SEXTANT The Journal of Salem State Universityâ€ƒ
Volume XIX, No. 1
Note & acknowledgments
President Patricia Maguire Meservey Provost and Academic Vice President Kristin G. Esterberg Editor Patricia Johnston, Art + Design Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jude V. Nixon Dean of the School of Graduate Studies Carol Glod Editorial Board Susan Case, Biology Cleti Cervoni, Education Jeanne Corcoran, Occupational Therapy Susan Edwards, Archives Heidi Fuller, Sport and Movement Science Thomas Hallahan, Theatre and Speech Krishna Mallick, Philosophy Mark Malloy, Art + Design Ellen Rintell, Education Leah Ritchie, Management Keja Valens, English Design and Production of Volume XIX, No. 1 Susan McCarthy, Design Services, Marketing and Communications
Photography Kim Mimnaugh, Art + Design
Sextant is published by the faculty of Salem State University. Opinions expressed by writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect university policy. Copyright © 2011 Sextant encourages readers to submit letters or comments to: Sextant Salem State University 352 Lafayette Street Salem, MA 01970-5353 firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your name, address, phone number, and email address.
Letters may be published and edited according to space.
his issue marks the 25th anniversary of the Sextant and also the first issue produced since Salem State became a university. From its beginning, the Sextant’s mission has been to feature the research and creative activities of the faculty and administrators. A survey of the content of the twenty-eight issues of the journal produced over the past twenty-five years reveals great range and depth, very much consistent with the institution’s new identity as a university. This edition of the Sextant highlights the international research and experiences of the Salem State faculty. Political scientist Vanessa Ruget’s “Reflections on the Recent Inter-Ethnic Clashes in Kyrgyzstan and Beyond” is based on her field work and teaching in this new republic. Ruget investigates the socio-political climate of Kyrgyzstan and the effects of the country’s remoteness and post-Soviet government on its citizens. Jaime Wurzel’s memoir about growing up Jewish in Argentina, “Adolescence in a Universe of Crosses,” describes a youthful transgression that made him more aware of his identity as a religious minority. Wurzel’s memories of that time impart a narrative both harrowing and tender. Andrew Darien’s “Student, Citizen, Soldier: An Oral History Project with Recent War Veterans of Salem State” is based on statistics and interviews with Salem State students who have recently returned from conflict in the Middle East. Darien compassionately relates the challenges and successes that current returning veterans face in pursuit of a college education, and situates this in the context of veterans’ education and the G.I. Bill. In the portfolio, Rebecca Plummer Rohloff’s paintings and drawings illustrate her experiences in Guatemala and her appreciation for indigenous Mayan art and culture. As an art educator, Rohloff’s study of native languages led her to design a tri-lingual children’s book, Amalia’s Dream, that will be published and distributed to Mayan children to teach them about their heritage. Martha Gardner contributes three poems that demonstrate her acute powers of observation; Gardner weaves her verse with a delicate thread. The Salem State University administration, as always, has been very supportive of the Sextant. We are grateful for the continuing support of President Patricia Maguire Meservey, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kristin G. Esterberg, Dean of Arts and Sciences Jude V. Nixon, Dean of Graduate Studies Carol Glod, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Amie Marks Goodwin, and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cynthia McGurren. Susan McCarthy designed this issue of the Sextant with her characteristic grace and elegance. Susan has been the lead designer of the journal for twenty-four of its twenty-five years and it is no exaggeration to say that her creative talent shaped its visual identity and contributed immeasurably to the journal’s success. Other individuals aided this issue of the Sextant. Once again Kim Mimnaugh contributed incisive portraits of Sextant authors and artists; Dan Brenton ’12 provided imaginative illustrations for Wurzel’s article. Graduate Assistants Cathryn Capra ’13G and Josilyn DeMarco ’07, ’10G helped with editing, proofreading, correspondence, and copyrights. I also thank members of the Editorial Board who read and commented on the articles; my colleagues in the Art + Design department, particularly Chair Benjamin Gross; Susan Case, Joyce Rossi-Demas, Simeen Brown, Karen Cady, Corey Cronin, Rose Cooke, Amy Macione Turcotte, and incoming editor, Gayle V. Fischer. Special thanks to Gina Deschamps and the staff at Deschamps Printing in Salem for their excellent printing and service. This issue of the Sextant is my sixth and last as editor. Over the past six years I had the privilege of working intensely with the most exciting authors on campus, engaging with their work, and growing as a scholar and a writer. I also worked closely with the artists, illustrators, poets, and designers whose work brought beauty and depth to the journal. There is no more inspiring job on campus, and I thank all of the people who have made this position such a stimulating adventure. — Patricia Johnston
tio i d E ry
sa r e v i Ann
Lian Wang, Salem State University Campus, 2010, watercolor. Professor Wang was a year-long visiting scholar from Yangzhou University.
SEXTANT 352 Lafayet te Street Salem, Massachuset ts 01970 -5353
Sextant Turns Twenty-Five See page 43
Cover of the first Sextan (Volume1, No. 1, 1986). This first edition of Sextant received national recognition for excellence when it was awarded a Gold Medal from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), for the category â€œPhotocommunications in Print,â€? for the portfolio section of photographs by Shelby Adams of Appalachian families.
Volume XIX, No. 1
E S S A Y
Reflections on the Recent Inter-Ethnic Clashes in Kyrgyzstan and Beyond 2 Vanessa Ruget
Adolescence in the Universe of Crosses 12 Dan Brenton ’12
Jaime S. Wurzel
Student, Citizen Soldier:
An Oral History Project with Recent War Veterans of Salem State 32 Andrew Darien
P O R T F O L I O
Life with the Kaqchikel Maya Rebecca Plummer Rohloff Neighborhood Fruit Stand, Antigua, 2009, gouache, 11" x 14"
P O E T R Y
Emergence, Forest River Beach, and Mildew Love 42 Martha Gardner
I N R E T R O S P E C T
Sextant Turns Twenty-Five Janet Todaro Stubbs
In 1988 the Sextant (Volume II, Nos. 1 and 2) recieved a bronze medal from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in “recognition of superior achievement and creativity” in the category of college magazines.
On the cover: Rebecca Plummer Rohloff, Voices of the Ancestors, 2009, acrylic mixed media, 18" x 24"
Within the Mayan agrarian worldview, corn sustains life and transmits important cultural, and spiritual significance. According to the Maya Kiche creation story in the Popul Vul, the natural forces of fertility, life, death, and rebirth shape the universe and the Creator forms the first human beings from maize plants. In Rohloff ’s painting ancient Mayan faces form the stalk of the plant, while the red, white, black, and yellow ears of the corn signify the four cardinal directions in Mayan cosmology. The image is based on the artist’s photograph of the cornfield, dirt road, and friends walking into town from their family compound in the distance.
E S S A Y
Reflections on the Recent Inter-Ethnic Clashes in Kyrgyzstan and Beyond Vanessa Ruget
stone must lie where it has fallen.â€? 3
first as a Soros Foundation Fellow at the American University in Kyrgyzstan from 2002 to 2004, then at a training academy sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2007. I recently returned for field work in May 2010. This article shares some of my experience in hopes of conveying the relevance of Kyrgyzstan to important questions, and to provide analysis of the tragedy of its recent ethnic clashes. It highlights what I believe was overlooked by the journalists who commented on these tragic events: the extraordinary resilience of For the study of comparative politics, the Kyrgyz people as they however, Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating face multiple challenges in their small country. case. It offers lessons in matters of
t first glance, Kyrgyzstan exemplifies the obscure country: land locked, surrounded by tall mountains, and bordered by several, less obscure countries. Kyrgyzstan lays claim to few of the natural resources (such as natural gas and oil) that its neighbors enjoy and receives little tourism despite offering breathtaking landscapes of steppes and peaks. In an era of globalization, this remote former Soviet republic of five million inhabitants stands largely unknown and seemingly irrelevant.
For the study of comparative politics, however, Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating case. It offers lessons in matters of democratization and nation In the last few years, building, economic and social democratization and nation building, and especially during the development, inter-ethnic economic and social development, summer of 2010, Kyrgyzstan conflicts, religious radicalism, emerged a little from its cultural modernization and inter-ethnic conflicts, religious obscurity to receive a modest hybridization, and migration amount of media coverage. radicalism, cultural modernization and transnationalism. Sadly, it was not the most Moreover, since its and hybridization, and migration flattering. Last June, interindependence in 2001, ethnic clashes between the and transnationalism. Kyrgyzstan has become a majority Kyrgyz and the geopolitical asset; both Russia minority Uzbek in the south and the United States operate military bases there of the country killed several hundred people, injured and the proximity of post-communist Central Asia to thousands, and forced countless others into refugee Afghanistan explains America’s growing interest in camps. Much of the media coverage focused on the the region. obvious factor of ethnic primordialism: Kyrgyz and Uzbek continue to fight because of entrenched cultural, Before beginning my position at Salem State social, and political differences and because of past University, I had the opportunity to live and teach hostility between them. But the situation is more political science in Kyrgyzstan for two and a half years:
A yurt with a view â€“ the classic Kyrgyz nomadic scene.
complex. And if we can begin to understand what is happening in Kyrgyzstan, we can better appreciate this small, remote place on its own terms and learn the lessons it offers to the study of comparative politics.
Post-Soviet Independence: An Island of Democracy in Central Asia?
yrgyzstan has struggled to build a national identity. Its mountainous terrain has inhibited transportation and communication, especially between the North and South of the country, impeding the construction of a strong national identity. Another challenge to national identity is ethnic diversity. The Kyrgyz are the dominant ethnic group, representing roughly two-thirds of the total population. Uzbeks represent about 15 percent of the population overall, although comprising one third of the population in the south of the country. The number of ethnic Russians, the third largest group, has declined significantly since the end of the Soviet Union to about 12 percent. Many other smaller ethnic groups live in Kyrgyzstan, including Uyghurs, Dungans, Ukrainians, and Koreans.
