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Posts Tagged ‘Iguala’

I can’t believe it has been three years since 43 student teachers went missing one night in Iguala, Guerrero.  And, I can’t believe the key questions remain.

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Who is responsible?  What happened that night?  Where are they?  Why are there still no answers?  How can 43 human beings be disappeared so completely?  When will the truth be revealed?

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In the midst of our current tragedies, let us not forget the 43 normalistas from Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

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Three years without answers must seem like an eternity to their families….

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It’s been two years since that tragic night in Iguala, Guerrero when busloads of students (normalistas) from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College were violently attacked.  Six students were killed, 25 were injured, and 43 disappeared.  It’s been two years of agony for families and friends.  It’s been two years of questions and discredited answers for the people of Mexico.  And, it’s been two years of artists around the world doing their part to not let us forget.

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Images of some of the missing by Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO) seen June 18, 2016 on Av. Morelos in Oaxaca, including 18-year old Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica from Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oaxaca.

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It has been one year since 43 normalistas (student teachers) from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero were disappeared and several of their fellow students were murdered.

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They are still missing and the truth of what happened that horrifying night has yet to be revealed.  The question remains, What happened to the 43 Ayotzinapa students?

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Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica of Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oaxaca; his 42 fellow students; 215 other Oaxaqueños, and 26,000+ other Mexicans missing since 2006, are not forgotten by their families, their friends, the people of Mexico, and the world.

We don’t have weapons sir!  Why are you aiming at us?
from the above video, narrated (in English) by Lila Downs.

And so, Mexico Marks One Year Since Disappearance of Students

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A pause in La Guelaguetza action to remember…

It’s been ten months since that unspeakable night 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing in Iguala.  They are not forgotten.  On the lower block of the Alcalá, an exhibition of sculptures by two Oaxaqueño sculptures, Victor Robinson and Emmanuel Guzman Sanchez is on display.

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One of the pieces, Faltan 43 y Faltamos Más (43 missing and we are missing more) speaks to the 43 students and to the countless others who have disappeared.

Guzman explains, that he feels it is necessary to speak out on social issues.  “I’m also installing a piece by the 43 missing normalistas; in this piece we find human remains and missing persons who do not know where they are; others that have been found in mass graves, and a broken country.”

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Three other students and three bystanders were killed outright and two dozen people were taken to hospital that horrific night.  Today’s CNN Mexico profiles one of the hospitalized students, Aldo Gutiérrez Solano, who remains in a coma.  The family must travel seven to eight hours to go from their home in Tultepec, Guerrero to Mexico City to sit at Aldo’s bedside.  According to his brother, Ulises, the bullet damaged 65% of his brain and “The prognosis is very bad.  Still in that state, is not yet known what will happen, how it will be.”  His family hopes for a miracle and that he will awaken to end the nightmare of Iguala.

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Along with blogger buddy Chris, I’ve been immersed in putting together a presentation for the Oaxaca Lending Library on the Danza de la Pluma, as it’s performed in Teotitlán del Valle.  On the superficial level, the Danza relates the story of the Conquest.  But, as is the genius of art, it reaches into our hearts and souls and explores and communicates the truths we feel.

And so, this brief video from classmates of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students touched me deeply.

The ballet needs to tell its own story in such a way it can be received without having to be translated into language.  –Twyla Tharp

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Today is the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.  However, there is no joy; most of Mexico is in mourning for the missing 43 students and the anger is building.  In Mexico City the military parade and celebrations will be moved from the Zócalo to a military installation in the Polanco neighborhood.  A mass protest march will replace it.

Castigo a los responsables de la masacre el Ayotzinapa

Zócalo, Oaxaca de Juárez – Nov. 17, 2014

The country’s attention is focused on today’s Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa.  Many will wear black today to mourn the loss of students, journalists, and others to violence in Mexico.  It is indeed a global event;  Greek students have posted a video in support of the missing students and their families.  They will be Standing in Solidarity in Salinas (California) and in at least 115 other cities around the world.  And, in Oaxaca, among many other events, at 4 PM there will be a Festival Por la Vida at Santo Domingo, one of 231 actions listed on a Facebook page.

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Sitting on a wall, high above Av. Independencia in Oaxaca city…

Tears welled up as I watched the march go by.

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The headline, Mexico Burns as Outrage over Student Disappearances Sparks Protests Against State-Backed Violence, from the Nov. 13 “Democracy Now” show, is not an overstatement.  Yesterday, in front of Santo Domingo…

Todos somos 43 in foreground; Santo Domingo in background

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Bottles with flowers propping up cardboard

The Caravana de Ayotzinapa, one of three caravans by the parents and supporters of the missing 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, is scheduled to arrive in Oaxaca tomorrow morning (Nov. 17).  A procession from the crucero at Trinidad de Viguera to the zócalo in Oaxaca is scheduled to begin at 9 AM.  Given the prohibition against foreigners participating in political activity, as much as I would like to be there, I’ll be sticking close to home.

However, for my friends in the USA, check out photographer and writer Tim Porter’s article, #43; there are demonstrations coming to a city near you.  Tim is a frequent visitor to Oaxaca and, for my Marin peeps, his articles and photographs regularly appear in Marin Magazine.

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A beautiful photo montage and song by Arturo Leyva honoring the 43 students of the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

The video uses some of the #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa illustrations, paintings, and embroidery by Mexican designers, artists, and artisans of the faces of the 43 student teachers of Ayotzinapa. 

