Wednesday, July 23, 2008

La vida se abarató - life has been cheapened. In mexico.

I heard a very interesting analysis from a human rights defender in the northern state of Sinaloa today.
By way of context: Sinaloa is a state that in the last few months has seen an alarming spike in the number of deaths related to drug trafficking. One major drug cartel in the area has recently had a big falling out and there is a war between them to carve up territory. It's a very ugly situation, an average of 6 deaths per day, sometimes 15 or more. And when you throw police and military into the mix, human rights violations increase.
In such a context, I thought it was so interesting what this colleague said:
Life has been cheapened. The right to life. At the moment, the violence is being ignored by many because "ah, it´s just between narcos". But such reasoning means that crimes and human rights violations are left in impunity. And how far does this logic go? The next could be that they´ll ignore violence because "ah, it's just between politicans", or "ah, it's just between prostitutes"...or whatever it could be. The arbitrary deprivation of the right to life is something so visible in mexico at the moment. In mexico city it is not felt so much, but in some states of mexico the violence is comparable to statistics in Iraq in terms of number of deaths. Life is being cheapened.

ps. dont worry mum!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Mission.

Me toco un reto y un privilegio. A challenge came my way recently. A professional challenge and privilege.

At Center Prodh we recently coordinated the International Human Rights Mission of the World Organization Againt Torture (OMCT), specifically its program on the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

It was the first international human rights mission that I have been part of and it was a big learning experience. An incredible amount of work, coordinating everything from the entry of the independent experts into the country, to the composition of meetings and the dynamic in between different mexican NGOs and then accompanying the mission on their visit to Oaxaca, a southern state of mexico. The whole experience was new, stressful, nervewracking, inspiring, exhausting and gratifying.

I learnt a lot and was witness to the sharing of experiences from the brave and determined human rights defenders throughout mexico - who have been threatened, assulted, harassed and even disappeared, tortured and killed for their work througout the country.

I learnt to shut up about what I said in a taxi, I learnt a little bit more about the dealing with mexican authorities (I still have a long way to go, it's a maze!), and I learnt a great deal from the mission members themselves.
The subtlety of the whole exercise was rather impressive. Building up that knowledge of how to manoever in such a situation is something that I am eager to work on.

Here are some photos from beloved oaxaca.

New apartment, new journey.

With much excitement, I have moved into a new apartment: My first place that is completely my own!
It is a great pad.
I am living in the same building as my mate Hannah, so it is the best of both worlds: I have my own space but at the same time I have a friend close by.

I hope to make this place a space of learning and fun, inspiration and life!

Here are some photos of the bare apartment and a moving in shot. I have a hammock!

Stay tuned for more photos as the place gets set up!

para las chicas! for the girls....

I wanted to make a little tribute to the friendships that I have been so lucky to have forged with some remarkable women.

Tere, my mexican sister who I lived with for 9 months and whose strength and sense and intuition astounds me - although she is younger than me I treat her like a big sister!
Mari, wonderful Mari - my first mexican mum and my lifelong friend - here with some of her students.

Kate, my fellow antipodean in the crazy world that is mexico. my kiwi kate (shouts out to my other kiwi kate evans). Kate is a great chum, who just "gets it" without any cultural differences, divides or anything. its great to have an anzac friend.

Stephanie: incredible workmate, Harvard's bright star, unbelievable brain for international law, tough, hilarious and bloody inspirational

Andrea: is now my neighbour! No one can put up a tent better than her. A tent for 10 people in fact. te quiero linda!

Nury: beautiful Nury. My first girlfriend in Mexico and my continuing companion. Love ya Nury.

Lauren: my supervisor at work, my mentor and guide through relationships, professional life, health and heart. shouts out to lauren and long live colorado!

Hannanita. Hannah. About three quarters mexican, lots of spanish and a bit of english in her. Love you hannah. My partner in crime. Besote!

Katleen, my wonderful Belgian buddy who is at once a ballerina and also a bundle of peace and fun.

Thank you Margaret

There are some people that come into your life like angels and you start to wonder why they crossed your path and how on earth you had the great fortune to meet them.

I have been fortunate to have a number of angels cross my path along the trajectory of adventures I have had since leaving australia.

One of these is Margaret.

This post is dedicated to my "adopted aunt/mother" here in Mexico who I have only known for 6 months but who has become such a kindred spirit and a light in my difficult recent months. Artist, woman, adventurer, half english-spanish-mexican, and, angel.

Margaret: I know I will have to log into my computer to show you this, as you hate and never use computers:

Thank you for everything. For your companionship, cheese, wine, chats and laughs!

It was great living with you for the past 2 months. thank you. thank you.

I will miss your sculptures in the apartment, your fun and humanity. Of course I will still continue to see you at least once a week, but nevertheless I wanted to say a little farewell! Thanks for being there.

Estoy muy muy agradecida. (I am very very grateful)