Monday, November 13, 2006


First of all: I gave up on the cardigan rendition of the Sweet sweater. The yarn--some abandoned TLC Lustre--looks too bulky. Or maybe I am the one who is too bulky. So I've started the Frou Frou cardigan from The Happy Hooker.

My advisors said go on Chapters 1-3. Hurray! Slow going on Chapter 4, and here I am instead of writing because someone just forwarded a somewhat garbled but inspiring letter from an a Canadian Anglican minister. It's about her experiences visiting the people's movement in Oaxaca. A selection (paragraph breaks added):

So again at midday the Chiapanecos [an indigenous tribe], who live in indigenous autonomous communities, came to the APPO [Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca] Congress, amazingly dropped off two pickup trucks of food to feed people with during the meeting, at the remaining barricades, etc. And then they, with me in tow again, headed off on a two hour procession through the streets of Oaxaca. They were still fasting, and it was hot and we walked, women on one side, men on the other, for blocks and blocks with Oaxacans clapping, and many crying to see such a sign of love.

All of the city is occupied, but especially the central square, the Zocalo. There is no civilian movement allowed there, even the cathedral's shut down. So we arrive at the permanent police line. The elders speak at length with the police and suddenly the lines are opening up, and we are squeezing through two nasty looking tanks and then along the deserted street, lined with very, very scary police in full riot gear, down to these wierd pads covering their legs and feet, all with plexiglass sheilds and faces of stone.

We go all the way to the steps of the cathedral where we engage in songs and prayers, much kneeling on stone (I'm glad I'm an Anglo-Catholic). This goes on for at least an hour, and much to my deep honour, at the end the Mayan elder asked me if I would come and say a closing prayer. So on the steps of the cathedral steps this mild-mannered Anglican priest basically stole from her All Saints Day Sermon, and prayed to our God, the God of Life who created heaven and earth, prayed for those who build God's Kingdom on earth, for the martyrs who have died for the love of God, and then reminded the grey police who ringed the ring of beautiful Mayans that they are sons of this same God, and owe Him primary allegiance. We then processed out of this circle of death, back onto the streets.
I hadn't been keeping up with the situation in Oaxaca, but the letter caught my imagination because I had a magical time in the city several years ago. It was a peaceful, friendly city (in my eyes as a tourist) with marked political ferment. There seemed to be a protest or march every other day: children demanding more funding for education, teachers demonstrating at a major intersection, and rallies against U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. Music, carnaval mixed in with all of it.

Don't know enough about events to give an analysis, and don't really want to use this blog for that purpose anyway. But if anyone is interested, here are links to pics of the uprising and federale presence in Oaxaca, an article that summarizes the origins of the conflict, and a recent article on nyc.indymedia.


Alicia said...
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Alicia said...

I also don't know a whole lot about the situation in Oaxaca, but when teachers are marching and protesting, and the govenment comes in with riot gear, and rightwind militia are shooting at civilians, I tend to side with the teachers! On Democracy Now with Amy Goodman (the radio program), they have been keepin up with the situation. You can listen on thir website. I