Storming Hells Gate (The City Book 4)


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At that moment, they have chosen sides. The Confession of Jesus is a flag planted in the ground for the Kingdom of Jesus. Jesus is Lord of all. Our job as the Church is to incarnate that reality in word and deed. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Do not fear the haunts of Hell.

On the contrary, Jesus would have the church claim the darkest places on earth for his kingdom. People who live in places such as Caesarea Philippi need to be liberated from Satanic bondage and his stronghold. Only Jesus and the Spirit of the Living God can liberate souls in bondage. One man or one woman, one child who stands in their place of business, community group or school, and raises the banner for Jesus will find the battle engaged. Start a bible study prayer group in a place governed by evil. That is what the early church did all over the Roman Empire. Peter led the fight in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire!

These bold Christians took the fight out and into the pagan strongholds. They stormed the Gates of Hell. Make no mistake Satanic strongholds do not go down without a fight. The devils and demons fight dirty. Victory belongs to the faith-filled. Christians who stand up with rock hard faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will prevail. The gates of Hell will not stand against the Church militant. Down the gates will go. And, go down they should!

I would love for you to express your thoughts on my blog in order to strengthen our common conversation. What is your take away from this post? What question does the post leave you wondering? Let's get some discussion going!

Please note that for the sake of the trust of my readers, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are offensive or off-topic. Your email address will not be published. The laboratory maze through which the rat moves is one metaphor for it. Another is supplied by the critic Norman M.

In that sense, VR may be as old as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a new consumerist form of metaphysical redemption. Again, what disappears here is the incalculable, this time as the world of the sensory and sensual, with all the surprises and dangers that accompany it. In all the hymns to information, little is said about the nature of that information or the ability to use it; one pictures the empty trucks of metaphor hurtling down that information highway. Computers can reason, but they will never really imagine, because the incalculable of the body is forever beyond them, though it may be simulated with increasing complexity—toward what end?

Understanding works largely by means of metaphors and analogies—the incalculable relationships between bits of information—and the way those metaphors and analogies are drawn from the nonconstructed world. There are also shared but fading fables: the ant and the grasshopper, the tortoise and the hare, the dog in the manger, and a million coyote stories, which provide animal analogies for human dispositions, moralities, and fates. Instead, they provide imaginatively sterile terms that are projected back onto organic life; we can be made to resemble them more easily than they can be made to resemble us.

All those metaphors are ways of navigating the way things span both difference and similarity; without metaphor, the world would seem threateningly amorphous, both identical with ourselves and utterly incomprehensible. It is also loss of the larger territory of the senses, a vast and irreplaceable loss of pleasure and meaning.

Finally, even nowhere has its twin: everywhere. Silicon Valley has become a nowhere in the terms I have tried to lay out—an obliteration of place, an ultimate suburb, a maze in which wars are designed, diversions are generated, the individual disembodied. But the physical landscape of Silicon Valley is now everywhere, not only in the attempts to clone its success but in the spread of its products and its waste throughout the globe, the outside world being ravaged by the retreat to the interior. If you imagine a computer not as an autonomous object but as a trail of processes and effects and residues, which leave their traces across a global environmental maze, then it is already everywhere.

These are the tentacles, the winding corridors, the farthest reaches of Silicon Valley, and the hardest to imagine. One of the principal challenges for environmentalists is making devastation that is subtle and remote seem urgent to people with less vivid imaginations. And the ultimate problem of the landscape of Silicon Valley in its most abstruse, penetrating, and symbolic forms is that it is unimaginable. When I was there, the Olson orchard across Highway in Sunnyvale was selling Bing and Queen Anne cherries, and Latino workers were cutting up apricots to dry.

But a third of the orchard was bulldozed this past spring [] for housing, and the rest of the Olson orchard is on its way out. But more than that, it is forgettable, dead in the imagination, part of nowhere—it has been a decade since I last pondered the Apple logo, which has become part of a landscape of disassociation in which the apple image connotes neither sustenance nor metaphor, only a consumer choice, the fruit of the tree of information at the center of the garden of merging paths.

In , when the dictator Francisco Franco declared an end to the Spanish Civil War, tens of thousands of refugees walked north over the Pyrenees, seeking shelter in France. They expected to be welcomed as defenders of democracy, but many were forced into camps. A year later, the tide had turned, and refugees from the Third Reich and the Vichy regime began trickling into Spain, seeking passage out of Europe altogether through Spanish or Portuguese ports.

Benjamin, a Berlin Jew who had been living in Paris for many years, was one of them, and the tale of his walk from France to Spain has acquired something of the aura of a legend in the academic and intellectual circles where he matters most, for at the end of it he died. I had expected that my task would be an obscure one, but as soon as we arrived in the town, my companion and I found a kiosk by the little beach bearing maps of the region and an unfolded brochure on Benjamin and the monument to him that stands on the edge of town.

