Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Manual for Anarchy (by Jorge Alvarez Rendon)

This is an editorial written by Jorge Alvarez Rendon for the Diario de Yucatan newspaper, which came out on Monday, October 23, 2006 that comments on the state of affairs in this fine country which seems to be rapidly falling into anarchy.

I thought it most pertinent and, as usual for anything written by this observer/writer, extremely well written and to the point. For Mexico is not just palm trees and cheap servants. There are things that anyone contemplating a move here should know; they just might take for granted that these little details, the solution of which would seem obvious and a done deal, were already taken care of. They are not.

I have tried to translate it as closely as possible to the original including the tone as well as the message.

For a little background, read up on recent events in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the state of juvenile law in Yucatan and student protests in Mexico. The idea is not to alarm anyone, but to really alarm everyone, so that maybe a little pressure will make the authorities actually DO something.


Anarchy Manual

It's wonderful and very healthy to be able to do whatever one wants, whatever one feels like doing. Here are some tips on how to go about doing just that:

The first tip is only for those who have their voter registration card, who have a penchant for social revindication and who are sick and tired of historical slights and inequalities.

Go shopping for a straw hat, a red bandana and a can of white spray paint. Get yourself a decent machete (you can buy a quality model just off the Calle Ancha del Bazar here in the formerly-white city of Merida) and head - together with another 200 like-minded persons - towards the city's center. Make sure your that the timing of your procession coincides with that time of the day when downtown Merida's traffic is at it's horn-blaring, exhaust-spewing worst.

Once you are there, do whatever it is you have always wanted to do; don't hold back or hesitate; let your thirst for justice run wild, unleash all your fury.

Overturning cars is good, setting busses on fire better; go ahead and spray paint graffitti on storefront windows and historical buildings, block access to public buildings, kidnap anyone who happens by and destroy anything belonging to the community you can get your judiciary hands on.

You need not fear punishment or the application of any law for that matter. The National Commission for Human Rights is there for you 24 hours a day. No government authority will even attempt to get in the way of your fun. We have spent far too many centuries in achieving this level of freedom of expression to have someone come and reprimand us 'just because'.

Important Note: The mob is indispensable. Do not attempt this alone since this will result in you facing a judge and perhaps being sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The second tip is for those under the age of 17; adventurous, red-blooded youths suffering from misunderstandings great and small.

First, you must acquire a knife in the market known as Bazar Garcia Rejón, where rules regarding the sale of such artifacts are completely and happily ignored. After about a week, the idea is to stand on a street corner in your neighborhood with other under-age and resentful teens where you can show off your new weapon.

One night - any night will do - feeling a little offended, misunderstood or just in a bad mood, you insert blade of the afore-mentioned weapon into the lower abdomen of some person who happens to be nearby and that you don't particularly care for very much, keeping the blade lodged there until the victim is most assuredly dead. When the Ministerio Publico (read police) arrive - if they do at all - it is important not to offer up any resistance and shed copious tears for all the injustices suffered in the past: abuse by parents and teachers, police brutality, globalization, a drug problem etc.

In no time at all, the victim will not be the stiff cadaver, in whose defense no one will speak, but you! We can bet that a psychologist will be dispatched to look into your case, a file will be started on you and a tutor assigned as well. All this will happen in the 48 hours after your detainment, after which you will be set loose so you can get on with your life, no worries. Isn't it great this doing whatever we want?

The third tip is for disgruntled students unwilling to accept internal rules, statutes, federal laws and other minutae that tend to make one's existence such 'a drag'.

Get about 50 students together - either sex is fine - get an attitude happening and start making protesting gestures. The group isn't complete without the six or seven students who have Shakira lyrics wallpapered on their brains and for whom 'soneto' is a Nestlé ice cream product.

Yell as loudly as possible about your rights as pubescents and the future of the country and remember as many old, communist-era protest chants as possible. "Si la leche es poca, al niño le toca" (if there's only a little milk, give it to the children) "El hijo del obrero va primero" (the workers child comes first) etc.

Demand to be able to wear ear and nose rings, tattoos, pendants; color your hair and use any cosmetic you feel like. Insist on the use of cellular phones in class, sale of condoms in the school store. Your opinions must be absolutely respected, even if you demand this in language that otherwise might have been known as foul. Demand also more comprehension from school principals and counsellors. Praise the attitude of those teachers who are indeed, understanding, and do not hesitate to physically remove those teachers bold enough to attempt to restore some semblance of order. In the case of these, there is a formulaic approach that cannot fail: accuse them of sexual harrassment, of groping, of leering and lusting disgustingly. Go ahead and dare to do whatever you feel like. What could possibly happen to them that wouldn't be for their own good? The crime of slander doesn't even exit anymore in the penal code. You can defame someone, walk all over their reputation with big muddy boots, do whatever you want! The SEP (the federal Ministry of Education) will support you and the DIF (federal organism that oversees social programs for the young) will be most understanding.

Be happy


mcm said...

This column (as published in the Diario) had me pretty puzzled, since don Jorge usually doesnt let go for the political, and I thought "well, I guess my Spanish is not so great after all", but, having read your translation, I guess don Jorge just is FED UP. (and maybe the #3 had something to do with the recent secondary school demonstrations against restrictions on cell phones, in Motul???).

Along these lines, I must say that I did notice a couple of weeks ago in the Diario photo of one of the (several) demonstrations by the "campesinos of Oxcum" (the latest "unrest", over the theft (or not) of land by "the state"), that the demonstrators didnt look much like ejidatarios...but, Im just a foreigner, so what do I know?

So, who do you "like" for panista gubernatorial candidate????

William Lawson said...

Well, I guess I like Ana Rosa... the others are too been there done that. And you?

mcm said...

Well, NOT Xavier Abreu. I was TOTALLY disgusted with his manipulations as Sec of Rural Development (I think it was -- anyway, the screw up with the lamb husbandry deal). My take on him is: if it's good for business (especially the businesses of my family/friends) it's good for Yucatan.
Luis Correa is a hoot -- I love his idea of bicycle tours through the municipios -- today he commented that it wouldn't do much for his belly (he's a hefty guy) because his mouth was always open (for food).
Ana Rosa is my de facto favorite. She has guts & compassion -- she is a LEETLE too RC-wing of the panistas for me, but doesn't seem to let that get in her way. I think she did a fine job as mayor, despite screw ups (the bus thing, the new market), but maybe the screwups were not entirely her fault? She's got a sense of humor and isn't afraid to use it -- a big plus. I'm not exactly sure why Patricio is so antagonistic (if he is), but only started paying attention to Yucatan politics in 2002 (when Hurricane Isidore-induced boredom forced me to learn to read Spanish!). Any idea? I look forward to reading more of your muy excelente blog entries!

William Lawson said...

Hey! I also chuckled when I read in the Diario that he was going to be touring by bicycle for 8 to 10 hours a day!!! This was in the article where he was shown with his... Mom. Awww.

And Xavier... don't know anything about him really.

If I voted it would be for Ana Rosa Payan, since of the three, she is the only one with any 'huevos'.