Sunday, January 21, 2007

MEXICO: OUR IDENTITY


To CALLIE

In Mexico, we are used to celebrating and claiming the successes of our countrymen overseas as our own. Their triumphs make us feel proud and united. Proud, because it strengths our conviction in our own abilities and possibilities (remember the now-famous expression “¡Sí-se-puede!” “yes, we can!”). United, basically because we know most of our achievements are made under adverse circumstances. Circumstances, that the vast majority of us, share.

In terms of “facts”, it is what we euphemistically call “reality”. It terms of “mentality”, it is what prominent Mexican psychologist Raúl Páramo recently called “the trauma that gathers us together”.

Right after the Revolution of 1910 in Mexico, renowned philosophers such as Justo Sierra, Antonio Caso and José Vasconcelos began a reflection over the Mexican culture, its limits, its possibilities and its future. It is important to bear in mind that this revolution was a major historical event that left behind not just over 1 million deaths but also the imperative necessity of building a new country over the ruins.

As it is known, this reflection was later cultivated through three decades (30´s, 40´s and 50´s). It is Samuel Ramos (Profile of man and Culture in Mexico) who brings up the topic of the so called “Mexican Psychology” and Octavio Paz (The Labyrinth of Solitude) who reflects on it from an anthropological view, among others.

This theme is later recuperated with a renovated perspective by Guillermo Bonfil Batalla in his book Mexico Profundo: Reclaiming a Civilization. Batalla died in 1991, three years before The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect in Mexico; the same day The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) went public and began what some consider the first “post modern” revolution.

All this gave a big impulse and generated new ideas into the discussion about of our identity.

The most interesting part is that after all this we still keep fighting with our demons: It might be well thought that the conditions determine our consciousness (as a well known thinker once said) but I think that our self-consciousness has also reinforced the original conditions, strengthening them and creating a vicious circle.

On the other hand, the dominant ideology, transmitted to us through all forms of education, has imprinted upon our minds a decadent image of ourselves. One image we have bought without really thinking.

Today, under the present circumstances, it is essential to rethink our identity and to do it not so much looking at the present but into our past and above all, to the future.

Rephrasing a famous quote: We must ask not who we are –we must ask what we remember and then what we want...

And yes, Viva Mexico!!


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4 Comments:

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Callie said...

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to learn more in depth of your struggles as a people..I shall appreciate and take hold of all that you offer in information and knowledge....

But in blatant questioning, is the peoples fight more so based on *identity*? and if so, how does one teach another their identity, if the teacher still struggles for theirs? Not saying that is you mind you, I *know* you know who you are, but hypothetically speaking, it is a challange I would think... Sometimes, you cannot seek that answer from others, you have to first want it with all of your being, and then search for it inside...

At any rate- Your fight is a must- it is in your blood, and I know you will triumph over adversity, as others do all over the world. I am proud of you my Dearest.....

lovingly yours,
callie

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous ZHP said...

As a matter of fact, “the fight” is not based on identity, it is rather based on improving living conditions in all of the senses.

On the other hand, I think you mean “personal identity” (who am I?), which is pretty important, as you say. Though I am talking about “cultural identity” (Who are we?).
In Mexico there has been a long and interesting debate on that. It would be good to recover all that reflection. However, I find more important in this moment to define a horizon (not meaning goals, which are crystal clear) taking into account the historical fights of our nation. That was what I meant.

And YES! I think we will prevail no matter what… *smiles*

Thank you for your comment, dearest!!!

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger ||°nErAk°|| said...

Perdona por contestar en español, pero es que la escritura en ingles se me dificulta.
Felicidades por el articulo, en repetidas ocasiones me he puesto a reflexionar al respecto, es gratificante saber que el nuestro es un país unido, sin embargo, al mismo tiempo es una pena darnos cuenta que esta "unidad" solo se da en situaciones adversas, hace poco me daba mucha tristeza ver a un país tan dividido a consecuencia del proceso electoral.
Una pregunta (no importa que la respondas en ingles)¿crees que México este en la vispera de otra revolucion como tantos lo afirman?
Saludos!

 
At 2:24 AM, Anonymous zhp said...

In my opinion, a revolution, in terms of violent popular movement, is not just a remote possibility in Mexico today but undesired at any rate. We do need a revolution but in terms of significant democratic change: socio-political, economical and cultural. I would say that that was the most important lesson we can extract from the last presidential election. I feel you: we cannot go through the same painful process over and over every six years. We need a change now!, and it must be a deep change. Hence we need a long-term agenda.

If you my friend were to ask me where we should start from, I´d say without any doubt: education…

Thank you for your comment beautiful girl!!

 

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