(La Causa)– On September 26 in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, a confrontation between protesting students and Mexican police left 6 dead, 20 injured and 43 students missing. For the last seven weeks, national outcry for the missing students has led to mass protests, hasty investigations, and the corruption that encompasses every aspect of civilian life in Mexico. People have long been aware of the drug-fueled corruption, but this encounter has unleashed a deep-seated frustration with the government and reignited student activism across Mexico.
Suspects have now confessed to killing the 43 students, burning their remains on a massive pyre, and dumping their ashes into a nearby river. All of this was done with police cooperation. The mayor of the city, Jose Luis Abarca, ordered the execution of the students to prevent their possible interference with a speech to be given by his politically ambitious wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda. Pineda has familial ties to the controlling cartel, Guerredos Unidos; her father and brother hold powerful leadership positions in the cartel. Unsurprisingly, the parents of the missing 43 remain skeptical of the government, demanding further investigation. Due to the damage of the remains, verifying the ashes may prove to be impossible though experts from Argentina have started the process to identify the remains.
The students were confirmed dead at a press conference by the state attorney, Jesús Murillo Karam, who ended the conference muttering “Ya me canse” (I am tired). Mexican citizens are tired of a government that refuses to protect them and continues to conspire with cartels. Everyone is tired of a stagnant, classist structure that does not value their lives and well-being. Everyone is tired of a corrupt and oppressive regime that remains unresponsive to the atrocities committed against Mexican citizens.
The missing students have become a symbol for the 22,000 people who have disappeared in Mexico over the past 8 years. As a result, the families of these missing individuals are demanding further investigations into their loved one’s disappearances. The disappearance of the 43 students has sparked a movement on social media and on the streets. The student activism sparked by the missing 43 students initiated a movement that has spread like wildfire(better?), setting Twitter and other social media outlets aflame with #Ayotzinapa #FueElEstado,that has spread like wildfire, now encompassing from the middle class to Catholic priests, nearly every kind of citizen. Demonstrations are being held all over Mexico. This past Saturday, demonstrators set fire to the presidential palace in Mexico City as the president was away on tour in China with President Obama.
We, at La Causa, stand in solidarity with Ayotzinapa. Our promise is not on a nationalist basis but of a commitment to what Amherst stands for. These students demanded a right to an education and basic rights. They demanded the right to educate their peers. They demanded a way out of poverty. At Amherst, we are fortunate enough to be cushioned by basic security and assume basic rights are ours. How can we, at such a position of privilege, relate to these students?
The violence these students faced is unimaginable. A simple search online brings grotesque images of the impunity with which the cartels silenced and disposed the left-wing students and everyday citizens. It is a war that destroys all humanity. We cannot formulate this complicated narrative of inhuman suffering into a tidy conclusion of hope. Simply, La Causa asks you to consider the memory of these students as you walk on the quad on November 12. There are 43 faces who have uncertain futures. Remember them.