Historically, the Kyrgyz are a nomadic people who recognized their tribal leader as the main source of authority, even as their evolving territory was conquered by different people (most notably the Mongols starting in the 13th century). Kyrgyzstan was integrated into Russia in the 19th century and its nomadic people forced to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Some resisted; their revolt in 1916 was met with harsh repression from Russia and many Kyrgyz fled to China. Starting in the 1920s, the integration of Kyrgyzstan into the Soviet Union brought about the redrawing of Central Asian borders, agricultural collectivization and industrialization, development of infrastructures and public education, and transformation of traditional gender roles (the Soviet Union even undertook a mass â€œunveilingâ€? campaign in Central Asia to liberate women). The new borders created a jigsaw puzzle where Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet. The Ferghana Valley, a fertile, ethnically diverse and densely populated region, was divided up between these three countries. In 1991, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, Kyrgyzstan found itself independent. President Askar Akayev, a Kyrgyz ethnic and a former member of the Soviet communist party, became president. Faced with a catastrophic economic and social situation, the new 5
government bet that Kyrgyzstan would fare better if it attracted Western attention and investments. Thus Kyrgyzstan became Central Asia’s “Island of Democracy.” Market reforms began, opposition parties and groups emerged, and the media was left mostly unbridled. In 2001, an American air base was established next to the airport in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan’s capital city) to refuel planes undertaking operations in Afghanistan. But economic and social reforms created widespread poverty (almost half of the population now live under the poverty line) and resentment among a population accustomed to cradle-to-grave social benefits. Among older citizens, nostalgia for the Soviet system became commonplace.
Among older citizens, nostalgia for the Soviet system became commonplace. Politically, although Kyrgyzstan was often described as an “illiberal democracy” during its first 15 years of independence, political and civil liberties were refreshing in the Central Asian context—especially compared with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, two of the most authoritarian, ruthless regimes in the world. In the early 2000s, when I began teaching political science at the American University in Kyrgyzstan, my few students from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan routinely asked me to destroy their papers after I read them, for it was too dangerous to keep written political opinions with their names accessible. They were at a university outside their country, but a fellow student could have been a spy. My Kyrgyzstani students felt much freer to express their opinions and to criticize their government, even in a written essay.
The 2005 “Revolution”
fter a decade of relative political openness, clan politics and corruption eroded the legitimacy of President Akayev. There was mounting evidence of favoritism for President Akayev’s northern home region at the expense of the south. Elsewhere, post-Soviet nations had been shaken by “colored revolutions”: popular uprisings against discredited regimes in Serbia (2000), Ukraine (2003), and Georgia (2004). To the surprise of most experts, Kyrgyzstani citizens rose against the Akayev regime during the so-called Tulip Revolution (some experts dispute the use of the term “revolution” and prefer instead to talk of a “coup”).
Left: Lenin reaches out across history. After independence, the statue was kept, but moved to a less prominent place.
Mid-winter dusk in the main square of the capital Bishkek.
The 2010 Uprising
doubled, angering citizens. Trying to play a double game, President Bakyev angled for more compensation both ollowing the 2005 revolution, a new government from the Americans in exchange for their military base promised democratic hope. This was short-lived. and from the Russians on the promise to close that same Instability, in the form of continuous protests and base, and succeeded in infuriating both sides. In this picketing, plagued the new regime from the outset. It volatile context, the Russian media, a main source of became clear that president Kurmanbek Bakiyev was information for many Kyrgyz, launched attacks against even less committed to democracy than his predecessor. the president of Kyrgyzstan. And so the same fate as his The media were tightly controlled, opposition leaders predecessor befell President Bakiyev: he was ousted by were imprisoned or protesters on April 7, 2010. â€œdisappeared,â€? human rights This time, however, the And so the same fate as his predecessor government used deadly defenders were persecuted. With the switch to a leader against citizens and at befell President Bakiyev: he was ousted force from the south, regional least 70 people were killed. differences seemed by protesters on April 7, 2010. Another new government to exacerbate. now occupies the seat of This time, however, the government Economically, the situation power, a coalition of used deadly force against citizens continued to deteriorate. opposition forces that lacks Kyrgyzstan subsisted to a large unity and cohesion. This and at least 70 people were killed. extent on the remittances sent time, few observers are by hundreds of thousands of willing to talk about labor migrants in Russia and Kazakhstan. When the democracy or a peopleâ€™s movement, even though the economic crisis hit those countries in 2008, the volume transitional government is headed by a woman (rare in of remittances fell, further straining poor households Central Asia) whose former positions and commitments in Kyrgyzstan (especially in the south which is the home should reassure Western interests. Kyrgyzstan is of many of the migrants). In 2010, utility prices also increasingly viewed as a weak state, especially by its
neighbors. From the perspective of an Uzbek or a Russian (and, in fact, many Kyrgyz also), Kyrgyzstan’s experiments with popular government resulted in instability and chaos, and the current situation exemplifies the trade-off between democracy and political stability. These complexities form the context for the 2010 inter-ethnic riots.
All Kyrgyzstani citizens suffered tremendously from this episode of inter-ethnic violence. The humanitarian situation in the south remains precarious and many Uzbeks fear for their lives. International groups such as Human Rights Watch have denounced alleged abuses and bias in the ongoing investigation of crimes. The economic impact also has been devastating: investors left and properties were destroyed, leaving victims who must be compensated. It is unclear what will happen next. It comes as a disappointment and a surprise that the mayor of Osh, one of the cities ravaged by these clashes, has refused help proposed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Yet most Kyrgyzstanis are appalled by the violence and hope for national reconciliation.
n June 2010, ethnic violence erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan between the Kyrgyzstani majority and the Uzbek minority. The official counts are questionable. We know that hundreds of people died, thousands were injured, hundreds of thousands became refugees, and In its short post-independence history, Kyrgyzstan has many lost everything they owned. Some neighborhoods already lived through many of the issues that political were burned down. There have been allegations that law scientists study: the challenges of post-communism, enforcement officers (typically ethnic Kyrgyz) committed revolts and revolution, democratization and its abuses and used torture against Uzbeks, both during and breakdown, inter-ethnic conflicts, the failure of after the violence. The relationship between the two economic reforms, and the emergence of radical Islam. communities has been severely, and perhaps in Kyrgyzstan, In its short post-independence history, I hadLiving permanently, damaged. unmatched life experiences during which Kyrgyzstan has already lived through Since the April take-over, I learned to appreciate the an atmosphere of lawlessness many of the issues that political complexity of, and navigate has prevailed, along with a the challenges of, post-Soviet power vacuum and unclear scientists study: the challenges of Central Asian life. I faced political realignment. It is post-communism, revolts and corruption and bureaucratic evident that the transitional inefficiency. I was Kyrgyzstani government revolution, democratization and its confronted with a foreign does not have full control, breakdown, inter-ethnic conflicts, culture, with puzzling especially in the southern practices such as bride region of the Ferghana Valley. the failure of economic reforms, kidnapping. I occasionally There is certainly an and the emergence of radical Islam. found myself in absurd or “ethnic” factor. There are unpleasant situations: I linguistic, cultural, and class experienced the fall of a differences between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. The Uzbek large portion of my living room ceiling, I was mugged minority suffers persistent discrimination, such as twice, I fell ill several times from food poisoning, and exclusion from public sector positions. There is also a I suffered from the infamous pollution spewed from precedent to the violence: in 1990, in the southern city ramshackle vehicles and the capital city’s outdated coal of Osh, 200 people died after the two communities plant. I once had to run around the city looking for an fought over land and water access. Differences between official who could extend my husband’s visa and Uzbeks and Kyrgyz have grown since April 2010, as eventually found a regular police officer who just altered most southern Kyrgyz support the former president the passport with a casual stroke of the pen. These (himself from the south) while Uzbeks favor the encounters with Kyrgyzstan’s weak state and decayed transitional government. infrastructures gave me a glimpse of everyday life in a third world, declining country. It helped me understand Finally, a difficult economy has made matters worse. the challenges that Kyrgyz people face on a daily basis, Widespread poverty and high unemployment have and to appreciate their ability to cope with them. characterized Kyrgyzstan since independence, especially in the south. In the Ferghana Valley, organized crime, Like most people who visit foreign countries, I drug trafficking, and radical Islam (in the forms of encountered hospitality in Kyrgyzstan and forged groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir) have also found a fertile lasting relationships. I had incredible experiences, ground. In this environment, tensions flare more quickly. including acting in a local soap opera (people sometimes recognized me in the streets following the showing of Previous page: A collage of everyday scenes of the Kyrgyz people. 9
Hiking at Ala Archa national park, only an hour’s drive away from downtown Bishkek, amid the dramatic backdrop of 15,000 foot peaks.
that episode!), or eating sheep soup for breakfast. More importantly, neither in the United States nor in my home country of France did I find a match for the insatiable desire to learn among my Central Asian students. This was evidence to me of the desire among Kyrgyz people to take advantage of any opportunity to build a better future for their country.
Left: A Kyrgyz herder. Above: With my students at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Academy, April 2007.
A famous Kyrgyz saying emphasizes resignation and the acceptance of fate among the Kyrgyzstani people: “The stone must lie where it has fallen.” But to me, Kyrgyzstani people have shown the opposite: a willingness to stand for their rights (both in 2005 and 2010), the courage to look for economic opportunities abroad where they face harsh living conditions and discrimination, and a determination to move forward— as exemplified by the high turnout for the June 2010 constitutional referendum and the surprisingly peaceful October 2010 parliamentary elections, which once again revived democratic hopes for this small nation.
Vanessa Ruget is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Salem State University. She previously taught political science at the American University, Central Asia and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Academy in Bishkek, both located in Kyrgyzstan. Her research focuses on citizenship, migration, and democracy in Kyrgyzstan.
E S S A Y
Adolescence in the Universe of Crosses Jaime S. Wurzel
he bus moved slowly through the crowded streets of Buenos Aires. I was on my way to Avenida Nueve de Julio, all the way downtown, to join my friends Mauricio and Pepe on our teenage weekend routine— a movie and pizza afterwards. From the small square window on my right, I stared blankly at the traffic. I wasn’t really looking. Another red, white, and yellow bus—a collectivo— passed by within inches of mine. My thoughts were disrupted only for an instant. The movement of the city slipped into the background of the daydreams of my youth. An old Indian woman dressed in black mourning clothes sat down across from me. Her long gray hair framed her dark and wrinkled face. Glancing into her black eyes, I drew a picture of her life. She has just lost her husband, I thought. She is on her way from the daily cemetery trip. Now she is once again facing her loneliness. I had always been attracted by the silent sadness of Indians, endlessly fascinated by the soft
sounds of Kechuan words and the lost gazes of Indian men as they leaned against a wall, taking coca leaves out of little woven bags hanging from their shoulders and chewing them slowly as if to forever extend their flight. I was born in La Paz, but it had been at least four years since my family moved from Bolivia. I was now a fullfledged Argentinean adolescent. A block further, as our collectivo slowly passed by a church, the old woman turned fully to the window on her right. Now, awakened by the world around her, she made a series of quick movements with her right hand. First she touched her forehead, and then she pointed to her heart and her left and right shoulders. She lightly kissed her index finger, then rested her hand on her lap. I don’t know if everyone else made the sign of the cross, but it seemed as if everyone did and their communal response had been rendered incomplete because of me. When the old woman finished her ritual she seemed comforted. I no longer felt sorry for her; now I envied her public sense of belonging.
