When the Hulagu Khan’s army sacked Baghdad in 1258, survivors said the Tigris ran black for three days. Thousands of manuscripts of philosophy and literature, science and mathematics, amassed during the city’s age of translation were flung into the river, “translated back in diluted ink.”
Gravely, with composure, leaning his rifle against the window, the soldier vomited into the open bag at his feet.
Women in tragedy exist to further male ends, male conflicts, male stories. When there isn’t the explicit hatred, contempt and fear of women, the fact remains that women in tragedy exist not as people but as abstractions of ideas of the female
A social media response to the disappearance of 43 Mexican students in Iguala on September 26th 2014. Many parts of Mexico are still controlled by drug cartels, corruption is endemic and social injustice is rife.
The people are angry. And they want their anger to spread.
by Ruby Zajac
Anger Must Be Spread
I am not Mexican, I am a student of Spanish and Latin american literature. In January I’m going to Mexico City and for six months I will become a Mexican student. I am Scottish. But my nationality does not define me. I am a young person. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I am a human being. I have studied many of your artists and I have a high regard for Mexican literature, but I do not know the country or the people, and since the press where I come from tends to ignore much of what goes on in Latin America, I have a lot of catching up to do to fully understand the current situation in Mexico. That’s one of the reasons I want to go. I’m impatient to get there and start getting to know the Mexican way of life. The everyday and the artistic, the food and the history, the geography and the people. I think that travelling and living abroad are an invaluable part of education. And of course I am aware of how privileged I am to have that option open to me.
Now, following what’s going on in the news and in the AngerMustBeSpread movement, it has hit me just how much the students in Mexico have to overcome, and how easy I have it in comparison. Above all, I have been struck by the injustice between my own unincumbered path to education and the huge obstacles that you have to fight against over there. And I’ve contracted this viral anger. Because we are not so very different. Even if we live in far away countries, even if our customs are completely different, even if we speak different languages and our cultural references are not the same, even if we see the world from two totally different perspectives, you and I are not so very different. And we deserve the same education. We deserve the same freedom. We deserve the same freedom of education, the same investment in our education, the same security in our education. I am coming to Mexico to learn about a different culture, a different people and a different way of life. But in spite of all of this, I don’t think that people are so very different. I have lived in Scotland, England, Honduras, Spain and France, and the more I travel, the more I believe that people are just people. That is why I have contracted this viral anger. Even though it is your anger, an anger which has nothing to do with me, or my friends, or my family, I am still angry. I’m not trying to say I feel the same, I’m not trying to adopt an anger whose causes are too complicated and deep-rooted for me to understand completely. But I have been infected by this anger, this anger which is spreading like a virus. Because I am a young person, a sister, a daughter and a human being.
I am not Mexican. But I have been infected by this anger.
Anger must be spread.
On the 23rd of October the Mexican theatre community started a movement to protest against the abduction of 43 students in the Mexican city of Iguala on the 26th of Sept. Using the hash tags #HayQueContagiarLaRabia and its English translation #AngerMustBeSpread, the artistic community and members of the public are generating a wealth of texts which range from a few lines to several hundred words to create a massive voice of social protest. They’re reaching out to artistic communities in other parts of the world to add more voices and attract more attention to this grave injustice. To give you an idea of the seriousness of the situation, on Nov 4th the Mayor of Iguala and his wife were arrested in relation to the abduction of the students. The search for the victims has resulted in the discovery of dozens of bodies buried in clandestine graves, laying bare the dirty secrets of the many areas of Mexico still controlled by drug cartels.
On Nov 7th, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam gave a press conference in which he said three alleged cartel members had confessed to killing the 43 students. After the police handed them over. But their families have not given up hope, and there is conjecture that the state is trying to close the case and pass it off as drug cartel barbarity when those responsible may in fact be those supposed to be keeping the peace.
This is a translation of one of the first pieces published, by playwright David Gaitán:
I could stomach an elephant.
I could let its fat fill me to bursting, choke on its hide, swallow its eyes whole and hurt my insides with its hooves. I could lick its bones until my tongue becomes another tooth, digest its muscles and bear the nightmare of its weight. I could stomach an elephant and go out into the street without complaining. I could stomach an elephant and you wouldn’t even notice. I could survive on snakes and keep on walking.
I could stomach everything, except this.
These forty-three mouthfuls we will not swallow.
You fantasised about amnesia but found yourselves with forty-three seeds which grew into forty-three million more. We are going to reproduce. And we won’t tire. You are waiting for the explosives to be extinguished, well your calmness feeds our fire. This time, patience will not work.
They thought our memory would endure the inundating of mass graves; they thought making a reality of the grotesque, our imagination would collapse. Have a faceful of our vomit and choke on it as you watch us pass a social turning point.
Anger has united us and the world is catching on.
I could stomach an elephant just to see your cup, authorities, overflow. The demands are going to hit you like you’re being bombed. I am not being melodramatic; forty-three people are turning into one hundred and forty-three thousand million more.
We’ve set you to digging.
We’ve set you to excavating.
Give them back to us alive.
Or watch us explode.
If you feel you would like to show solidarity with this movement I urge you to like the facebook page and consider writing a piece for the hashtag. If you write a text, finish it with your name, date, and the hash tags #AngerMustBeSpread
#HayQueContagiarLaRabia. In order to keep the action registered, when you write
your text, please follow these 4 steps:
1. Publish it on your social networks.
2. Send it to: email@example.com
(so that both websites can be updated)
3. Share other’s writings.
4. Invite more people.
Directed by Jackson Caines
Starring Saul Boyer and Ruby Zajac
Written by Hannah Greenstreet and previously published in Notes Magazine.