A Death Foretold

“Chronicle of a Death Foretold” is a novel written by the great Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A death foretold; I wonder how Gabo would feel about the names splashed across the front of Colombia’s newspapers these days? People with aliases for use to hide ‘during illegality’, as if somebody can wake up one morning, wash the blood from off their hands, unlock the chains that bind the hostages and release them into the sunlight, don a white guayabera – and, thanks to some words on a document – everything is OK.

This is the problem with the idea of “legality” that befuddles Latin America time and again. The continent’s omnipotent, ubiquitous socialists believe ‘law’ is nothing more than words on paper – positivists who see no inherent expression of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to be represented by the rule of law, but instead a neutral contest of how to force your will, your utopian ideas on others. The gun, the vote – the result is the same; oh don’t believe me, go ask somebody in 1963 Cuba or 2017 Venezuela. There is no recognition that ‘laws’ should instead be the expression of the experiences of people seeking to live in liberty and prosperity; cementing what leads to well-being while eschewing what brings only misery. Common law like in England, a great cloud of codes that have bubbled up, proving themselves over time to be right and good and true – that which is convenient to a life more abundant. In the United States a constitution, written by wise and studied men, a ‘genius cluster’ as Peggy Noonan once called them, enshrining the ‘truths we hold self-evident’, the ‘laws of God written on men’s hearts’; proven over time by the tremendous prosperity of our political project.

But communism? A temper tantrum of blood and puss; adolescent songs played with an old guitar by a stinking gaggle of bearded idiots high in the Sierra Maestra, eating stolen food with their fingers following the execution of peasants and villagers? Sitting beside streams, piles of cellophane-wrapped cocaine under a plantain thatch, telling stories of government, abusing the word ‘justice’ as they throw the scraps from their savage dinner to the caged kidnapped behind? I wonder what the freedom-loving Colombian people would think about seeing these same souls sitting in their most sacred halls, aliases of ‘illegality’ exchanged for parliamentary immunity? I wonder how they will feel entering the silent sanctity of the voting booth only to see that name, ‘Timochenko’, emblazoned upon that delicate paper, hands trembling as they fill the little circle beside somebody else, anybody else with that one desperate plea in their hearts “Please God, not this time!”.

A death foretold; how would Gabo feel these days? My guess is he would have been happy, Gabo always had an infatuation with the commies – one of the worst kept secrets on the continent. “If you aren’t a revolutionary when you are young, you have no heart…” the saying goes. But the perpetual adolescents forget the last part of that famous French quote. Celui qui n’est pas républicain à vingt ans fait douter de la générosité de son âme; mais celui qui, après trente ans, persévère, fait douter de la rectitude de son esprit.” Gabo suffered from a want of head – a utopian, an idealist, a dreamer. The fact that the intellectuals, the writers are always the first to be murdered? No comment.

A death foretold…


Para mis amigos Colombianos, si aman la paz y la libertad, que dejan al lado su copia de “Muerte Anunciada”, y buscan una copia de mis novelas, la serie “San Porfirio” que se trata el tema de la Venezuela socialista. Cuando el realismo magico que tanto aman se utiliza para esclavizar, sabran que estan llegando al final. 

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About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright, author of the recently released novel "Lords of Misrule" about jihad in the Sahara. Joel has also written "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio".
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