Friday, November 7, 2014

despojos: land grabs

I have previously rendered despojo as disposession, but this rendition could have more impact for political purposes if it fits the context. Despojo can actually also mean other kinds of accumulation by dispossession in the midst of war, or war plunder, but at least in the Colombian context it usually refers to some of the massive land grabbing that's been happening there which has made it the number one country for internal displacement.

The term despojo was rendered as displacement in the video below, which I think gets it a bit off, but I highly recommend the video anyways.  It has gorgeous cinematography and starts out with great footage of the peace community of San José.

1 comment:

Sara Koopman said...

my fab colleague Eric wrote with this comment:

I'm in China now so I can't get to your blog to maybe comment, but with MOVICE documents I used "land theft". "Grab" sounds like they might just take advantage of people selling to buy up lots of land, I thought; and "disposession" is a word that a lot of native English speakers might not know. I think it's less coloquial then "despojo" is in Spanish? Not sure about that though.

my response:
Land grab gets used much more in the academic literature - and I think amongst activists too actually. The thing is that these are often done through quasi legal means so they are often not technically theft (eg. me vendes o me lo vendera tu viuda, or we'll cut off the road you use to get to market, etc, etc.). I think land grab has a strong connotation of coersion though - at least in the Latin American context, maybe less so in African ones? Not sure. Que crees?

And my ear must be totally perverted by academia because disposession seems about the same register in English to me. Or maybe I just hear it in English about the same amount as I do in Spanish because of the events I go to, circles I'm in? Huge with the Marxists.

Mi gente, como la ven? Other thoughts from the rabble?