02 October 2008

2nd of October won't be forgotten

2 de octubre no se olvida
40 years after the killings in the Square of Tlatelolco, Mexico City.

I was only around 7 or 8 years old when I was with my aunt Yuyi walking around the city (Why were we there? Was it a tour or she had something to do in that far part of the city?, I can't remember). We sat at a stone or cement step. Patiently, she told me about something that happened not that many years ago, exactly in that same square where we were sitting -The square of Tlatelolco-.
I can still remember the visualization I made in my mind thanks to her didactic description. I imagined young people, and families, and even children running to hide from the bullets that were coming from everywhere and nowhere. Their surprise, their running for their lifes, loosing out of sight of their relatives and friends on the huge plain and within the tall condominiums that surround it. She also told me that they were shot with no reason or provocation. That no onw ever knew how many dead were because the bodies were taken away and hidden by the own police and militairs.
Yuyi, with all her kindness and her big black eyes, placed the killings in context and said that before that moment there had been demostrations around the city and by the university. The same university that is at the end (or is it at the begining?) of the Avenida Universidad where I lived.
My memory wants to tell me that it was the same story of the people I have been seeing walking in front of our building, and of the shopkeeperes shouting in dispair: The students are coming! and the curtains of the shops were closed. I remember that hard and hurried noise of one curtain after another being closed. But I can not be sure it was the same demonstration because in 1971 there was another one and we only moved to that house shortly before the opening of the Olympic games, that was 10 days after the killings my aunt had just described. In my memory it happened sometime after we had been living there.
From that moment I remember clearly the place we sat, what I imagined by her description and realizing that history is constantly being made.
I missed that part of history, because I lived when it happened but I was to small to comprehend it. So I had to hear over it after.
This chapter was never added to my history or Ciencias Sociales books as it was called at school. The books were free but they were made from a-z by the government. It was something that was still a mistery, without clear facts. As a girl then I was used that the govenment never said the truth, there was a permanent mistrust. The government was able then to deny what happened and make it dissapear from the official history. But it was very much alive between the people.
Later the books started being printed, and I read Elena Poniatowska's and others' only after I was 14 or so. Then I discovered the very well promoted sentence by the underground: "2 de octubre no se olvida", written on many walls year after year.

Painting by Monica Polin, 2008
More about it.
On my experience of the Olympic Games in Mexico City.

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