“Les civilisations reposent sur terre”: Civilizing barbarianism or the re-location of geography as a path to liberty

Luis Alberto Velasco Ruiz

The aim of this paper is to gather the outputs of three different standpoints about the particular treatment of the concept of “civilization” in the European twentieth century. In order to spring up with a rather fresh proposal based on the outlines of three different scholars such as Reinhart Koselleck, Fernand Braudel and Edward Said, it does not seem worthwhile to summarize their well-known basic features, but instead, to deepen a bit into their scientific and epochal background, and underlying rhetoric and discourses. No topic is separated from its context of origin while at the same time it remains a changing issue, as “no one trying to grasp it can by an act of pure will or of sovereign understanding stand at some Archimedean point outside the flux” (Said, 1984: 251).

Facing civilization drives us in first place to misleading “common places” related to “evolutionist” statements traced back to the nineteenth century, a not very well seen historical particularity which the so-called Occidental society drags until now. From Koselleck’s exhaustive reading on civilization, we should consider of broad importance retracing the archaeology of the concept in the way that it conveys not only its (im)properly socialized meanings, but also its semantic transitions and translations from one language to another. How did the concept turn from being a noun to be an adjective and finally a verb? What does this transition tell us about the moment in which a sort of teleological process mathematically located civilization as the counter-part for wilderness?

It is true; progress entails the conquest of space while time goal is going back instead of forth. “Barbarians” have always been the outsiders of a culture that produces a hegemonic discourse out of it; a pattern repeated along different western and non western societies. Contesting the very “essence” of what civilization has meant throughout time, lifts until today a topic full of touching fibers. In this matter, Braudel’s “longue durée” eases world’s apprehension as a nonstop exchange of images constrained in spatial frameworks; especially what he calls “lâchages coloniaux”, which are –by the way- not random at all. History of civilization in this sense can be seen as the diffusion of exchanges, borrowings, omissions and refusals under which “dependence chains” appear not to be so hardly identifiable, as what for instance was clearly intended to be according to him the end of American hegemony 40 years ago.

With Said we meet a peculiar critic of “institutional or discursive setting” in the western production of knowledge. Said discloses “Orientalism” as a way of stripping the occidental gaze to its closest otherness: the Middle East. According to this, epistemology and methodology are more a matter of polity and ethic than we imagine. Orientalism implies the conquest of an origin confined to the antiquity, the one that equally raises fear and admiration. Braudel gives “literally” ground to Said’s discursive analysis. The risk underneath the former’s core-periphery model (without which the latter could not have been able to show a particular occidental gaze) is to fall in determinisms at showing the flow of historical structures. For instance, we could ask to what extent the periphery was the real core silenced by colonialism? Where is the core and where the periphery today?

On the other hand, both Koselleck’s and Said’s positions shed light about the way language carries ideologies; words are never innocent while they can seemingly appear as unaware. In this way, we need to be aware that those “ideological suppositions” are currently as well a set of images and fantasies that divulge desires. Exoticism is a return to those very longed-for origins we have mentioned. Though, we know that a fixed-in-time idea of the “other” is worthless as a subject to history and, therefore, we have to subvert the westernized way we transform categories into objects, constructed and positioned –time-spatialized- (coevalness in terms of Fabian, 1971) within a World-system of values, or what Koselleck silently announces as a sort of “historicism without historicity” (Dosse, 2007) in his chase for concepts.

“There could not be Orientalism without, on the one hand, Orientalists, and on the other, the Orientals.” (Said, 1984: 250). According to this, exoticism is deeply inscribed with power, and therefore applicable to what has been recently called the “Modernity/coloniality dilemma” (Mignolo, 2000). To put the matter simply: coloniality is the uncomfortable face of modernity, or as Mignolo warns: “the darker side of the Renaissance”. There is always hidden geopolitics of knowledge adjoining the “colonial difference”. For instance, the critics towards Said as an anti-Semitic reveals of course that the author could –and should- not get rid of his own experience as Palestinian. This is somehow clear, however, an unusual critic to these author (especially for the postcolonial school that came after) remains a claim on how attainable can it be to keep standing for social justice while talking from the North of the Atlantic?

