Mothers of Mexico’s missing say Christmas and birthdays are the hardest parts
Mothers of Mexico’s missing say Christmas and birthdays are the hardest parts.
That makes sense.
Christmas is family time. We see it in our community. Workers are off for a few extra days. Three generations climb into pickup trucks and go visit relatives – even if it is just across town. They have lunch and dinner gatherings. We see the extra children playing in the neighborhood.
It is obvious when there is an empty chair at a table.
Mothers of the missing say burying a son or daughter is a terrible experience but losing one without knowing what happened is worse.They are keenly aware, to the exact day, how long those missing have been gone.They fear the worst but pray for miracles.
Most Mexican mothers suffer in silence. Some go public only when there is an organized protest, when someone makes a speech about how little government seems to be doing to resolve the tragic situation.
A few have taken up the search, the fight for credible information, as their mission in life.
Angelica Gonzalez, Blanca Luz Nava and Hilda Hernández Rivera have sons among the Iguala missing 43, teacher trainees at Escuela Normal Rural deAyotzinapa in Guerrero.
Before you ask, the boys were not exactly angels. They and the school were sometimes accused of radical activism. Students made noise about increased fees and those blasted education reforms. The very idea of forcing teachers to take tests!
Sometimes they solicited donations without authorization. Sometimes they borrowed buses to block streets or go on mission trips. They almost always gave back the buses.
Even when they misbehaved, the boys didn’t deserve to die – if that is what happened. For sure they were rounded up by authorities and made to disappear.Since Sept. 26, 2014 at or about 7:30 p.m., they have not been back at Ayotzinapa.
Angelica, Blanca and Hilda did more than hang their heads and cry. They went forth, to all who would listen, with a plea for help. If you know anything,speak up. Don’t forget us. Don’t let this story get old and go away.
“We have already walked for months in search of our children,”said Hilda.
Angelica Gonzalez and Blanca Luz went to the United States, hoping to get a moment with the Pope when he was there. They made it to Washington. They were in New York. They got two minutes on NBC News.
“For me, my son is everything,”González said. “I love him deeply and what we’ve been living through has been very difficult and very sad. But I have faith and hope that we’re going to find him. I talk with the other moms and I know that my son is alive. My heart tells me that he is.”
Other mothers were/are other places, seeking clues, asking for support. Demeanor varies.“We want to make it very clear to the federal government that we are not afraid,” said Carmen Cruz, mother of a missing student. “We ask people to listen, to continue uniting and organizing, because they (government officials) know where our sons and daughters are, and if they have not found them, it’s because they have not wanted to.”
Hilda Legideno Vargas took her plea to Ottawa. She said she was seeking justice for her son, Jorge, 20. She thinks Mexican authorities may somehow be complicit in what happened.
“Everything that I am doing here I’m doing out of love for my son,” said this mother. “We’ve come here to Canada to have our voices heard because the Mexican government is not doing what it needs to do.”
Those who have studied the Iguala scene see little reason for optimism. That does not cancel hope. In Mexico City, at the holiest of shrines, mothers of the missing have prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe for safe returns. Other mothers concede their children are likely gone for ever but they pray for closure, that remains will be found.
Some of those mothers feel they are fighting a great horned monster, their government. It didn’t tell the truth in the beginning and since has offered no proof of anything. There is open bitterness about the way the feds tried to close the case. That wound may never heal. There are a few thousand other mothers of other missing sons and daughters. Mexico’s Interior Ministry has an official count of 22,322 missing people since 2006. Some think the real number is much higher.
Mercedes Moreno says she has been wondering for 23 years what became of her son.
“Twenty-three years that I haven’t been able to give him a hug on his birthday, 23 years that I haven’t been able to tell my son Merry Christmas,” Moreno said.
She criticized the Mexican government for failing to solve the case. She gave a DNA sample to authorities 10 years ago.
Most mothers are not totally naïve. They know or sense when sons (and a few daughters) are in the illegal drug business, buying or selling, entwined in cartels, breaking the law, maybe kidnapping or killing people.
Theyknow, when there is too much money, that something is wrong.
The suspicions are different when those children go missing. But, no matter how long those mothers have worried and wondered, they probably hurt the same. Perhaps they are more likely to accept the probability that their sons are dead. That doesn’t takeaway pain. That doesn’t fill the void at Christmas.
Say a prayer for the Mexico mothers.