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THE TIME HAS COME, IN WHICH THE LIGHTS OF THIS EPOCH WERE LIT EVERYWHERE

Jota Mombaça in collaboration with Darwin Marinho and Eduardo Moreira. Hex the White. 2019. Gif (frame).

NOVEMBER 20th, 2021

THE TIME HAS COME, IN WHICH THE LIGHTS OF THIS EPOCH WERE LIT EVERYWHERE. All cards are on the table, just as everything has always been in its right place. However, at last the time has come, in which on all sides there is no way to deny that the march of terror is advancing, and that the programmed apocalypse has indeed taken over the whole terrain of ordinary life. The multiplied armored police vehicles in the favelas, the groups of armed cis hetero men, the white sinhás dedicating their lives to renew the totalitarian world-wide whiteness as we know it. Like this - and everywhere - the time made to bloom by the toxic spring of the dystopia brasilis, in the murdered green of hopelessness, its most odious flower.

JANUARY 1st, 2019

WE BEGAN RUNNING TO THE SOUND OF THE FIRST BOMB. The rarefied air of that year disturbed our breath, and there were not many routes to flee. Everything was besieged and wherever we turned we found a wall, a locked gate, an electric fence or a pack of guard dogs. The second bomb cut the air sooner than we expected. I lost my breath and when I looked to the side I could see, through the curtain of dust and smoke, that many of us began to fall. I was afraid to be alone, but someone held my hand. I thought about taking a deep breath, but I did not. The bombs emanated gases that I could not simply breathe. I held that hand very tightly, although I still did not know who it belonged to, and I felt relieved that I was not alone. We ran hand in hand without being able to see clearly the way ahead. We stumbled in the rubble, we fell, and we went on, with all the senses in fever, stunned by the pain of everything. At a certain moment I thought I was going to faint. I could not feel my body, nor was I able to articulate my own position. The world around me seemed to have shut down and I saw everything slowly. A deep silence ran all around me. Again, I felt the firmness of that hand clenching mine. I was not alone and we were here. Still. Here. And alive. We ran and ran, changing directions whenever the routes closed, and they closed at all time. It was impossible to escape, but that was precisely why we insisted on escaping. Then a gust of wind cut through the smoke in front of us and for a second we saw, a few meters from where we were, an intense bundle of black light being projected from a crack in the earth. With a racing heart, I was pulled by the hand towards the crack, and I was scared, very scared, but I let myself go. It was not like we had many options. In fact, it was enough to think just for a second about the situation we were in, to get to the conclusion that there was no option at all. We were condemned to run indefinitely, to flee without pause, to hide from all patrols, to refuse all shelters, and to undo all covenants with the world. When the first bomb sounded that day, we knew immediately that we had already died, that the pact that held, though precariously, each of our lives had been broken forever.

NOVEMBER 21st, 2021

WE LOST EVERYTHING AGAIN. This is the third time this has happened since the time has come. The days are long, almost eternal. We walk indefinitely through the tunnels, we have been thrown out from everywhere, always in the shade, always together. Down here, the vibration of the world can be disturbing. There are those among us who still dream of returning to the surface, some dream of taking the world back and restoring to it the integrity it seemed to have before. There are also, among us, those who mock the nostalgists, insisting that the world, after all, has never been wholesome and that somehow we have always been here. We have always been here, indeed. The tunnels which we now live in were made by the first ones of us who traveled through this territory – enslaved people, fleeing from the lashes of those who claimed to be their masters. Over the years, the paths have been opening up and multiplying, like an underground labyrinth, an ancestral infrastructure embedded in the earth under the white feet of those who, by the force of their weapons, have imposed themselves as masters of the world. It is dark in here. We often lose sight of each other, so our senses are sharpened. We learned to communicate by touch, by smell, by the sound of our breathes, by the vibration that passes through our skins and reverberates in each and everyone. We also read the tunnels this way. Every aspect of this unusual geography speaks to us. The humidity, the smells, the sound of the creatures that are also here, just as that black, almost purple light that from time to time emerges from a deep place of the earth and floods everything, illuminating it all without becoming visible. Whenever we lose everything, the light comes and incarnates in our bodies, as well as in the very structure of all tunnels. "To lose everything" is the expression we use when one of us dies. We stop saying "die" because, after all, we have all been dead since the first bomb... and even long before, since the very first slave ship, when our lives were all marked as part of a single undifferentiated mass of death-in-life. As the living-dead, some of us like to identify ourselves as Zombies. We are, in fact, Zombies because, strictly speaking, we are neither alive nor dead, but also because we descended from the warrior Zumbi dos Palmares. In the happiest hours, when our hearts are quieting a little and we can feel small sparks of life burn everything inside us, we like to imagine that Palmares is here and that on the opposite side of all apocalypse, there is a Black life that manifests itself and vibrates and shines like that light, that rises from the depth every time we lose everything.

JULY 17th, 1911

I WISH I COULD SHUT DOWN THE WRETCHED PROPHECY OF JOÃO BATISTA DE LACERDA, the propagator of Black lives' extermination program in Brazil. He said, at the Universal Races Congress held in London that miscegenation and misery will constitute, until 2012, the ideal subject of the dystopia brasilis: A grimy white subject forged from Black and indigenous genocides. This individual is capable of reproducing in the tropics, the ideas of life, world, society, body and civility of the European white.

