La Llorona 43
I just returned from a few days at the Feria Internacional del libro de Guadalajara… one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) “intellectual” gathering in Latin America, where… of course… there were a plethora of “intellectual” responses to the forced disappearance of 43 Normal School students, and the meaning of it all. While many wise and well-chosen words were spoken, what strikes me is that the intellectuals are not the ones who give meaning to the event, but the people themselves.
And, something even the historians are missing, to give meaning to Ayotzinapa the people turn… not to the “-isms” of scholars and theorists… but to traditional sources, our myths and our music.
“La Llorona” (the weeping woman) has haunted Mexico since pre-conquest times. Perhaps, as the scholars say, she is Cihuacóatl, the Goddess of childbirth, or rather, her attendent spirits, the Cihuateteo … the ghosts of mothers who died in childbirth. She was often spotted in Tenochtitlán, weeping for her lost children, and warning of impending disaster. Later, she was identified as la Malache, the Aztec noblewoman who became Cortés’ mistress and interpreter, selling out her people (her children) for personal revenge… her spirit condemned to wander the earth, mourning her own destruction, and warning of danger. Or… Empress Carlota, the mad, bad and sad would-be mother of the Mexican people. Or, as she has for the past century and a half been seen, as a singular woman… the tossed-away mistress who murders her children, and must spend eternity warning of false hopes and false loves.
Reduced to a single figure, La Llorona is the anti-Guadalupe. Mexico’s good mother — whether she is Tonantzin, “Mother Earth” or Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe — is tolerant of all, and forgiving of all. She is the Mexico of patience and acceptance. La Llorona is Mexico frustrated and pushed to madness by deceit. Or she who warns us that madness and death will follow those who allow themselves to be deceived.
And so… it is not the well-chosen words of the doyenne of the left, Elena Pontiatowska, or media-saavy apologist for the state, Enrique Krauze, that resonates with the people. It is the song of La Llorona… a grief-stricken cry to Heaven on the one hand, and on the other, a warning to the state that the people’s frustration, and what they see as the deceptions of the state … have led to tragedy, and could easily turn to madness.
We are not all the proper type of people, less 43 of us. We are people together, from Tijuana to Chiapas… ladies and gentlemen, fighting the power… Mexico wake up!