There were other surprises. The French trains run on a different gauge track than the Spanish, so each town represents the terminus of a foreign system. The young man who drove us was affably multilingual, chatting to us in French and broken English and asking directions in Catalonian of a gaunt old man rearranging the stones on one of the terraces of a vineyard. At our request, he took us up into the steep amphitheater of grape terraces behind the town and left us in what to him looked like the middle of nowhere.

After we climbed above the vineyards, we walked for a long time on a road, alone, except for the insects. On his walk to Spain, he carried a heavy briefcase containing, he told his companions, a new manuscript more important than his life; and it was part of what made the walk so arduous for him that he had to stop one minute out of ten to catch his breath. There is a steep ascent up to the plateau between Banyuls and the slopes east of Cerberes, during which the route is due south.

It then rises to loop around the ridgeline, which is also the international border. Finally, the route heads due east again along the south-facing slopes above Port Bou. The route looks like a giant inverted question mark, like the ones at the beginning of questions in Spanish. Benjamin succeeded in leading a largely uneventful life until history at its most virulent intervened. Though he had grown up in Germany when climbing mountains was so established a part of sentimental-romantic culture that he was photographed with an alpine background and alpenstock as a child, he was devotedly, unathletically urban in adulthood, nearsighted, with heart trouble, wandering his Paris labyrinths slowly.

He was supremely unequipped for what even the foothill walk from France to Spain would require of him, though he was fortunate in his guide. Lisa Fittko is one of the countless heroes who rise to confront disaster. Fittko came to the southeast corner of France alone to look for escape routes and was given enormous assistance by the socialist mayor of Banyuls and, during the months she lived there, the townspeople.

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Over the next six months, she helped hundreds more escape along this route. Perhaps because of the taxi ride, perhaps because of the roads and paths incised into the hills since , perhaps because we had no fears other than the ferocious heat of midday, we found the route remarkably easy, so easy that we could have done their nine-hour route in three, until I made a navigational mistake. Thinking we were looking down at Cerberes, the southernmost French town, and had another ridgeline to ascend, I took us straight up a steep slope, where a couple of guys with chainsaws were cutting brush, a nasty hike through sharp stubs of bushes and piles of debris, until we hit the trail for the two-thousand-foot peak called Querroig on which stands a ruined tower.

From there, I could see Cerberes and Port Bou, lying together like mirror images of each other, each with its small bay and huge train yard, and realized we had gone too far. Since we were most of the way there, we decided to go ahead and reach the summit. Thus it was that we were indeed tired when we walked down into Port Bou six and a half hours after we started. For refugees in , there was a labyrinth of international paperwork to wade through as well.

Fittko, in her memoir Escape over the Pyrenees, recounts the nightmares of scrambling for money to buy exit visas and destination visas, fake papers and real ones, the appeals to consuls and smugglers and forgers, amid a constantly shifting set of opportunities, risks, and rules. Having survived the walk, Benjamin fell into one of those traps: though he had a U. It was a tragedy of timing. When he left Marseilles, the regulation had not existed; a few weeks later, the regulation would have lapsed. Though the nature of his death is unresolved, it is certain that Benjamin died in Port Bou, in a hotel that no longer exists, on September 26, , at age forty-eight.

Moved by the tragedy, the authorities allowed his companions to continue their journey to Portugal. In recent years, the town has begun to remember him, with the brochure I found, with a new grave which is unlikely to contain his body , with a museum that is just a large room of photographs and photocopies closed when we were there , and with a brilliant monument by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan. When you enter, the view through the slot of solid rusted steel the same color as the local stone frames a view of the blue ocean; when you look up, it shows pure sky. For neither the sea nor the sky is an attainable place—both are only beautiful beyonds.

Historical construction is devoted to the memory of the nameless. For the Europe Benjamin came from is as vanished as he is; many of his friends—Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, many other poets, scientists, philosophers, painters— were more successful and got to the United States, never to return. Many more went to Israel in the years and decades since, a country whose intolerances are all too clear a mirror of the intolerances of the left-behind lands. In France, Jewish emigration to Israel has nearly doubled of late, perhaps in response to a new wave of anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, the debates on allowing Turkey into the European Union have made apparent what was implicit: that the EU can also be conceived of as a Christian union, despite its Jews and Muslims; and Italy, Poland, and some other member nations argued in May that it should be so.

The week we walked, the World Court ruled that much of the fence across the Palestinian West Bank was illegal. In Arizona, vigilantes patrol the U. In Tijuana, a new border fence and station are going up. And the United Nations counts seventeen million refugees and displaced people in the world, a considerable portion hoping for sanctuary in Europe, Christian or otherwise.

At the beginning of our hike, our taxi driver told us that he got calls sometimes from refugees seeking rides across the border. He always refused, he added. Benjamin was extraordinary in his life. But in his death, he was ordinary, another refugee denied refuge. Mexican border, not the other one we share with Canada. God, not the gods; the Border, not the borders. I failed to understand much of the movie because I thought the trunk contained undocumented immigrants—Mexicans or Central Americans who maybe picked up some radiation at a border military base, like Yuma Proving Grounds, where depleted uranium armaments were tested.