I don’t know if everyone else made the sign of the cross, but it seemed as if everyone did and their communal response had been rendered incomplete because of me.When the old woman finished her ritual she seemed comforted. I no longer felt sorry for her; now I envied her public sense of belonging.
The faith and tradition of the surrounding Christian majority fascinated me, and the melancholic expressions of joy conveyed in Indian Christian songs—the mandolin sounds of Indian charangos, and the rhythmic biting of bombo drums praising God—deeply moved me. Most of the time, however, I was self-conscious and fearful of crosses. My self-consciousness unraveled in collectivos and in subway stations, where kneeling beggars sold postcards of Jesus, where tiled murals of gold and blue projected figures of the Virgen of Lujan. On street corners, I was aware of youths with large German Iron crosses around their necks, presumably conversing in circles about the Jews.
education began. From the moment I entered high school as a thirteen-year-old, teachers and the proctors called me “Sir.” Now, in my blue blazer, gray flannel pants, and red tie, I was a grown “Señor.” The classroom was the morning home of thirty-five boys who, with a few exceptions, remained together for five years. From March until December we spent our time in one classroom, supervised between tradition of the instructors by a proctor.
The faith and surrounding Christian majority fascinated me, and the melancholic expressions of joy conveyed in Indian Christian songs... deeply moved me. Most of the time, however, I was self-conscious and fearful of crosses.
ven in school the surrounding universe intensified my fears and challenged my identity. Manuel Belgrano high school had once been a German private school. In 1945, when the Argentine government finally declared war on the Nazis, they confiscated most of the German institutions, converting them into public schools. Fifteen years later, within the confines of once elegant and now yellowing neglected walls, my secondary
The behavior of the teachers reflected the totalitarian atmosphere of the school. The teacher stood at the threshold before entering, waiting for us to stand up straight, facing the blackboard. Like a general supervising her troops, she stared coldly into our eyes. Then, from her desk she indicated with a slight nod that we could sit down. We fearfully watched her inspect her grade book. Her eyes moved up and down the class list, ready to call on one of us to recite the assigned lesson. I clutched my desk and if the name was not mine, I let out a deep breath. In spite of Ms. Lopez, the solidarity in the classroom was special. Together we plotted to defeat our oppressors. Pepe, who sat behind me, had the capacity to remember every word he read. His memory was always at our 13
service. During an exam, he dictated every sentence in a loud whisper. We listened carefully, taking dictation, modifying the words to avoid recriminations. “Señor, what are you doing?” asked the teacher. “Profesora, I can think only when I whisper, please understand.” “OK. But whisper to yourself.” “Sí, profesora,” answered Pepe, with a smile shared by his entire grateful circle of friends. Interdependence was even stronger between the few Jews in the class. Most of the time we sat together. The grandchildren of nineteenth-century Russian pioneers, the few children of Polish exiles, and even the descendants of Spanish Inquisition migrants, we always sought each other’s silent memories and socialized in and out of school. On Saturday afternoons we met downtown to go to a movie or sit at an outdoor cafe— watching girls, pretending we were men. All of us belonged to the Hebraica social and sports club and we spent a great deal of time there. On Sunday afternoons we became screaming participants of a great collective futbol ritual, and our enthusiasm for our soccer team defeated all historical and contemporary adversaries. On the steep bleachers of the River Plate stadium we were real Argentineans, or at least I longed to be. With the ground trembling underneath I jumped in unison with my fellow fans chanting in loud communal passion, “Olé…Olé….” We roared as the players elegantly moved the ball,
eluding all enemies. Then the most coveted moment came true; my favorite forward scored a goal. Exultant beyond body and soul, I momentarily forgot about my friends. I kissed and hugged the strangers next to me. Down below, my beloved player frantically ran towards my section and with his knees on the turf and his gaze set on God, he moved his hands across his chest and to his lips. And inside my mind I became an outsider again.
n the evening of May 11, 1960, a man named Ricardo Klement, dressed in factory work clothes, stepped out of a bus and walked slowly to his home on Garibaldi Street. Suddenly three Israeli agents intercepted him from all sides, and rushed him into a car. One of the most wanted managers in the industry of Nazi genocide, Karl Adolf Eichmann, had been caught. The Israelis, fearing futile extradition procedures, had seized Eichmann and taken him to Israel without the knowledge of Argentinean authorities. Two weeks later, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion informed the world that Eichmann was in Israel, ready to stand trial. My family gathered for dinner around the yellow formica table watching the announcement of Eichmann’s capture on television. Papi, who had survived genocide by fighting Nazis in the Ukrainian woods, had already heard the news, but his face was still red with excitement. Mami, downcast, as if her blue Auschwitz tattoo burned fresh in her arm, quietly filled our bowls with soup.
We watched the Argentinean United Nations ambassador accuse the Israelis of overriding international law. The ambassador went on to suggest that many Jews, like prominent Nazis, had also entered the country under false pretenses. The association made by the ambassador frightened me. I suspected that my parents had obtained illicit documentation to become residents. When my younger brother and I received our resident cards, Mami told us that we should be happy. “It’s easier for children,” she added. Ironically, my parents and Eichmann had probably taken advantage of the same deep-rooted culture of corruption.
did, it happened suddenly—sometimes a Yiddish word, or even my smile could trigger a memory. Helplessly, I would hold her hand. Papi’s silence was different: no tears, no depression. He defeated the ghosts of the past with the constant, unrelenting need to work. But he never escaped the bullet marks on his shoulder, or the wrinkled, almost deformed section in the back of his neck. When I asked about them he simply said, “These are scars of the war.” The conversation ended there.
A few minutes later, Golda Meir, the Israeli foreign minister, spoke. She formally apologized for the illicit n June of 1962, a month after Eichmann’s death, seizure. She also expressed her astonishment that the nineteen-year-old Graciela Sirota waited for the bus ambassador “had found it appropriate to speak in one on her way to the University of Buenos Aires. A gray and the same breath of Eichmann and his victims.” station wagon pulled over to the curb and one of three Now Papi clapped and Mami finally smiled. youths got out and knocked her down with a club. When she regained consciousness, she lay on a wooden table The capture of Eichman with the upper half of her precipitated one of the body naked and afire with most public eruptions When the television reporter announced pain. Two of her abductors of anti-Semitism in burned her with lighted Argentina. Support for the that Eichmann had been hanged, cigarettes. The third, knife ultra-nationalist Tacuara Papi smiled, but Mami cried. in hand, incised a three-inch organization thrived, and swastika on her right breast. fear engulfed our lives. In my Tears flowed slowly over the He leaned close to her ear and high school, fights erupted explained the attack: “This transparent wrinkles under her eyes. between Nationalists and is in revenge for Eichmann.” Jews. Someone fired a bullet No one seemed to notice, Dumped beside the railroad into the air. As a consequence, tracks, Graciela somehow daily morning searches for but I wanted to cry, too. found her way home. weapons became mandatory. Tension showed in different The Jewish community ways. My friend Pepe was expelled because he broke into of Buenos Aires united in protest against the inactivity an uncontrollable laughing fit during our daily morning of the police to arrest the people who participated in salute to the flag. Pepe transferred to a school in the Sirota’s attack. They called for a half-day work stoppage Jewish neighborhood. of Jewish workers and storekeepers in order to condemn Police surrounded the Hebraica, our Community the tacit governmental approval of anti-Semitic crimes. Center. Synagogues had been bombed and some Jews The usually busy Jewish commercial neighborhood attacked. We stayed home from school and remained became quiet. Papi also closed his store. confined for a few days, until the tension dwindled and fear became silent once again. Two years later, however, My father’s general clothing store for women was after Eichman’s execution in Israel, the conflict relocated on elegant Santa Fe Street. Yet, in appearance emerged with even more furor. When the television and spirit it belonged in the Jewish commercial district reporter announced that Eichmann had been hanged, of “Barrio Oncé.” So Papi’s was the only store to close Papi smiled, but Mami cried. Tears flowed slowly over in the immediate area. It was a lonely yet very visible the transparent wrinkles under her eyes. No one seemed act of protest. Prior to this time, his regular customers to notice, but I wanted to cry, too. knew that the store was Jewish. Now its closed doors announced its ethnicity to everyone else. A few days Papi, spoon in hand, watched television as the soup’s later, perhaps as a punishment for publicizing our identity, floating steam flooded our nostrils with onions, garlic and someone threw a stone from a passing car against the potatoes. I watched Mami’s eyes, trying to understand her front door. Wrapped in white paper with a swastika unhappiness. She remained silent and I was afraid to ask. engraved on it, it lay in the midst of scattered glass. On occasions, when an image of the past would enter Mami’s mind, she would quietly say, “Some day when you That afternoon, after our meal, Papi turned off the are older, I’ll tell you.” She didn’t cry often, but when she television and placed the crumpled paper down on the
dinner table. The red lines of the familiar Nazi symbol stood out against the yellow formica for all of us to see. The writing underneath was equally familiar: “Jews leave our fatherland.” But the crumpled white paper, staring at us from the center of the table, also had a protective meaning that went beyond its actual inscription: “You are a Jew; beware of the world.” Like a teacher, Papi had prepared a basic lesson in survival. He brought his children a message of historical danger and placed its confirming words in the soul of our home. Mami took the piece of paper, studied it, and wordlessly placed it back on the table. The past before her eyes now threatened her children. Papi, on the other hand, boastfully displayed it as a trophy begging not to be forgotten.
in the ceremony as well. With Eichmann’s large eyeglasses watching in the background, I went to church. Our class marched through the path leading to the main sanctuary. We walked slowly in the dim light provided by votive candles surrounding figures of saints carefully centered on several shrines. From the long wooden benches assigned to us we could easily see the main altar and the golden cross on the back of the priest’s white robe. The priest began by uttering some sacred Latin words. Incense flooded my lungs and I was overcome with nausea. Yearning for fresh air, I told one of the proctors that I was sick. While everyone around kneeled in prayer, the proctor walked me toward the portal at the end of the aisle. Before letting me out, he genuflected and crossed himself quickly. I could not wait. The door opened and the gleam of light finally appeared.
