National: Fourth Open Letter to Cuarta Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from Javier Sicilia

13acf625-19ad-41e5-aec6-ecdf957b2f97-696x351Photo @ Somoselmedio

Dear president,

You know that I am a poet, a poet who, for very painful reasons that you also know and that are related to what brought me along with others to your home, stopped practising the craft of the poem. However, poetry – which is a gift, a grace – remains in me and has not stopped accompanying me, along with the suffering of the victims and through the voice of other poets, along this path. It, from time immemorial, guards the meanings of the tribe and becomes present when those meanings are corrupted or falter in public life. The Nabi, who the tradition of the West are called prophets (“those who speak in the name of …” is their etymological meaning) proliferated when the Hebrew people had a descendant of kings, of human beings, we could say, of State. Its function – beyond what Judeo-Christian theology attributes to them and from what popular imagery has attributed them with – was not to guess the future, but to remind the king and the people of fundamental and old truths like the mountains, which were forgotten or lost. Remember, President, Natan and his relationship with David. A heavy job, sometimes ungrateful, that forces the poet to leave his solitude – the privileged scope of his work – and sometimes to suffer from misunderstanding, insult, disqualification and defamation. Remember, President, Jeremiah.

Despite this, the poet, wrote Albert Camus, “in any circumstance of his life, dark or provisionally famous, constrained by tyranny or free to express himself” finds a community that justifies it on condition that, as we have done now walking to your home, assume those two tasks that constitute the greatness and weight of one’s vocation: the service of truth, justice, dignity and freedom. His nature as voice of the tribe cannot accommodate lies, servitude or crime, because where they prevail, as they prevail today in our nation, horror and destruction of common life grow.

That is why despite my personal weaknesses, the possibility that you refuse to receive us, the nobility of that vocation has led me to walk again, next to others, to resist, to give a place to the meaning that the word holds and look again for truth, justice and peace that one day, on November 14th, 2018, at the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center (CCUT), you and the victims agreed, that you forgot and that, in so much horror, so much impunity and death, you owe us and owe yourself, President.

Therefore, I am going to summarize, through some verses, what we have come to tell you today. They are neither mine nor any of the poets who have accompanied me. But they belong to the river of tradition that goes back to the Hebrew Nabis, the Hellenic Rapsodas and the Nahua Xochikuikani. They are from Maria Mercedes Carranza, a Colombian poet, killed in 2003, who suffered, along with her people, horrors similar to those that our country has been living for almost two decades:

“Everything is ruined in this house, / the embrace and music are in ruins, / fate every morning, laughs are ruins; / tears, silence, dreams. / The windows show destroyed landscapes, / flesh and ash get confused on faces, / in mouths the words stir with fear./ In this house we are all buried alive. ”

Our house, Mexico, and the flag that represents it and that we have carried and brought with us throughout these days of long walking, is, like the house of Mercedes Carranza, full of violence, blood, death, disappearances, graves, lies and impunity; it is plagued with heinous crimes against which language fails; its roads, its squares, its enclosures are taken by soulless beings that, with the support of state officials and companies, corrupt, disappear and kill our children, our women, our young people, our old people, dig sinister graves, they threaten us and exhibit their atrocities to inhibit our vital reactions.

We know you are not responsible for it, President. You inherited this horror from administrations that only had imagination for violence, impunity and corruption. But the fact that you have turned your back on the agenda of truth, justice and peace as a priority of the nation, an agenda to which you committed on September 14th, 2018 and that you asked us to create together with the SEGOB; the fact that you do not heed the call of the indigenous peoples to stop the megaprojects, whose base is neoliberal and, therefore, destructive of the land and community and peoples’ lives; the fact that migration is criminalized; the fact that in your morning you use a language that, far from calling for unity, polarizes the nation; the fact that you have abandoned, disarticulated and questioned the institutions that citizens create to attend to victims (the Victim Assistance Commission, the National Search Commission and the CNDH); the fact of reducing peace to a security issue and abandoning truth and justice, the State’s networks of complicity with organized crime have been articulated, and their costs in pain and death have been too high: about 35,000 murders added to the 61,000 disappeared – more than 5,000 in the last year -, to the hundreds of thousands of victims inherited from past bad administrations – practically all of them still do not know the truth and much less justice – to an even greater and still inaccurate number of tortured and displaced, and the serious mistreatment of Central American migrants and indigenous peoples.