NOVEMBER 22nd, 2021

WE ARE TIRED. We no longer know how to count the time because, here below, nothing ever dawns. I am writing this desperate journal while pressing my left temple with my fingertips, looking for some sign or telepathic event that will allow me to pass on anything about us. I'm not asking for help. Most of us refuse the idea of being saved, for we know that the world – or at least the world as we know it – holds no hope for us. What I seek when I try to tune my mind to any other mind up there is a way of disturbing the peace that buries us, to invade the pacified consciousness of those who live above us and to shudder it with the pain that we are made of. We are tired and we are also furious. There are moments when we desire so firmly the abolition of all things done through our social death that we feel the earth starts trembling around us. We then hold hands, refusing the fear, in order to wish together that the earth finally vibrates their apocalypse this time.

JANUARY 1st, 2012

THEY ARE COMING. They are coming. I woke up scared this morning because I felt the earth's vibration alerting me: they are coming. I wanted to scream, but I could not find my voice. In fear, I got out the house I live in, repeating to myself, not to forget: they are coming. I stumbled upon a lady who was coming back from the bakery. I pressed my hand against her shoulders and repeated, over and over again: they are coming, they are coming. She shrugged and kept walking. At left-wing conferences, in the university rooms, in conversations at bars, in the streets of my neighborhood, while there is still time, I insist and repeat: they are coming. The time of the murderers will reach its peak again. The streets will be taken by their marches, the houses will be invaded by their cops. Songs will be sung to praise their order, life will be cut to fit in their boxes, bodies will be formatted in their grammars, voices will be modulated to repeat their hymns, and so, from all sides, they will come. They are already coming. They were sly before, slow, not quite hidden, but certainly hesitant. And there are so many like me, who, for so long did not stopped sensing their steps, hearing their whispers. They have a plan and the time is coming. They will try to fulfill the promise of João Batista de Lacerda. The year now is 2012. The promised year for the apocalypse of the Black life in Brazil. And they keep coming.

NOVEMBER 23rd, 2021

THE BLACK LIGHT LIGHTED THE LABYRINTH OF TUNNELS ALL AT ONCE AND WE, TOGETHER, WE MADE EVERYTHING VIBRATE AROUND US. We are tired of always losing everything. It will be needed to take something too, to cut the world. This time, it was the oldest warrior. She had been sick already, mumbling against our condition, sad, deeply sad, but still haughty in her own fury, still deep in her own anger. In tribute to her, this time, after losing everything, we made something remain, as if the pain that crosses us had finally reached a point of overflowing. We held hands. Around the sleeping body of our old woman, we made a great shudder come. Some were afraid that the earth would collapse upon us, but deep down we all wished some form of collapse. The shuddering earth vibrated beyond the tunnels, and we felt the waves of fear come to us from those who over these years have made us exist in fear. It was an attack, we were catching up. We radiated our sorrowful fury, and we felt that the more we shook each other's hand, the more we became intimate with the earth around us. Stunned by our own power, we also swayed, shaken by the shudder we were generating in their world, frightened by the materiality of our own power, with its ability to affect, so directly, the structure of their world, the health of their world, the architecture and grammar of their world. We were there, bound by a force that came precisely from the gathering of our fragilities. We were weak, broken, and we had lost everything so many, many times... Somehow, from that labyrinth of tunnels under the earth, we were operating an earthquake against their world. In fact, it suddenly seemed like we were about to make their world into pieces forever. Until an exhaustion came and fell upon us and upon the earth itself. Our hands loosened and we began to fall, one by one. The labyrinth of tunnels remained intact. For a moment, we all wondered, silently, about where and how many we were. How deep, how at the heart of everything had we ended up?

OCTOBER 29th, 2018

A DEEP SILENCE SANK THE MORNING. The last and most clear alarm had finally sounded. They had arrived. We warned they would come. They have arrived.

NOVEMBER 24th, 2021

WE DEEPLY WISH THE WORLD - AS IT HAS SHOWN ITSELF TO US - TO END. And this is an indestructible desire. We have been subjected to all forms of violence, fecundated in the impossible shade of all social forms, condemned to be born dead, and to live against all formation, at the opposite core of all formation. We deeply hope that the world as it is given us end. And that it ends discreetly, particle-level, in the catastrophic intimacy of this world-deprived world, this world that even the earth itself rejects. These words circulated telepathically among all of us, not so much as a thought, but as something vibrating out of the body, in the flesh of the tunnel, of our old woman, of us: we deeply wish that the world as it is given us end. The black light, which had incarnated at all and with all intensity, gradually slipped through the corners of the labyrinth, bathing our body, and sinking again into the depth. We were there for a long time, cooking together with the earth. Little by little, as our bodies regained access to our legs, we decided to split and move through the labyrinth of tunnels, trying to capture the repercussions of our attack, and study the implications of what we had done. As I walked, I remembered a phrase I had learned shortly before the morning of January 1st, 2012, "May the victory reward those who have made war without loving it." I felt the memory rebounding the walls of the tunnels, and it vibrated with all the people who accompanied me. Nothing vibrated in response. We continued in silence, studying the labyrinth. Everything seemed oddly calm. We were alive. We would live.

written by Jota Mombaça translated by Jess Oliveira

First published in Buala.

Posted 11 Mar 2019
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