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  • Edición impresa de Octubre 21, 2014

I want to write about Day of the Dead celebrations in Latin America that contrast with Halloween and what it represents. Día de los Muertos is rooted in the celebration of salvation and life after death. It celebrates the fact that our separation from our loved ones is only temporary.

The people who celebrate Day of the Dead don’t see death as an end. Death is when a new life begins. When they celebrate Day of the Dead it is to celebrate and remember the lives of the dead and continue their relationship with them.

Mexican scholars agree that Day of the Dead leans to the side of remembrance of the dead, rather than grief for them. This holiday is a great way to accept death. Here in the U.S. death is something that it is not talked about. It is seen as an enemy and the subject is not really talked about and seems almost avoided.

Even though many times it is difficult to accept death, especially of a young one, I find it even more difficult to have a celebration in view of what has been happening in Mexico with the disappearance and possible death of 43 young adults. Death brought about by violence at any place is not a time to celebrate. It is a time to grieve for the ability that we as humans have developed to harm and kill others and not even acknowledge the fact that certain kind of deaths are a violation to the natural course of life.

Forty-three students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa from Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero have disappeared after clashing with the Iguala police force on September 26, 2014. Since then half a dozen secret massive burial sites have been found, but the remains do not correspond to the missing students. According to the news the students, from a teaching college near Iguala in western Guerrero state, were last seen being bundled into police vehicles three weeks ago.

There have been demonstrations in support of the students across Mexico.

Mexico’s attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said the arrest would open up new lines of investigation into what had happened to the students. He added that 36 police officers and 27 members of Guerreros Unidos had already been arrested. The police and police chief have received organized crime charges and the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca is being sought. The congress in the state of Guerrero has impeached the mayor.

Lately there have been many news items like this one from México. There is no time for celebration now. The entire world is watching and demanding that the students be found. The world cannot continue to celebrate the premature departure of people by the hands of organized crime, police brutality or ‘enemy action’.

People from all backgrounds are standing in solidarity behind the parents and community of Iguala. The time has come to protest, inquire, demand and expect an answer to all the covered up crimes that have happened and we just chose to forget. Let the celebration for life be a celebration of caring and loving both the dead and the living ones.

 


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