I grabbed the paper and tore it into shreds, then held the pieces tight within my fist as if trying to make them disappear. “What are you doing!” Papi screamed. Stunned at my behavior, he told me to open my fist, ...Papi turned off the television and hoping to be able to restore the hateful note. Nothing placed the crumpled paper down on could be retrieved.
Norberto had been waiting in the courtyard all along and saw me come out. With concern he put his hand around my shoulder and took me to a bench nearby. “Are the dinner table. The red lines of the you OK?” he whispered. I “Why do you want it?” I screamed back. familiar Nazi symbol stood out against nodded. The cool air, softly blowing over the large After a short pause, he the yellow formica for all of us to see. oak tree in the courtyard, answered furiously: “To entered my body. The nausea The writing underneath was equally document! To show! To tell gradually eased. I had known people what’s happening!” familiar: “Jews leave our fatherland.” Norberto from class, but I had never spent any time I could not understand with him. “I betrayed them,” his anger. Why did we I said to Norberto who sat next to me. need to prove the obvious? I didn’t plan to destroy the document. I simply could not bear it. “Whom did you betray?” he asked.
orberto, a high school classmate, was neither an extrovert nor a good student. The thing that made him conspicuous in a class of thirtyfive Argentineans was his bright red curly hair. While red hair would not be extraordinary in many places in the world, few people of Irish, Scottish, or Northern European ancestry lived in Argentina. Norberto stood out. His hair was especially noticeable against the whiteness of his skin. The contrast created by the dark conglomeration of brown freckles around his eyes, cheeks and prominent nose made his complexion seem even lighter. Clearly, he could not hide his Jewish-ness. Norberto and I became close during the commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of my high school. The celebrations took place in a church downtown. For Jews, the inevitable Catholic mass was optional, but we had to attend the speeches and patriotic singing that followed the service. I decided to participate
“I betrayed my parents’ memories, I betrayed the Jews.” Norberto seemed puzzled. He simply told me to relax and stop being ridiculous. That day, with its array of past emotions and contemporary fears, marked the beginning of my friendship with Norberto. We became friends outside a church soon after Eichmann’s capture, and we stopped two years later, inside the Jewish Community Center, after Eichmann’s execution. One of the most frightening events in my adolescence triggered our final separation. It all began on a day at school when a teacher was absent. Norberto talked to a small group of classmates with unprecedented enthusiasm. Ferderman, Gruendfeld, Janowsky, and Sabotinsky listened attentively. “Our name will be Carontes,” he said in a voice loud enough for only his immediate audience to hear. “We will have special signs to communicate. We’ll hold a meeting to decide who can join.” As the days went on, “Carontes”
took hold. Its membership increased beyond the original five. Finally, my turn to be interviewed came. Then, in a darkened corner of the classroom, far from the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, I was consecrated a member. Carontes was entirely Jewish, although we never discussed our common ethnicity. Saturday afternoon came, and the Carontes gang met outside the Hebraica Club. Not far from us, in the midst of other small groups of socializing adolescents, two policemen stood guard with machine guns in position to protect us from Tacuara’s anger about Eichmann’s execution. On weekends our time at Hebraica was unstructured. No specific activity took us there except the elusive compulsion to satisfy our collective boredom. First, we visited the spectator section of the swimming pool. The pool below remained empty of people as we eagerly hoped to see the pretty swimming instructor, with the wet red bathing suit tight against her breasts. She wasn’t there. We left and moved to a balcony where we watched a class of middle-aged men exercising to the tune of a tango. That was boring. The basketball game in the other gym was a little more interesting. It finished soon after we arrived. In the upper bleachers, however, Norberto devised a plan of action. We all listened eagerly.
Hebraica had just opened a new wing. On each floor, between each section of recently constructed stairs, the empty white painted walls invited mischief. Norberto and his gang were ready. One of us stood guard. Five of us watched Norberto, red crayon in hand, beginning to draw. First he drew a line parallel to the wooden trim separating the ceiling from the wall. A second vertical stroke went from the ceiling to the ground. Four lines later a full-fledged swastika was inscribed on the white wall of our Jewish club. We ran away onto the street, our hearts pounding as we gathered on the dark marbled stairs of the front entrance, a few meters from the policemen standing guard. If I felt guilt I didn’t share it with any one, as if it my pledge to Carontes was more significant than the enormity of our crime. A week of silence went by. Carontes met in the school courtyard on our ten-minute breaks, but we never discussed what we had done. The following Saturday afternoon the Carontes gang, careful of raising suspicion, walked by the wall without stopping. The swastika had been painted over. But the perpetrators could still distinguish the different tones of white covering the Nazi symbol. We rushed towards the swimming gallery without saying anything about the difficulty the painters had in hiding its presence. Minutes later,
we were highly motivated to maintain our anonymous Norberto could not resist the temptation. He drew but well-publicized reputation. Norberto stood at the a new swastika exactly on top of the old one. This white wall with his crayon diligently accomplishing his time, the word Tacuara was added to it. Like greedy task. The rest of us guarded criminals, we continued the surroundings. A door in our complicity, while next to the infamous wall Norberto enjoyed his newly First he drew a line parallel to opened. Two men quickly acquired power. Hebraica the wooden trim separating the came out into the hall and officials worried about Norberto as the infiltration by nationalists. ceiling from the wall. A second vertical grabbed rest of us ran away. Two Club staff checked carefully stroke went from the ceiling to the flights up, in the swimming for identification cards and a leaderless hired policemen protected ground. Four lines later a full-fledged gallery, Carontes group hid the repainted wall, waiting swastika was inscribed on the among a crowd of visitors for the villains to return to watching a meet. In an the scene of the crime. white wall of our Jewish club. empty section of bleachers Carontes met for the last we all sat breathless, time on an early Saturday pretending to be interested afternoon at the club. in the competition taking place below. The swimming Interspersed with our routine of searching for the instructor stood beautiful on the side of the pool, impossible we continued our criminal pursuits. By then
cheering for her team, but my eyes trembled with fear. My partners in crime seemed relatively composed. I could only recall the guards’ angry faces and the stunned expression of our delinquent friend. “We have to give ourselves up,” I said to my fellow fugitives. “It’s not right. They caught him and we remain free. We are as responsible as he is.” My shaking voice did not move them. Surprised at the intensity of my reaction, they pointed out that our surrender would not make any difference. “Norberto will be punished regardless of what we do. It would be useless to confess.” “If we don’t give ourselves up together I will do it on my own,” I said. They looked at me as if I had lost my mind. “That’s stupid,” one of them said, but I stood up and walked downstairs through the crowd. With every step I felt my legs tremble and my eyes well with tears, as if
I were a child wobbling to the infirmary with an open wound after falling from a bicycle. I came to the wall, still marked with unfinished traces of crayon. I knocked on the adjacent door. A man dressed in a gray suit answered. “I came to give myself up,” I mumbled, but he understood. “You are one of those who ran away?” he asked. I nodded. “Where are the others?” “I don’t know.” “Are you Jewish?” I nodded. His voice became louder. “Why did you desecrate our institution?” I did not answer. He asked for my club identification card. He placed it in the pocket of his shirt and informed me that I would not be allowed in the club any more and that a hearing would be scheduled to decide my punishment. 19
I left the building and walked slowly towards the bus stop. How could I explain what I did to Mami and Papi? How would they react? Would I be expelled from the Hebraica? I felt foolish for having surrendered. I even admired the wisdom of my partners.
Mother slowly lifted the sleeve of her blouse to expose her forearm. She placed it on the bare table and let the blue tattoo on her skin tell the story.
After a moment of silent surprise, the vice president, this time in a softer voice, looked at me and said, “Is this how you respect your mother’s memories?” Then he told me to step outside, while he talked to my A few days later, a letter to my parents confirmed my mother alone. In a small waiting room, I stood without suspension due to misconduct and announced the time awareness of the figures on the bright red Oriental rug and place of my hearing. No other details were given. under me, or the color of It was Mami who took care the armchairs set against of such matters. “What’s the wall. Mami’s tattoo this about?” she asked, as she Mother slowly lifted the sleeve of flashed through my eyes. I waved the letter before me. had grown accustomed to it, her blouse to expose her forearm. How could I answer such as if it were a birthmark or a question directly? Could She placed it on the bare table a freckle always present on I have said, “I’m accused her skin. I had blocked out and let the blue tattoo on of being a Nazi?” Instead, I its significance in my need underplayed the situation. her skin tell the story. to deny my history. But as I “We did something silly, and waited for my mother, the you must come to the hearing, blue numbers faded out of otherwise I’ll be expelled.” consciousness again. Now, I feared my father’s anger. So far Mami had protected me, but I didn’t know whether “Is it very serious? What did you actually do?” she she would continue to do so. My punishment was already asked suspiciously. taking place. I could not bear Mami’s sadness. “It’s not very serious. Norberto drew some things on The vice-president asked me to come back in. Mami the wall and I was with him.” The hearing took place one remained sitting and somber. I felt her sad, starving eyes evening during the week and Mami found out the truth. staring straight into mine. I was told that I would be After years at the Hebraica, I never knew of such a suspended for a month. But the vice-president let out a solemn office with dark, varnished walls and portraits faint grin and for the first time his voice sounded almost of community leaders and Hassidic rabbis. I didn’t know sympathetic, “You won’t be expelled because of your at the time that my mother had been a Hassid and that good mother,” he said. “She defended you even though her family prayed with the Alexandrow Rabbi, nor you hurt her deeply.” Fearful of the wall’s portraits was I aware of what it meant to be a Hassidic Rebbe. rendering judgment, I remained downcast and silent. The paintings of the men with long beards and strange The vice-president shook my hand and we left. Our clothes had no relation to my present existence, except way home was filled with the familiar anguished silence. that now their eyes, filled with compassion, stared After we left the hearing she never mentioned the at me from the wall, cautiously studying my gestures Hebraica inquiry again, nor did she ever break her silence seeking to understand my thoughts. At the head of a about the numbers on her arm. They were there—for long rectangular table sat a man dressed in suit and tie. her that was enough. He introduced himself as the vice-president in charge of dealing with issues of membership, including ethical conduct and discipline. The three of us were alone in the room.
