Es Tu Responsabilidad / It Is Your Responsibility

“Había una vez una mujer anciana. Ciega pero sabia.” ¿O era un hombre anciano? Acaso era un gurú. O un griot (sabio del Africa del Oeste) calmando chicos inquietos. Yo escuché esta historia, o una exactamente como ésta, en el saber popular de varias culturas.

“Había una vez una mujer anciana. Ciega. Sabia.”

En la versión que conozco la mujer es hija de esclavos, negra, americana y vive sola en una pequeña casa afuera del pueblo. Su reputación respecto de su sabiduría no tiene par y es incuestionable. Entre su gente ella es a la vez la ley y su trasgresión. El honor que y el respeto que le tienen, va hasta mucho más allá de su pueblo; llega hasta la ciudad donde la inteligencia de los profetas rurales es una fuente de mucho asombro.

Un día a la mujer la visitan unos jóvenes que vienen con la intención de desaprobar su clarividencia y poner en evidencia el fraude que creen que ella es. Su plan es simple: entran en su casa y le hacen la única pregunta cuya sola respuesta manifiesta la diferencia que tienen con ella, una diferencia que ven como una profunda ineptitud: su ceguera. Se le paran enfrente y uno le dice: “Anciana, tengo en mi mano un pájaro. Dígame si está vivo o muerto.”

Tampoco contesta. Es ciega y no puede ver a sus visitantes, mucho menos lo que tienen en sus manos. No sabe el color de su piel, de dónde vienen ni si son hombres o mujeres. Sólo conoce sus motivos.

El silencio de la mujer es tan largo que los jóvenes tienen dificultad para aguantar la risa.

Finalmente habla y su voz es suave pero severa. “No sé”, dice, “no sé si el pájaro que tienen está vivo o muerto, lo único que sé es que está en sus manos. Está en sus manos.”

Su respuesta puede ser tomada así: si está muerto, ustedes lo encontraron de este modo o lo mataron. Si está vivo, todavía pueden matarlo. En caso de que lo dejen vivo, es su decisión. En todo caso, es su responsabilidad.

Extraído del Discurso de Toni Morrison al recibir el Premio Nobel de literatura, diciembre de 1993 . Versión y traducción de Tom Maver

Toni Morrison

 “Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind but wise.” Or was it an old man? A guru, perhaps. Or a griot soothing restless children. I have heard this story, or one exactly like it, in the lore of several cultures.

Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise.

In the version I know the woman is the daughter of slaves, black, American, and lives alone in a small house outside of town. Her reputation for wisdom is without peer and without question. Among her people she is both the law and its transgression. The honor she is paid and the awe in which she is held reach beyond her neighborhood to places far away; to the city where the intelligence of rural prophets is the source of much amusement.

One day the woman is visited by some young people who seem to be bent on disproving her clairvoyance and showing her up for the fraud they believe she is. Their plan is simple: they enter her house and ask the one question the answer to which rides solely on her difference from them, a difference they regard as a profound disability: her blindness. They stand before her, and one of them says, “Old woman, I hold in my hand a bird. Tell me whether it is living or dead.”

She does not answer, and the question is repeated. “Is the bird I am holding living or dead?”

Still she doesn’t answer. She is blind and cannot see her visitors, let alone what is in their hands. She does not know their color, gender or homeland. She only knows their motive.

The old woman’s silence is so long, the young people have trouble holding their laughter.

Finally she speaks and her voice is soft but stern. “I don’t know”, she says. “I don’t know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands.”

Her answer can be taken to mean: if it is dead, you have either found it that way or you have killed it. If it is alive, you can still kill it. Whether it is to stay alive, it is your decision. Whatever the case, it is your responsibility.

Excerpt from:  — Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, December of 1993

About awakinOAK

Intentionally located in east Oakland -- to, on the one hand, overcome institutionalized violence and on the other hand, be showered by the multicultural love and wisdom from neighbors-- this small community strives for integral nonviolence and supports activities that foster fearlessness, courage, autonomy, unconditional love and compassion for all beings. Every Friday for the last 10 years, the anchors of Awakin Oakland, host "Wednesdays on Fridays", an open-house meditation night that was inspired by a family in Santa Clara who has been doing this for close to 23 years [2020] No teachers or gurus. No set agendas or proposed beliefs either. Just one strong principle -- when you change within, the world changes
This entry was posted in ARTivism, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, nonviolence, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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