A hundred years, not of solitude
but of suffering

by G.S.   <george.salzman@umb.edu>    27 November 2007

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-11-27.htm

    This note, in slightly altered form, and without the graphic, first appeared as an appeal to support the Narco News Journal.[1] The militarization of Oaxaca, as of much of Mexico, is hidden by most commercial media, which ignore the obvious evidence. It is usually cloaked as a war against drugs or terrorism.
 
State terrorism in full view, Oaxaca, 13 November 2007
    A tourist visiting the no-longer-so-charming zöcalo (the main central square) of Oaxaca on this sunny day was greeted by a huge display of militarized police and new equipment in a ceremony celebrating Oaxaca state’s acquisition of many police trucks and a large increase in its arsenal of high-powered lethal weaponry. This view is looking west from the edge of the cathedral plaza towards the adjacemt Alameda Park. A transit policeman at one of the many vehicles lined up on display told me the men facing us belonged to a special operations unit of the State Preventive Police. Prevention of the emergence of true democracy is a formidable task, as is evident to any alert observor. And now, here’s my essay.

      Mexico’s a-cookin’. Columnists contemplate a popular explosion just three years from now. How come? Well, the hundred years will be up. On September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo called on his parishioners in the town of Dolores to rise up against the ruling Spanish regime in Mexico – his famous ‘cry of Dolores’ that marked the start of the War of Independence, now celebrated as Independence Day. A hundred years later, on November 20, 1910 Francisco Madero published his “Plan de San Luis” (supposedly in San Luis Potosí, but actually from his refuge in the United States) repudiating the fraudulent reelection of tyrannical President Porforio Días. This date is celebrated as Revolution Day, the start of the bloody, decade-long struggle that gave Mexico perhaps its most inspirational martyr, Emiliano Zapata, who sought not a seat of power but ‘Land and Liberty!’ for the campesinos. So, predict the numerologists, 2010 will mark the next great social explosion. Who knows? Sure as hell not the New York Times and the rest of the fat-money corporate media.

      The Oaxaca daily Noticias on November 18, 2007 ran a near-full page reprint of a Proceso article with the blazing headline, ¡...Es una revolución! (...It’s a revolution!). The Washington correspondent of Proceso, J. Jesús Esquivel, knows very well that Mexico today is a seething volcano. He wrote his article in the context of his understanding that now, just as a hundred years ago, the so-called mainstream American press doesn’t provide a clue of what’s happening here. Although a casual reader might see his account as nothing more than a nostalgic reminiscence about the revolution of 1910, it is in fact an indictment of the U.S. corporate media’s intrepid pursuit of it’s task: to keep the American people ignorant.

      Esquivel wrote, “The first signs of the [1910] revolution in Mexico surprised the United States press. It disseminated confused, contradictory, decontextualized, at times without any source, plagues of rumours and speculations as news. Apparently it neither knew nor understood what was happening further than its southern frontier when the revolution exploded . . . At the end of November the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times gave assurance that the movement of Madero would have no future.” His pseudo conjecture, “Apparently it neither knew nor understood ...” is just a tactical euphemism by which he avoided the direct condemnation the major media then deserved, and deserves now a century later. If he were not so circumspect, he could write equally accurate and revealing exposés of the US press (and the rest of the corporate media) now, showing their efforts to insure that Americans remain ignorant of the Zapatista 1994 uprising and continuing struggle, and of the popular current struggle for liberation in Oaxaca. Calculated ignorance for the bulk of the population is the principal product of the corporate media, in the U.S. and everywhere.

      Our best strategy for countering the imposed ignorance lies in a global truly grassroots news and information network, made by ordinary everyday people like ourselves, individually neither wealthy nor powerful but numerous, a network coming, as Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos would say, from below and from the left. The struggle to realize Emiliano Zapata’s great dream – ‘Land and Liberty!’ for the campesinos – is alive and growing throughout Latin America, though you’d never know it from the corporate media. One of the best, most honest and upbeat sources for following these inspiring developments in this part of the world is the Narco News Journal. That’s why I pitched in to the matching fund drive now underway to keep the Narco News team going full steam. Because I need their tireless work. And so do my grandchildren’s children, as do you and yours. So I hope you’ll send in a contribution right away, if you haven’t already done it. ‘Zapata vive!’ is our common cry.


NOTES
[1] Narco News Journal fund-raising appeal, titled, “One Hundred Years of “Imposed Ignorance” by the Commercial Media” at http://www.narconews.com/Issue48/article2913.html .
 
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