Dos Mujeres

¡Vivos los llevaron!
¡Vivos los queremos!

Mexico. This cry is being heard loud.

They took them away alive!
We want them back alive!

May this contribution be part of the growing movement, here, calling for protection of the value of human life through justice:


I prepared emotionally to meet, for the first time in my life, Ofelia Medina. My wife told me about the renknown actress, her conscientious stand on social issues and about the specific story of Rubí and Marisela as imparted by Alejandro Román Bahena (see short report by CNN-Mexico). Ofelia Medina respects the families feeling the original pain and avoids to make direct inferences, dedicating her work to all mothers looking for their daughters in Chihuahua and in Mexico (the dedication surely extends to the whole world).

Societies face a multitude of difficult problems. Theatre allows to contemplate in the dance of questions, judgments, emotions, conflicting points of view, decisions considered, taken, and consequences paid. Minutes before I walked out of our home to go to the theatre, my friend Michael, presently living in Britain, shared on twitter his experience coming out of play by Florian Zeller

How do you react if you gradually lose communication with your beloved father, even while he is around and able to opinionate? What does it mean to you if he is falling deeper and deeper into an irreversible loneliness? (Christina Pacheco shared a similar tale a few weeks ago in the Jornada).

Yet, this thought crossed my mind: while in Europe problems of life in old age move the artist, many in Mexico are having to return to a more instictive demand.

10 days ago I attended an event organised by students at the Cinvestav where 43 chairs, each one with a printed photograph of a missing student, a Normalista, a young person dedicating his life to childrens’ education in the mountainous villages of Guerrero, who mostly live from working on their land, and 43 lit candles were surrounded by solemn colleagues who were asking that the Normalistas should be returned, alive, to their families.


For there is a market. In the wealthier United States further up to the North. An artificial escape, via chemically-induced illusions, of the day-to-day realities is on offer. Demand for drugs, banned in most geographies on the grounds that their abuse leads to a dramatic shortening of human lifespan and that they are strongly addictive and that their use often impairs other vital functions (in other words banned as a different type of attempt to value human life?), leads to an alternative way to win one’s living.

The Normalistas were arrested by police, then handed over to organised crime (servants of a subset of wealthier gringos) who had them disappear. Guerrero’s governor resigned, Iguala’s mayor has been arrested, and suspects now claim that they executed and burned the dead Normalistas “following orders from their superiors”.

I wonder – please excuse this question, which may sound out of place here and will be explained shortly – “were the confessions broadcasted on television made in the presence of the legal representatives of these Guerreros Unidos members?”

For, the story of the play we saw goes, Rubí’s murderer confessed his homicide, but did so in the absence of a lawyer and his confession was not included as evidence during his trial for this reason. As he had thoroughly burned the body and discarded the remains at the slaughtered animal trash yard, there was “not sufficient evidence” (ah!) to prove charges against him. Marisela staged a protest – for justice – outside the Governor’s palace, where she was shot down. This story is unique, personal, but Mexico is quoted having 30,000 “disappeared” and 80,000 “dead” in its growing toll.

You see now why

Some will consider Mexico a savage country (“México Barbaro” was written by another gringo, John Kenneth Turner, more than a hundred years ago). I disagree only to the implication that Mexico is significantly different to other nations. It is not. Speaking of Europe, the Holocaust comes to mind, and the current rise of those who remember the Nazis with fondness, while the drama in Palestine reminds one that barbarism is related to nationalism (even etymologically).

Mexico is becoming conscious of how serious a problem it faces. I make no prediction of what will follow, but many Mexicans are spreading hope into the air with their mobilisation. Ojalá, Ofelia y Paola, “el momento que la justicia se siente entre nosotros” no tardara.

16 thoughts on “Dos Mujeres

  1. PS. Upon receiving in my hands the programme of the event (el circulo teatral is a small space administered by the artists’ union) I noted Ofelia’s message to the co-director Raúl Zermeño (I translate here):

    “Maestro Raúl Zermeño initiated this work, with his guidanced we analysed the text and started its adaptation. His look was that of the eagle, vigiland of every single one of our moves, his trained heart was correcting our modifications, his astuteness and sarcasm brought out our errors.
    We know that we will never reach the perfection he was hoping of us, that it is impossible to predict the stroke he would have wished we painted.
    For loving theatre, we intented without his direction, to complete the scenes that he couldn’t finish and to present to you, our beloved public, this that you now witness, that claims to move you, inspired in its creation by Raúl Zermeño.
    With affection and armiration to him, all of us who have participated in this effort put to scene, hope that he will recover very soon, that he will come to correct the scenes that are needing and do the changes that he judges necessary”.

    I was therefore quite shocked, passing through the entrance, to see Raúl’s photograph in a poster and under it “in memoriam”.


  2. and now this.

  3. 26 September 2014 was marked by the forced disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa. Today thousands marched in Mexico City and elsewhere in Mexico and around the world demanding information and justice.

  4. By Francisco Goldman:

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