Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Gang's All Here

We're just a few months short of the 200th Anniversary of the start of the Mexican War for Independence - a war that took everyone, including, apparently, its leaders, somewhat by surprise.  Forced to start the struggle a little earlier than they'd planned, the Mexican forces in those early days were, to use the modern phrase, more aspirational than operational, which is how the movement's leaders, Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Mariano Jiménez, came to spend ten of the war's eleven years with their severed, sun-bleached skulls hanging in cages from the four corners of the Alhondiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato.

Starting in a few weeks, you'll be able to relive those heady days, when the remains of 12 Independence leaders  (the Alhondiga Quartet mentioned above, plus José María Morelos, Mariano Matamoros, Pedro Moreno, Víctor Rosales, Xavier Mina, Nicolás Bravo, Leona Vicario, Andrés Quintana Roo, Vicente Guerrero and Guadalupe Victoria) will go on display at the National Palace in Mexico City.  For our money, exhuming national leaders and putting their dead bodies on display is something we don't do enough of in the US.  But most amazing - to us, at least, because we never bother to read guidebooks very carefully - is the fact that all these bodies have been stored for the last 186 85 years in the base of the Angel of Independence, the most iconic monument in the nation.  It would be as if their American or French equivalents were stacked up in the bottom of the Washington Monument or the Eiffel Tower (with the added bonus that the Angel sits on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection). We learn something new about Mexico every day.

The bodies were exhumed from the Angel on Sunday, and transported with great pomp and ceremony to Chapultepec Castle, from which they will then be transported with great pomp and ceremony to the Museum of Anthropology to be authenticated - giving us the prospect of (a) photos of the actual skulls appearing in the Mexican press, which we promise to bring you as soon as they're published, and (b) a national scandal if it turns out one of the national heroes is in fact missing.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What if these are not authenticated ...

Burro Hall said...

Mexico will cease to exist, basically.

susan said...

Sure Mexico will continue to exist – sabes qué?

Anonymous said...

Why do Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldama get a street named after them in every town in Mexico, but not poor Jiménez?

Burro Hall said...

He was involved in a steroids scandal. It's in all the history books.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it would have been better the Russian way: A mummy, like Lenin. It would be more interesting than just the bones. It's creepy, but in Mexico, these things are not a surprise. Like the Day of the Day. Maybe that would have been a better day to parade the bones. You can see on spanishNY.com, a picture of the Angel 100 years ago. Apparently, The Angel is not as old as you say on the text.

Anonymous said...

Day or the Dead, I meant.