Juarez, I Hear You Crying, Part 3
Does it matter that Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million souls, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, bleeds daily? That it has become a murder capital. That people are afraid to go outside their homes in the evening. That bodies with duct taped faces are hung from bridges. That the Zetas hang messages from bridges claiming or denying responsibility for the latest brutal outrages. That the cartels and the army are having a shooting war on its streets. That random killings of women who work in the maquiiladoras continue. That random death stalks all of its citizen, even its children. That life is so cheap here that families who can flee to El Paso for a good night’s sleep. That unidentified bodies are frequently found in shallow, unmarked graves. Does any of this appalling suffering matter?
Both the United States and Mexico are having presidential elections this year. But the killings in Northern Mexico, the drug war, the killings in Ciudad Juarez won’t really be discussed. No. Nothing real will be discussed. At the roots, the United States can, but will not take credit for its share of the problem in Ciudad Juarez and the other northern Mexican states: an insatiable appetite for illegal drugs, huge amounts of money to purchase cocaine and marijuana, the virtually unregulated flow of guns and automatic weapons and money into Mexico to the cartels and to the corrupt governments that protect them. And Mexico can take credit for its share of the problem: gnawing poverty in the North, official corruption and a culture of pillaging when in office, insufficient employment opportunities, and farcical, corrupt enforcement of the porous border. All of this is no revelation. But does any of this matter?
Javier Sicilia, a poet who lost a son in the insane violence of the Drug War, has started a mass movement that may actually have a solution to the problem. But can that movement displace all of the embedded PRI and PAN politicians with their hands in the nation’s treasury and their muzzles in the public trough, politicians who are carrying out a century old tradition of graft, corruption, stealing, cover up, intrigue and ultimately violence for their own benefit? Isn't the flow of drugs and money their greatest opportunity in the past century?
Does it matter that Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million souls, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, bleeds daily?
It matters to me. I am appalled and disgusted. Journalists get killed writing about this, so, of course, few are now writing about it. Photographers get killed taking pictures of this. Bloggers get killed. Those who post on Facebook risk the backlash of the cartels and of the Government. They risk death, too. Or kidnapping. Or disappearance. Or injuries to their families. But none of that changes anything.
I can hear Ciudad Juarez weeping. Weeping for her dead. Weeping for her children. Weeping for a time when death wasn't waiting at every bus stop. Weeping disconsolately.
I want you to hear that weeping too. That, perceiving the suffering and the pain and the killing and how living in such a wasteland is, is the first step to finding a cross-border truce and ultimately an end to all of this killing. But you have to hear and feel it. You have to hear the weeping, the crying, the mourning. Otherwise, the killing continues, Ciudad Juarez bleeds and suffers, and nothing changes.