After all, trunks of cars are one of the places coyotes—smugglers—hide people attempting to cross the border illegally. The border, the aliens, the makings of a theology. Still, my friend Guillermo, who is from Mexico City but has been in the 75 United States most of his adult life, has a penchant for collecting glow-in-thedark outer-space trinkets, of which there is a copious supply. III That is the unspeakable background to this premise that the border is some kind of great natural division and brown people are some kind of outer-space creatures who belong on the other side of it.

That and the war Mexico never forgot and the United States can never quite remember, the — war Thoreau went to jail to oppose but U. Texas had already been taken, but New Mexico, southern Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California were added to the spoils pile of Yankee expansion. The U. Lieutenant John C.

Fremont of the U. Army came to the aid of the Americans, various North Bay Californios were killed or taken hostage, and the squabble joined the war being fought in other scattered locales across the West. The war that began in Texas in was a more serious business, and a third front opened up when the U. Army landed in Veracruz and invaded Mexico City. More soldiers died of disease than of combat in this war, and, like the Gulf War, it was largely won by the superior technology of the U. Mexicans still annually commemorate los ninos heroes, the teenage military cadets who fought bravely, and mostly died, defending the capital.

But the U. The people wading and swimming across the Rio Grande then were U. Army camp. Few remember now, when terrorists so neatly occupy the bogeyman niche vacated by communists, the many other groups who were cast in that role, most particularly immigrants and, in fact, terrorists—if you ignore Timothy McVeigh and all the abortion-clinic shooters—and immigrants share the basic status of Outsider or, if you prefer, Alien, so that anti-terrorism rhetoric has continued to focus on the border—particularly on the Border, even though some of the September 11 terrorists came over the Canadian border and none over the other one.

Then, too, those who pushed the notion that they were stealing jobs never looked very carefully at how many gringos were hoping to break into dishwashing and strawberry-picking careers. Anyway, the sesquicentennial celebration in Sonoma Plaza was beautifully staged.

You should go to college and study some history. The West is cast as nature, not culture, which is part of why we do not believe we have to remember anything that happened here. If the border is natural, it must not have a history, since despite the realm called natural history, we consider those two terms to describe exclusionary territories. It may have been their homeland, but it was our Eden; we were Adam and Eve, they were just a trailer for another movie.

And the defense of nature has become another semiautomatic weapon in the arsenal of exclusion. To put up a fence is to suggest difference when there is none though there will be , and to draw a border is much the same thing. In recent years, the wall, the guard, and the gate have become increasingly popular devices for maintaining difference, the difference between the garden and the world.

They show up on every scale, from the domestic to the national front, and though usually seen separately, it makes sense to look at them together. Whatever is inside the wall, past the gate, protected by the guard is imagined as some version of Paradise, but Paradise only so long as its separateness is protected. Which means that Paradise is a violent place. Symbolically, they proclaim the same message as the garden, albeit to a different audience: that the goods herein are both coveted and secured.

Politically, these gardens seem to be constructed for two distinct audiences: those who are meant to admire the plants and ignore the medallion and those to whom the medallion speaks; the former being a majority audience of friends, neighbors, and those who belong, the latter being those who do not belong and seldom show up, making them something of an imaginary audience.

To a third audience—to me, anyway—the medallion and the garden cancel each other out: what kind of serenity can a garden promising armed guards provide? Often described as an object or a fact rather than a concept, the border is nothing more than a line on a map drawn by war and only occasionally imposed on the actual landscape. It exists largely as a line running through the national imagination now. Sometimes the map is the territory, or at least fuels the territorial imperative.

But since there is no border, armed response is supposed to keep people out of our garden. A lot of immigrants began to die in the desert, too, hundreds every year, and the hunts became in part search and rescue missions, hydrating and cooling down the undocumented, who were dying of heat and dehydration. In Arizona, however, vigilantes began joining the hunt with considerably less empathy than some of the Border Patrol. In his novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad depicts his Kurtz living with human skulls as ornaments outside the house deep upriver.

A very crowded garden, withal, not crowded with immigrants but with props and weapons to guard the boundaries of empathy and imagination. IX The fantasy of the nationalist garden wall emerged in as Amendment A, a Sierra Club ballot measure, which for a while that spring threatened to fracture the organization and even the environmental movement.

The measure stated that restricting immigration was key to protecting the domestic environment. It implied that immigrants were to blame for the deterioration of the environment, as though those huddled masses were rushing out to buy jet skis and ten-acre Colorado ranchettes, as though sheer numbers alone, rather than habits of consumption and corporate practices, were responsible for degradation of the U. It reeked of American isolationism—the idea that our garden could be preserved no matter what went on outside its walls, though many ecological issues are transnational: migratory birds, drifting pollutants, changing weather— and it implied that we live in a garden and they do not.

Amendment A was meant to be a kind of garden medallion to be read by politicians as well as potential intruders. It harked back to the unattractive origins of one part of the environmental movement, the Save the Redwoods League. Saving the environment is usually imagined as being inherently moral and apolitical, but neither condition is necessary: think of the greenness of the Nazis postulating their forests as a nationalist landscape and their mountains as an Aryan zone.

