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GRIEVING by Cristina Rivera Garza


Dispatches From a Wounded Country

by Cristina Rivera Garza translated by Sarah Booker

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-936932-93-1
Publisher: Feminist Press

Pensive meditation on the violence in Mexico that has compelled so many to seek refuge north of the border.

“What we Mexicans have been forced to witness at the beginning of the twenty-first century—on the streets, on pedestrian bridges, on television, or in the papers—is, without a doubt, one of the most chilling spectacles of contemporary horror,” writes Rivera Garza, a poet, critic, translator, and professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston. That spectacle includes the mass murder of women in border cities, drug-fueled violence throughout the country, politically motivated killings, and smaller, less systematic incidents, including the femicide of her sister. “Soon after she was pronounced dead,” writes the author, “the Mexico City police had gathered enough evidence to issue a warrant of arrest against…an ex-boyfriend who never stopped stalking and threaten­ing her, and who, to this day, has not paid for his crime….The war, this variously named war that still tears us apart, began, for me, on that date. Grieving, too, began its long, mercurial, transformative work.” In the face of all this bloodshed, former president Vicente Fox muttered, “Why should I care?” Fox has protection, money, and a walled estate, shields that most Mexicans do not enjoy. For all that, writes the author, everyone should care: “The dead are mine and they are yours.” Regrettably, few seem to, leading to the damaging trope that Mexicans are so often seen as “inadequate, passive, or fatalist victims.” As Rivera Garza ably demonstrates, so much of the responsibility for the violence can be attributed to the failure of the state. In the end, the slow collapse of civil society amounts to less a revolution than a “structural change” whose consequences are not yet known and “for which a vocabulary to comprehend it does not yet exist.”

A compelling work of social criticism that speaks to a desperate time.