Any exoticist gaze turns useless and nonsense, not because of misleading culture as a merchandise, not even for promoting the reification of identities, but even worse when its projects and rhetoric become a sort of “violent disagreement (…) [and] open warfare” (Said, 1984: 251). At some point, I think it is almost impossible not to surrender to the risks of defining the “otherness”. We are always writing from a certain “depaysement”. We are always foreigners; always abroad and everlasting changing travelers seeking to know who are still the “barbars crus” and who the “barbars cuits” (Braudel on the Chinese Empire approach to Indochinese ethnic groups, 1979). Otherwise, we would have to somehow give up indefinitely for a stubborn but inexistent objectivity capable of ending up as an extremely “polite” and frigid multiculturalism.

This could truly be “the clash of ignorance” (Said on Hungtington’s theory, 2001). What is the role of frontiers after the demagogic “end of history” and the triumphant “onset of globalism”? It sounds risky and thickily easy to spread that “the fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future” (Hungtington in Said, 2001: 146). Notwithstanding, Braudel cuts across Said with an interesting point to this extent, civilizations –from an optimistic perspective- can resist the standardization process of this “globalism” due to the possibility of refusal. Furthermore, civilizations should not be entirely opposed, for this would just keep on reveting the West in its fallacious and stubborn “uniqueness”.

I would like to come up with an example from what inflames me the most according to what Said calls the “internal dynamics” and “plurality” of every civilization. That is the revivals and beseeches of messianic social movements in Latin America, some of which are still rightfully anchored on Millenarism.

In México, to pay off the debt inherited from “golden ages” is not only a territorial issue but also an issue of taking into consideration what was lost as an effect of what could have been indeed a “clash of civilizations”. October 12, 1492: formerly called “the day of the race” was renamed more politically correct after 1992 as “the day of the encounter of two worlds”, polite euphemism that after 20 years has only led again to belligerent craves for the abolition of the holiday itself: “No hay nada que celebrar”, there is nothing to celebrate, or even as a counterpart, the day of “la Resistencia Indígena”, the indigenous resistance, 520 years later. Both perspectives are acknowledged by world-known scholars like Eduardo Galeano.

To this respect, I can say that until now I keep searching for the trustworthy length of “Mexican” memory (and of the Mexicans). We are still in the process of contesting what does it mean to be united as a country. It might not seem useful to split into 65 minorities (some of whom still defend their own nation- building project) after decades of being constrained to 32 federal entities. As an aftermath, the social struggle should not intend to strengthen further divisions but an exhortation for autonomy. The true role of the idea of civilization –now and here- is to enhance a “world that fits many worlds”, as the Zapatistas’ demands follow, a time to walk onward.

Overall, the three authors lead to expectation. Is there still space for geographies of the days to come? For “imaginative geographies”, as Said calls them, capable of exploring, as needed, the borders that separate social constructs, neither unchangeable, nor imaginary. To build on my own findings, I shall keep asking how to use Braudel’s “longue durée” to revert identities’ reification without disregarding the beseeches and the series of “faits non-accomplis” (which history has still to pay back) of those projects face to the blinding colonial difference.

Indicative Bibliography:

BRAUDEL, Fernand (1993) Grammaire des civilisations. Paris. Flammarion. Pp. 33-68. _______________(1969) « L’histoire des civilisation: Le passé explique le présent » in: Écrits sur l’histoire. Paris. Flammarion. Pp. 288-314.

_______________ (1979) « Les divisions de l’espace et du temps en Europe » in: Civilisation matérielle, économie et Capitalisme, XVe-XVIIe siècle. Tome III: Le temps du monde. Paris. Armand Colin. Pp. 11-55.

KOSELLECK, Reinhart, Otto BRUNNER & Werner CONZE (editors) (1972-1997) Fundamental historical concepts. Historical lexicon of political and social language in Germany. (English extracts) Volume 7.

SAID, Edward (1978) « Introduction » in: Orientalism. New York. Pantheon. Pp. 1-28

___________ (2001) « Clash of ignorance » in: Nation. October 22, 2001.

___________ (1984) « Orientalism Reconsidered » in: Francis BARKER. Europe and its others. University of Essex.

Complementary Bibliography:

DOSSE, François (2007) La marcha de las ideas: Historia de los intelectuales, historia intelectual. Valencia. Universitat de València.

