“The world is not worthy of words,” wrote the Mexican poet Javier Sicilia last spring after his son, Juanelo, was murdered by asphyxiation as yet another victim of the raging drug war. “They have been suffocated from the inside / just as they suffocated you,” Sicilia concluded. Then he put down his pen and abandoned poetry. Words themselves were too dirty, too controlled, too suppressed for him to continue writing any longer.
In his country, this repression of words is literal and brutal; Mexico’s special prosecutor reports that 81 journalists have been killed or disappeared in the country since 2006. Across Mexico’s northern border, the control of words is more subtle but no less effective — a divisive, fear-fueled stranglehold on the discourse surrounding immigration and nationalism that keeps us talking about “illegal immigrants” who are “stealing our jobs.”
But Sicilia is a writer who can never quite abandon his poetic gift, and he continues to wield the power of symbols to illuminate long-obscured connections. After leaving poetry, he founded the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity, which arrived in New York City last week as part of a one-month Caravan for Peace across the United States. (See earlier Waging Nonviolence reports on the trip fromMexico and Austin.) The caravan focuses on cultivating international alliances toward ending the U.S. drug war, and it has powerfully articulated the connection between the tens of thousands of murders in Mexico and the criminalization and incarceration of millions of black and brown people on both sides of the border. But like all great art, Sicilia’s journey is also bringing unexpected and silenced truths to light, including one of the most overlooked aspects of the immigration debate: why undocumented migrants are here in the first place. Even more broadly, Sicilia’s cross-country caravan challenges no less than one of the modern world’s most cherished assumptions: the sovereignty of nation states.
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Are There Borders for the 99%?.