2 de Octubre, 2006
A Candle for Oaxaca, A Prayer for America
A CANDLE FOR OAXACA, en mi corazón y en mi cuarto. If you read this blog, chances are your interests have already taken you to sources of information on what is happening in Oaxaca, México. But if not, you can easily find many good reports in various blogs and on various news sources.
The skinny? This particular trouble began when the Governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, slithered his way into power just like Bush and Calderón, and all the "big boys" these days do. And I don't enclose "big boys" in quotes because I don't understand or use the phrase normally, but because "big boys" don't steal, and they don't lie, and they don't suck the scepter of power even when their soul is draining out through they shoes. But Bush, Calderón, and Ortiz are not "big boys." They are ladrones and they deserve our contempt and our scorn. They most certainly do not deserve our respect, nor our allegiance.
But that is the way the world works. You know it and I know it. Most know it, and have numbed their minds to it and their hearts to it. Because the alternative is painful, we tell ourselves. The alternative is, perhaps, pain or discomfort in our own life, as we throw in our lot with the oppressed or abused. It's the same instinct that allows us to ignore a trouble child's confessions of a tragic home life, or the smack on a child's face in the supermarket, or the cries of a woman through the wall, or the sight of a hungry family on our way to the restaurant.
But what we allow in the world, we allow to all of us, and we endorse with our apathy. Mexicans have not become as numbed as most Americans, perhaps. They did not rationalize or sigh away Ortiz' crime.
The workers of Oaxaca have risen up. The teachers are on strike. The popular organizations fight against the political bosses and the government, represented by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), demanding the destitution of governor Ulises Ruiz. The police say they are ready to intervene at the beck and call of Vicente Fox. The state legislators of the PRI, PAN and PRD parties, their political arguments spent, solicit with anguish the intervention of federal troops to maintain the governor by brute force. But the people has confronted the police and defeated them. They have not been able to dissolve the encampment or the mobilizations. A march of thousands draws near Mexico City.
—Sergio Almaguer Cosío, secretary general of the Mexican Party of Communists at the Mexico City meeting as reported by Narco News
The government of the devious semi-Mexican Vicente Fox claims the flights over Oaxaca are nothing but routine. Carlos Abascal Carranza, Secretary of Government, claims “they are supply flights,” and are not related to the protests in Oaxaca. The protestors of Oaxaca build barricades of concrete and tree trunk, and stock homemade incendiary bombs (gasoline) to prepare for what they feel is the inevitable attack of police and military forces. The barricades are to slow down these forces, but sadly they can even catch pre-dawn motorists in fatal traps, such as wire strung across a dark street.
This is a tension and a conflict and a fight for justice that has been building in Oaxaca for a time, now. I imagine to the Mexicans in Oaxaca, there is no other choice but to meet this conflict head-on. Just as Mexicans have always done.
I am not in Mexico, save in my heart. I cannot talk to any of these people one on one. I can only imagine what is in their hearts, and why they do what they do. But being here in the USA, and watching my fellow countrymen rattle off nonsense in response to the offenses done against them; reading bloggers and columnists invent reasons why it is permissible for our own "leaders" to commit violation after violation against our laws and our spirit is sickening. It reminds me of an unfortunate victim of domestic abuse listing reasons she is to blame for the violence done to her. And listening to the rest of the mainstream "A list" brainiacs rant and rave, more impressed with their own ability to notice these transgressions than shame for allowing them as well fills me with bile, as this type of self-congratulatory indignation is more masturbation than righteous action.
Look to Mexico, swarmed upon by the same criminals that have lived throughout time, in every land. Look to Mexico, where the people understand that it is better to die bloodied and with your heart and hands in accordance, than it is to ride a comfortable chair to Hell. Look to Mexico, the land that birthed the man who said Es mejor morir de pie, que continuar viviendo de rodillas. It is better to die on your feet than it is to continue to live on your knees.
Look to Mexico, in her time of need. But do not look with pity, for she will live on, and her spirit will never die. Regardless of what el gobierno does or does not do. Look to her to know better how we ought to live. Perhaps you and I can draw strength from those proud people. For it is you and I—right here in America and snoozing in the shadow of those same dark forces that Oaxacans meet with axe handles and gasoline—who are in true need of help.