A few weeks ago I was traveling in a bus caravan through the beautiful mountains of Guerrero with the parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. We were on our way to Mexico City to attend the October 2nd commemoration protest of the Tlatelolco student massacre of ’68. One year back, their sons had been trying to do the same, and that was why they had traveled to Iguala to acquire buses to travel to the protest.
All of a sudden a group of riot police interrupted our journey as we were about to enter a tunnel to the highway that would take us to Mexico City. What was remarkable was not that the police tried to stop the parents and students, instead that the parents reaction was to just laugh. As hundreds of police started lining up in formation with their shields protecting them, the parents cracked jokes.
In these moment I realized that they are fearless. After spending one year searching for their sons, combing hilltops for hideout spots and clandestine graves, protesting in front of military battalions and government palaces and listening to so many government and media lies they have nothing to lose. Repeatedly, they say that they don’t care if they live or die, they just want to find their children. In these tragic moments I feel grateful that I have had the opportunity to live alongside them and document their dignified struggle for the truth.
A group of Human Rights experts came to Mexico and said that this is one of the most tragic situations that they have documented. A different group of experts issued a crucial report blowing the Mexican government’s spot up and saying that this supposed massacre and burning in a garbage dump never happened. They also documented the participation of the local, state and federal police and the presence of the military. The government investigation failed to include a 5th bus which the experts believe might have been transporting heroin to Chicago, and unbeknownst to the students they grabbed the wrong bus. There is no proof of this yet and while it is just a theory it shows the close role the so called war on drugs plays in the intense levels of violence people are living in Mexico. Here’s a great piece about it in Spanish written by a friend. Also, recommend this photo essay focusing on three of the families of whom I have spent a lot of time with.
I am currently working on a graphic novel on Ayotzinapa and the search for the 43 students. It will hopefully come out next year sometime in English & Spanish. If you have any connections in the graphic novel world I would be very appreciative for advice, contacts etc.
I am including these videos, articles and op-eds on the one year anniversary of the the Iguala attack. I assisted with the production of a series of AJ+ videos on the anniversary which you can see here.
Previously: Journalists are under attack in Mexico.