I avoided my mother’s face. My voice trembled and I began to cry. The vice-president was not moved. “You must face your responsibility. You are fourteen years old! Tears will not help you.” “Why did you do it?” asked Mother almost protectively. “I don’t know,” I answered between sobs. 20
The vice-president began to talk. “You should know that the previous hearing on this matter resulted in the expulsion of the boy. I understand you were part of this. Were you? If so, Why?”
Jaime S. Wurzel is Professor of Education at Salem State University. Born in Bolivia, he has lived, studied, and lectured in Argentina, Europe, and the Middle East. He is the author of numerous articles, and his book Toward Multiculturalism (now in its second edition) is widely used in schools and universities. This essay is part of a forthcoming book In the Universe of
Sudden Changes: Reflections on Cultural Identity.
Dan Brenton ’12 is an Art major at Salem State University. In 2010, he received the Certificate of Excellence for Meritorious Artwork in Drawing. Throughout middle school and high school his admiration for art led him to illustration and photography and finally to his current obsession with printmaking.
P O R T F O L I O P O R T F O L I O
Rebecca Plummer Rohloff
Negotiating ?????????????? Guatemala , 2009, , 14" x 18"
Girl on the Edge of Lake Atitlan
Market Day in San Juan Comalapa
Balancing Act: Central Park Vendors
Kotzij: Mayan Blessing Ceremony
Our Kaqchikel Teachers
Amalia’s Dream: Dismayed at School/Visit by the Goddess Ixchel
Negotiating Guatemala: Life with the Kaqchikel Maya
n 2003, Peter Rohloff returned home from medical school at the University of Illinois to announce to his wife Rebecca Plummer Rohloff, then a high school art teacher, that he was going to Guatemala over the summer to study Spanish. Having taught abroad in Southern Japan for three years, Rebecca was excited for her husband’s first international adventure. They had no idea Peter’s trip was going to change their lives forever. During that summer in Guatemala, having just landed in the tourist Mecca of Antigua, Peter’s
focus on Spanish acquisition and medical volunteerism became quickly redefined as he witnessed the poverty and social marginalization experienced by Maya communities. Guatemala remains primarily an indigenous nation, home to speakers of twenty-one different Mayan languages, many of whom live in low resource conditions. After obtaining a scholarship to study Kaqchikel Maya, Peter subsequently chose to take a one-year leave from medical school to live with Kaqchikel teachers and midwives. During this time, he completed ethnomedical fieldwork and improved his understanding of indigenous life, language, and medicinal practices. Rebecca was able to make visits during her summer and winter school vacations. On rural treks down dusty village roads, she joined Peter on house calls and clinic visits, and visually documented the land, houses, people, and food. With her travel pouch of paper, gouache paint, and watercolors she executed numerous paintings of old
Amalia’s Dream: Amalia Soars Across Her Native Homeland
Spanish colonial settings and highland Mayan life. Early on, given her evolving but still shaky Spanish, painting served as a nonverbal form of communication that allowed her to thank host families and friends. Over the following years, Rebecca focused on completing her doctoral research in Art Education at the University of Illinois studying the healing power of painting. Her appreciation of ancient Mayan art and cosmology as well as contemporary Mayan life continued to grow. Peter began making frequent trips to indigenous towns such as Santiago Sacatepéquez and San Juan Comalapa, developing stronger alliances with Kaqchikel community members working to pioneer medical clinics and networking with other global healthcare providers. Together, Rebecca and Peter renegotiated their own cultural values against the background of Guatemala’s complex historical, economic, and educational disparities – scars left
behind after five hundred years of colonization, military governments, and genocide. In 2007, after four years of collaborating with Mayan leaders, educators, and midwives, Peter and a handful of linguists, anthropologists, and medical workers founded Wuqu’ Kawoq (Woo KOO Ka WOKE), a nongovernmental organization dedicated to strengthening Mayan language and medicine. With the support of small and large private donors and foundations, Wuqu’ Kawoq grew and eventually established headquarters in Santiago Sacatepéquez, where teams of US-based physicians and student interns were hosted. That year, during one of the team’s excursions to the town of San Juan Comalapa, Rebecca discovered Kaqchikel Maya connections to her own studio art practice and art education interests. She found a small, vibrant arts community of public murals, studio collectives, and home front galleries; she met with Oscar Perén and Maria Elena Curruchich, the 29
granddaughter of the town’s famed father of folk painting, Andres Curruchich. She investigated the local “naïf” style of narrative painting represented most publically in the two dynamic murals that run the span of two hundred feet along the exterior walls of the school and cemetery at the entrance of the town’s main street.
The mural projects, first executed in 2002 by local artists and teachers as an afterschool initiative with middle and high school students, exemplified to Rebecca the power of community arts education to give voice to young people and to develop collective expressions of their Mayan heritage, identity, and hope for the future. Between 2008 and 2009, Rebecca photo-documented and analyzed the panels of the murals, researched the coordination for and funding of the project, and investigated how villagers gave meaning to them. The paintings depict the evolution of ancient Mayan life and ritual, the invasion of the Spanish, the recent civil war and genocide, and cultural traditions and innovations related to agriculture, weaving, everyday life, and the arts. Like other mural genres in Central America and Mexico, they signify a bold, public statement of political resistance and the quest for peace and tolerance. Given her experience coordinating and teaching in various community-based art programs in the U.S., San Juan Comalapa sparked Rebecca’s vision for pioneering future arts education projects alongside Wuqu’ Kawoq, which was piloted in the winter of 2010 as a mural project on the Santiago clinic façade. In preparing herself for such projects, Rebecca participated in the Oxlajuj Aj Field School, the same intensive Kaqchikel language and culture course that inspired Peter’s work. A course requirement was to do a joint Kaqchikel language project with a teacher; Rebecca choose to create an illustrated storybook in collaboration with Ambrosia Cumez Chavez, also known by her Mayan name of Ixnal, a weaver and educator interested in sharing her life story as an indigenous Mayan woman struggling to uphold her traditions despite pressures to assimilate. Based loosely upon Ixnal’s own journey, Rebecca conceptualized visual storyboards for Amalia’s Dream and worked with Ixnal to capture ideas and images in keeping with a Kaqchikel worldview. Presently, the handmade book is being formatted for trilingual publication as an educational resource for children and adults. Peter, a medical resident at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, continues regular travel to Guatemala for Wuqu’ Kawoq. By expanding their projects in nutrition, clean water, women’s health advocacy, and diabetes care—and recently being featured on ABC’s 20/20, Wuqu’ Kawoq continues to grow and make a difference. Rebecca continues to forge cross-cultural connections and arts enrichment between Guatemalan public school teachers and Salem State students and lab schools. —ed.
Captions Page 21
Negotiating Guatemala, 2009, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 18" x 24" Inspired by the surrealist work of Frida Kahlo and her complicated cultural identity, this dual self-portrait represents struggles with her role and future with Wuqu’ Kawoq. On the left is the artist’s western, North American self, wearing a shawl imported from Guatemala, and surrounded by beloved pets. At the bottom, bananas and tourist photographs of indigenous life signify colonization, Mayan land rights and representation: the Spanish Invasion sails at the top right. Referencing heart surgery, her Guatemala-shaped heart is stapled open revealing the glyph of Wuqu’ Kawoq, a symbol that also invades her mind. Tied vocal cords suggest the artist’s frustration with language barriers and a constriction of self-expression and control over her future. On the right, is the artist’s aging self as a Mayan woman with traditional braids and wearing a huipil blouse of the Patsun region. Page 22
Girl on the Edge of Lake Atitlan, 2009, gouache on paper, 11" x 17" Painted from a photograph taken during a trip to the lake community of Santa Cruz. This image shows a child bringing home freshly cut bananas for market day.
Our Kaqchikel Teachers, 2007, watercolor, 8" x 14" Painted from a photograph taken during the Oxlajuj Aj Field School in Antigua while walking to class with five of the artist’s Kaqchikel language teachers. Page 28
Amalia’s Dream: Dismayed at School/ Visit by the Goddess Ixchel, 2010, pages 1-2, woven fabric cover, print media collage, acrylic paint, gel medium Amalia’s Dream is a 42-page handmade book telling the story of a young Mayan woman’s journey of cultural self-determinism, a concept that emerged during interviews and translations with Ambrosia (Ixnal), the artist’s language teacher. Makeshift materials were used for the project. The artist glued stationary shop file folders for the book jacket, and bought a woven skirt in the market for the cover. The pages were bound on the concrete porch of their medical clinic with an old rusty machete and nail, while the cover dried under the heat of the sun. The ancient Mayan numbering system inspired the corner page numbers. Page 29
Market Day in San Juan Comalapa, 2009, gouache on paper, 11" x 17" Painted while sitting upon a hill overlooking the crowded Saturday morning shopping crowd. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers line the streets and bring thousands of far away villagers to the center of town. Page 24-25
Balancing Act: Central Park Vendors, 2009, Antigua, watercolor, 11" x 14" It used to be that vendors and their children would sell their goods around the central square fountain. The artist spent many mornings sketching and painting on the park benches. In 2010, the mayor banned the Maya from selling in this public space.
Amalia’s Dream: Amalia Soars Across Her Native Homeland, 2010, pages 3-4 After the artist designed and conceptualized the storyboard she used National Geographic magazines, brought from the U.S., to collage and paint each page. In the final stages, she handwrote the text. At the end of the six-week course, Ambrosia and the artist read the Kaqchikel story to their classmates. Page 30
Detail from Amalia’s Dream, 2010 The character of Amalia represents the aesthetic of many young contemporary Mayan women in Guatemala. The collage was crafted from layers of textured magazine scraps and embellished with black ink lines.
Kotzij: Mayan Blessing Ceremony, 2009, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 18" x 24" For the commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the inception of Wuqu’ Kawoq, Mayan and North American members joined around a sacred fire under a moonlit sky in the ancient ceremonial grounds of Iximche to make symbolic offerings of food, flowers, and incense, in return for spiritual wisdom and guidance. The painting was created in the artist’s home studio from a snapshot taken while she participated in the ritual.
