“Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvido que somos semillas.” || “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican Proverb
There is a dark cloud hanging over my native country, and I sit here like the silly outsider looking through a glass window as the chaos unfolds.
It is a Revolution Day in Mexico, and it is November 20th 2014.
When did greed and power become such an obsession? When did it become normal to put up with thousands of kidnappings a year? There was an estimated 123,470 kidnaps in 2013 alone. Thousands of people have gone missing year after year, yet not a single thing is being done, and 93.8% of crimes go without ever being investigated. We have become Governmentless.
And then 43 students in Mexico go missing after allegedly being under police custody, and the nation finally says, “Ya me canse! I am tired. No more. Enough with our corrupt government.”
I watch and I hear the stories. They became such a ‘normal’ part of life that I began to turn my head the other way. And I guess part of me feels guilty for moving forward with my life without ever turning back. You see, this corruption has always been a part of our life and has always been very real.
But when did it become so real to me?
Perhaps it was during my last visit to Mexico when I was thirteen. My family packed a van for a week-long drive from WA to Mexico. Cops pulled us over numerous times during our drive through Mexico, only for them to question us and then ask for money “for their coffee”. Dad knew better. Money for coffee was their way of robbing us nicely. I feared that at one point one of them would finally pull a gun on us if money was not enough. And who would help us? The police? There was no police. It was clear.
Or perhaps it was when I tried to buy limes at a local grocery store one day and realized there were none. Apparently the stories in the media had become so repetitive that I missed the big headline. Like with many other businesses in Mexico, drug cartels were causing a scarcity in limes after looting the groves and hijacking businesses.
Or perhaps things finally became very real earlier this year when Mom received a dreaded phone call from her sister in Mexico, telling us that her son had been kidnapped. He worked with a local store, and it happened during a routine drive out of town to pick up their store’s shipments. I couldn’t believe this was all happening, and things are still fuzzy. Fast forward several weeks, and he was lucky to have escaped. The rest is history. His story.
It does not surprise me to learn that approximately 10.7 million households have at least one crime victim in Mexico. It is heartbreaking.
So I too am tired! I am tired of hearing these stories and watching through a glass window. I am tired of turning my head the other way because every story I hear is just like the last. So repetitive and so ‘normal’. I am tired of normal. And I am tired of the corruption Mexico sits on. Mexico is kidnapped, and it needs to be set free.
For a long time I tried to ignore any political and drug war issue. But it is time to wake up. And my first step is acknowledging that ‘normal’ was never normal. My native country is in pain, and I am listening. To ignore this issue any longer is to ignore their pain.
My dear Mexico, you are not alone.
With Love from Afar,
*Look up #YaMeCanse on social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. – to closely follow this current issue. “Ya Me Canse” = “I Am Tired”. Statistics used on my post were gathered from BBC World Service. You can also visit here for a quick recap on the issue.
PS: Earlier this month, on Nov 2nd and 3rd, Mexico celebrated Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It is a tradition many Mexican-Americans also try to keep alive. Seattle held its annual Dia de Los Muertos, and I attended for the first time with my sisters. This is the Mexico I like to remember — so happy, vibrant, and rich in culture.
Below are photos from the event. As you’ll notice, this year’s Dia de los Muertos was also shadowed with the tragic event surrounding the 43 missing students. Lately, every day is Day of Dead in Mexico, and this clearly resonated in the beautiful yet tragic ofrendas that were set up.
I hope to become more involved in supporting the fight for Mexican justice. Maybe one day our collective efforts can finally see a better Mexico.