martes, 3 de marzo de 2009

Un sueño que no morirá

El significado de las elecciones;  el trabajo que todavía queda por terminar.

 

El 4 de noviembre de 2008, abordé un avión hacia Memphis justo antes que cerraran las encuestas en el Este. Al bajarme del avión horas después, le pregunté a la primera persona que vi, un maletero Afroamericano, "¿sabes quién ganó las elecciones?" Él procedió a darme un desglose completo de los resultados del Colegio Electoral y en qué estados Barack Obama necesitaría rematar la victoria. Obtuve una pista de lo que esta elección significaba para las personas que habían vivido muchos años más oprimidos que liberados por la democracia.

 

El siguiente día hice una gira por el Museo Nacional de los Derechos Civiles, construido alrededor del motel donde Martin Luther King Jr. Fue asesinado. Por varias horas, repasé las escenas que conocía bien como adolescente procedente de esa época en el Sur. Los valientes estudiantes en Greensboro, en Carolina del norte, quienes se sentaban en el almuerzo mientras los tontos maleantes apagaban cigarrillos en sus cabezas, derramaban salsa de tomate y mostaza en sus rostros, y luego los pateaban mientras los policías blancos los miraban, riéndose. Las escenas de eerie (una antigua serie de TV americana, Nota del traductor) de niños carentes de peso que volaban a través de la neblina en Birmingham, impulsados por mangueras de incendios de alta potencia. El autobus de la libertad quemado en Alabama, los cuerpos sin sepultar en Mississippi.

 

Mirando en retrospectiva, parece increible que tanta ferocidad fuera dirigida contra la gente que buscaba los ingredientes básicos de la dignidad humana: el derecho al voto, comer en restaurantes y hospedarse en hoteles, ir al colegio. (doscientas tropas de la guardia nacional escolataron a James Meredith a su primera clase; aún así, gente murió en los disturbios siguientes).

 

Fuera del Museo, palabras del ultimo discurso de King "he estado en la cima" están forjados en acero, palabras que quedaron atrapadas en mi garganta aquel día soleado algunas horas luego que Obama fuera elegido: "Puede que yo no esté con ustedes. Pero quiero que sepan esta noche que, como pueblo, alcanzaremos la Tierra Prometida". Al día siguiente de ese discurso, King murió en una piscina de sangre en el mismo lugar en que yo estaba parado.

 

De ninguna manera le resto importancia a las importantes diferencias políticas entre Obama y la mayoría de los evangélicos. Pero al menos, ¿podemos usar este momento para reflexión y, si, para arrepentirnos por nuestra cuota del pecado del racismo que ha marcado esta nación desde su fundación? Le tomó a los Bautistas del Sur 150 años disculparse por su apoyo a la esclavitud; hace tres meses la Universidad Bob Jones admitió su error al restringir estudiantes de color antes de 1971. Las palabras de disculpa de la Escuela -"Hemos fallado en representar acertadamente al Señor y cumplir el mandamiento de amarnos los unos a los otros"- aplican a muchos de nosotros, para muchos evangélicos que se oponen vigorosamente al movimiento de los derechos civiles. ¿Podemos responder ahora al llamado de un líder para la sanidad racial y la reconciliación?

 

Durante la campaña, recibí correos difamatorios sobre Obama señalando que él fue un hijo de Africa ("el continente oscuro donde la adoración de espíritus diabólicos, el derramamientos de sangre y la violencia son la regla");  un hijo del Isalmismo ("una religión basada en la sumisión absoluta al dios de las fuerzas y violencia para todos los infieles"); y un hijo de "un engañador/mentiroso bien documentado cuya lengua está quemándose en las llamas del infierno". ¿Cuánto hemos avanzado, después de todo?

 

Dos semanas luego de la elección, viajé a la India para conocer a pioneros cristianos buscando volcar la forma de discriminacion instituciónal de la India, el sistema de castas. Un erudito me dijo, "ustedes los americanos están celebrando la elección de un hombre de color luego de 250 años de esclavitud. Nosotros todavía esperamos la liberación luego de 4.000 años viviendo bajo las castas". La Red de Libertad Dalit opera en la mitad de 160 millones de dalits, anteriormente conocidos como los intocables. Aunque hindúes nominales, a los Dalits no se les permite en los templos hindú, y en años recientes se han vuelto progresivamente hacia otras religiones, incluyendo el cristianismo. Justo por encima de ellos están las "otras castas atrasadas", que abarca más de la mitad de la población de la India de 600 millones. Una organización llamada Los buscadores de la verdad son la punta de lanza en los esfuerzos hacia esta mitad. Activistas de estas castas observan el Hinduismo opresivo, diseñado para mantenerlos en su lugar. Cualquier signo de agitación levanta una respuesta, comúnmente violenta, de los hindúes fundamentalistas que desean mantener el status quo.


Joseph d' Souza, presidente del Concilio Cristiano "Toda la India", dijo, "los primeros misioneros dirigieron sus esfuerzos hacia los Brahmins, las castas superiores, esperando que el mensaje de liberación del evangelio fuera descendiendo hacia los oprimidos. Nunca sucedió. Ahora estamos trabajando de abajo hacia arriba". Mientras describía la historia del Cristianismo en la India, no pude sino pensar en el paralelismo en mi propio país. Algunos evangélicos están escurriéndose las manos al perder acceso a los pasillos de poder. Quizá sea el tiempo para nosotros, también, de trabajar desde abajo hacia arriba.


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