In addition, journalist París Martínez has developed profiles of the 43 disappeared students by talking with their families and friends.

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Tomorrow, it will be 43 days since the 43 students at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Images of the missing are being posted online and on walls.

Person putting photos of missing students on wall

Oaxaca, along with the rest of Mexico, is heartbroken and outraged that her sons have not been found.  “We are not sheep to be killed whenever they feel like it”  Emiliano Navarrete, father of one of the missing students, declared following a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

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As the brilliant Día de los Muertos colors of cempasúchil (marigolds), cresta de gallo (celosia or cockscomb), and roses began to fade, a massive march, led by the parents of the missing, filled the streets of Mexico City on November 5.

Graffiti: Ayotzinapa Oaxaca Resiste

And, Oaxaca continues to add her voice on walls, in the streets, and at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO).

Entrance to MACO with Ayotzinapa exhibit announcement

… where a beautiful poem, simply entitled “Ayotzinapa,” fills one of the walls of the courtyard.

Ayotzinapa

Mordemos la sombra
Y en la sombra
Aparecen los muertos
Como luces y frutos
Como vasos de sangre
Como piedras de abismo
Como ramas y frondas
De dulces vísceras

Los muertos tienen manos

Empapadas de angustia
Y gestos inclinados
En el sudario del viento
Los muertos llevan consigo
Un dolor insaciable

Esto es el país de las fosas
Señoras y señores
Este es el país de los aullidos
Este es el país de los niños en llamas
Este es el país de las mujeres martirizadas
Este es el país que ayer apenas existía
Y ahora no se sabe dónde quedó

Estamos perdidos entre bocanadas
De azufre maldito
Y fogatas arrasadoras
Estamos con los ojos abiertos
Y los ojos los tenemos llenos
De cristales punzantes

Estamos tratando de dar
Nuestras manos de vivos
A los muertos y a los desaparecidos
Pero se alejan y nos abandonan
Con un gesto de infinita lejanía

El pan se quema
Los rostros se queman arrancados
De la vida y no hay manos
Ni hay rostros
Ni hay país

Solamente hay una vibración
Tupida de lágrimas
Un largo grito
Donde nos hemos confundido
Los vivos y los muertos

Quien esto lea debe saber
Que fue lanzado al mar de humo
De las ciudades
Como una señal del espíritu roto

Quien esto lea debe saber también
Que a pesar de todo
Los muertos no se han ido
Ni los han hecho desaparecer

Que la magia de los muertos
Está en el amanecer y en la cuchara
En el pie y en los maizales
En los dibujos y en el río

Demos a esta magia
La plata templada
De la brisa

Entreguemos a los muertos
A nuestros muertos jóvenes
El pan del cielo
La espiga de las aguas
El esplendor de toda tristeza
La blancura de nuestra condena
El olvido del mundo
Y la memoria quebrantada
De todos los vivos

Ahora mejor callarse
Hermanos
Y abrir las manos y la mente
Para poder recoger del suelo maldito
Los corazones despedazados
De todos los que son
Y de todos
Los que han sido

David Huerta
2 de noviembre de 2014. Oaxaca

Photos of the 43 students pasted on wall

Update:  Just hours after posting this, the worst has been announced.  According to Mexico’s attorney general, “The 43 Mexican students who disappeared near Iguala, in southern Mexico in September, were kidnapped by police on order of the mayor, and turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing the remains in a river….”  — CNN

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the parents must be feeling with the knowledge of the suffering and brutality their sons endured.  I am so sad and tears are welling up.  I think I will just let them fall…

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As an extranjera (foreigner), I can do nothing more than observe…

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report…

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and feel.

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Signs on the Alameda and zócalo this week.

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Today, in Santa Catarina Juquila, about 200 km southwest of the city of Oaxaca, la Virgen de Juquila, is receiving a papal coronation.  Roads leading to this remote mountain village have been repaired and repaved and extra emergency services have been in place since Monday, all in anticipation of the thousands of pilgrims who were expected to descend on Juquila.

However, for those who chose to stay closer to the city, celebrations in honor of the Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary) have been occurring for the past week throughout the valley of Oaxaca.

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Thus, blogger buddy Chris and I headed to Tlacolula de Matamoros on Friday for their annual procession.

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Beginning on the street in front of the panteón, young women wearing traditional red wool skirts and beautifully crocheted white cotton blouses…

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…danced their way through the streets balancing towering canastas (baskets) on their heads — the letters spelling out “Virgen del Rosario.”

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The arm and neck strength it takes to carry the canastas is phenomenal and can only come from years of practice.  As you can see, they begin early…

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Rockets announced the procession’s arrival.

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Bandas provided the music.

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And, “boys to men” carrying marmotas two-stepped and twirled their way along the route.

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Years of practice is required to do this, too!

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Participants stop at altars throughout the village, where prayers are recited, rest breaks are taken, and tamales, sweets, and beverages (yes, including mezcal) are consumed.

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This goes on until 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  We arrived at 4:00 PM, stayed for a couple of hours, carried nothing heavier than our cameras and daypacks, and were ready to call it a day!

However, this is a bittersweet post.  While we were reveling in the festivities, a family in Tlacolula de Matamoros was in agony.  It was reported last night that 18-year old, Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica, from Tlacolula de Matamoros, is one of the 43 students at Normal Rural ‘Raúl Isidro Burgos’ in Ayotzinapa who went missing on September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero after police opened fire on the students, who were soliciting funds for an Oct. 2 demonstration protesting funding cuts to their state-financed school.

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