FABIAN, Johannes (1983) Time and the Other: How Anthropology makes its object. New York. Columbia University Press.

MIGNOLO, Walter (2000) Local Histories/Global Designs. Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking. New Jersey. Princeton University Press.

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An overview of “Middle America”. Notes on the land of maids and gardeners and some of its controversial shifts

Luis Alberto Velasco Ruiz[1]

 From “Nacotitlán” to “Afghanistan”:

Bonfil, one of México’s most prolific and sensitive anthropologists wrote not so long ago that concerning our country, society was in fact the “initial obstacle to be surpassed in order to attain imaginary achievement” namely, “superar la desgracia de haber nacido en Nacotitlán” (to overcame the misfortune of being born in Tackyland –vulgar-) (1992: 17). This means that our moral and social eneven value hangs on racial and ethnic determinations. Since late 80’s, the former statement has been well related to México being the first export power of “maids and gardeners”[2] to the north. The more than ten million expatriots occupying the north became a huge topic and migration started to be fashioned “on everyone’s lips”. However, not even stereotypes remain still. For instance, I recently came across an article entitled “Like it or Not: Mexico is America’s Next Afghanistan”. Nothing new, a country eternally stuck halfway between “tradition” and “modernity” could easily lead to a confronted social apparatus flooded in corrupted governmental policies, drug trafficking, violence and unbearable socioeconomic gaps. Most Mexican people may have started thinking: “This must be already normal to the eyes of worldwide beholders”.

It now seems that México’s international image is not only recognizable through “silly” clichés nurtured by films and food, but as the American newly “infection focus” that risks of spreading out to different continental geographies. Many politicians and scholars actually identify nowadays México with the Colombia of Escobar from two decades ago; the “colombianización” of México has been seriously discussed in international panels and conferences. Thus, a couple of questions are thrown into the air: is México a country that rearranges its image at the expense of its people’s blood? Is this new bitter territorial circumscription what now defines our “national” status?

The aim of this paper is to gradually inquire (as a first step to taking to pieces) old and recent ideological stagings (capable of reseting spatialities and social values) in order to evaluate the possibility of (re)assembling an inclusive project within the Mexican national space, with the help of some instances from the newly geopolitical surroundings of a state in clear warfare.

Let us start with a quite interesting one.

Centroamérica: The invisible southern face of another (in)visible south northward:

“México is not part of the so-called Centroamérica”. As Mexicans, we all know it by heart since our firsts geography lessons at elementary school (hand to hand with an adequate training on “national history” and civism). Fervently attached to a strict geographical canon, we keep reproducing this criterion as the self-conviction that we pertain, along with the United States and Canada, to the “civilized” corner of the Americas: the North America.

Contrary to the claims of many nations having lost territory throughout history, we have not developed this supranational sentiment of loss (or maybe we did but is now blurred into the past). In some way, we may feel a kind of regret for the loss of half of our northern land, but our alleged “search of the lost territory” unfolds itself as an unfounded economic balance face to the wealth that natural resources (gold and oil) have latterly provided to the American administration. At a certain point, Mexican chauvinist middle classes are “grateful” to impoverished population driven to migration, since for the sake of the strong ongoing presence of latinos, especially Mexicans, in the southern fringe and in the huge metropolises of the United States, “Americans are somehow paying back for the formerly sized territory”.

In the case of Central America instead, we pretend that their issues do not take part of our particular realm. There seems not to be a consciously discerned or “affirmative” dominance in daily life over Central American countries (even though central and southern “regions” of the country share together the same “civilizing matrix” as part of the former so-called “Mesoamérica”). To put the matter into a metaphor: hegemony comes with oblivion, along with a sort of unawareness or ignorance about their national fate, unless when it comes to trans-migrants crossing our country on top of “La Bestia” (the train – risky in all ways- that most of this people have to climb on, as a means of transport to the north), as a forced interlude step on their way to the “other side” (the United States).