Rebecca Plummer Rohloff is a faculty member of the Art + Design department serving as the coordinator of the undergraduate Art Education program and advisor to the FAAST afterschool art program. She is a member of the National and Mass Art Education Associations and has presented numerous conference papers, art workshops, and exhibitions of her mixed media work. You can view her online portfolio at rprgallery.com. To learn more or to support Wuqu’ Kawoq, please visit wuqukawoq.org.
E S S A Y
Student, Citizen, Soldier: An Oral History Project with Recent War Veterans of Salem State Andrew Darien
mobility and intellectual enlightenment. Whereas the American public was, and remains, divided about the postwar drive to broaden higher education for minority groups such as African-Americans and Latinos, public sentiment has firmly backed the financing of veteran education. By 2011 veterans occupy a firm and wellaccepted place in higher education. Their seamless transition to college life today is in great contrast to the doubt, however brief, cast upon them following the inception of the G.I. Bill.
ince the influx of United States war veterans into colleges and universities following World War II, Americans have come to see higher education as a rite of passage for servicemen and, more recently, women. For the past sixty years, the G.I. Bill and subsequent veteran programs have honored and rewarded former members of the military with access to education. These programs were part of a larger postwar democratization of higher education that provided new groups of Americans with the opportunity for upward
Richard Wright, U.S. Marine Corps veteran muses on objectivity and truth in history and war. 33
Shrader, began to identify a cluster of characteristics that The presence of large numbers of veterans on college distinguished veterans from other students on campus. campuses following World War II raised questions about Veterans tended to be more focused on the vocational their ability to adjust to college. Social commentators, dimensions of their education, motivated to graduate politicians, and university administrators, while at an accelerated rate, secure about their academic enthusiastic about supporting veterans, worried about and social standing, and their intellectual credentials, inclined to question the psychological soundness, and authority and wisdom of adaptability to the unique Could former military men thrive in their professors. Veterans, culture of college life. Could an academic culture? Would military the report concluded, former military men thrive were hardly intimidated, in an academic culture? values clash with those of the college alienated, insecure, or Would military values clash and university? Was the G.I. Bill in any significant way with those of the college disadvantaged in higher and university? Was the lowering standards for veterans who education. If anything, their G.I. Bill lowering standards greater maturity equipped for veterans who might be might be otherwise unqualified for them with a focus and otherwise unqualified for higher education? Might the trauma resolve that compensated higher education? Might for other deficiencies. The the trauma of war affect of war affect veterans’ capacity to chief finding of Adjustment veterans’ capacity to relate relate to their fellow classmates and to their fellow classmates to College, however, was that and the demands of a college veteran students were, in the demands of a college education? education? terms of accomplishments and attitudes, not significantly different than their college peers. The “survey of veteran-nonveteran differences with respect to World War II Veterans as Model Students a variety of characteristics,” concluded Frederiksen and Shrader “far outweighed the differences.” he fine performance Adjustment to College validated the G.I. Bill by of college tracking the smooth and successful transition of veterans in the veterans to college campuses, but only began to explore immediate postwar the dimensions of veterans’ characteristics and the period put to bed implications this had for their understanding of higher any doubts about education, military service, politics, and the self. their ability to thrive Colleges and universities, even those in the relative academically in consensus of the 1950s, have been institutions meant to American colleges challenge philosophical and intellectual assumptions. and universities, or The entire raison d’être of higher education has been to translate their to employ skepticism and reason as part of intellectual achievements into inquiry. Military culture, on the other hand, has put vocational success. a premium on following orders and not questioning In a landmark 1951 authority. Conventional wisdom suggests that, outside of study the Carnegie commanding officers, one’s success in warfare—indeed Foundation teamed one’s survival—is predicated upon not “thinking too with the Educational much.” It simply is not the role of the soldier to call any Testing Service mission or directive into question. How then, do veteran (ETS) to assess the record of veteran students and their students accommodate these two seemingly divergent nonveteran cohorts. The report, entitled Adjustment to world views? How do they adjust from an institution that disparages doubt to one that relishes it? What College: A Study of 10,000 Veteran and Nonveteran Students impact does service have on veterans’ perception of their in Sixteen American Colleges, primarily studied the citizenship roles? Veterans do not function as neutral, academic history of these two groups, but also reviewed apolitical, and objective automatons, but rather as active the characteristics that defined their values, attitudes, citizens with political ideas, values, and commitments. and goals. The study dispelled any fears that veterans What, then, does it mean to be a responsible soldier, would struggle in their academic endeavors, and found student, or citizen? How does a college veteran integrate that they either equaled or slightly outperformed their these multiple parts of him or herself? nonveteran peers “of similar abilities.” Just as important, the authors of the report, Norman Frederiksen and W.B.
The Modern Veteran in Higher Education
I worked with undergraduate and graduate students in 2007 and 2008 to organize an oral history project titled eteran students may have been less inclined to “Student, Citizen, and Soldier.” The aim was to chronicle contemplate such questions in the political culture the experiences and perspectives of student veterans. The of conformity and consensus in the 1950s. After study was able to interview a cross section of veterans the social revolutions of the 1960s and the fractured from various backgrounds who had served in the Air political environment of the last twenty years, however, Force, Army, Navy, and Marines. I publicized the project veterans on college campuses face greater pressure to by contacting the campus ROTC and Veterans Affairs, stake their political claims. The post Cold War world by emailing campus faculty and staff, and distributing was supposed to be one in which the United States found posters and flyers throughout campus in 2007 and 2008. itself more secure, less frequently drawn into military All of the interviewees were men, as the project was conflict, better equipped to sow the seeds of democracy unable to identify or otherwise recruit female veterans. It and peace, and more capable is significant to note that the of producing domestic interviews were conducted harmony. The end of the Cold Salem State has witnessed some lively during the final two years War, however, has neither of the Bush Administration. debates about these international provided great clarity about a Some subjects articulated new world order nor restored strong feelings about the conflicts, yet what has been most any consensus to American while others, striking is the invisibility and silence of President, politics. particularly those who were considering future service, the men and women who have served. In the 1990s, the military were reticent to comment became an attractive option Veterans may occasionally identify upon their Commander in for many potential college Chief. themselves in class discussion, and, at students who lacked the The project required financial resources to pursue times, even interject personal experience a delicate balancing act higher education. Unlike the into the conversation, though this is between the prerogatives of controversy surrounding the the historian and the needs military in Vietnam 40 years rarely the case. Most seem content of veterans to, as the flyer ago, today’s military is an allto remain incognito, and blend into for the project advertised, volunteer unit, drawing young “tell their stories.” This men and women from the the larger student population. required ensuring that the ranks of current, former, and interview process both This is a deficit, both for the veterans potential college students. In allowed subjects to chronicle 2011, however, the military and for the college community. and assess their experience finds itself at a critical of war, however subjective, crossroads, fighting a two while communicating front war in Afghanistan and clearly to them the project’s focus on identity in Iraq while embroiled in deep and serious confrontations military and academic culture. Veterans had quite with Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea. Salem State has specific narratives, personal observations, anecdotes, witnessed some lively debates about these international and moral lessons to impart, while the project had conflicts, yet what has been most striking is the its own sociological and historical line of inquiry. invisibility and silence of the men and women who have Interviewers had to accommodate the intellectual, served. Veterans may occasionally identify themselves in political, and psychological needs of their subjects. The class discussion, and, at times, even interject personal project evolved as a hybrid of these interests, a “shared experience into the conversation, though this is rarely authority” between both parties (Michael Frisch, A the case. Most seem content to remain incognito, and Shared Authority, 1990). As one might imagine, there blend into the larger student population. This is a deficit, were a number of contingencies related to identifying both for the veterans and for the college community. an appropriate interview pool, privacy, interviewee Veterans are in a unique position to comment upon the protection, legal matters, and the college’s Institutional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their historical, Review Board. Mitigating these contingencies required political, and sociological dimensions. They are an open communication and documentation of the project’s important resource, both for the historical record and objectives. This essay will concentrate on what emerged the diversity of opinion in the college community. In as three dominant themes of the interviews: the military this sense, oral history can serve a dual purpose: to as a “character building” institution; perspectives on the record the perspective of veterans on the wars in Iraq wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and transition to civilian and Afghanistan, but also to initiate dialogue within the and college life. wider college community.
The Military as a Character Building Institution
common thread among the interviewees was their generally positive view of the military, particularly as it related to the development of their maturity, responsibility and overall character. This sentiment was strongest among Marines, though was certainly shared by William Cicci, U.S. Army veteran, those who served in the discusses transition to civilian life. Army, Air Force, and Navy. What was most interesting was how subjects would use either their “former selves” or other college students as a touchstone for measuring their current level of maturity and responsibility. For example, William Cicci, a 29 yearold Army veteran from Marblehead who performed border patrol in Kuwait, noted: I think [the military] made me grow up. I’m not going to lie. I was a punk in high school. I thought I was all that and then I went to basic training and I was like wow I’m just like everyone else and then you’re made to grow up you’re made to become an adult. So, I mean, I think it just for that reason alone right after high school you should do a couple years just to help yourself mature. Similarly, Jack Lynch, a 22 year-old Marine from Cape Cod who saw heavy action in Fallujah, looked back on his war experiences and explained: I think that unlike my peers, I have a high level of discipline that I wish, that I sometimes wish everybody had. Just in daily tasks. Just because discipline is the instant willingness and obedience to all orders and sometimes you don’t see that in the civilian world. You see a lot of people that don’t have an ounce of discipline in them and they think the world revolves around them and they’re wrong. So I’m very happy that the Marine Corps reinforced the discipline in my life. John Twinem, a 25 year-old Army veteran from Malden who served in Iraq reported that: [The military] definitely changed my life. It made me the person I am today. It gave me structure and purpose to my life, and it taught me to be aggressive and to go after what you want, not to hesitate, to have goals and set goals and accomplish them. So that’s pretty much it. Most interviewees did note that their military training
rarely produced “transferable skills” to civilian life, which was sometimes a source of frustration, but most did note that it offered them qualities that could not be measured. Richard Wright, a 25 year-old Marine from Peabody, explained that: The military did not teach each you any general skills, but internally you learn to deal with stress a whole lot better. You learn to take on new challenges, be adaptable, and to basically learn more about who you were in a sense. So it wasn’t exactly marketable skills but things you can take with you the rest of your life. Many of the interviewees described how the meticulous, at times excruciating, attention to detail required of the military eviscerated old habits. Military culture prepared them for work, school, and other responsibilities that they would encounter once returning from war. Ryan Arundel, a 22 year-old Calvary Scout from Salem who served in Fallujah, explained: [You had to remember] the detail[s], because if you could forget one little thing, one little piece of paper that has nothing but a few lines of information on it and your whole day is ruined and every person above from the time you enter basic to the time you’re in a regular unit, every single person above you will make your day worse just because you forgot that piece of paper. Like their World War II counterparts, these veterans’ ingrained habits of responsibility, detail, and focus translated well to the demands of higher education. Their political and social integration, while largely successful, was not quite as seamless.
