Javier Sicilia’s Open Letter to Mexico’s Politicians and Criminals
After the Murder of the Poet and Journalist’s Son, a Call to the Nation’s Citizenry to Come Out into the Streets on Wednesday
By Javier Sicilia
Translated from Proceso by Narco News
April 4, 2011
The brutal assassination of my son, Juan Francisco, of Julio César Romero Jaime, of Luis Antonio Romero Jaime, and of Gabriel Anejo Escalera, is added to so many other boys and girls who have been assassinated just the same throughout the country, not only because of the war unleashed by the government of Calderón against organized crime, but also the rotting of the heart that has been wrought by the poorly labeled political class and the criminal class, which has broken its own codes of honor.
I do not wish, in this letter, to speak with you about the virtues of my son, which were immense, nor of those of the other boys that I saw flourish at his side, studying, playing, loving, growing, to serve, like so many other boys, this country that you all have shamed. Speaking of that doesn’t serve for anything more than to move what already moves the heart of the citizenry to indignation. Neither do I wish to talk about the pain of my family and the families of each one of the boys who were destroyed. There are not words for this pain. Only poetry can come close to it, and you do not know about poetry. What I do wish to say to you today from these mutilated lives, from the pain that has not name because it is fruit of something that does not belong in nature – the death of a child is always unnatural and that’s why it has no name: I don’t know if it is orphan or widow, but it is simply and painfully nothing – from these, I repeat, mutilated lives, from this suffering, from the indignation that these deaths have provoked, it is simply that we have had it up to here.
We have had it up to here with you, politicians – and when I say politicians I do not refer to any in particular, but, rather, a good part of you, including those who make up the political parties – because in your fight for power you have shamed the fabric of the nation. Because in middle of this badly proposed, badly made, badly led war, of this war that has put the country in a state of emergency, you have been incapable – due to your cruelties, your fights, your miserable screaming, your struggle for power – of creating the consensus that the nation needs to find the unity without which this country will not be able to escape. We have had it up to here because the corruption of the judicial institutions generates the complicity with crime and the impunity to commit it, because in the middle of that corruption that demonstrates the failure of the State, each citizen of this country has been reduced to what the philosopher Giorgio Agamben called, using a Greek word, “zoe”: an unprotected life, the life of an animal, of a being that can be violated, kidnapped, molested and assassinated with impunity. We have had it up to here because you only have imagination for violence, for weapons, for insults and, with that, a profound scorn for education, culture, and opportunities for honorable work, which is what good nations do. We have had it up to here because your short imagination is permitting that our kids, our children, are not only assassinated, but, later, criminalized, made falsely guilty to satisfy that imagination. We have had it up to here because others of our children, due to the absence of a good government plan, do not have opportunities to educate themselves, to find dignified work and spit out onto the sidelines become possible recruits for organized crime and violence. We have had it up to here because the citizenry has lost confidence in its governors, its police, its Army, and is afraid and in pain. We have had it up to here because the only thing that matters to you, beyond an impotent power that only serves to administrate disgrace, is money, the fomentation of rivalry, of your damn “competition,” and of unmeasured consumption which are other names of the violence.
As for you, the criminals, we have had it up to here with your violence, with your loss of honor, your cruelty and senselessness.
In days of old you had codes of honor. You were not so cruel in your paybacks and you did not touch the citizens nor their families. Now you do not distinguish. Your violence already can’t be named because, like the pain and suffering that you provoke, it has no name nor sense. You have lost even the dignity to kill. You have become cowards like the miserable Nazi sonderkommandos who kill children, boys, girls, women men and elders without any human sense. We have had it up to here because your violence as become infrahuman – not animal, as animals do not do what you do – but subhuman, demonic, imbecilic. We have had it up to here because in your taste for power and enrichment you humiliate our children and destroy them, producing fear and fright.
It is you, “señores” politicians, and you, “señores” criminals – in quotes because this epithet is given only to honorable people – are with your omissions, your fights and your actions, making the nation vile. The death of my son Juan Francisco has lifted up solidarity and a cry of indignation – that my family and I appreciate from the depth of our hearts – from the citizenry, and from the media. That indignation comes back anew to put in our ears the phrase that Martí directed at those who govern: “If you can’t, then resign.” Putting this back in our ears – after the thousands of anonymous and not anonymous cadavers that we have at our backs, which is to say, of so many innocents assassinated and debased – this phrase must be accompanied by large citizen mobilizations that obligate you, at these moments of national emergency, to unite to create an agenda that unites the nation and believes in a state of real governability. The citizen networks of the state of Morelos are calling for a national march on Wednesday, April 6, that will leave at 5 p.m. from the monument of the Dove of Peace to the Government Palace, demanding justice and peace. If the citizenry does not unite in this and constantly reproduce it in all cities, in all towns and regions of the country, if we are not capable of obligating you, “señores” politicians, to govern with justice and dignity, and you, “señores” criminals, to retake your codes of honor and limit your savagery, the spiral this violence has generated will bring us on a path of horror without return. If you, “señores” politicians do not govern well and do not take seriously that we live in a state of national emergency that requires your unity, and you, “señores” criminals, do not limit your actions, you will end up winning and having power but you will govern and reign over a mountain of ossuaries and of beings that are beaten and destroyed in their souls, a dream that none of us envy.
There is no life, Albert Camus wrote, without persuasion and without peace, and the history of Mexico today only knows intimidation, suffering, distrust and the fear that one day another son or daughter of another family will be debased and massacred. You only know what you are ask us, that death, as is already happening today, becomes an affair of statistics and administration and which we should all get used to it.
Because we do not want this, next Wednesday we will go out into the street: because we do not want one more child, one more son, assassinated, the citizen networks of Morelos are calling for national citizen unity that we must maintain alive to break the fear and isolation that the incapacity of you, “señores” politicians, and the cruelty of you, “señores” criminals, want us to put in our bodies and souls.
I remember, in this sense, some verses by Bertholt Brecht, when the horror of Nazism, which is to say, the horror of the installation of crime in the daily life of a nation, appeared: “One day they came for the blacks, and I said nothing. Another day they came for the Jews, and I said nothing. One day they came for me (or for a son of mine) and I had nothing to say.” Today, after so many crimes supported, when the destroyed body of my son and his friends has brought the citizenry to mobilize anew, and in the media we must speak with our bodies, with our walk, with our cry of indignation, so that those verses of Brecht are not made a reality in our country.
Additionally, I opine that we must return dignity to this nation.
(Translator’s Note: The term “we have had it up to here” really doesn’t sufficiently capture the indignant depth of the original Spanish, “estamos hasta la madre,” which literally translates as “we have had it up to the mother.” But since that won’t be well understood in English, I used “had it up to here” instead. As always, we welcome readers to suggest a better way to translate it. Additionally, I extend our maximum solidarity as journalists, poets and human beings to our colleague Javier Sicilia, his family, and the families and friends of the young men who were assassinated outside of Cuernavaca last weekend, and applaud his courage and selflessness at a moment when most people in such pain would, understandably, not have the strength to do the service he is doing for all the people of Mexico and the world. )