A former student of mine, a “return migrant” with several experiences, told me once: “when Central American people are about to be deported from the United States, they prefer to pretend and to say they are Mexicans, not to be sent to their countries but hopefully to México”. On the other hand, there is a constant risk in crossing nowadays a country like México, stuck in a bloody narcotized war and controlled by a complex trafficking network. And besides this, while “scrolling” all the way up from their countries, migrants are said to face even more shameful situations when encountered to the Mexican border patrol as well, namely, “put through their paces” in order to be able or not of showing an alleged belonging to the “Mexican nation”, such as being forced to sing the national anthem or rather linguistic traps that speak about what Gellner (1996) denominates as “local dialectal idiosyncrasy”; for instance, when tricked with phrases such as “tienes el zipper abajo” instead of “tienes el cierre abajo” (you have the zipper down), knowing in advance what particular understanding will they have depending on their Spanish dialectal differences and national membership.

Nevertheless, once on the “other side”, both Central Americans and Mexicans are reclassified as “third world” countries’ migrants, generally used as “cannon-fodder” and pushed to learn the “semantics” of the high culture that barely “hosts” them, or in other words: how to be “socially acceptable, industrially operational human beings” (Gellner, 1996: 110); for the key to appropriate this high culture is the most valuable possession, a precondition, not [only] to employment, but to legal and moral citizenship. One can say to this concern, that they usually come from states where, contrary to what Gellner (1996: 110) stands for when saying, “the state is a protector of a culture and not a faith”, most of their nation building projects and/or cultural homelands were not fully recognized and hence, this caused them to be voluntarily or involuntarily deprived of their “membership” to their political unit.

All of the above signifies that the “quality” of citizenship may be easily traced and mapped in space through the geopolitics of everyday life’s prejudices and clichés. However, we have that trans-nationality surprisingly arises not only on the cosmopolite upper layers, but also where the extremes touch each other: within the richest and the poorest uncomfortable margins; for both hold long scale spatial shifts and attain to keep connection with meanings on local dialectal idiosyncrasies, in contrast with “mainstream” middle layers, for whom basically the only chance turns to be learning the standardized educationally transmitted culture, mentioned above. At this point, there is no need for what Benhabib (2005: 68) warns as “a postmodernist skeptical claim on the instability of identity categories”, but an inquiry on how stretchable can any identity be depending on the need to mold itself as an ideological strategy in the vis-à-vis.

“Middle America: The Five ‘Nations’ of Mexico”:

According to Casagrande in an article published by the American Geographical Society in 1987 (in turn issue of a former book entitled Focus on Mexico: modern life in an ancient land), México’s diversity can be broadly classified into what he called “Five Nations” (or regions?). Even though the aim of the author was to highlight “the growing importance of Mexico to the United States and the extreme lack of knowledge most Americans have of their southern neighbor”, it can be considered as a much more sensitive mapping of the geopolitical landscape (from abroad) as it sheds light beyond its mere administrative units or its overall physical geography.

The Five Nations were depicted as follows: Metromex comprising Mexico City, the federal district and the surrounding state of Mexico; Mexamerica in the north; South Mexico along Mexico’s southern boundary [the so-called “México Profundo”]; New Spain in the colonial core across the center of the country; and Club Mex, tourist enclaves along the Mexican coasts.”

“‘Todo México es Cancún’ (all of Mexico is Cancun)”: the hegemonic in-between

According to the prior classification, Cancún forms part of the so-called “Club Mex”. In fact, -designed in 1968- the “Proyecto Cancún” was the first ex-nihilo “integrally planned tourist center” (CIP for its Spanish acronym) in Latin America, and conveyor of an innovative urban planning.

The overwhelming success of this pioneering tourist spot (planned and built under “fordist” criteria) drew to consecutive emulations as part of the constitution of an ever-growing worldwide “periphery of pleasure”. During its golden age, “todo México era Cancún” (all of México was Cancún), which at some level implied, for upper middle classes, the Mexican reinterpretation of the “American way of life”, “un Miami con sabor a México” (A Mexican taste Miami), whereas for the marginalized layer of migrants, an “easier” alternative to the “American dream”.

According to Hroch (2009), region conveys “community consciousness” while nation unfolds “identity” as a kind of membership. The case of Cancún is quite particular to this respect. What can the “spatial commitment” of a former empty filled in only 40 years be? A locality that has been grafted, as a tourist enclave, in a region grounded on deep ethnic particularities (Smith, 1989) as the “Península de Yucatán”, seems to have generated an opposite image and ironically a needful relationship as well, towards the Maya ethnic core (or any indigenous migrant who fulfills the canon), from which it strictly takes profit according to its particular interest on the market of cultural heritage and tourism.

