Poetry News

Javier Sicilia organizes memorial in Mexico City

By Harriet Staff

Poet and activist Javier Sicilia has organized a memorial for the estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people who've lost their lives to narco-violence in Mexico over the past few years. Beginning this evening, Sicilia's Movement for Peace and Justice with Dignity will lead a silent march to the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City. They will hold a service, lay a wreath in honor of the victims, and then fast through an all-night wake. According to this article in the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Similar events are planned in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Veracruz and Torreon, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, all of which have been plagued by drug-related violence.

Activists plan to hold memorial services in Berlin, Paris, Montreal, Zurich and Amsterdam.

The peace movement’s aim is to pressure President Felipe Calderon’s administration into changing its security strategy in the "war on drugs," which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Mexicans.

Sicilia stopped writing poetry after his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco was killed in late March, and has since become a national folk hero and a galvanizing figure in the growing peace movement. In a recent article in The Guardian, he described the solace of his activism, which brings him into contact with thousands of others who've suffered similarly:

As he tours the country, says Javier, he is buoyed up by the love and support of people he encounters. "When I'm alone it's often terribly difficult to withstand Juan's death and his absence – the pain of losing a child is terrible, so terrible that language doesn't even have a name to call it. We have 'orphan' for a child who loses his or her parents, and we have 'widow' or 'widower' for someone who's lost their partner, but losing a child is so unnatural that there isn't even a word for it.

Read the whole article here.

Originally Published: October 31st, 2011