Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tlatelcolco 39 Years Later

In Mexico today, they (or some) are commemorating the 39th anniversary of the government's wholesale slaughter of protesting students in Tlatelcolco.

A couple of months ago, Aug. 4 to be precise, highwayscribery broached this topic through a book report on Paco Ignacio Taibo II's "1968."

Elena Poniatowska, the author of "Tinísmima," a wonderful biography of actress, photographer and communist militant Tina Modotti, told a gathering in memory of the dead that, "Mexico doesn't deserve the government it has today."

Mexico, it would seem, is somewhat split on that question.

highwayscribery was never crazy about how the current President, Felipe Calderon came to power and has maintained a soft spot for his lefty-wing opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador or AMLO as the media like to call him (charges of messianism and personalism notwithstanding).

John Skaglund, an acquaintance who recently became a resident of Mexico -- Morelos specifically -- told the scribe he appreciates Calderon's efforts to bring a little order to Mexico, that "any time somebody doesn't like something, they go out and block the roads and shut everything down and at least he [Calderon] is trying to do something about it."

highwayscribery is hardly frightened by such stories: that's democracy, which in its purest form, is rather sloppy.

On the other hand, it's easier to write about such things than it is to live them.

highwayscribery saint Luis Buñuel noted that the Spanish Civil War caused some second thoughts relative to his personal philosophy. In his charming autobography, "My Last Sigh," he wrote: "The first three months were the worst, mostly because of the total absence of control. I, who had been such an ardent subversive, who had so desired the overthrow of the established order, now found myself in the middle of a volcano and I was afraid...As usual, I was torn between my intellectual (and emotional) attraction to anarchy and my fundamental need for order and peace."


In any case, highwayscribery's point of view is that the pictures above speak for themselves. That, anarcho-syndically speaking, government should always act with the consent of the governed and that it is highly unlikely anyone thought it a good idea to go out and massacre the nation's youth. That little boy was someone's child and even those opposed to the students, of which there were obviously many, would hardly "consent" to his death by shooting.

People have a right to speak out and demand change in a democracy. Where there is disagreement, there is discussion and debate and, in the end, it is the government that serves the people that should concede; not those for whom the government was hired to work.

What you had in Mexico City circa 1968 was a government acting on behalf of its own will to power, rather than for the general good.

highwayscribery hates the idea of police force being used against people exercising their right to speak out on their own behalf, demanding the kind of treatment they are entitled to. It is bullying and undemocratic and the scribe has been in too many demonstrations where too many innocents have been clubbed and clobbered by under-educated idiots, brutes, sent out on behalf of our own elected officials.

Mexico has no monopoly on this behavior. It is endemic to all those in power who seem to develop a natural haughtiness where their "authority" is concerned.

It is happening in Myanmar where shooting monks is presently the popular sport, and we had it here in Los Angeles on May Day, when the goon squads of the Los Angeles Police Department took it to some people who were doing nothing, at all, wrong.

And highwayscribery, blood boiling at the thought of each individual instance, sends every one of them straight to hell.

Mexico's "La Jornada" is running a special section on Tlatelcolco with more pictures and some articles for those who read Spanish.

Have a nice day.

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