phased. The first, and mother to the rest, depends on securing resources and partners in the big charity business. It’s all about reaching the hearts of citizens, attracted, she titters to the deceased, by the Thrust of an Ideal. About recruiting to the ranks of the Pro-Peace and Tolerance Association thousands of altruistic, solidarity militants (“idiot assholes,” she calls them) alert to its declared objective: the raising of funds to help the abandoned children in the Third World (the photo of a smiling Monsignor figures prominently in its messages and publicity ads, a Monsignor surrounded by happy kids on one of his pastoral tours of Thailand!), funds which would then be diverted to phantom stakeholders, specializing in the invention and creation of projects: the purchase and sale of shares in high-risk groups, the juicy profits from which will be spent acquiring a wide range of weapons, and on the ideological and religious indoctrination of youths excluded from the System or victims of the oppressive State.

Thanks to these charitable souls, “Alice” confides, the machine of subversion whirs into action, and, as he hears these words, the character whose wanderings we are following as best we can in the pages you cannot put down (allergic to any good works after his harsh experience in the Hereafter) feels like a shrimp or mollusk in water. Just take a look at him, dear reader, participating with such airs in the big annual march the association organizes through the capital’s boulevards. He’s wearing a wristband with the Monsignor’s logo and slips among the Third World militants, catching celebrities on his video camera and bawling out slogans until he goes hoarse. Now he’s linking arms with brawny spokesmen for a group with a strange acronym. But don’t think he’s up to no good: for once you’ll be wrong. He’s not trying to pick anyone up; rather he’s whispering the password that identifies him as a double agent. According to orders from on high, they must take advantage of the non-aggressive nature of the act and the puny police contingent to change the slogans and aims agreed upon and the small band of the initiated must embark on their preplanned surprise guerrilla action: smash shop windows, burn cars, and upend garbage cans.

Who says that May ’68 is dead? There he is, the mere thirty-seven-year-old of yesteryear, hurling paving stones and erecting barricades against the System’s killers, garlanded by a charming, romantic halo. In line with the ubiquity and anachronism feeding this narrative, he spots his former comrades from their various revolutionary groups, new philosophers to boot, and imagines himself leading the assault on some hateful Bastille. He looks in vain for “Alice” among the protagonists of that festive fraternity. The little innocent doesn’t realize he’s got the wrong era and that the person pulling the strings is not moved by ephemeral contingency. Dressed as a diva, his mentor is following the virtual event on TV and sending


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