Hey mi gente, hope you are doing well on your side of the screen. Let's get going straight up with what was and what is new. Hope you are ready.
HOLY. HELL. So from the last time you saw a blog post from me (check them out, if you are new to my blog!) I was finishing up my blog in relation to my Summer I MFA class - "The Creative Experience", all the travel writing and the intensity of creating +10 poems from that class was a cool trip. On the plus side, I got to hang out with some amazing writers and our profe, Daniel Chacon (not to mention hanging out with some cool undergraduates!!) THEN, I entered the gauntlet of poetry production and film/book relations with two more classes in Summer II - "Advanced Poetry Writing" & "Storytelling in FIlm & Literature. It was a massive summer. ON top of that, I was able to take part in a life changing opportunity - CANTOMUNDO. I can't speak enough about it. It was a beautiful gathering of like minded writers. It was a space to let it all hang out and speak about craft, about performance, about the ins and outs of publishing and the future of Latino Poetics. I am humbled to have been chosen and then grateful for the newest friends I have made.
As if that wasn't enough, I came back home, hung out with the wifey for a bit, made a quick trip to Anaheim, got some publications out (major thanks to Rosebud Ben-Oni, Glassworks, Luna Luna Magazine and Maggie Galehouse) and had time to put on a reading for Natalia Treviño's new book - "LAVANDO LA DIRTY LAUNDRY". Then after that - made some time to help put on an amazing WORD AROUND TOWN POETRY TOUR - 2014! (Click on the bold to see links)
OH, and I got three A's from the summer. What did you do? ( - In truth, I almost feel foolish staring the blog off with this news, for the next details are a bit rough, forgive the harshness)
There is a lot going on today. Next week's blog will focus a bit on what I have been working on these past few weeks, as the fall semester treks on. For now though, I want to shift the focus bit.
There are moments too valuable to let a matter of truth slip by, unreviewed. This then, is one of them.
"WE WANT EDUCATION AND WE RECEIVE BULLETS"
Sad news from the state of Guerrero, México.
First, the Official Report as told by UNAM's La Jornada.
Policías balean a normalistas de Ayotzinapa en Iguala; 5 muertos
Police shoot "Normalistas" from Ayotzinapa in Iguala; 5 dead
(Click on the article title to view)
Sergio Ocampo Arista
Sunday, 28 September 2014, p. 5
Iguala, Gro., September 27.
Armed attacks from municipal police and alleged gunmen were launched Friday night against students of the Normal School Rural Ayotzinapa which left five dead, 25 wounded, one brain dead . 25 others are still missing, the student witnesses reported.
The attack, which continued the early hours of Saturday, was aimed at anyone who looked like a student. Gunmen fired at a bus filled with traveling soccer team players, theHornets, the senior professional division soccer team,while on the federal highway Iguala-Chilpancingo . The vehicle fell off a cliff. The bus driver and one player were found dead.
The students had come to meet Friday afternoon on four buses to engage in a fundraising event, at 6 pm. After the event concluded, the students took three buses to get out of Iguala, which apparently led the chase for more than two hours by municipal, state and federal police.
At a press conference this afternoon at the school, Normal Ayotzinapa, parents and student leaders reported that several students were executed extra judicially - students included, Daniel Solis Gallardo, a native of Zihuatanejo, in the first attackw which happened after 8 pm on Friday; then Yosivani Guerrero, Omeapa village, municipality of Tixtla was also killed; while Aldo Solano Gutiérrez, born in Ayutla de los Libres, has been ruled brain dead.
Of the 25 injured students, five are by gunfire, including Gutiérrez Solano, 25 others missing and an equal number are arrested.
This morning, near where students were killed in Iguala on the downtown corner of Juan Alvarez St. , the body of a young man was found, who showed signs of torture and a skinned face. It is unknown if he was a student of the normal school. The Attorney General of the State (PGJE) counts the fatality as number six.
The students demanded impeachment and dismissal of Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velázquez and Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero, and the removal of the Secretary of Public Safety Iguala, Felipe Flores Velázquez.
In a separate attack, gunmen and police fired on the bus of Chilpancingo's Hornets football (soccer) team in the Iguala-Acapulco highway. The vehicle, Castro Tours company, had been run off the road and the driver, Victor Manuel Lugo Ortiz, and one studentand footballer David Evangelista Joshua Garcia, 14 years old were killed . A taxi driver who was passing by was injured and his passenger, Blanca Sánchez Montiel died. Four people in total have minor injuries.
