“Preso Sin Nombre, Celda Sin Numero” (Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number). Jacobo Timerman (recuerdos de mi hermano, Oscar Luis Spraggon)
I have close ties to America do Sud, especially in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. I am quite aware also of the hardships that every country on the continent has endured due to outside intervention (which fed the madness of the crazyloucos that orchestrated and implemented the madness that ensued for so unbearably long a time.)
To discuss the book brings back fond memories of my “brother of a different mother”, “Oscarlu” Spraggon, late of the Villa Devoto neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Oscar experienced life at the epicenter of Argentina’s “Dirty War”, and came out intact (only for us to lose him on the operating table during a routine medical procedure).
I miss our conversations that we shared about politics, music (above all), language, film, art, religion etc.
As Uruguay and Argentina go, much of the history, customs, music, arts, etc. are shared or parallel .
The horrible war was waged on the collective citizenry by those insane generalissimos, their moneyed backers, and those who turned their backs on humanity and blindly (or not so blindly?) carried out their bidding/orders.
Jacobo Timerman’s somehow poetic but heart wrenching memoir of his time imprisoned in a solitary cell for the crime of publishing a freethinking journal during the height of Uruguay’s military coup and “occupation” stands, along with the prison writings of Sacco and Vanzetti, Eugene Debs, Leonard Peltier, Malcom X, Solzhenitsyn, etc. stands as a testament of uncivilized humanity at its worst. The very apex of what Dr. Wilhelm Reich characterized as “the Emotional Plague of Mankind”.
To be imprisoned by another human being, for me is one of the worst things that can happen to any human (I’m not addressing whether one deserves to be jailed), and this review isn’t the time or place for me to expound. It is an exponentially worse feeling for me than, say, of a dream or imagining of an unintentional free fall or drowning.
For one to actually experience the dreamlike horrors I mention in real time (real time that is unreal?), I don’t think my empathetic nature can even imagine – it’s out of my ken.
Senhor Timerman survived, he made it out of what can be described in cliche as a Kafkaesque nightmare and I’d let the book tell the story.
Even more ironic is that Senhor Timerman is Jewish, and descended from Holocaust survivors going back to the Cossacks massacring Jews in the mid 1600s (mirrored today by Leonard Peltier, Native American and his ongoing imprisonment).
I think I will end this series of 10 books tomorrow on a lighter tone, but this book is one of the many that I use as a touchstone, to try to make sure my mission is to make the world a better place by whatever means I am able.
I chose Charles Mingus’ incendiary piece, Free Cell Block F, ‘Tis Nazi USA”, as the music itself exudes the feeling I want to convey most, “freedom” in it’s true definition and not the one co-opted in the day to day by those who engage in “saying that that is not so”…