Estamos Hasta La Madre!
It’s really inspiring. And, I suspect, that if you’re a reader of only the front pages of the US Trad Media, you might not know anything about Javier Sicilia and the huge March on Mexico City against drug violence this past weekend. News from Mexico doesn’t often penetrate the border with the US, unless it’s about the extreme violence of the drug cartels. But this story is different. And it’s important. And empowering. We all need to know about it.
The New York Times reported that tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico City yesterday:
Javier Sicilia, the poet who has become an unlikely hero in a movement calling for an end to Mexico’s drug war, asked for five minutes of silence at the end of a Sunday rally in this city’s giant central plaza.
The silence was to honor the dead — more than 35,000 since President Felipe Calderón sent the military to fight drug cartels four and a half years ago. …
… Mr. Sicilia’s grief and fury have resonated with many Mexicans who believe they have become the ignored victims in a battle between organized crime on one side and soldiers and the police on the other.
At the rally Sunday, Mr. Sicilia called on the government to change its strategy in the war, calling first for the resignation of Genaro García Luna, the director of public security and an architect of Mr. Calderón’s battle against the drug gangs. “We want to hear a message from the president of the republic that with this resignation, yes, he has heard us,” Mr. Sicilia said.
The city police estimated that as many as 150,000 people took part in the march, although the number of people who finally gathered in the plaza late Sunday afternoon to hear Mr. Sicilia and other grieving families speak, seemed considerably smaller.
Al Giordano was on the ground in Mexico City with the march. He was inspired:
Javier Sicilia and his merry band (they kind of do conjure up images of Robin Hood and company) walking into the big city from Morelos may very well stop the drug war. They are harnessing a public opinion that has existed for a long time but no one had given voice or form to it. I’m a believer. We’ve been documenting and reporting everything they’ve done and will keep on doing so and see it all the way through. But I observe they are doing something else, maybe something even bigger than that once-thought impossible policy change, as well. They are teaching us how to walk again: Another way to fight. Not with polarization and sloganeering, but with creativity and fun, with a warm heart and a cool head. Heaven knows that if anyone has a right to rant and rail and shout and pound his fist into the air, it is he who lost his son so cruelly so few weeks ago. But here he is, today, in the nation’s capital, handing out sandwiches to reporters and to cops, giving them, too, a shot at redemption, to learn to walk again.
There is, of course, the important, sad story about how a poet became such an important activist. CNN:
Javier Sicilia says he wrote his last poem after his son's brutal slaying. But words are still pouring out of the well-known Mexican poet's mouth.
This time, he says, they have a different purpose: mobilizing Mexicans to speak out and demand action from the country's government.
Since the March killing of his son, Sicilia has become one of the most outspoken voices against Mexico's surge of drug-related violence. His latest effort -- a three-day "silent march" from the city of Cuernavaca to the nation's capital – beg[an last] Thursday morning.
"We are going there to look for a peaceful Mexico with justice," Sicilia said in an online video post promoting the march.
The details of Sicilia’s evolution are remarkable.
[Before his son’s death] Sicilia was known for the poems and literary essays he wrote for Mexican publications. He was an intellectual figure, not an activist.
Less than a week later, Mexican media reported that Sicilia had written his last poem. He read it beside a memorial for his son in Cuernavaca's central square.
"The world is no longer dignified enough for words," he said, according to the state-run Notimex news agency. "This is my last poem, I cannot write more poetry," he concluded. "Poetry no longer exists inside me."
In an open letter "to politicians and criminals" published in the April 3 edition of the magazine Proceso, Sicilia quoted French existentialist Albert Camus and German writer Bertolt Brecht, as he urged Mexicans to take to the streets.
"We do not want one more man, one of our sons, killed," he wrote, calling for "a national movement that we must keep alive to destroy the fear and isolation put in our minds and souls by your incompetence, politicians and your cruelty, criminals."
And so an important movement has arisen. Will the Mexican Government hear its citizens' voices and respond? Will the demonstrations increase and continue? Will the violence continue unabated? What exactly does it take for citizens to change government policies that are complete failures? What can be done to save lives?
This is the beginning of Mexico's Arab Spring. It's happening right under our noses. But alas. Our often intentional ignorance of Mexico's news deprives us of this inspiration. For shame.