Hence, one of the hypotheses I would like to build on concerns the recent identification of “locals” as Caribbean people. When being Caribbean it all comes down to the sea. From a particular point of view, this can bee seen as a way of unmarking oneself from “territorial constraints”, by building a relationship, a sort of “imagined community”, with “overseas” cultures that usually tend to appear blurry in our own clichés, with which there is no actual contiguity and therefore, no territorial constraint for a further commitment as political units.[3] Notwithstanding, to put the matter differently, the above can be defined as a form of identification led by neglecting what one thinks it is not. Could Cancún, seen as a “hegemonic in-between”, truly have an identity of openness when it is clear that its “foreigner” elites and middle classes still long for a remote homeland? Is there a possible existence of a micro-nationalism at the ex-nihilo-city scale? Is the Caribbean “one and diverse” (ex pluribus unum)?

Sources:

Project selected bibliography:

Benhabib, Seyla (2005) “El Derecho de Gentes, la justicia distributiva y las migraciones”, en:  Los derechos de los otros: extranjeros, residentes y ciudadanos. Barcelona. Gedisa.

Seminar indicative bibliography:

Gellner, Ernest. “The Coming of Nationalism and its Interpretation: the myths of nation and class”, in: Gopal Balakrishnan (ed.) (1996) Mapping the Nation. London & New York. Verso. Pp. 98-145.

Hroch, Miroslav. “From National Movement to the Fully-formed Nation: the nation-building process in Europe”, in: New Left Review (1993) Num. 198. March-April. Pp. 3-20.

Smith, Anthony D. “The origins of nations (Abstract)”, in: Ethnic and Racial Studies (1989). Vol. 12. Num. 3. July. Pp. 340-367.

Complementary bibliography:

Bonfil-Batalla, Guillermo (1992) Pensar nuestra cultura. México. 2ª ed. Alianza Editorial.

Web sources:

“Like it or Not: Mexico is America’s Next Afghanistan”

[http://www.redstate.com/laborunionreport/2010/12/12/like-it-or-not-mexico-is-americas-next-afghanistan/]

“Mapping Stereotypes” Website

[http://alphadesigner.com/mapping-stereotypes/]

Middle America: The Five “Nations” of Mexico:

[http://www.harpercollege.edu/mhealy/g101ilec/midamer/mmr/mmrmex/mmmex5/mmmex5tx.htm]

Other:

Velasco-Ruiz, Luis Alberto (2012) Vers une justice spatiale de l’eternel paradis éphémère. Approche géocritique au réaménagement territorial d’un coin néocolonial du Caraïbe mexicain nord (2001-2011). Projet de Recherche. Master TEMA.


[1] Social Anthropologist. Graduate Student at Eötvös Loránd University – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Erasmus Mundus Master TEMA.

[2] Taken from the “Mapping Stereotypes” website.

[3] This case brings some other instances into debate: a “Mediterranean identity” for the case of seaside middle-eastern countries in warfare (like Syria) for which identity has recently also reveled as part of a media construction, and an “Adriatic identity” for the case of intercultural European tourist spots like Istria, for which it has been convenient to self-promote a non problematic identity intending to forget an uncomfortable past in opposition to the wrapping Croatian continental territory.

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Las salidas de la cloaca: Cómo capotear la violencia en el México narcotizado del siglo XXI

La guerra que se libra en México contra el crimen organizado reordena los espacios físicos y recompone los valores sociales aplicables al nuevo entorno geopolítico de una nación confrontada. La experiencia prolongada e indefinida de situaciones como ésta genera la inscripción de nuevas distancias sociales dadas por desplazamientos que interpelan directamente el cuerpo y que forman parte de la cartografía de dicha guerra. Este fenómeno afirma nuevos tipos de violencia antes inadvertidos que se traslucen a nivel social como mecanismos diferenciadores en los espacios de convivencia y de extrañamiento radicalizado de unos frente a otros.

