[Mexico] They wanted to bury us; they failed to see we were seeds

Written by Gabri Ela

Thursday, 04 December 2014 18:20
On the first of December, a fifth mega-march for the 43 high school teacher-training students (known as normalistas) was held in Mexico City.
I reached the Hidalgo metro station, about 2 km from downtown in Zocalo, the main concentration point where demonstrators are to meet. It was still too early to say whether the crowd were there because of the demonstration or just to enjoy a normal day in Mexico City where, adding the neighbouring towns, 20 million people swarm together.
Soon I realised they were actually in the way to the demonstration. I felt too much euphoria, tension and anguish in the people going to a rally that would reach the town centre. When I got out of the underground I could hear strong and steady voices of about 200 people cordoned in to prevent leakages. They are about fifteen or sixteen-year-old young people. Very obstinate, serious and well organised. They belong to “prepa 9” a nearby high school. As I walk by I can hear them chanting, “Watch out, Watch out! Students’ struggle is marching in Latin America!” [1]
I rush on because I am already late for my meeting with my Mexican Trotskyist comrades of the old school. As I move on I come across many other groups similar to “prepa 9”: they are students from the city and other neighbouring cities. The reference to Latin America appears in all of these groups, “Why, oh why do you murder me if I am the hope of Latin America?”
I bump into the group that have been awaiting me. Maoists and trade union leaders were also there. Many red flags, sound-equipped vans belonging to trade unions and the tune I know so well and am so fond of, “See you soon (commandant Che Guevara)”.
I head to Zócalo, the spot where the demonstration is due to start. On my way I run across plenty of contingents coming and going. The organisers of the rally have a small car with loudspeakers and there are others everywhere; which spawns a broad dispersion. On the way to Zócalo I can see the first non-students columns; they are mainly teachers but also health professionals in their pinafores and other workers who at the end of their workday come to join the rally.
Some flags of all colours are raised in quest for missing members of the groups. Confusion and number of people accrue, different chants mingle and different orientations stand out. However, there is an outstanding one that sums up the entire March: it is “Out with Peña!” next to an immense photograph of the president.
When preparing for the beginning of the march, the column of the normalistas’ parents was the most numerous. Ahead of it, however, I could hear the song of hope that everybody joined in with great strength; “¡Ahora, ahora, se hace indispensable, aparición con vida y castigo a los culpables!” [2] I keep on marching faster than the column trying once again to join my comrades. More contingents join in. On my way once again I hear a tune that I know so well and cherish so much. I had to get closer to recognise it. The song was played by quite an elderly gentleman but very firm when blowing his saxophone: the International.
I join my comrades again. There is a dispute over there as to the banners; everybody wants the “Out with Peña” banner, no more are left. The march begins and our “block” decides to let the others ahead. This was when I began to film it. It was now possible to appreciate its magnitude: I filmed 10, 20, 30, 50 minutes and the rally continued unfolding.
Since I had left the underground there were several moments when my emotions ran high. Nothing, however, could be stronger than seeing a child – not more than 4 or 5 years old summoning a choir to follow him, “they were taken alive” he yelled as loud as he could and the crowd behind him responded “We want them back alive!” A collective feeling overflowed from all the groups of old and young alike: “We are doing something very important; we shall not give up fighting.” The seriousness of the many youths and the hope of the many old-agers were noticeable. Women whose voices were higher and louder – real megaphones – sang most of the demands. Together with educational topics and the issue of Latin America, Resign/Out with Peña Nieto! – was what accrued in all the groups.
It was night by then. Nearly four hours after the beginning, the column marched along the Reform Avenue. As we marched by, I could see that all the public monuments (and there are quite a few of them) or bus stops or general advertising carried the marks of previous demonstrations: graffiti, painted demands on walls and banners referring to Ayotzinapa (always with the number 43 in outstanding manner), political prisoners and “Out with Peña”. These are marks what would not be there if it were not due to the political moment the country is going through. Who would dare to wipe them off?
We are finally reaching our destination, the “Ángel de la Independencia”. However, our group couldn’t reach any nearer than 1km from the destination. The people ahead of us prevented us from going ahead. I notice a banner very close to me with a familiar phrase that has gained a new and immense meaning to me: “They wanted to bury us; but failed to see we were seeds” For me this was an unforgettable day and a new demonstration of the power of Mexican people.
Translator’s notes:
[1] One of the traditional chants in Latin America when the international character of struggle is to be emphasised
[2] This demand was first posed by the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and kept up even when there was no more hope of finding any of their children alive.

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