Almost simultaneously, a delegation from the Union of Workers of the College of Bachelors was attacked with bullets leaving two people injured, including its leader Alfredo Ramírez García, who later had surgery to remove a bullet from his shoulder.
Scenes of desperation
Mr. Jose Ma. Memije Rodriguez reached that point, near the town Santa Teresa." I come to get my son, but I am told that he was taken to the Public Ministry of Iguala", he said distressed aside Castro Tours truck-where his boy was traveling with other athletes - the bus involved has been found in the canyon, still, with broken windows along the left side.
"My son's name is Christian David Memije Meza, and he came to referee the game against the Hornets, the selection of Iguala. I said (on the phone) I was hurt and that the truck was going all over the place on the road and we do not know why - but I made a call to the authorities see about these as criminal acts against athletes from Chilpancingo. We are promoting the sport and its not right that this happens to them."
Iñaki Cabrera Cabrera, head of the state prosecutor's office, went to meet early today, but refused to make statements to the few details that were in the regional prosecutor's office; by the afternoon, it was announced that six people were killed and 17 were injured; the prosecutor initiated investigations.
He stressed to clarify the facts, "the Public Ministry concentrated all municipal personnel, security personal, weapons and vehicle units as far as assigned for the performance of their duties in order to practice the respective expertise as warranted."
The statement explained that "because of the fact that the normal school took three trucks to the bus station to go to school", police fired their weapons on vehicles. Elsewhere in the city, he says, officers located "Three buses -two Coast Line bus line and one of the company Star Oro- five vehicles and a motorcycle, all with laden with gunshot fire, apparently caliber .223 (AR-15). "
The State Coordinator of Education Workers (CETEG) condemned the attack and announced a plan of action against education reform, and it will include a requirement to punish those responsible for the death of the two normal school students.
Peter David García López, representative of the Student Executive Committee Ayotzinapa said: "as we were asking for fundraising assistance" as It was, he spoke to the truck drivers and "they agreed to do us a favor, it was not an abduction or threat to a driver, we were going to do, because we are students. We proceeded to the buses from the center to the plaza, here, to move on to the normal school. The bus had already dropped its passengers", he said.
"Peers have videos that show that it was the (police) state and federal who were there. At that time the police started shooting at three buses and that's when a classmate got hit and fell. "
On December 12, 2012, along the Autopista del Sol, in Chilpancingo, two students were killed. And on January 7 on Atoyac two other youths were hit, while they were engaged in fundraising activites along the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway.
Reports of wounded
The state Health Secretary Lazaro Mazon Alonso, reported that 18 people were reported injured in the violence in Iguala, 14 were hospitalized and cared for by health sector personnel in the same locality; two more in the ISSSTE, IMSS Acapulco -one with a bullet in the eye, and another in a private hospital, he said. He said that of the 14 wounded under his responsibility, five were discharged, one died at 5 in the morning and one underwent surgery. One was moved to Mexico City and another remains in intensive care. The rest continue to live in Iguala.
Meanwhile, state police in coordination with the Army, Federal Police and judicial police took control of the safety of Iguala. This was announced by the State Secretary of Public Security, Leonardo Vazquez. He said that from Saturday take control in Igualan municipality until it is deemed necessary.
Ahora, los detalles así comunicados a mi, departe de una compañera ahí en la zona. Lo que se reporta departe de los periodistas no es todo la historia completa - in truth, though some of the details are correct, some parts haven't been reported out- and thanks to Bryan Parras and a mutual friend, we are able to get the whole story.
The whole picture is this - the "students" in this horrific event are adult students currently attending a teacher college in the rural outskirts of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero (Gro), a small town located about an hour and a half from Iguala. The school is unique a it is dedicated to serving a mostly indigenous population. Originally founded in 1926, La Escuela Normal Rural - Raúl Isidro Burgos, (click the bold words for the school) better known as Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa, is dedicated to producing creative, honest teachers from - "una institución formada de hombres libres, íntegros, de profesionistas que sean dignos representantes de la carrera magisterial; hombres concretos, desarrollándose en situaciones concretas".
Sin duda, estos jovenes son hechos de concreto. There are over 300 students, a majority of them from rural tribus, ranchos, y el mismo pueblo de Ayotzinapa. They are bilingual students who speak Spanish and either Nahuatl or Mixteco. Their only goal? TO BECOME TEACHERS. They want to live some crazy dream of being teachers and get jobs and go back into the very tribes they are from and TEACH THE CHILDREN OF THEIR TRIBES.
As both Bryan and I got to listen to the frantic revelations from that Friday/Saturday nightmare, our source was able to tell us about these young men and women - they come from high up in the hills and the mountains in the area just to attend school. They travel on foot at least an hour to go to school, a school that up until 30 years ago had been funded by the government. But is no longer the case. But they still come and they still graduate, they are students and fundraisers. They are a thorn in the side of the police and the city officials in Iguala to be sure.
After all, who wants to be reminded that you are overlooking the indigenous populations of your state?
In truth, the night of Sept. 27th isn't the first time the students have had their run in with police forces in Iguala.
On December 12th (Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe), 2011, two "Normalistas" - as the students are called, were killed by police forces. Ayotzinapa Normalistas Gabriel Echeverría de Jesus and Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino were shot just outside the capital city of Guerrero, Chilpancingo. The students bodies were found along the Autopista del Sol.
You might wonder why the police would think these students are a threat. Right now, we don't have reasonable answer. Aside from the fact that the Mexican government has slowly stopped funding "Escuelas Normales Rurales" and that these students keep refusing to end educational pursuits, it could be they don't want any dissenters. These students are asking for change and reform for their school and their community and for some, this has proven to be a point of combat. But the "Normalistas" press on. How?
Let's go back to Friday, Sept. 27th. Several news sources quote the police and make reference to police reports that the students were pursued because they were trying to hijack city buses that night. The truth of it was that they were trying to head home after a day of organized fundraising - and what were they fundraising for? An already planned trip to el Distrito Federal (DF), the capitol of México, in order to take part in the 46th anniversary events of el 2 de Octubre. They were students, planning a field trip to attend a protest, or a rally or a memorial service. The bottom line is they were students being students, doing college student things. Getting shot was not a part of the experience.
But sadly, this isn't the end of the issue. Since the E.N.R. de Ayotiznapa currently has a student body of 300 students, about 200 of them had gone to the fundraising event in Iguala on the night of Sept. 27th. Of the 200, 4 have been killed, 4 have been injured, 1 has been in a vegetative state (if he has not already unplugged from his breathing machines) and another 67 have gone missing. Entirely missing. The students loaded up on three buses - all heading out of town, heading back to Ayotiznapa. But they never got to town. Two of the buses are completely unaccounted for and the last bus was later found on Sunday, full of bullet holes and shredded tires. No students or remains have been found.
Currently, a multitude of family members have gone back into Iguala looking for any clues- literally going door to door inquiring about the whereabouts to their children. The word on the street is that the cartels in the area were working with the police against the "Normalistas" - (witnesses on the road near the bus full of high school soccer players, said they saw an unmarked car firing into the bus as well as the cops). The fear is that either the police or the cartels have the remaining 67 "Normalistas". Right now that is the question: Where have the 67 gone?
This hasn't made the news here in the U.S - you won't catch it on CBS or NBC or any of the American news stations. You have to read about it, and even then, some of the details might be a little off. Just read, and read and pray and read.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you are connected to news sources or know of media (both corporate and independent), then tell them about the story. This was an event that did away with almost 1/3 of a school population. It is a massive F*CKUP on the part of the governance and the police of the city of Iguala. Show them this link - Acción Urgente The global community has to know what is taking place in Guerrero. The Center for Human Rights in the Mountains - Tlachinollan or Centro de derechos humanos de la montaña is one of the groups that is calling for attention to be called forth upon the mayor's office in Iguala, and the governor's office as well. The more international pressure is placed on the adminstradores en Guerrero, es posible que les llame la atención y actuen para encontrar los desaparecidos. Esperamos que si. Press on, gente, press on.
Spread the word. Keep up with the news. Understand that militarized police action against students isn't just an American issue, its a global issue. I hope that certain detractors (those that name the women and children coming across the "southern border", as a negative event, not a humanitarian crisis), see this as well. If we ask, why is it that some people are willing to risk their lives to cross over, those detractors haven't seen the major issues plaguing people in their own lands. No one who is searching for education should be terrorized.
* Many thanks to Bryan Parras and our contact in Iguala, Gro, MEX.
And now, the tease: