Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 1985, 7:19 A.M.

The massive Mexico City Earthquake happened 25 years ago today, and since we were obviously not here for it, we don't have that much to say. If you've never heard about the quake, this documentary by the Pan American Health Organization is pretty good.

Some the best parts of Opening Mexico (by a couple of journalists from the hometown paper) deal with the transformative effect the quake had on democracy and civil society here. The deaths of thousands of people are undeniably tragic, but Mexico has fought wars at greater cost with fewer results than grew out of the quake's rubble.

Of course, the standard for "fucking horrific seismic destruction" has been raised considerably this year, and on that subject a group of Mexican journalists have written a book, Haiti: Isla Panico about their experiences covering that earthquake last winter. Of course, we know Haiti well enough not to delude ourselves into thinking it might rise from the ashes the way Mexico did, but's comforting to think that it could, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Mexico did rise from the ashes. But in a 'sort of' sort of a way. In the 'mañana' style in a lot of places. There were wrecked buildings that came down, still lying there a decade afterwards. Some of the partially destroyed/damaged buildings are still untouched to this day.

Burro Hall said...

I was referring more to the spirit of democracy and of people taking responsibility for their own government, rather than repairing buildings, but point taken. 25 years is a long time for a smashed-up edifice to just sit there.