“Lo Hermoso es Feo y lo Feo es Hermoso”
(Bloody Instructions from a Narco-Macbeth)
In Act one, scene seven, Macbeth prepares himself to murder Duncan, the king of Scotland. As he contemplates the consequences of this act Macbeth hesitates saying:
But in these cases
We still have judgment here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague th’ inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips.
An act of translation can be a two edged sword. The openhanded gesture of exploration, discovery, and learning can become the closed fist of aggression, colonization, and oppression. To translate is to transform language and transmit ideologies. It is an act of teaching an act of learning. But at what point does instruction become bloody instruction, when the act of translation returns to plague its inventor – the translator?
Hopefully not today.
Back to the bloody business