Hate and suspicion are not uncommon garden crops. As one of their tactics, supporters of Amendment A urged members of anti-immigration and population-control groups to join the Sierra Club en masse to vote for the measure. Fortunately the proposal lost, but it left in its wake this renewed vision of the United States as a garden that could be sequestered from the world. The winning alternate amendment proposed that drawing such lines between nations and people would alienate important allies in the battle over the real issues.

X Having been blamed for every other sin under the sun, immigrants were now to be scapegoated for our environmental problems as well. The s had seen the rise of the environmental justice movement, which addresses environmental racism—who gets poisoned by dumps and incinerators, among other things—but the mainstream environmental movement is not always so good at the racial politics within its own priorities and assumptions.

The very white-collar premise that nature is where you go for recreation belies the possibility that some people toil in nature or on its agricultural edges and would rather do something less rugged on the weekend. Still, this is a long way from the politics of the anti-immigration activists who attempted an openly hostile takeover of the Sierra Club in the spring of , with three candidates for the March board elections looking to form a majority with some of the more dubious current board members, and with various outside organizations—some clearly racist and white supremacist—encouraging their members to join the club and sway the vote.

Only perhaps it was their boat, but the fact of their being tossed in the ocean had been obliterated; or perhaps they are the ones who row and bail and keep the boat going. XI The vision of a homogenous place overrun by disruptive, destructive outsiders is a better picture of the Sierra Club under siege than the United States in relation to immigration. We believe that the crisis facing the Club is real and can well be fatal, destroying the vision of John Muir, and the work and contributions of hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists who have built this organization.

Discrediting it would drain credit and potency away from much of the movement. And it seems that the goal of these anti-immigration activists has little or nothing to do with the protection of the environment. After all, the links between immigration and environmental trouble are sketchy at best. XII During the s, the border was always talked about as though it were a tangible landform, a divinely ordained difference. Like the U. The spring of Amendment A, I actually spent several days on the border, or rather in the place where the border is supposed to be: along the lower canyons of the Rio Grande, where the left bank is named Texas and the right bank is Chihuahua.

The river, which divides nothing at all on its long run through New Mexico, has been an international boundary since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the U. Yet rivers are capricious, and this one has a habit of throwing out oxbows that put some bewildered farmers and their land in a new country. So in the s, the border was designated as the deepest part of the river during the years of the survey, regardless of where the river should go afterward.

Which means that the phantom river of thirty years ago is now the international border—not the most solid object for nationalism to rest upon. The slow river along the banks of which all this life clustered and bloomed was not a boundary but an oasis where the toxins from American agriculture and Juarez maquiladoras mixed indiscriminately. I was traveling by raft again, and the ornithologist with us would get up at dawn to identify, band, and free the songbirds that she caught in her mist nets. She liked to point out that a lot of them wintered in the tropics of Central America, and so conservation efforts needed to be transnational.

Like the front yards of Angelenos, the international border is usually just an expanse with a few threats and armed-response guards scattered along it. Amendment A, it seemed to me there, was wishful thinking, a fantasy that spaces could be truly sequestered, could have happy fates independent of the unhappiness all around. Which is not to deny that environmental devastation and crime are bad things.

They are unquestionably bad. The questions are all about the way they are imagined and addressed. We were camped on the Mexican side of the river, of course, on one of the few spots where a road leads all the way to the river— twelve miles down a long canyon from the nearest ranch. The road was used periodically by people coming to bathe in the springs.

It seemed unlikely to be a routine patrol, in this remote place bordered by cliffs. XV On the last day of my journey down the river, a long parade of goats trotting by the dusty riverbank made me think of Ezekiel Hernandez, who lived and died not far upriver, in Redford, Texas. His story seemed at last to make the ominous ambience of the border real to the people I was traveling with. A high school senior and a U. They claimed that he had threatened them with his. The circumstances, however, make it seem unlikely that he ever even saw the marines.

Who knows why they shot him, except that he looked like a Mexican, a stranger in the garden? But the dead young goatherds are on the other side, not of the border, but of the cult. After all, it was Cain who was the gardener. Gardens are portrayed as serene spaces, but perhaps it is time for the guards to be incorporated into the iconography of gardens.

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Storming the Gates of Hell! - The Rev Charlie Holt

Besides, Mexicans are less interested in moving into locations remote from their fellows. Sometimes the ecology is better preserved south of the border than north of it. Consider the case of the nearly extinct Sonoran pronghorn on the Arizona-Sonora border.

About ten times as many survive on the Mexican side, while on the U. I traveled there too, amid signs warning of live ordnance and the sound of distant bombing operations. XVIII The takeover of the Sierra Club would have succeeded only if the invaders had convinced people to believe again that the border marks a coherent environmental divide. But if you care about stopping immigration, the environment is a touchstone of conventional goodness, or at least of liberalism, you can hide behind.

