Drug War 40

The global war as seen from the center of North America

Toast to Juarez

We’ve turned our back on Juarez. Some of us stopped going back in the 90’s, when news accounts of the femicides reached their peak. Now Juarez is a wholesale murder factory. We wring our hands, and sign petitions, and pray. So far to no avail.

I miss Juarez. I miss the mystery of it. I miss the duplicitous love it shows me. The loud music, and improbable color schemes. The simple pleasure. The stupid surly joy.

I’d like to fix Mexico. I’d like to eliminate the pervasive impunity. I’d like a free and honest press, capable of performing investigative reporting without getting murdered. I’d like a legal system that meted out justice based on something other than cash flows. I’d like a ruling class that was a little more benevolent and a lot less despotic.

But I can’t fix Mexico. And things might get a lot worse, all over Mexico, before Mexico gets fixed. Maybe it will take a revolution, or just revolutionary ways of thinking. If it takes a revolution, the poor will suffer disproportionately, the way the poor always suffer. The way they’re suffering now, in Juarez.

I can’t fix Juarez. I’m not even a Mexican. I can’t vote, I can’t politic, and I can’t interfere in their process, under penalty of Mexican justice.

But I don’t have to tell you that Juarez is more than real estate. The Strip is more than a handful of bars and pharmacies. Juarez is a state of mind. Maybe a fuzzy drunken state of mind. Maybe a suspension of belief state of mind. Maybe a Zen fueled Fellini state of mind, with evolving realities turning themselves inside out like a snake swallowing its tail.

Maybe it’s just unfathomable.

We can’t fix Juarez. But we can help, a little, and reclaim a little of our Juarez, the one we remember.

I propose that next Friday we go to the Kentucky Club. We can do it to pump a little money into the local economy, or we can do it for our own selfish gratification. We’ll sit at the bar, and drink Kentucky Club margaritas, and watch the long shadows cross the street. We’ll tip the bartenders, and they’ll take the money and buy groceries, and the money will flow through the Juarez economy, percolating up instead of trickling down.

We’ll get a little bit of our Juarez back. The Juarez we remember, and the Juarez we imagine. We’ll try to picture Juarez for what it could be. Should be. We won’t give up on Juarez. We won’t surrender that little piece of mental acreage, that representation of Juarez that we hold in our minds, an electrical whelm of sensory overload.

Juarez. Mexico. Hope to see you there.

rich wright

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Filed under: Analysis, opinion

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