la lucha

The Story Of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico Jon Sack Published by Front Line Defenders verso books Human Rights is such a well worn phrase. Like political correctness (what’s so wrong with being correct?) it is used in countless different ways but really it boils down to humans having basic rights, freedom of association being one of these. “We are in the middle of a war, which is a war but isn’t. We don’t know what the warzones are or who the enemy is…so in general there’s a feeling of insecurity and fear that has changed daily life for men and women in Chihuahua” Mexico is a strange country to write about. It is a democratic state, with respectable ties to Western States. it plays a perceived part in what is easily known as “The War on Drugs”. Much like the war on Terrorism the perception is that this war isn’t an easy one to win (are any?) However there is real fear for people, fear of the state, fear of drug cartels, fear of their world. This is a world where people disappear for no apparent reason, sometimes women vanish – their crime? being women! Being politically active is akin to putting an x on your home. Strike here.

This is a collection of stories, in animation form, of people. Ordinary people living extraordinary lives. It’s a tale of siblings being murdered and/or disappeared and of those left to pick up the pieces, left to crawl through the damaged shreds left behind and try and keep that candle lit. Of course the candle gets blown up but in Chihuahua there is always someone to pick up the pieces, regardless of the personal cost to their lives and family. These people give up their lives in this quest, their home, their families all get pushed to second place. Since 2006 when, then President Calderon (now lecturing in Harvard University) declared war on drugs 100,000 people have been killed, 20,000 people have disappeared and 200,000 people have fled their homes, including over 70% of the population of the Juarez Valley.

These are astonishing figures no matter what side you take. We can only appreciate what they do but it is hard to truly understand what they are experiencing. We can only hope their stories don’t go ignored, their pleas unheeded. Please buy this book and follow this inspirational yet truly tragic tale


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