Sunday, August 31, 2008

Imagine

We didn't thenk Mexicans understood the concept of silence, but once again they've proven us wrong. Last night, hundreds of thousands of people marched in a silent procession through the streets of Mexico City to demand an end to the violence that has been raging out of control here. Amusingly, the word for this is delincuencia, which for us conjures images of Marlon Brando riding through town on a motorcycle kissing girls against their will, whereas here it refers to things like the 11 headless bodies found in Merida the other day. (On a related note, we understand Querétaro is demanding a recount on last year's quality-of-life survey, in which we lost to Merida by .01%.)

For those too terrified to travel to the DF, there were simultaneous marches all around the country, including Querétaro. We were going to snark on this because Querétaro has the lowest rate of kidnapping in all of Mexico - about one a year - and so maybe a silent march in support of child car seats would be a better use of everyone's time? But the truth is, Mexicans have a much greater sense of national unity and pride than we do. This isn't always a good thing - another word for this would be "nationalism" - but where we tend to think of ourselves as New Yorkers or Texans or whatever, Mexicans always describe themselves as Mexican first. "How do you like Mexico?" they ask. When was the last time you asked a tourist how they liked "America" rather than, say Boston? If the country has a problem with violent crime, then so does Querétaro...even though it doesn't.

(Of course, the places that do have a serious kidnapping problem, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, etc, wisely canceled their marches for fear of, well, you know.)

For us, the best moment was when the marchers gathered in Plaza de Armas to sing the National Anthem. The Plaza is pretty small, so the 7,000 marchers had to take it in turn, three different times, thousands of white-clad, candle-holding Mexican citizens joining their hands and their voices together in a cry for peace and tranquility:

War, war! Let the national banners
be soaked in waves of blood.
War, war! In the mountain, in the valley,
let the cannons thunder in horrid unison
and may the sonorous echoes resound
with cries of Union! Liberty!

Oh Motherland, ere your children, defenseless
bend their neck beneath the yoke,
may your fields be watered with blood,
may they leave their footprints in blood.
And may your temples, palaces and towers
collapse with horrid clamor,
and their ruins continue on, saying:
Of a thousand heroes, this Motherland was.

You may say they're dreamers, but they're not the only ones...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought we had the only anthem that glorifies war!


M

Ibbitos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ibbitos said...

...and so maybe a silent march in support of child car seats would be a better use...

at least the usage of a seat belt would reduce the risk of people get catapulted out of cars in accidents. kids jumping around the seats, with mummy on the same seat or with daddy driving (of course withou seat belts) you can observe every day.
damn them