Of the Lazy Intellectuals

I remain convinced that if you want to meet the most stupid intellectuals, you must engage university students and the so called elites. These are white collar thinkers but with the blue collar attitude. They remind me of the very relevant words of Rene Otto Castillo, a revolutionary from Guatemala who was killed in the 1960s. Castillo had this to say about these men and women who can quote abstract theories and solve complex analytical problems yet remain unconscious about the struggles of the oppressed:

“One day the apolitical intellectuals of my country will be interrogated by the simplest of our people
They will be asked what they did when their nation died slowly…
They wont be questioned on Greek mythology,
or regarding their self-disgust when someone within them begins to die the coward’s death.

They’ll be asked nothing about their absurd justifications,
born in the shadow of the total life.
On that day, the simplest men will come;
Those who had no place in the books and poems of the apolitical intellectuals,
but daily delivered their bread and milk,
their tortillas and eggs,
those who drove their cars,
who cared for their dogs and gardens, and worked for them.
And they’ll ask:
“What did you do when the poor suffered, when tenderness and life burned out of them?”

Apolitical intellectuals of my country, you will not be able to answer.
A vulture of silence will eat your gut.
Your own misery will pick at your soul.
And you will be mute in shame…”

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