The poor nonwhite immigrants who are the real targets of this campaign are generally building and cleaning those big houses in remote places and mowing the lawns and fueling up the snowmobiles, but they tend not to own them, or to make the decision to delist an endangered species, or to defund the Superfund cleanup program, or to lower emissions standards. We elect people to do that, actually. In fact, if sprawl and resource consumption are the immediate threats posed by population growth, then the new immigrants, who live frugally, densely, and often rely on public transport, are a rebuke to the suburban majority in the United States.

Behind the early national parks and wilderness areas was the idea of scenery segregation—that it was enough to save the most beautiful and biotically lush places, a few dozen or hundred square miles at a time. Now most environmentalists are against big dams and nuclear power, so that the debates are about policy, not just geography.

But we can. More and more things come under the purview of environmentalism these days, from what we eat to where our chemicals end up. It seems instead that environmentalism is a cloak of virtue in which anti-immigration activists are attempting to wrap themselves. XXI And those portrayed as invaders are in fact maintaining the garden.

Think Virgil, think wetback georgics. And the desire to secure cheap labor has created an alternative boundary around some of these agricultural gardens, ones that the workers cannot get out of. America was founded on a vision of abundance, enough to go around for all. The great irony of Central Park in its early years was that public money and democratic rhetoric were used to make a place most notable for its concessions to the rich, who promenaded there in carriages, while the poor took to private pleasure gardens where less aristocratic pleasures such as drinking beer and dancing the polka were acceptable.

New York, in this scenario, became pristine nature to be protected. In death, but only in death, did these young Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans become Americans. Finally, in return for a blanket forgiveness of Latin American debt, the Yankees are welcomed in, and the DickCheney-look-alike president admits that the United States has been wrong in its environmental and social policy and vows to try to do better.

Army deserters of — whom no one on the north side of the border remembers. What does it mean that once again the deserts are for dying in, under similar circumstances, despite the existence of railroads and highways and refrigeration and air conditioning and airplanes and interstate waterworks? Border Patrol agents spotted it from the air and thought it was a body, Jesus as an unsuccessful border crosser, a dead alien. They launched a rescue attempt and retrieved the statue, which no one subsequently claimed as lost property.

It was regarded by Catholics in the area as a message from God. On the south side of the border, in Piedras Negro, the statue was regarded as the Christ for the undocumented. Who forgot to build anything for the service sector, even though those workers more than anyone keep a city running? In recent years, radical architects have begun to question and jettison those decisions. At its most provocative, this opening up is a series of challenges to borders and categories, and its most inspired practitioner might be architect Teddy Cruz.

This invisible city is made of height limitations, setbacks [the rules about how far back from the property line you can build], zoning regulation that is very discriminatory. So what came to be my interest is what I call urbanism beyond the property line. To do this, architects have to cross the property line and venture into public space, and then cross still another divide. A supreme expression of the enthusiastic mix of Mission Revival and Alhambra fantasia that characterized much prewar California architecture, its buildings form a hollow square with, of course, parking at its center.

The work of installing two tractor-trailer beds and building a tented structure and AstroTurf lounge area was relatively easy; getting permission to do so was not. Or the reinvention of the whole urban fabric. At forty-three, Cruz is dapper, sturdily built but somehow slight, perhaps from nervous energy, elliptical in his rapid speech, passionate in his enthusiasms, and usually running late. Somehow, as we traverse both sides of the border this Sunday, I begin to feel like Alice being rushed along by the White Rabbit, though the rabbit in this case is not so white.

Born and raised in Guatemala City and brought to San Diego at age twenty by his stepfather, Cruz has been here contending ever since with suburbia, sprawl, real estate booms, the border, and other contingencies of contemporary California. The crowded, chaotic richness and poverty of Guatemala City instilled in him a permanent enthusiasm for density of both buildings and activities. The fatherless son of the proprietor of a fashionable nightclub, he grew up middle-class in the bustle of a third world city, graduated from high school, and planned to become a doctor until a fellow student took him to see a corpse dissected.

Squeamish, he backed off from the plan. An aptitude test established architecture as an alternative. But what decided the matter for him was the sight of a fourth-year architecture student sitting at his desk at a window, drawing and nursing a cup of coffee as rain fell outside. Cruz moved as soon as he got his BA in architecture, leaving the overstimulation of Guatemala City for the anomie of the brandnew San Diego suburb of Mira Mesa.

I saw that it was incredibly ordered; I thought that it was very nice. It can get to you, that relentless kind of sameness. Somewhere in there, he got married and had a daughter, now eighteen; eventually got divorced; started his own practice; and began to teach. He also got married again, to the landscape architect Kate Roe, and had two more daughters, now nine and four.

In the end, he had to start from scratch, looking not just at what could be built but at how to reinvent the conditions in which architects work. His PowerPoint presentations are things of beauty, zooming from maps of the world to details of children at play, combining computer-generated images, architectural models, his lush collages, photographs of buildings, streets, and aerial views. They leave crowds exhilarated and ready to change the world. But his most important function may be as a visionary, an exhortatory voice.

