středa 20. dubna 2011

The Poetry of Resistance

Vynikající článek od partnerského blogu, skutečně velmi doporučuji!

By Gilberto P. Miranda*

Mexico is on fire. There is a war going on, the “war on drugs”, similar to the “war on terror” proclaimed a few years ago by George W. Bush. Seems like nowadays the enemy is more a concept than an identifiable rival. However, the effects of a grand scale conflict are clear: more than 40,000 drug-related murders since late 2006 and practically all major Mexican cities suffering daily episodes of violence.

A couple of months ago President Calderón tried to deny that he had called this conflict a “war”, saying that it is a “fight” on drugs. The press immediately went to their files and got some of the President’s quotes actually calling it “war”.

It should not be a matter of confusion though. It is clear that what is going on in Mexico is not a “regular war” in its traditional conception, first of all, because this war is not being fought between two national states, nor does it have a defined “war theatre” (the geographical area where a war is fought, the front).

However, the Mexican army has been deployed all over the country (both in urban and rural areas). Now it is a common sight to see a convoy of soldiers with assault rifles on your way to work, reading about gunfights in the city’s streets, ghettos and suburbs and ocasionally hearing gunfire near your current location.

Both the federal and state governments (Supported by American political actors such as Janet Napolitano or DEA speakers) mantain an increasingly absurd discourse: we have such an escalation of violence, because “we are winning”, because “we are damaging the organized crime”, because “we are cornering the beast”.

But the corpses keep piling up, the urban attacks happen everyday, civil casualties increase. There are no signs of victory beyond the optimistic words of the government. The lack of an integral strategy against organized crime is evident as the country is slowly submerged into a militarization process.

In late March, something happened. In the southern State of Morelos, eight persons were found executed inside a car. One of them was the son of the writer, poet and journalist Javier Sicilia, who is a collaborator of Proceso magazine, the most important political mag in the country and probably the strongest critic of Calderon’s “war”.

Sicilia, bearing the unamable pain of losing a son, instead of locking himself up, he decided to become, almost by accident, the civil society’s symbol of indignation and sickness of the hurricane of death and destruction that the country has lived the last 5 years.

The poet summoned a manifestation in the city of Cuernavaca (where he lives) and more than 10 other cities throughout the republic echoed his calls and organized similar events the same day (April 3rd). The day prior to the demonstration, Sicilia announced his retirement from poetry, stating that crime “annihilated my soul” and dedicated his last poem to his dead son.

Javier Sicilia also wrote an “Open letter to criminals and politicians”, published in Proceso magazine. In which he stated:

“To the pain of losing a son there are no words – only poetry can get near it, and you, criminals and politicians, know nothing of poetry. What I want to say, from this mutilated life, from this pain that lacks a name because is unnatural (the death of a son is always unnatural, that’s why there’s no name or concept for it: then you are not an orphan or a widower, you are, simply and painfully, nothing). From this suffering, from the indignation that these deaths have provoked, we simply are fucking sick (the term in Spanish is “hasta la madre”, but is an idiom and lacks sense when translated literally).

We are fucking sick of you, politicians, because in your struggles for power you have torn apart the nation’s tissue, because in the middle of this poorly planned, made and directed war, this war that has the country in a state of emergency, you have been incapable – because of your shabbiness, your conflicts, your miserable struggles for power – of creating the necessary consensus that this nation needs to find unity, without which this country won’t have a way out; we are fucking sick because the justice’s institutions corruption generates complicity with crime and the impunity to commit it; because, in the middle of this corruption, the failure of the State is shown, every citizen in this country has been reduced to what the philosopher Giorgio Agamben called with the Greek word “zoe”: the unprotected life, the life of an animal, of a being exposed to violence, kidnapped, vexed and murdered with impunity. We are fucking sick because you only have imagination for violence, for guns, for insults; and along with that, a profund contempt for education, culture, and the opportunities for honest and good work. We are fucking sick because your lack of imagination is allowing that our kids, our sons, not only to be murdered, but also criminalized, turned into scapegoats... We are fucking sick because for all this our citizens have lost their trust in the governments, in their police, in their army; they are afraid of them; we are fucking sick because all you care about, besides an impotent power, that’s only good for administering the disgrace, is money, the promotion of your stupid “competitiveness” and the excessive consumption, which are only other names for violence”

Also he reclaimed to the criminals, saying that we are fucking sick of their violence, their loss of honor, their cruelty, their meaningless violence. “You have even lost the dignity in killing. We are fucking sick of you because your violence has become subhuman, not animal – animals do not do what you do. Your violence is demonic, imbecile. We are fucking sick of you because in your lust for power and richness you humiliate and destroy our sons, producing fear and terror”.

I apologize for such long quotes, but I wanted to show the feelings of a poet who has been struck by violence, and has been capable of condensing what a great deal of the Mexicans feel. This just might be a turning point on a situation that has become clearly unsustainable. For example, last week a mass grave was found in the state of Tamaulipas (which has a long border with the US and is controlled by the “Zetas” cartel), a mass grave with almost 200 bodies in it, which are believed to be immigrants or labor workers of kidnapped buses.

It is unbelievable that we haven’t had major social uprisings. There has even been talk about an “aborted revolution” in the sense that Mexico is one of the 15 largest economies of the world, but the most unequal country in Latin America. And many of the historically and desperately poor are choosing a short period of crime and wealth (where death is almost certain) rather than a lifetime of misery.

In this conjuncture, is very interesting, and from my poiny of view, very positive, that a movement such as this is emerging. Sicilia has become the most unlikely leader of the Mexican civil society, recieving a grand scale support of intelectuals, social leaders and NGOs.

All this happens in the verge of the electoral year, because presidential elections will be held in July 2012 and all the political forces are moving. This is particularly important in a country where the transition to democracy is not only incomplete, but has been a well covered failure, because underneath the “institutionality” and supposed transformation of the mexican state, there still is a crisis of representation, a tremendous concentration of power and a clear authoritarian behavior of the different levels of government.

If this is the movement that will bring a citizen awakening to change the dark course the country has taken, is hard to say. But it is clear that organized and critical movements such as this will serve as oxygen to a nation that desperately needs it. Who knows? It might be just as the Spanish poet Gabriel Celaya wrote during his country’s civil war: “Poetry is a weapon loaded with future”.

*Politologist, Activist and head of Deliberación Magazine (


Žádné komentáře: