Report from Oaxaca – “Fear and Then a Wave of Joy”

December 22nd, 2006 – Luciente zamora & Nina armand write:

Segundo informe de Oaxaca:

For days we’ve been hearing the stories of repression. Over and over and over again the same story repeats itself: “We were kidnapped, beaten, hands tied and thrown face-down in a truck with a kick to the head for trying to look up. We were taken to a helicopter and they said ‘let’s see if you can fly’ …we thought we were going to die.” People have disappeared and others are in hiding — the police are still looking for people and still threatening everyone — people are scared.

Then today came a wave of joy — thousands of people marching through the city of Oaxaca (along with other towns in Oaxaca, throughout Mexico, in the U.S. and Canada, in Europe, and in Latin America), their chants and songs filling the air for miles. All along the way dozens of youth decorated the walls that the city has been trying so hard to “normalize”. Spray-painted slogans and posters were soon covering the route of the march. Most of the march was made up of adults of all ages, but a contingent of youth joined in gleefully singing a barrage of insults of the governor.

Today, people didn’t want to talk about fear, but instead about the anger the repression has filled them with. They denounced the government and proudly upheld their struggle. The last six months has changed people. They have stood up — or as many describe it, finally the people have said “enough!” and the changes that thousands are going through are not so easily crushed.

Concepcion’s son was arrested on November 25. She got involved in the struggle to free her son from prison. But as she talked to the other women, family members, students, and her son in prison she realized that this wasn’t just about her son. There is something much greater at stake.

Now she’s working to free all the political prisoners. She was part of the encampment in front of the prison in Nayarit. She said that when she arrived in Nayarit along with other family members, many people were scared because for days the media warned the people of Nayarit that people from Oaxaca are violent troublemakers. Concepcion along with other people from the encampment went knocking door to door in the neighborhoods around the prison and told people about the struggle in Oaxaca and that their loved ones had been unjustly imprisoned — for standing up or for nothing at all.

It didn’t take long for many people in Nayarit to support those from Oaxaca in the struggle. They offered many people a place to sleep, food, and friendship during a very difficult time.

Concepcion said that she’s not the same woman she was before all this happened. This struggle has opened her eyes and made her think about things outside of her family and home. She wants to raise people’s consciousness not just about the release of all the prisoners — which she is fiercely fighting for — but also to look around and see all the hunger, malnutrition, and ask why things are the way they are and do something about it.

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El sol quema fuerte sobre esta ciudad pero no mas fuerte que el coraje del pueblo. Muchos salieron el dia de hoy por su coraje ante la repression, los encarcelamientos, y tortura — pero tambien porque quieren buscar una respuesta. Porque el gobierno reprimio al pueblo si solo exije lo que es justo? Porque en un estado con tierra fertil que tiene mar y bosque hay miles de ninos que mueren de desnutricion o de un simple gripe… porque?