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Posts Tagged ‘political commentary’

Whether just passing by…

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Or, stopping to study…

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Even black and white stencils add color commentary to the walls of Oaxaca.

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We live in perilous times…P1250005

The signs are everywhere…P1260098

This guy can’t be the only one riding to the rescue.P1250841

We all must do our part.

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What a game; three goals in 10 minutes in the second half!!!   Another thrilling win by El Tri advances Mexico to the next stage in World Cup 2014.  They struggled and needed a little help from their “friends” in el norte to even play in Brazil.  However, against all odds, this team exhibits a gutsy and tenacious heart and soul that can’t help but have people rooting for them — much like the country of Mexico, itself.

Mural under fútbol stadium in Oaxaca - Dec. 2012

Mural under fútbol stadium in Oaxaca – Dec. 2012

Francisco Goldman wrote an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times.  His article, “Fooling Mexican Fans,” relates the current politics of Mexico, the “bread and circuses” diversion of the World Cup, and the notion that El Tri might exemplify all that is inspiring and hopeful in the Mexican national character.

Goldman’s op-ed begins…

The day before the Mexican soccer team’s thrilling underdog tie with the World Cup favorite, Brazil, last week, the lead editorial of the news site SinEmbargo was titled, “Ready for your Clamato and Gatorade?” — common hangover remedies. “In about three weeks, when you wake from your World Cup dreams,” the editors wrote, “remember that when the soccer fest began, the country was on the verge of monumental decisions. If upon waking, you realize that the country’s energy reserves have been cheaply sold off or whatever else, don’t bother protesting because this is a chronicle foretold.”

To debate and pass laws that could open Pemex, the nationalized oil company, to foreign investment, the Mexican Congress scheduled legislative sessions from June 10 to 23, dates precisely coinciding with you know what. Final passage might be pushed back, but it originally looked like it was supposed to happen on Monday, when Mexico plays Croatia to decide which country advances to the elimination rounds.

As I wrote previously, Mexicans have been Expressing the outrage since last year, when Mexico’s newly elected president Enrique Peña Nieto (initials EPN), from the PRI party, first made the Pemex energy “reform” proposal.

Graffiti seen on a wall south of Oaxaca's zócalo, May 23, 2014.

Graffiti seen on a wall south of Oaxaca’s zócalo, May 23, 2014. 

Goldman goes on to discuss this and other “reforms,” the role of the PRI, and the current overall political climate in Mexico.  However, as dismal as it all sounds, he ends on a hopeful note…

There has been much talk lately about the way the style of soccer teams manifests national characters. I don’t know if that’s true. But when I look at the Mexican team which, after barely even qualifying for the World Cup, has been playing so well, I see a team without stars — a gritty, hard-working, pretty humble, resourceful, creative, disciplined, joyous, friendly-seeming group of players who seem to be learning to play the game as it is meant to be played.

These are values that we see enacted and re-enacted all over Mexico, and in Mexican communities elsewhere, every day. Someday Mexico will get another chance to vote the PRI away and to restart the long process of building the country from the ground up. It could do worse than take some inspiration from its national team.

Absolutely, those are the values I, too, see exhibited in Mexican communities both in Mexico and the US.  There is hope for the future — and not just on the pitch!   I encourage you to read Goldman’s op-ed in full.  In the meantime, Mexico vs. Netherlands on Sunday at Estadio Castelao Forteleza.  ¡¡¡ VAMOS EL TRI !!!

h/t K Hackbarth for the article

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Expats and Mexicans alike, are watching in amazement at the nonsense (as in, making NO sense) taking place in the hallowed halls of Washington DC.  And, since many of the expats are retired, we are holding our collective breath over the possibility social security checks will not be forthcoming in November and a tanking stock market that flushes our nest eggs away.  Of course, Mexico is in the middle of its own mess, “educational reforms” and economic proposals that will hurt Mexico’s working class and rural populations the most.

Wall in Oaxaca city.

Wall in Oaxaca city.

In a New York Times article two days ago, Carlos Puig explains the reality of the material conditions that have forced the teachers of Oaxaca to take the drastic action of abandoning their classrooms to lead massive and extremely disruptive protests in Mexico City against the “No Child Left Behind” style reforms that the Peña Nieto led government has proposed and passed.  (Read a critique of the US education “reform” by Diane Ravitch, former “No Child Left Behind” proponent, here.)

Oaxaca is 500 kilometers from Mexico City, yet the real distance is much bigger. The state’s G.N.P. per capita is one-quarter the average for the country. Oaxaca ranks second-to-last among all states in infrastructure. More than half its population lives in towns of fewer than 2,500 people.

Being a teacher in Oaxaca means sometimes having to travel for an entire day to reach your school in a tiny community, teach for three days — to children of all grades — and travel back home for the weekend. It means having to deal with children who speak more than 20 different dialects.

Being a teacher in Oaxaca means operating in a different universe — and under different rules.

Banner hanging in front of a school in Oaxaca city

Banner hanging in front of a school in Oaxaca city

However, as in the USA, the incomprehensible words coming out of the mouths of the 1% and their elected representatives are mind-boggling in their obliviousness to the adverse consequences their behavior and policies cause.  And, we scratch our heads in amazement…  McClatchy journalist, Tim Johnson, has repeatedly blogged about the exceedingly “bad” behavior exhibited by Mexico City’s rich and powerful directed at those they consider “below” them — most recently, Las Ladies, episode 7.  And, just last week in Oaxaca, most were aghast to read that an indigenous woman, in the advanced stage of labor, was turned away from a hospital and forced to give birth on the hospital lawn.

Daniel Goleman had a revealing piece in the New York Times a few days ago that helps explain where this lack of empathy the ruling elite exhibit, that results in callous social policy, comes from.  He explains in Rich People Just Care Less that, by necessity, “the poor, compared with the wealthy, have keenly attuned interpersonal attention in all directions…”  And that, “A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power” and, “In politics, readily dismissing inconvenient people can easily extend to dismissing inconvenient truths about them.”

Okay, now we know why the rich care less, so what are we going to do about it?

Part of a mural on Niños Heroes in Oaxaca city.

Part of a mural on Niños Heroes in Oaxaca city.

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Remember the childhood riddle, “What’s black and white and red all over?”

Old answer:  A newspaper.  New answer:  The walls of Oaxaca.

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Today, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic church rode off into the sunset.  (Actually, he flew off in a helicopter.)  And, naturally, the walls of Oaxaca had something to say…

Black and white skeleton portrait of pope

This was pasted on a wall right across from the south entrance to Santo Domingo de Guzmán.  The walls are never silent.

By the way, I did a Twitter search for the hashtag afterPopequit, but came up empty.

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