Perspectives on the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
ost veterans viewed the military favorably because it made them more capable, mature, and responsible, but what, then, was their assessment of the value of their service and the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan? How did their service affect their politics and world view? As a group, the veterans were politically diverse, though, not surprisingly, expressed moderately conservative sentiments, at least relative to the student population at a Massachusetts state college. The majority of veterans were reluctant to articulate anything critical about the Bush administration or of the decision to go to war in Iraq. When asked about their understanding of why the war in Iraq was prosecuted they would either echo the explanation of the Bush administration, or simply explain that it was irrelevant to their role in military. Arundel, the Calvary Scout who served in Fallujah explained:
John Twinem, Iraq War veteran, U.S. Army explains his perspective on the Iraq war.
When I went over there when I started fighting the only thing I kept in my head was that this is one less person who can harm my family over here. This is one less guy who can drive a car bomb in to the North Shore mall cause it can happen anywhere, anytime. It is one less guy who can pull that off. And that’s what I kept in my mind every day. Because as of oil… oil has never been a big concern especially for me… weapons of mass destruction, like I said, he [Saddam Hussein] used ‘em on his own people to say that he did not have ‘em, you can’t say that. You couldn’t say that to someone in northern Iraq cause stories that I heard from people over there, the stories alone would turn your stomach. Jack Lynch, when asked about his goals in Iraq, detailed how objectives changed over time: I really felt like, hey, we were here to help the Iraqi people. I want to help them but, after a few months I just didn’t. That all went away. You know we were trying to help them, and it seems like they just were taking and taking and never helping us back, so it was a very one sided relationship. You know we’d do great things for
the kids on one street and then like two days later on the same street our convoy would get hit with either small arms fire of an Improvised Explosive Device, an IED… In a war like this you don’t know who the civilian is and who the terrorist is. That’s how an insurgency works. You don’t know who your enemy is. You don’t know who your friend is. And even when you do know who your friends are they turn on you half the time anyway. So, I only liked one or two Iraqis. One way out of the problematic nature of the mission was to simply fall back on the apolitical role of the marine or soldier. As Lynch noted: Sometimes I don’t like to express my own personal thoughts because that could or could not contradict what the Marines has taught me. And it’s something that, yes, I should have as a human being. I should have my own thoughts on this. However, as a Marine I kind of don’t have that luxury just because I can’t think about stuff like that. It’s not my place. My place is to do whatever my fire team leader, my squad leader, my platoon commander, my platoon sergeant tells me to do. 37
Part of the challenge in Iraq, as in Vietnam, was the difficulty, not simply in identifying the mission, but also the enemy itself. Arundel clarified that: The difference between the two tours is the first tour, you almost knew who you were fighting, cause, the Iraq Republican Guard, and they still have fight left in them, so you did not deal with Shi’ite and Sunni too much. My second tour, that was when it was a day-to-day basis. It was who you’re talking to what tribe you’re talking to. Where they’re from, because a lot of it is that the Sunnis have [the reputation] that they are the terrorists. They are the ones we are fighting. Shi’ite was the religion that was oppressed by Saddam for so long their reputation is more that they are our allies. But that is all wrong. All this comes down to who the radicals are. That is the enemy. One resolution to the complexities presented by the war and failure to make greater progress was to simply blame the Iraqis. John Twinem concluded: I think we treated them better than they should be treated, to tell you the truth. I mean, we giving ‘em all this stuff. We’re training them in the military, wrote a constitution. We elect
John “Jack” Lynch III, U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah, Iraq.
them a government official. We protect their government official. We train their police. We’ve given them so much. I mean I think it’s time, I don’t know; maybe let them stand on their own two feet. I think we treated them like well, better than any other country would have treated them.” For these young men, the American media was especially intolerable because it constantly called into question the mission and tactics of the U.S. military. While most interviewees paid lip service to free speech, they universally disparaged the media as irresponsible. Arundel commented that “they [the media] are just gonna keep on spinning it, keep on making the money. They created a monster that they can’t control now, and a lot of the decisions can’t take the full truth.” Lynch noted, “I don’t like it when the media gets a hold of something, somebody in the Armed Forces did and blows it open or comments on something that happened and they weren’t there.” “If you weren’t there, Lynch added, “I don’t want to hear your opinion about it. I don’t want to know how you feel about it.” Twinem, referring in a similar vein to protests on campus, bristled that “it [the protests] makes me pretty mad. I know this is like a screwed up opinion, but I feel like unless you’ve been there you don’t have the right to say that we shouldn’t be there.”
Transition to College Life
ew subjects questioned the benevolence of the military and coped with the difficulty of prosecuting these wars by denigrating the local population, blaming the media, or entirely eschewing the political dimensions of the mission. Military men, they claimed, simply followed orders without questioning the mission. How, then, did this attitude translate into their to civilian and college lives? Some veterans, like Lynch, felt pulled between the military’s apolitical stance, and the intellectual inquiry required of higher education:
combat expressed understandable anxiety. The greater commonality among veterans was the disconnect between civilian and military life. William Cicci spoke of how ingrained military culture was for him: I never adjusted to being a civilian after I got out of the active Army I just I just kept the military mentality I still said sir and ma’am to everybody you know. I don’t think it ever leaves you and that’s one of the reasons I rejoined. George Romero, a 24 year-old Army veteran from Revere who served in Afghanistan explained that:
What are my thoughts The biggest challenge, I on “The War on Terror?” think, is being mentally Most interviewees did note that their This is something I’ve used to being in the been talking to one of military training rarely produced Army, used to taking my teachers about. He’s orders, used to having “transferable skills” to civilian life, kind of identified that I things set a certain way. have the “Jack” and then I mean everything’s laid which was sometimes a source of I have the “Marine.” out for you, you have to frustration, but most did note But sometimes I don’t follow it. Your rooms like to express my have to be clean. Your that it offered them qualities own personal thoughts shirts have to be folded a that could not be measured. because that could or certain way. So, people could not contradict telling you what to what the “Marine” has do, when to eat and stuff. You just got to get taught me. And it’s something that, yes I should used to it, and after a while you kind of just have as a human being. I should have my own forget about it and you live that way, and it’s thoughts on this. However, as a Marine I kind of comfortable. You don’t really have to worry don’t have that luxury just because I can’t think about anything, bills, or nothing like that about stuff like that. It’s not my place. My place because the army always pays you on time. You is to do whatever my fire team leader, my squad know, it’s just easy, you got to follow orders. leader, my platoon commander, my platoon Similarly, Ryan Arundel reported that: sergeant tells me to do. You never really thought about that. It’s almost, Other veterans echoed this sense of double identity, when I first came home, I first got out of the but ultimately deemed that those who were not in the Army, it’s almost easier in Iraq. You don’t have military simply did not “get it.” Richard Wright explained anything else. You don’t worry about life or that it was a “great thing about having a civilian side and death. You don’t worry about the bills being a military side,” but qualified his remarks by pointing out that “those of us in the military have to take on the responsibility of the smaller things and all the microissues.” He likened the gulf in perspective between civilians and military personnel to that between lay and professional historians. “People who aren’t actually studying history,” noted Wright, “can gloss over things that are maybe in strong debate or things that aren’t quite clear to historians [but] we have to take on responsibility for that.” A remarkable consistency among the veterans was the warm reception they received upon return from war, though this did not necessarily translate into a smooth transition to civilian life in general or college in particular. While all of the veterans spoke of enormous gratitude among their friends, family, neighbors, and the larger society for their war contributions, many felt disengaged from civilian life. A few veterans who saw intense
Daniel Merhalski interviews Ryan Arundel, U.S. Army veteran, about his two tours of duty in Iraq.
Jorge Romero, U.S. Army, AfghanistanWar veteran, now with theWakefield Police Department.
paid. You don’t worry about anything. You just really kind of, the only thing you really worry about is making sure you get to your patrol on time so you don’t get yelled at by your higherups. You don’t worry about, and you can’t, in a way it’s almost. It is, it’s almost easier…. The biggest transition was time on your hands and friends, cuz ah, I was 18 when I first went to Iraq, I was 19 when I first came back so, high school was high school mentality and the ways of living there and I am use to hanging out with, and in the military age does not really matter, so your friends with guys who are mid-20s upper 20s, 30s. So when I came back home it was tough to go back to old friends and realize that’s what you’re doing. And just trying to get back into the old ways was the hardest part. Although most veterans made fine students and seem to be on successful educational and vocational trajectories, there remains a sense of themselves apart. For some, it was a merely a product of their view of education as a means to a vocational ends, rather than a place for social and emotional growth. Alexander Bernardo, an Air Force veteran reported that “I’m here do my classes, go home. That’s what I have time for. I have my own, you know 40
friends, family, that I hang out with. It’s not that I have no desire to be part of that [college life] but I don’t have time to be.” For many veterans, college simply was not a place to find a sense of community or belonging. There was little that could replace the camaraderie, structure, and clarity of life in the military. For example, when asked if there was anything that he missed about Iraq—a place that he identified as a hell hole—Jack Lynch replied that: I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. I do, I do miss the camaraderie. I mean just the bond I had with first platoon Bravo Company. The first squad was amazing. You know I would gladly do anything for those guys. Sgt. Garcia, my platoon squad leader. Sgt. Lee who saved my life twice. I could list off everybody. Cortelli, Dunstrum, Weeks, Rogers, Dooby. All my boys in first platoon first squadron. It was great you know I turned 19 in Iraq and at age 19 I had an M-4 and I had a pistol on my hip, I had a grenade and when I when I walked up and down the streets in Iraq I was, like, the law more or less. If somebody looked at us funny we had full right to go over there, question and ask them, hey what are you,
hey, why are you counting us, why are you counting the number of the people? It is, ah, a little difficult and hard at times because in the military your, ah, you know, you’re told, what to do, when to do it, you have a very defined chain of command and people who have to take responsibility for their actions. College life you don’t really have that. Now I am back home, and I’m just, “Hi. I’m Jack Lynch. I go to Salem State.”
college peers. And yet many in this group of veterans expressed a sense of identity loss once they left the military. If the students interviewed for this project are representative of today’s college veterans, how then might one account for their difficulty in transforming a military identity into a civilian one?
