Twenty minutes of wisdom

Undiluted. Uncensored. Unapolagetic. And sadly, unsubtitled.

José Mujica’s speech hit me like a strong tidal wave, when I heard it today. He spoke for less than twenty minutes at the Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (UNASUR)- meeting last week. I turned the video on, thinking I would listen to it while unpacking the groceries I had just carried in, but I was mesmerized instantaneously and didn’t move until he was done. My groceries are still unpacked. I had to share it first. My heart is full and I wish more people would listen. I wish I would listen. And I AM!

It is one of those speeches that should be viewed in history classes in years to come. I would like to say it is his “I have a dream” moment, but with this man it is just one of his many inspiring appearances.

You can watch the whole speech in Spanish, if you are hispanohablante. The full transcript can also be found here.

A few quick quotes I translated (and trust me, there is so much more in there):

Some of us have been taught lessons in a world that is a valley of tears, so you can go to a paradise afterwards, but I will not take you there. This is the paradise or this is your condemnation. It is this life that you must fight for, so that the people may live their lives in a better way. There is no compromise.


After having been born you can give [your life] content or not. You can alienate yourself from life, let the market buy you, go through life buying cards or buying rides and move forward. And then at the end, when you are old like me, full of rheumatism, you are found naked… and what did you do for the world?

But if you had a dream and fought for hope and tried to transmit it to the rest, their might be a small breathe of you that lingers on in the hills, in the seas. A faint memory that is worth more than a monument, than a book, than a hymn, than a poem; it is the human hope that is established in the new generations.

Friends, nothing is worth more than life. Fight for happiness! And happiness is giving life content and direction and not letting anyone steal it from you. There is no recipe for this. It is in the consciousness that you get when you use the marvelous opportunity of having been born.

I am going to unpack my groceries now, but I will be back later on to translate this speech to English and see if I can share it with all of you.