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Where tragedy with a capital ‘T’ transforms into cry

This is the title  Francis Fergusson gives the summary of Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King”, which according to Umberto Eco is the maximum condensation, that allows you to know something about a novel that’s not more than a two hundred page essay.


Armando Orozco Tovar


But going back to Sophocles we remember the Colombian poet, Luis Vidales, when he said there isn’t anything more humorous than history. And I add: especially Colombian history, since it turns out that the Greeks would have found permanent subjects to write about. Given that there is nothing more humorous than the country’s tragic history.

For the poet there was nothing more laughable, but with tears in his eyes, than the life of the Liberator Simon Bolivar, who after freeing five nations, ended up dying without a shirt in Santa Marta, Colombia.

Vidales was also referring to a more recent European subject of the universal misfortune, who after threatening the world with imposing his empire for a thousand years, ended up committing suicide in a basement of his chancellery.

The author of the poetry book ’Bells are Ringing’ (Vidales) referred to many more cases, where tragedy with a capital ‘T’ transforms into cry. Without ever going too far, we forget the races, gestures, jumps and falls of the great Chaplin.

Everything in him is comical – laughable, making the spectator come out of the cinema screening (I don’t know about now), with wet eyes as if they’d been peeling onions.

In Colombia (the country of ’Jesus’ bloodied heart’, as the poet Roca says ironically) this is present in each instant in the first hand events described by the newspapers. But there are some that are so outstanding, that they compete with: Find the guilty one!, Fergusson’s summary proposal.

Perhaps he doesn’t remember the time when a Colombian minister ordered the capture of mafia members of another city, resulting at the end of the investigation that he was one of them, by seizing big money given to his government by the drug traffickers?

In the Oedipus play, being already a king, he orders the search of the previous monarch’s murderer, and when the investigators come back with the news that they’ve found him, it turns out that he’s the murderer.

A situation to make you die laughing… but also crying. And faced with the evidence that the deceased was his father, the monarch blinds himself with his own hand…

Here in Colombia how many will have to do the same: the king, advisors, ministers, police and soldiers with their non-intelligence services, who prick (intercept calls) from left to right like good subjects in Colombia of the afrodescendant Pope.

But they nearly always end up before the media being pricked themselves, like when a well-known character with a ’long hand and no heart in the chest’, said in a telephone conversation: “I’m going to slap your face poof”…And others with Napoleonic faces, but only because they are dwarfs of the war, or the unconvinlcing Goebbels from trashy TV.

Find the guilty one! In the restaurants where some coffee-shop subversives, since remote times, conspire to change the looting and criminal – but laughable – regimes.

(Translated by Carina Sala – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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