Another of his innovations is to focus on traditionally overlooked people and spaces. Well, they live in the inner city. It is not a coincidence, then, that the territory that continues to be ignored is the inner city. Cruz cherishes human interactions, and none of his designs or critiques overlooks how people actually inhabit buildings and spaces. At his parking-lot transgression for InSite in Balboa Park, Cruz is delighted that some teenagers broke in after hours to hang out in the pavilion, without damaging anything; their desire to use the space was a real measure of success to him.

He proposes that rather than measure density by the number of dwellings or residents per square block, we measure it by the number of interactions—the more the better. With goals like this, the solutions stop looking like ordinary architecture. Strangely, there is no parking nor any people—the area by the stadium feels deserted.


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Or almost no people. We pass a woman wearing headphones and waving a giant sign advertising condos—a common sight in this real estate boomtown. The green space in front of the stadium that was supposed to be a public park has been surrounded by fencing and annexed by the sports corporations, Cruz points out, another wall he is indignant about. I feel a lot more charged. I cannot help but want to escape that kind of sterility in San Diego and then embrace this, what you might call chaos. The sight of the pharmacies whets our appetite for something livelier than this abandoned zone, and so we drive south on I-5 to another parking lot—this one a short walk from the militarized carnival zone that is the border.

And with that, all the rules are about to change, which is part of why Cruz brings people across so often. There you can see difference, see the innovativeness born out of poverty and its sometimes exuberant results. Somehow the very texture changes when you leave San Diego for Tijuana. Cruz decides on a detour, and suddenly we leave behind the gringo-commodities zone to join a mostly Mexican crowd.

Men and women, walking in a large group, are chanting angrily and carrying placards we cannot read from behind. They march down the middle of the street, and cars and trucks in the one remaining lane honk in solidarity. Street and sidewalk are crowded and bustling. On an earlier tour, he took me to see the small houses salvaged from San Diego as an alternative to demolition, homes that had themselves emigrated across the border.

The improvised architecture of Tijuana delights him, the homes built piecemeal and the retaining walls made out of tires, the squats and guerrilla housing that Mexico, with a very different attitude toward real estate rights, often allows to become neighborhoods of legitimate homeowners. Just past it is the international border, the new fence being put in, a row of deceptively open-looking, off-white vertical strips that look less brutal but are also more forbidding than the corrugated metal landing pads from the Gulf War that were erected in the early s a recycling suggesting that this too is a war zone.

The border has grown steadily more massive and more militarized over the past two decades. Such shifts in scale are a big part of his language and worldview; he is as interested in the borders that govern the single-family home as those that divide two nations on one continent. Another is the abrupt line where two worlds meet—or rather where one world presses forward and the other shrinks back. Even the ecology has become different on each side. Mexicans emigrate north with or without papers; Americans who work in San Diego have moved south to buy affordable waterfront homes on the other side, an American dream no longer in America; California as a whole becomes more and more Latino, with Latinos due to become the majority population in the next decade; and by some accounts 40 percent of the San Diego workforce lives south of the border.

Tiendas selling Mexican washtubs and other goods show up in San Diego, while U. This reading of the border lets Cruz think about the two great forces of globalization and privatization in relation to everyday life. Privatization as the spatial and psychological withdrawal from the public sphere and the collective good that accompanies an ideology of individualism and free enterprise. And perhaps a counter to privatization in the reinvigorated sense of public life and public space that sometimes comes with Latino immigrants.

And then there is the subdivision in Tijuana we went to look at one day, a strange grid of miniaturized single-family homes plopped like a carpet on a rolling landscape. Each home had a driveway out front, but there was not enough room for them to be freestanding; instead they pressed against each other in long rows.

Such customization also happens in non-Latino American neighborhoods, he agrees; it is more because this is where his roots are that he comes back again and again to the world south of the border—that and the fact that what the United States is getting from Mexico and from Latinos is highly politicized now.

From the bus protest, we go on to wander through a mercado, a cluster of small open shops under one barnlike roof. We had jumped on the bus hoping it would move faster than the thousand or so pedestrians winding away out of sight on the sidewalk, inhaling the bus fumes, and mostly ignoring the peddlers of lamps and churros and other trinkets. A black man sits imperturbably with sunglasses on in the dim bus. These are not the people who have rediscovered the city, the people for whom downtowns are being redeveloped, nor are they suburbanites. And he is indignant both that so many are stuck at this border this afternoon and that the border has been built with a disregard for the needs of people with lives on both sides.

This is one of those in-between zones that preoccupy him. In these neighborhoods, multi-generational households of extended families shape their own programs of use. Latino immigrants are confronted with a labyrinth of laws, regulations and prejudices that frustrate, even criminalize, their attempts to build vibrant neighborhoods.

One is titled Living Rooms at the Border. This suggests a model of social sustainability for San Diego, one that conveys density not as bulk but as social choreography. After seeing Cruz present the project, San Francisco landscape architect and city activist Jeffrey Miller commented that Cruz is designing spaces similar in some ways to the old courtyard housing projects that failed in the inner city, and that if this one works, it will be as much because the Latino residents inhabit that space differently as because the scale is far more humane.