El problema del narcotráfico y subsecuentemente de la violencia que acarrea, cobra sentido al momento de topar la vista con lo que pareciera ser una puesta en escena de la vida social cuyos hilos suelen ser teledirigidos por sistemas políticos ajenos que contraponen en buena medida las posiciones en el mapa de nuestro espacio nacional. Nuestro México, atollado entre la tradición y la modernidad, es ya visto a los ojos del mundo como un “foco de infección” por cuyos resquicios se ha ido expandiendo el negocio, saliéndose completamente de las manos hacia diferentes geografías del continente americano, asimismo es visto como un rincón intolerante donde tanto ejército como grupos de sicarios aumentan como nunca sus filas para defender con sangre los nuevos límites territoriales que nos definen como nación.

Del otro lado del estereotipo capitalista profundamente hedonista donde el sueño de la sociedad de consumo se materializa como un simulacro cundido de violencia simbólica, existe esta evidente contraparte: la de ser “narco” como la construcción de una forma subversiva de reapropiarse las mieles del capitalismo. La carga de “exotismo” que históricamente nos ha caracterizado como nación ha sido recirculada hasta el cansancio alrededor de esta mezcla de realidad y cliché que comporta esta nueva esfera de acción. A todos nos ha tomado por asalto ese cúmulo de imágenes recrudecidas que no sólo no tienen cabida dentro de los parámetros del idilio de sociedad que imaginamos para el México del siglo XXI, sino que intencionalmente nos escupen un lado oscuro que muchos nos resistimos a ver, producto de una negación histórica que no tiene más que de testigos a los mismos “parias” que hemos dejado al margen del “desarrollo”, esos mismos que se han convertido en el semillero y ejército de reserva de los que mueven el pandero en la antesala del “infierno”.

Vivimos cotidianamente tapando una cloaca donde contiguos se hallan los hijos y ahora los nietos de la crisis. Es ahora más claro que nunca, pero ¿qué se debe hacer con un narco-niño de catorce años que al ser apresado, declara sin empacho frente a las cámaras que el finado en cuestión era el doceavo o quinceavo en su lista? ¿Dónde ubicamos esta culpa? ¿Cuál es el debate ético idóneo a este respecto? ¿Cuántas correccionales hacen falta llenar y/o cadenas perpetuas asignar?, si cada día más y más jóvenes sin grandes posibilidades de cambiar sus condiciones sociales y materiales de existencia crecen con el “sueño del sicario” a cuestas, anhelando “la banda norteña, los carros de año, las mejores plebes (…), pura buchanita del sellito rojo”, cumplir sus antojos a diestra y siniestra, apostando millones y pomposamente acompañados de “gente muy buena y de muy alto rango”. O en todo caso, ¿qué se debe pensar de una niña de dieciséis años que se deja acaparar por un “narco-amante” o proxeneta como única forma de movilidad social?, jovencitas que se hallan cada día más expuestas a abusos sexuales, maltrato físico, consumo de drogas, a cambio de ver cumplido un compendio de crudas aspiraciones de farándula en un mundo donde “sin tetas no hay paraíso”. Éste parece ser el escenario actual donde la adolescencia se convierte en un salto abrupto a una adultez monitoreada por las narco-redes plagadas de calendarios y geografías equívocas que desafortunadamente acaban en tragedia la mayoría de las veces.

Aparentemente no queda más remedio que vislumbrar nuestro propio auto-boicot frente a una narco-cultura que espectaculariza de manera impresionante los clichés del “México bárbaro”, un panorama desolador donde el grueso de la población debate su espíritu entre no hacer nada porque “no hacer nada salva a veces el equilibrio del universo” o acostumbrar sus cuerpos a la violencia hasta el punto de convertirla en una norma, auténtica e imperceptible, bajo la cual todos devenimos testigos ocultos. Nos hallamos inmovilizados como sociedad frente a una realidad televisada que resulta ser la propia, inciertos y paralizados viendo pasar balas y muertos rozando nuestras miradas, descuartizados, degollados, mutilados, a la par de fenómenos como la trata de blancas, el tráfico masivo de indocumentados, las redes de pornografía infantil y las oleadas de secuestros.