One simple explanation may be that this struggle was shared among World War II veterans, but the method of inquiry in Adjustment to College did not account for it. Another possibility, admittedly Lynch’s comments reflect While all of the veterans spoke of speculative, could be found in a disorientation that was enormous gratitude among their friends, the differences between World emblematic of many of the War II and the contemporary veterans interviewed for family, neighbors, and the larger wars in Afghanistan and this project, and seemingly Iraq. World War II, dubbed absent among the World society for their war contributions, “good war,” entailed a War II veterans in the many felt disengaged from civilian life. the clear moral purpose and Carnegie Foundation and ETS study, Adjustment to College. A few veterans who saw intense combat specific ending that afforded veterans the satisfaction of Undoubtedly, today’s veterans expressed understandable anxiety. war service and the ability in higher education exude to view it as complete. In many of the qualities of their The greater commonality among contrast, veterans of the Iraq World War II counterparts: veterans was the disconnect between and Afghanistan wars have maturity, work ethic, more difficulty articulating responsibility, and vocational civilian and military life. a sense of the larger mission focus. Both groups described and the military’s capacity to their military experience in accomplish it. Both wars remain deeply unpopular, and positive terms, as excellent preparation for the rigors of remain ongoing. One could surmise that contemporary college life. Furthermore, each group pointed to their veterans’ transition to civilian life would be more settled if maturity as something that set them apart from their the wars themselves had been. This might be the case even if the members of the military had been provided a clear sense of mission. When asked about what the goals of the Iraq war had been, a frustrated Lynch simply threw up his hands and admitted, “I have no idea what goals are. I have no idea what the agenda is, if there is one, other than to liberate the country. My goal as a Marine was to make sure I came home alive.” I would like to thank William Cicci, John “Jack” W. Lynch III, John Twinem, Richard Wright, Ryan Arundel, George Romero, and Alexander Bernardo for sharing their stories, and acknowledge Rachel Emelock, Christine Liu, Danielle Bright, Judith Valentine, Richard McElhinney, Caroline Schumacher, and Sarah McDonald for conducting the interviews in November 2007.
Alexander Bernardo, U.S. Air Force Nuclear Specialist, receives one of many academic awards at Salem State University.
Andrew Darien is Associate Professor of History and Coordinator for the MA Program in History at Salem State University. He specializes in modern United States, policing, and oral history. Darien recently completed a documentary on the World History Association entitled World Historians
Speak Out: Perspectives, Pedagogy, and Projections. He is currently working on a
history of African Americans and women in the New York City Police Department.
P O E T R Y
Martha Gardner Emergence The boy, newly sixteen, sits on the plank step, a coon-cat eyeing movement in the Maine woods— a telltale twist of leaves, a jostle of branches, a hawk suddenly skyward. He imagines the paths that go elsewhere toward robust places far from prosaic front porches such as his. He imagines beer, proms, cicada-season nights on August docks floating beneath the Perseid showers that strobe across the spellbound waves. He has heard the peel-outs of older boys who plunge through nights in their cars and wear down the back roads that skirt the loon-nested lake. On a low branch in the jack pine near the stacked cord wood, a jay’s call slashes the morning air. The boy crouches, watches, waits out the pull-backs on his tether. He grooms his fervor, ready to pounce.
Mildew Love They both lacked the gene to recognize the odor of mold.
Forest River Beach Stick-legs jut from bathing trunks and scamper along the silica shore. Spiked-straight and tight-curled water-slapped boys pinch their noses before duck-downs, inflate cheeks, and yelp from chests chilled in an Atlantic-fresh tide. Nearby in the drained public pool, three six-foot men consult crazed concrete at the four-foot mark. Hard-hatted, panted, belted, red-roasted on the turquoise griddle, they tug at ties and long sleeves, juggle clipboards and cell phones, and, squinting from tight collars, they ration glances at the mirage, at the beach of raucous sunny-boys, at the honey-gold glaze that slides down all those supple, young limbs, at their longed-for, long-ago, summer-selves.
When love flooded under doorsills, crested bulkheads, seeped through cracks in earlier restorations and compromised egresses, memories of mildew prompted no thoughts of cautious sandbagging. They swam the torrent like homesick salmon driven to spawn. Unnoticed at highwater, summoned by dank and sodden underpinnings, black tendrils arrived, etched intricate designs on gluttonous love, slipped past sense, infiltrated reason, cast filigreed nets over indulgence, and putrefied the overwrought air. They admired the luminous takeover and explored blooming stains with their fingertips.
Martha Gardner is a Staff Assistant in Academic Affairs and a Salem State University Master of Arts in English student whose writing has appeared in online and local publications. An award-winning visual artist, she taught oil painting for many years. Her love of portraiture and landscape painting has informed her writing by sharpening her attention to imagery and detail that find new expression in her poems and prose. She is currently creating a compilation of short stories set on Cape Ann.
I N R E T R O S P E C T
Sextant Turns Twenty-Five Janet Todaro Stubbs
his issue marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Sextant: The Journal of Salem State University.As the founding editor of the Sextant, I have been pleased to be a part of its history. I have seen it grow and change since its inception.
Janet Todaro Stubbs (Psychology) and Ellen Vellela (English).
The first edition of the Sextant appeared in 1986 and immediately received national recognition for excellence. The first volume won a Gold Medal from the Council for the The journal began in Sextant (Volume VII, No. 2 and Volume VIII, Nos. 1 and 2) received honorable Advancement and 1985; Academic Vice mention in the catagory of magazines from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education President Bill Mahaney Support of Education) in recognition of superior achivement and creativity. (CASE) in the category wanted a publication to “Photocommunications in showcase the creative work Print” for the portfolio section and ongoing research of Salem Serving as Sextant editor was one of the best of photographs by Shelby State’s academic community. jobs on campus, bringing me into contact with the Adams of Appalachian families. He invited me to create this intellectual and artistic life of every corner of what The two volumes produced journal. Faculty volunteers was then still the college. Particle physics? Japanese during the 1987-1988 academic formed an editorial board and gardens? The temperance battles of 19th-century year were awarded a CASE elected me as editor. Salem? A modern translation of Beaudelaire?— I saw Bronze Medal in the category it all and I enjoyed helping to shape the conversation. The development of the “Best College Magazines” Being editor gave me an outlet for my photography journal was a true community honoring “all around excellence (I was usually “Sextant staff photo”), and I learned effort. Its mission emphasized in content, writing, design, frequent lessons in humility: try as we might, we scholarship, creative ideas, photography, printing and never proofread copy so carefully that a typo or and the professional work use of resources.” two didn’t squeak through. of Salem State faculty and administrators. Based on —Rod Kessler, editor 1993-1999 the new journal’s mission, the board decided on a name, the Sextant, the nautical instrument used for celestial navigation, a symbol of Salem’s rich maritime history and Salem State’s dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. Tom Leary of the Art Department designed the logo; Leon Jackson of the Instructional Media Center and Shelby Adams of the Art Department produced the photography; and Joyce Rossi Demas and Susan McCarthy managed the first design and production. The original editorial board had faculty representation from ten academic departments: Mary Jane Barry (Nursing), Susan Case (Biology), Stephen Clarke (Education), Carol Facella (Criminal Justice), Stanley Finkenthal (Foreign Languages), David George (Theatre and Speech Communications), Susan McCarthy and Editor Rod Kessler in 1994. Joan Maloney (History), Ingrida Mangulis Raudzens (Art),
In 1988 students stopped by my office to inquire about the Sextant. They had heard their professors’ work appeared in the journal and wondered if it would be possible to see an issue. I was pleased they were interested in learning more about their teachers’ ongoing research. Prompted by student interest, the board made two changes. They decided to use the work of student artists to illustrate faculty articles and expanded distribution of the journal to students. Circulation increased to well over 9,000 copies. Readership encompassed not only the It was grand! Salem State community but extended beyond the university to include educational and — Margaret Vaughan, Kim Mimnaugh, photographer, Maggie Vaughan, editor, governmental leaders in the region and state. editor 1999-2004 and Susan McCarthy, designer, working on the Sesquicentennial issue in 2004. The Sextant continued to be published semiannually until 1988 when fiscal constraints warranted a four year hiatus. In 1992, under the presidency of Nancy D. Harrington, the publication of the Sextant resumed. Despite the hiatus and concern that the Sextant might have lost its momentum, interest in the journal had not waned. Under the editorship of Rod Kessler (English), the Sextant thrived, with semi-annual publications until 1998. In 1999 Margaret Vaughan (Psychology) assumed the editorship of the journal which became an annual in 2002. Her work For six years I have most enjoyed working closely culminated in the issue with the authors and artists and getting to know my produced to celebrate Salem colleagues as intellectuals and experts in their fields. State’s Sesquicentennial. Together we forged an identity for the university The current editor, Patricia as one that encourages and supports research and Johnston (Art + Design), Susan McCarthy and Patricia Johnston creative activities as central to its mission. assumed responsibility for finalizing the current issue. the journal in 2005 and has —Patricia Johnston, editor 2005-2011 emphasized recruiting authors from diverse departments and commissioning creative illustrations. Membership of the board still represents the breadth of the university. The journal continues to present varied and Through its twenty-five year history the Sextant has excellent faculty work while reflecting the changes that maintained its original mission of exclusive emphasis on have occurred in academic fields and the larger world. scholarship and creative work. Susan McCarthy has been Today the Sextant provides a broader range of topics, the lead designer for the past twenty-four years. Technology has changed from paste up boards to digital design yet the shows a greater depth in knowledge, presents a more journal retains a consistant elegance. Susan Case (Biology) global perspective and places an increased emphasis on the one of the original board member importance of research at the institution. As we celebrate deserves special mention for her the twenty-five years of scholarship chronicled in the enthusiastic support as an assistant Sextant our “Tradition of Excellence” continues. editor in the early years and —Janet Todaro Stubbs, editor 1986-1988 proofreader for most issues.
Janet Todaro Stubbs
Sextant (Volume IV, No. 1) received honorable mention in the “Periodicals for any Purpose” category in the CASE District I Publications Awards competition.