Thursday, September 17, 2009

Murder, She Drew

Image by Alice Leora Briggs. "One room is entirely full of bullets from the executions," Brigss said. "I saw an autopsy of a young man who was executed. There was a story in the New York Times about the morgue a day or so after I was there. The photos of the freezers had everything looking tidy. They must have cleaned for them. I was glad to get a different view....The bodies were all akimbo and not neatly wrapped up.... I see things on the news and compare it to what I saw and they do not always jive."

I posted about reading the novel 2666 earlier this year and about Femicide. (click on hyper link) The novel 2666 which is one of the best novels I've read in the last five years is set partly during the Juarez mass killings. Somehow...some writers and artists and musicans were so aware that there is not only a tragedy and war crimes occurring, they had the intuition to know that these killings have a lesson for all of us. The work coming out of this control system of death has been consistently powerful. From narco-corridos, to songs (Tori Amos is in my Femicide post) making playlists in U.S., to drawings, articles and novels, all have explored the questions we want to know about the human condition and why money, death and art are so connected. Why does the genocide and drug war in Mexico have anything to do with other countries in North America?

This isn’t some ugly conspiracy by corrupt American presidents. This is what’s called realpolitik. Tolerating the existence of a narco-state in Mexico is preferable to having an economic collapse in Mexico. Successive presidents have looked at the facts and made the same decision. ... It’s simply confronting reality. ... The effort of the border patrol to stop illegal immigration is also simply for show, because if we really bottled up Mexico and a half million people a year couldn’t come north, the economy would collapse.

"It is June 16, 2008, and in two days he will have his 45th birthday, should he live that long.

The military has again flooded northern Mexico, ever since President Felipe Calderón assumed office in December 2006 with a margin so razor thin that many Mexicans think he is an illegitimate president. One of his first acts was to declare a war on the nation's thriving drug industry, and his favorite tool was to be the Mexican Army, portrayed as less corrupt than the local or national police. Now some 45,000 soldiers, nearly 25 percent of the Army, are marauding all over the country, escalating the mayhem that consumes Mexico. In 2008, more than 6,000 Mexicans died in the drug violence, a larger loss than the United States has endured during the entire Iraq War. Since 2000, two dozen reporters have been officially recorded as murdered, at least seven more have vanished, and an unknown number have fled into the United States. But all numbers in Mexico are slippery, because people have so many ways of disappearing. In 2008, 188 Mexicans—cops, reporters, businesspeople—sought political asylum at US border crossings, more than twice as many as the year before. This is the wave of gore the man rides as he heads north." From Mother Jones Magazine article by Charles Bowden.

Related Links:

1) An interview with Charles Bowden
2) I highly recommend this whole article, it's a long one but so well written and insightful.
3) Amazon review of Juarez: Laboratory Of Our Future
4) Notes about Bowden's body of work
5) A really incredible slide show of Alice Leora Briggs drawings of the genocide in Mexico. The slide show also has a voice over with the artist.
6) 2666 at Amazon Books.


Candy Minx said...

Hi...just a quick side note to visitors...I was behind in catching up to comments and responding in previous posts. I have left messages and responses to the comments under the posts, "Collections" and "Busking" and "Dancer" this morning.

SME said...

You might be interested in the writing of Derrick Jensen. He often discusses the inherent violence of civilization, particularly against women, as one major symptom of what he calls the Cannibal Disease - a contagious urge to self-hatred (which of course becomes other-hatred) and destruction of the natural world.

Gardenia said...

Ah, a reading list....thank you. This whole mess with Mexico sits always heavy on my heart and head - - - - I have had some personal experiences there. This has been going on for years and years. It definitely boils down to exploitation of the poor - - the cartels are also in a huge war for ownership of the wealth of the drug sales - I have recently found out some things here which I will tell you about that involved murder that tied in with Mexico and the place (west) where I had so much trouble - but no talking on the internet about it - - - sometimes I feel like packing everything up, buying guns, supplies and moving to the wilderness and dropping out of the world - evil seems to be increasingly growing, no matter the method, the politics, maybe I am just tired tonight - excellent post even though I feel covered in blackness - because it exists, because you have pulled out the roots of nightshade plants and exposed them in a neat package in this post - it (cleanness, truth, integrity, charity, purity) seems hopeless as the vast crowds of hungry, sick, hopeless, insane, greedy peoples struggle.....sometimes only to eat, to live and other times to steal even life from one another.

Bloggerboy FFM said...

Thanks for that link Candy. Great article. That's what MJ does best. At the risk of being compared to our friend GWB, we rich northerners really do have to look in the mirror and understand that our behavior supports the chaos further south. I'm a libertarian, but actions do have consequences. You can burn all the crops you want and attack the cartels, but until you wipe out the demand, the supply will follow.

mister anchovy said...

Gardenia said...

Well, recovered enough to get intrigued again and I'm always wanting to make sense of these things, so I am going to go to library for "2666" today.....