This has nothing to do with the good things you have undertaken. It has to do with a reality that goes beyond ordinary institutions and that if it is not assumed in the dimension of its national emergency and its humanitarian tragedy, it will spoil that good your government seeks. Without truth – let’s repeat it again – there will be no justice or reconciliation or amnesty or peace or transformation. All there will be is more hell.

You ask us for more time to seek security, but you don’t talk about truth or justice. After the massacre of the LeBaron family, which once again brought the dimension of the horror and tragedy of the country to the public consciousness, there is only time to face it with a State policy that, given the networks of complicity confined in the State, it is based on extraordinary mechanisms of truth and justice – a truth that must weave, based on those mechanisms, with the institutions created to confront it; a truth that must also happen for the respect to the indigenous autonomies, to the migrants and the strengthening of the municipalities. A State policy that, as a priority of the country, calls for the unity of the nation and the work of all (governments, victims, social organizations, churches, parties, universities, unions, companies, citizens). A State policy to which you, President, committed yourself more than a year ago, which victims, organizations, academia and experts worked with SEGOB and that today more than ever urgently needs to be carried out. A State policy that goes beyond, as is evident, the Security Cabinet and that must, therefore, be assumed and promoted by you who unfortunately you are not present because of serious and unfortunate prejudices towards the victims and the suffering of the country.

We must not repeat the past, President. That past has destroyed us and continues to destroy us. You have to create the new that preserves life. A true and authentic transformation of the country must be based on truth, justice and peace.

We know it is not easy. It is never easy to face a crisis of civilization of the size that we suffer today with radical measures. But not doing so from the root of truth and justice will make violence reign forever over a field of ossuaries, dispossession and fear. The truth, as Ricardo Raphael recently pointed out, “is the one that must prevail so that reality is known, so that the facts are exposed, so that the arguments weigh, so that justice is done and violence cannot be repeated.”

We, when walking here, have fulfilled our duty, which the word and poetry, which guard the meaning of a tribe, call us and which we will always defend. You, on the other hand, as President, have the dilemma of continuing to walk towards the horror that the first steps of your government have gone through or of uniting and taking us all through a State policy based on truth, justice, respect and the strengthening of the indigenous autonomies and of the municipalities, towards a true transformation, towards that hope to which one day you called us and which today as a bloody nation summons you.

While you respond to this dilemma in which the fate of everyone is played, we leave you with the Security Cabinet, in addition to these words, the verses of David Huerta, Tomas Calvillo and Maria Mercedes Carranza, who accompanied the press conferences and press releases of our walk, the voice of poetry that accompanied us in that of its poets along the way, to meditate in the silence of your heart the meaning. We also leave you the documents with the Transitional Justice proposals and, together with the Belisario Domínguez medal, which Mrs. Rosario Ibarra left in your custody, the symbol of the homeland that today is shot, bloodied, inverted, kidnapped, obscured by murders, disappearances, dispossession and destruction of lands, communities and aberrant crimes.

Return it to us along with the restored homeland as you promised to the victims and indigenous peoples during your campaign and to the victims when we met on May 8th at the Memory and Tolerance Museum and, as President-elect, on September 14th at CCUT. It is time, President, to put a real stop to so much pain, to so much death, to humiliation, to such a lie; time for suffering to beat again the heart and the earth can flourish; time to unite the bloody fractures of the country and to make with everyone the truth, justice and peace that we need so much. It is time to put the new wine in new wineskins.

You decide, President, on which side of history you want to walk to.

Javier Sicilia

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