An oral history of one horrific night when busloads of unarmed students were attacked by local Mexican police.
Gibler (To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War, 2011, etc.) only presents one side, but he offers compelling testimony that there is no other side—that police attacked without provocation and the government did its best to cover up what it had perhaps authorized in the first place. The results seem beyond dispute: “that police killed 6, wounded more than 40, and disappeared 43 people.” The fate of the disappeared remains open to question: were they sent to be incinerated by a drug gang in collusion with police, or, as their parents hope, are they still alive and held captive by the government? The Teachers College in Ayotzinapa was a progressive institution that was at odds with government repression. As one sophomore explains, “the way of life here, the context, the government harassment and persecution that is always present, I mean it never dissipates, and one has to start, little by little, getting used to the idea that this school isn’t any old school.” The underclassmen who dominate the early part of the account had no idea what they were getting into when they were enlisted to participate in an “action” commemorating an earlier police massacre of students in Mexico. They sensed something was wrong from the outset, when the bus drivers moved slowly and then stopped before armed police, who initially fired shots in the air but soon turned their fire on the students, who responded with rocks. When soldiers belatedly arrived, they threatened to turn the students over to the police who had been shooting them. Hospitals were indifferent: “They should have killed you,” said one hospital director to those seeking help. This is the account of those who witnessed and survived the attacks as well as that of the parents who still search for the 43.
Repetitive in detail but cumulatively very moving.