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You can fight city hall… in drag… for Jesus

17 February 2018

Since 1480, rural residents of Zitlala, Guerrero state have been at odds with the local government over, what else, tax rates. Back then, the tribute owed to the local government (and, in turn, to the Aztec overlords), included a set number of women. That year, the rural communes, owing a tad more than usual, objected strenously… i.e. they fought back, the woman of their community joining in the melee. Who actually won, the townies or the campesinos being lost in the mists of history, matters less than that the people of Zitlala discoved a novel way of dealing with municipal grievances.

Photo: Televisa

From three in the afternoon until seven at night… the townies and the bumpkins battle each other outside City Hall… some, in honor of their ancestors, in full pre-Colombian battle dress (minus the weapons), others in full or half drag in honor of their brave ancestral women, and others… however they want. The fights are refereed by “Capitáns” chosen from both communities. Last year, for the first time in modern history, somebody was killed, so… tradition must be respected… this year, the local army unit, the police, and the rural autodefensa (the neighborhood watch/milita that guards the rural population from the depredations of narcos and other organized crime figures) stood by, keeping a watchful eye for anyone who took things too seriously, or was became too enthused after the regular between-rounds mezcal breaks.

Honor satisfied at seven, the communities troop into the local church for their Ash Wednesday to repent of their sins and promise to do better… til the same time, next year.

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