Teddy, on the other hand, is not simply politically dedicated, but he is able to produce tremendous innovations from the very exigencies with which he deals. Marvelous things can happen at the intersection of modernity and conscience. Living Rooms at the Border is part of a larger scheme by Casa Familiar, spearheaded by Skorepa and architect David Flores, to create a community that works.

San Ysidro is an immigrant community. They are also seeking to get density ordinances waived so that people can build or legalize the already built second and third units on their property. The structure addresses two often overlooked facts: that seniors frequently care for their grandchildren and need spaces that accommodate the young, and that the young and old have in common a need for secure spaces for socializing, playing, and walking—safe from cars and from crime. Twenty housing units will open onto a communal garden promenade, with frontages that can either be opened up for informal socializing or closed down for privacy.

A childcare facility can be used by both seniors and children and adapted at times to other community uses. The projects grew in part out of a series of community meetings about how spaces could be designed and how they are designed. For community members who were not familiar with the language of planning, moveable three-dimensional models were set up so they could see how many ways a given space could be used to open up or close down access, accommodate many or few.

These two projects will house perhaps a hundred to a hundred and twenty people, but architect and developer see them as prototypes to argue for another urbanism, one that opens up how we live. But if you want to know who picked up the bill, look in a mirror. By , California gold miners had extracted When you tour the museums of the Gold Country, as the Sierra Nevada foothills are still called, you see children dressing up in historical costumes and playing at panning for gold—but it might be more educational for them to play at testing for clean water, imitating mercury-poisoning madness, reading a corporate prospectus, or conducting a wildlife survey.

For the Native inhabitants of the Mother Lode region, whose sustenance depended on an intact ecology, the Gold Rush was Armageddon. For the survivors, it spelled the quick destruction of their culture and habitat. Even the mostly boosterish Gold Country museums acknowledge that the Gold Rush was an atrocity for the local environment and those whose lives were intertwined with it.

At the museum of the Mariposa Historical Society near Yosemite, hand-lettered texts record that a miner panning in a stream could work about a cubic yard of earth a day. Greed and a constantly diminishing ratio of gold to ore prompted new technologies that allowed more and more earth to be worked over with less labor and thus made lower-grade deposits worth working. As the technologies became more elaborate, the capital costs increased, and the era of the miner as rugged individualist rapidly gave way to the era of corporate operations and distant investors.

If mining was a war on the earth, the heavy artillery arrived when hydraulic mining was invented in the early s. Its high-pressure water cannons allowed mining operations to wash away gravel, earth, hillsides, whole landscapes at a hitherto unimaginable rate.

By , a total of 4, miles of canals ran through the Gold Country. A wilderness had been turned into an outdoor factory; rivers into washing machines, conveyor belts, and drains; hills into holes; forests into plumbing supplies. Of this, 1. The rivers en route rose far more dramatically. The Sacramento rose an average of 7 feet. The town of Marysville, which once sat securely above the Yuba and Feather rivers, began to build levees that rose higher than the housetops, as the rivers rose higher than the streets, but in a torrent of toxic mud buried the town. The Yuba was at one point feet above its original bed and is still 65 feet higher than it was in No one took much account of the mercury used in gold mining, but about 7, tons of it— The Gold Rush is still poisoning the Golden State.

Until recently, gold was the measure of value for all other things, perhaps because it is exceedingly stable and relatively scarce. Gold was money, and money in its material form was gold, the fulcrum between the concrete world of things and the abstraction that is the exchange value of things. Gold was an anchor for national economies, the basis for their currency.

Until , higher-denomination U. The scramble by nations such as Australia and Britain to sell off much of their gold reserves has contributed to the rapid decline in gold prices in recent years. Unlike most other extractive-industry products such as oil, gold has little practical use: of the 4, tons used worldwide each year, about 85 percent goes into jewelry. How do you weigh gold against a whole landscape?

It is all this that was being traded in for gold then and, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada, is still being traded in now. In this method, pulverized ore is heaped up in huge sloping mounds atop a plastic liner, and cyanide solution is poured through it. The solution carries much of the gold with it as it runs off, and the gold is extracted from the poisonous solution.

Gold is now mined on a scale none of those men in the sepia-tone photographs could have imagined, from ore far more low-grade than they could have considered worthwhile. The Mary Harrison mine, which opened in in Coulterville, near Yosemite, yielded about one-third to one-half an ounce of gold per ton. Its pit is now 1, feet deep, a mile wide, and a mile and a half long. From hydraulic mining then to cyanide heap-leach mining now, more and more land and water are disrupted and polluted for every ounce of gold.

Because much of the ore contains other heavy metals, excavating it, breaking it up and watering it, or making it accessible to rain and other natural water sources make it a potent contaminant. Often ore contains sulfur, an element that forms sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water. Sulfuric acid thus formed is called acid mine drainage: it draws the heavy metals—including arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury—out with it into the environment.

