Friday, June 03, 2011

Community Auditions

We've always loved the word "foreigner," with its connotation of exotic otherness leavened with a hint of cluelessness, but even after half a decade, it still surprises us a little whenever the world is applied to us. Yet every year there's a "Festival of the Foreign Community" in Querétaro, which kicks off with a parade of doughy-looking white people through the center of town (notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of the city's foreigners are Central and South Americans, which we suppose is why we're always astonished to hear that the foreign "community" numbers more than 9,000, since, honestly, it's hard for a gringo to tell Colombians, Panamanians, and Mexicans apart).

This years Festival has apparently been underway for most of the week, though no one thought to invite the city's only foreign-run news organization. Highlights from this year's parade include the Croatian contingent proudly waving the Ustaše colors in honor of Latin America's long tradition of harboring Nazi collaborators [Ed. Note: LOL!]... photo

...and Spain's homage to National Lampoon's Animal House's Deathmobile. photo

The United States has a history of phoning it in, despite being the city's largest source of non-Latino foreigners. And this year, judging from the program of events, has continued that tradition. Our contribution appears to have been screening Robert Altman's 40-year-old movie, M*A*S*H, and Gus Van Sant's Elephant (two movies about Americans with guns); a concert by the Dr. Blues Band (who look kinda Mexican to us); and a dance performance by a group from a country called Hawaii. USA! USA!

However, this display of All-American Half-assedness could redeem itself tonight and tomorrow, as a troop of troupers from sister-city Holland, MI, present a musical called Showtime!, which could be this century's Red, White and Blaine. We will report on this as aggressively as we can from 2800 miles away. If any of our local stringers happen to be at Parque Bicentenario tonight at 8pm or tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, we'll be happy to hear from you.

Update: Man, even Showtime! turns out to be something warmed-over from five years ago.


Dave said...

Spain's entry is, uh, impressive. I like the black cover peeled down to allow the driver to actually see out, except, of course being blocked by the gigantic bull head.

Couldn't the U.S. at least come up with an Arizona style gun show? Cotton candy? We do have a lot of culture to share.

Dave said...

And what a fine time for our best representative to be out of country...

Anonymous said...

I heard that the coded message embedded in the faces on the masthead, (online) of this year's program says "Ich bin ein quereterense."

Mexfiles said...

I can't let this one pass:
Croatian contingent proudly waving the Ustaše colors in honor of Latin America's long tradition of harboring Nazi collaborators...

SOME Latin American countries did harbor nazi collaborators, but Mexico did not. There was (and is) some Nazi support in Latin America (even in Mexico), but it isn't politically signficant here, and mostly (as in the rest of Latin America) reflects anti-Anglo-American attitudes.

The country's foreign policy was defined as "anti-fascist" and was so long before the United States or Great Britain did so. As it was, Mexico (which was one of the Allied nations), sheltered more Jewish refugees from the Nazis than any of the other allied nations, and more than the United States and Great Britain combined.

While there were Falangists in Mexico and a few Nazi collaborators (notably Jose Vasconcellos), the only known Nazi collaborators I can think of who were admitted to Mexico were people like Werner von Braun who was only in Mexico for a couple of days to give cover to U.S. immigration rules against admitting known Nazis. The other that comes to mind was Hilde Kruger, the German agent (who may have been actually working for the British), who was allowed to remain after Gestapo spy rings were rolled up (with her assistance?) in 1942, shortly before Mexico declared war on Germany, Japan and Italy in May of that year.

You do know that Mexico STILL has an anti-fascist immigration rule on the books (where anyone persecuted by fascist regimes can receive automatic political refugee status) used as late as 2003 to permit Iraqi "illegal immigrants" to stay in the country, the Ba'athist Party of Saddam Hussein fitting the definition of Fascistm and still technically the government of what was by then an occupied nation)?

And, while the colors of the Ustase may be the same as those of the Croatian Flag (shown in your photo), that's like saying people flying the Mexican flag are supporters of the PRI.

It's no wonder the U.S. contingent is ignored in these events... dissing the country where they live (and their fellow foreigners) ain't the way to show "respect among nations, as among neighbors".

Burro Hall said...

Um, thanks. It was kind of a shout-out to my Serbian-American drinking buddy here in New York. I've added a parenthetical "LOL!" lest anyone else be confused.