Régis Debray

“If one had only listened to it, that word that starts like reverie and ends like destruction. In French it resembles an advertising banner: in a single breath, an assault on the heavens and a fall from grace. But to hear the word properly, we would have needed the browsing sensibility of a poet. What I do remember is that the Spanish language gave a different reverberation to the name of that infernal machine, destroyer in the twentieth century of the dreams of the nineteenth. On the lips of the comandantes the word Revolución became a lyrical reservoir of different enchantment, new music. The guttural, growling r climbing from the gullet like a fat rumble of thunder, softening at the end into an earnest, baby-blue ción, the terror of the first syllable and the caress of the last, in the local accent, perfectly reversing the phases of the process itself. After the bloodshed, silky brown girls in open-necked blue shirts with militia berets over one eye would open their arms to the survivors. In real life though it is usually the other way round: first caresses, then firing squad.”

( Régis Debray, Praised Be Our Lords: A Political Education, London: Verso, 2007)

No comments: