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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Iguala massacre

Which reader seeing that headline was able to place it in context?
...Here are the barbaric facts. On Sept. 26, Iguala municipal police broke up a march and a political demonstration staged by student protestors. Police killed six and then arrested another 43 student protestors. The police killed perhaps another dozen (by "asphyxiation," investigators believe) and then handed the others over to the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang. The gangsters killed the other 30 or so young men and women, shredded their corpses and burned the remains. After two gang members confessed in late October, investigators found burnt bone fragments in a dump near the town of Cocula (17 kilometers from Iguala). Search parties also discovered six bags of human remains.

Yes, policemen and gang gunmen colluding to commit mass murder. The tragedy, however, has a Lady Macbeth turn, which leads to Guerrero's governing elites.

In early October, residents of Iguala claimed that Iguala mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, pressured by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, ordered municipal police to attack the students. Pineda intended to run for mayor of Iguala (to replace her husband after he completed his term). Pineda, whom local media call "Lady Iguala," had scheduled a speech before 3,000 bused-in supporters in the city plaza. She told her husband opposition demonstrators must not interrupt her campaign fiesta.
Via Vox Popoli.
I recall the story popping up briefly on my MSN homepage before disappearing back into the pop culture soup. Mexico is a pretty strange place, with jet planes, architects and computers co-existing with a level of casual brutality and corruption.

What's more interesting to me is how this story, like a lot of things Mexican, just doesn't seem to pique many journalists' curiosity. If the mayor of a US city of approximately 100,000, say Albany, New York, told the police to kill 43 students and shred their bodies, it would be Kind Of A Big Deal. But there's this strange incuriousness about Mexico which, in its storied history, hosted Trotsky (and the hitmen sent by Stalin to kill Trotsky), went through a really virulent anti-Catholic, Masonic phase, and periodically takes potshots at US military and Border Patrol units.

Incidentally, in 2000 the Sheriff of DeKalb County, Georgia, Sidney Dorsey, lost his election so he ordered a deputy to assassinate his successor. I was pretty shocked by this at the time; political rivals getting assassinated is not really something that happens in metropolitan Atlanta. But at the time I can tell you the attitude was pretty much that this awful crime had been committed. Nobody gave much thought to the notion that this could indicate some pretty serious breakdown in the social fabric.

We should probably look more carefully at the originating society before we decide to move another country of 30+ million people into the continental US. It would be nice if journalists dug into these things a bit more. For that matter, I would think it would be good for business generating content where the writers asked a lot of questions about turbulent places with a complex history. But Mexico is one of those places where nobody can think of anything to ask.

The splashy, strivingly-hip Vox was supposedly started by young maverick journalists. Its mission statement is, hilariously, "to explain the news." (I guess the focus groups didn't like, "to tell you how to think.") You can scan their front page and headline stories and figure out pretty quickly that they have already decided which questions they won't be asking.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This post reads like it was written by Sailer. That's not a bad thing, but your voice is missing.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Interesting. I always feel like I rant way too much and should be more detached and inquisitive. Of course, I also waste enough time on the Internet as it is without being able to do focused research like Sailer, so this stuff is necessarily kind of ad hoc from my angry brain.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Oh those poor students! Their executors deserve Nobel prizes.