The Paiutes are working on getting Superfund designation for the site. One way to describe modern gold mines is to say that they are displacing earth and water on a gargantuan scale and producing and dispersing toxins in smaller quantities, with gold a proportionally minute by-product of this disruption. Though Nevada is the driest state in the union, the slender Humboldt River meanders nearly four hundred miles west from its beginnings in the northeast corner of the state.

Springs and mountain streams feed the river, and the region is blessed with huge aquifers not far below the surface of the earth—but eighteen of the large mines in the Humboldt region are working below this water table. Local springs, streams, and parts of the Humboldt River may dry up. The water table will be radically rearranged. I asked Myers why most of the anti-mining activists are working in places like Washington and Montana, when most of the gold mining is in Nevada. Another endangered subspecies, the Lahontan cutthroat trout, lives in the Humboldt River and in two other rivers, though in the Carson and Truckee rivers it has interbred with introduced trout species.

Pronghorn still range in the more remote places—but mining is doing in those more remote places, too. Of course, the question of whose land it really is has yet to be settled. One oft-neglected fact about the California Gold Rush is that it took place on land that still legally belonged to its resident tribes. For thousands of years in this area, there had been nothing but sagebrush grassland and open space, through which any creature might move freely; and even a few years back, when I worked as a land rights activist with the Western Shoshone, it was open space threatened by nothing worse than a few cows.

Now its expanse is dominated by steep slopes of waste rock piles and fenced-off cyanide leach heaps, thousands of feet long and hundreds high, mounds that mean an equally large hole exists nearby. Black pipes lead into the distance, where a grid of rectangular recharge ponds gleams—the mine pumps about 13, gallons per minute to get under the water table.

Storming the Gates of Hell!

But mining means that not merely the ownership but the very survival of the land is now at stake. To me, to pump water like that for the sake of gold. How do you control that? How do you deal with underground contamination? To me water is a gift of life.


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  • To value gold over water is to value economy over ecology, that which can be locked up over that which connects all things. A few newly bulldozed embankments were all that kept the acid out of beautiful Willow Creek, which runs between the two sides of the mine. A scientist had told Chris that when the acid was still running down the mining road into the stream, the road was full of dead earthworms, and the stream was dying. Parched with thirst and surrounded by gold, he begged the god Bacchus to take back his gift.

    Afterward, Midas hated riches and dwelt in the forest. Before the mine, biologists had noted an active lek, or sage grouse dancing ground, on the site. More than a hundred of the imperiled birds would gather there then; now the sage grouse are gone. One day the creek disappeared too: Maggie Creek, which runs past the mines of Barrick and Newmont corporations, vanished into a sinkhole mining had created; it had to be revived with sandbags that kept it out of the new rupture in the water table.

    The conference was held near the Malakoff Diggings. If the decision holds up, a lot of new gold mines could be denied permits.

    Christians on Offense ‘Storming the Gates of Hell’

    Battle Mountain Gold is itself named after the north-central Nevada town whose name commemorates a miner-Shoshone confrontation; the corporation is still at work in Nevada despite its defeat in Washington State. Not all the stories were uplifting. Thanks to this disaster and many like it in Montana, Montanans recently voted to implement legislation that bans cyanide heap-leach mining. Gold miners have almost always been mobile, rootless people; the mines punish most those who are rooted and committed, unable or unwilling to move on once the damage has been done.

    Carrie Dann once said that everyone who buys gold jewelry should get to deal with the consequences, too—such as the tailings it took to produce that much gold. Gold used to be the more tangible of the two goods, but gold going out of the country or being locked up in vaults now seems less tangible than even the remotest stream in which trout swim, sage grouse splash, pronghorn drink.

    The state is a truly peculiar place, a hole in public consciousness. Where else could you set off a thousand nuclear bombs unhindered—from to , at the Nevada Test Site—while even most antinuclear activists were arguing about nuclear war as a terrible possibility rather than as an ongoing regional catastrophe? Once nuclear testing went underground in , and American babies stopped having fallout-induced radioactive milk teeth, Nevada fell off the map, even as the nuke-a-month program continued unimpeded for almost three more decades.

    One of the most egregious wars has been the ongoing battle between the Western Shoshone and the federal government for title to most of Nevada. It began in , when the U.

    SERMON DATE AND TITLE:20110925: "Storming Hell's Gates"

    Bush signed into law the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill. That bill dishes out money the government set aside a few decades ago as payment for much of eastern and southern Nevada. The area had looked so worthless to the bureaucrats of the nineteenth century that they drew up a treaty letting the Western Shoshone, unlike most indigenous nations, retain title to their lands. The bureaucrats of the twentieth century, desperate to reverse this misstep, realized that the best way to seize title to Nevada was to pretend that the government had already taken the land at some point in the past—back when it was more affordable.

    Reasonably enough, the Western Shoshone point out that they never offered their land for sale, and many of them refuse to take the money. The disbursement was made against their strenuous opposition. They have deep roots in the past and are interested in the longterm future of the place. To get microscopic gold, you dig up huge hunks of the landscape, pulverize them, and then run a cyanide solution through the resultant heaps, which pulls the gold out.

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