Frente a un panorama como éste, la experiencia de la violencia en el México de hoy debe entenderse de primera mano como el estandarte de lo disidente, de una subjetividad que a muchos provoca temor, que se empodera y entroniza frente al estado actual del poder institucional, asumiendo socialmente otro cuerpo como modo de resistencia, un batallón de cuerpos violentos que tras haber sido gradualmente violentados por los fuegos cruzados de la historia, luchan encarnizadamente por conseguir la hegemonía en sus propios términos. No obstante, un conflicto de tal magnitud encarna una imperante necesidad de traducción cultural. En este tenor, resulta urgente entender que el problema de la violencia no es el de la violencia-a-secas. Ésta es, en el mayor de los casos, carroña para los medios masivos, una puerta o salida falsa cuando nos damos cuenta que en realidad somos incapaces de ver el fondo turbio de un río lleno de aguas revueltas.

Habitamos un territorio donde se libra una particular guerra entre “los de arriba”, entre los unos y los otros “señores del narco”, como son acuciosamente llamados por la periodista Anabel Hernández, una batalla sin cuartel entre dos caras apabullantes del poder que dirigen la contienda a manera de video-juego, generando la imposición de un sistema binario (ajeno en términos generales al grueso de la población) en el seno del tejido social que confronta  pretendidamente a los que están por el “lábaro patrio” con los que están por el “narco-corrido”.

Cómo invisibilizar la violencia en un país donde el presupuesto militar ha aumentado a más de 120 mil millones de pesos anuales en los últimos tres años, donde a la par de dicha escalada tecno-bélica se estimaron durante el último año más de 30 mil homicidios relacionados con enfrentamientos entre tales bandos, donde las armas son enseres de primera necesidad para el actual proyecto de nación, donde las granadas, tanques y misiles se dan un “tirito” con metralletas y “cuernos de chivo” en la arena cotidiana como reflejo del auge de un mercado de armas de escala internacional, en un país donde una turbia verdad revela a un crimen organizado contrapuesto a una instancia política desorganizada.

México requiere urgentemente una revisión de su proceso civilizatorio, una meticulosa inmersión en sus esquemas de vida que no haga caso omiso a las concomitantes del cuerpo, a sus hábitos más encarnados, sendas pedestres, lenguajes proscritos y agrestes conminaciones. Es preciso dar cuenta de una vez por todas que aquel “salvaje” que creíamos ajeno se encuentra palmo a palmo con el  “civilizado”, cohabitando a escondidas la covacha de aquellos seres con poder que han hecho de la violencia un monopolio auto-contenido, un silenciamiento hipócrita de las pequeñas prohibiciones que van modelando la estructura emotiva de nuestra sociedad, hoy al borde del desquicio.

Nuestro México del siglo XXI debería ser el vívido reflejo del pensamiento de José Martí al hacer referencia a “Nuestra América”, una y diversa. Dicho de esta manera, el pegamento de una sociedad como la mexicana no debe estar fincado entonces sobre la base de airadas consignas nacionalistas. Éstas no hacen más que exacerbar el sentimiento por una patria imaginada que ha dejado constantemente fuera del espacio nacional a experiencias históricas que son el magma constitutivo de la lucha social contemporánea. La identidad mexicana no debería pretender ser más que un compendio de lo que el historiador Luis González ha tenido a bien denominar como “matrias”, profundos proyectos culturales de nación que han estado por largo tiempo en discordia con la madre-patria como modelo civilizatorio unívoco.

Las salidas de la guerra corresponden de una u otra manera a las salidas del laberinto por el que transita esta compleja identidad colectiva. Una sociedad históricamente situada en circunstancias tan abruptas urge una necesidad de educación en cuanto a cultura política se refiere, una forma de hacer expresos los matices y las condiciones a las que se enfrentan los parámetros de legalidad y legitimidad en este país. Sólo de esta manera: reconstruyendo nuestra urdimbre social diversa seremos capaces de romper la imagen mediática del miedo y su equivalente en política económica y social.

Requerimos una educación que nos muestre cómo organizarnos y nos haga conscientes de manera realista, no sólo del teatro social al que estamos adscritos, sino de las formas más adecuadas para el manejo de las herramientas para subvertir cualquier orden inadecuado. México debe ser el asidero donde el diálogo empático tome cuerpo como una lucha si bien en bajo perfil que esté plagada de dignidad, con el fin de evitar que nuestro país siga cayendo en lo que el Subcomandante Marcos denomina como una “nación rota”, vaticinio de una guerra contra el crimen organizado que se libra sin mucho sentido en nuestro territorio desde hace casi un sexenio.

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