2019 Life Logs, Day 215: The Last American Colony
Date: Saturday, August 3, 2019
Weather: Another Sunny Day; High 86, Low 70 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA
I got a late start this morning on my continued process of installing the drip irrigation system in my garden. Instead of getting up early, I opted to sleep-in and move slowly once I did get up. And unfortunately, even when I did get going, I didn’t get too far on the project. I just didn’t have the strength in my hands to put the tiny parts together and I’m not sure why. On other days, I haven’t had this issue. So, I’ll try again on another day. When I came in for a late lunch break, I saw a text from friend Olivia White saying she and Terry were going to a 4:30 pm Woods Hole Film Festival viewing of a documentary about Puerto Rico called The Last American Colony. That sounded a lot more interesting than continuing to be frustrated with the irrigation system, so I responded that I would love to go with them. We met at a bike path parking lot and took the trolley to Woods Hole to avoid the lack of parking there. We got there early enough to stop and get an ice cream. Terry insisted on paying my bus fare and paying for my ice cream. Thank you, thank you! Reinforced with our ice cream treat, we got in line for the film. I had not read anything about it, so I was not sure what to expect. The film started with a shot from above of the vortex of Hurricane Maria. This immediately brought back painful memories and caught my attention. Then Juan Segarra was introduced and the rest of the film was his personal narrative. Juan was born and raised in Puerto Rico but attended high school at Phillips Andover here in New England and then went on to Harvard at the height of the Vietnam war. While at Harvard he decided that he will willing to die for his beliefs that Puerto Rico should gain independence from the United States. He joined Puerto Rico’s Los Macheteros to fight for freedom. I was introduced, for the first time, to the century long history of Puerto Ricans struggling to maintain their cultural identity while fighting to regain control of their country that had become a territory of the United States at the turn of the century. Los Macheteros waged a violent struggle and Juan Segarra was often at the center of this. He eventually ended up in prison and was eventually freed by President Clinton. His narrative was both informative and very moving. He no longer promotes violence but still believes that Puerto Rico needs to gain independence from the United States. He was in attendance at this afternoon’s viewing and after the film, he and two of the film makers engaged in a Q & A with audience members. I am still reeling from how much I learned about Puerto Rico through the 90-minute film and from the fact that I knew so little to begin with. And so glad Olivia sent me a text letting me know about this event.
Tonight my thoughts are with the people of El Paso and their sister city across the border, Juárez . . . and especially with the families of the 20 people murdered and the 26 people who were injured in a mass shooting in El Paso today. El Paso has been so proud of their status as a safe city. But today someone came into their community from outside and shattered that status. I do not believe that assault weapons should ever, for any reason, be in the hands of anyone not on active duty in the military. How do we ever reach a consensus on this and impose sane gun laws making assault weapons illegal for the general public?