Statement by Javier Sicilia on Suspending Dialogue With Mexican Lawmakers
Citing Congress's Failure to Listen to the Voices of the Citizens, Movement Organizer Calls for Mobilizations on August 14
By Javier Sicilia
Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, Mexico
August 6, 2011
Note: Javier Sicilia and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity issued this statement following the passage of draft legislation for a National Security Law by Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies. The law, originally proposed by President Felipe Calderón to fight the drug war, would give the military greater powers to act against loosely defined “internal security threats.” Sicilia had been invited to speak with deputies on the Chamber’s Political Coordination Board about growing violence in the country, but canceled the appearance to announce that dialogue between the movement and lawmakers would be suspended. He gave the following statement outside of the Chamber of Deputies on August 4
JAVIER SICILIA: Before starting, and as is the custom each time the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity speaks, we want to begin this statement with passages from one of our greatest poems, Sunstone by Octavio Paz:
The world is born when two people kiss…
And the laws chewed away by the rats
The iron bars of the banks and jails
The paper bars, the barbed wire
The rubber stamps, the pricks and goads
The droning one-note sermon on war
The mellifluous scorpion in a cap and gown…
The schoolmaster donkey, the crocodile cast
In the role of savior, father of the people…
The uniformed pig, the favorite son
Of the Church who washes his blackened dentures
In holy water and takes classes in civics
And conversational English, the invisible walls
The rotten masks that divide one man
From another, one man from himself
For one enormous moment and we glimpse
The unity that we lost, the desolation
Of being man, and all its glories
Sharing bread and sun and death
The forgotten astonishment of being alive
In the name of this love that is peace, in the name of this peace that we owe to ourselves and that we always express through the sign of a kiss, in the name of the pain that we carry, we ask for a moment of silence for the dead to whom we never gave this love and peace we are demanding.
Brothers and sisters of our nation:
After the agreements we made with the Mexican Congress on July 28 in Chapultepec Castle, we have come, as agreed, to the home of the legislators who claim to represent us in order to renew the word that they gave. Unfortunately, on August 3rd, Wednesday morning, we were surprised to learn that the deputies approved a draft version of the National Security Law that had previously been sent to the Senate, against our demand to stop the law, against our warning to them that they not tell us one thing in public and do the opposite behind the closed doors of a bureaucracy and amid the dark goings-on of power, against the weight of the Word. This act lays bare what poet Ezra Pound warned us about when he spoke of the banality of people who do not honor their word. The deputies have suspended the dialogue with us and have sought to reduce it to an insubstantial and media-driven formality, all while their legislative agenda continues on its course, impervious to the voices of the citizens. We can’t have a conversation with men and women who don’t speak the truth, because the dialogue, which in a manner of speaking is between both of us, is a pledge to the Word between both of us, and it has not been honored on their part. It’s only a logo, a word wounded by treachery. We are calling it a deception not only because they had promised to reject the law but also because together we had established a way to track and review this issue and others during what we established at Chapultepec Castle.
When the deputies approved the Senate’s draft of the law on August 2, Tuesday evening, what they really did was continue the process of unconstitutional legalization of the current administration’s war strategy, and to therefore, continue the war. And when they asked for forgiveness, under the sacred Word, they didn’t know what they were saying; it was only out of a unconscious disdain for not just our 50,000 dead, our more than 10,000 disappeared and our more than 120,000 displaced, but it was also out of a disdain for the love that Octavio Paz refers to. It is a disdain for flesh and bone human beings who are living in the nation today, and who tomorrow, under the auspices of the law, will swell the graves of the dead and the criminals’ reserve army.
For the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity it is essential to make it very clear that we do not want the Armed Forces violated by a discretionary use that is outside of the framework of the constitution, or by doing work they are not meant to do. We know that with the complex situation in this country, with the orphaning of authority, with the failure of political power and criminal violence, in certain communities the presence of the Armed Forces is a momentary need, but safeguarding them will not be possible through a government and state policy that is wrong. We insist that we do not want the Armed Forces violated by the bad decisions of civilian leadership, or degraded by a a war that is also bad and involves work they are not meant to do, or by unlawful acts of some of its members. It uses them to not face a foreign threat, to not defend the homeland or provide disaster relief, but to go up against the civilian population, Mexicans themselves. It demotes the custodians of the nation to act as local police.
Why did the deputies, only a few hours after they began the work of having a dialogue with our movement, while National Autonomous University of Mexico specialists and human rights defenders were preparing a project that would actually work in favor of peace and public security, hurry in approving a law legalizing a war that is imposed by the United States and is a source of so many tears and so much pain?
We reiterate that we’ve not only had it up to here with the war, but also with the deception and the simulation that make it possible and accompany it. Days after showing they were willing to have a conversation with society and build a path to peace together the lawmakers have turned their backs on us and voted to the contrary. The disdain for dialogue and the de facto suspension of it following the approval of the Senate draft forces us to rethink the direction of our path. Therefore:
1) We’re going to consult with the victims and those who have accompanied us on this long and difficult march down this path.
2) We will depend on this consultation, since the federal government, through the Secretary of the Interior, has driven and celebrated the passage of this draft bill, and that with it other federal agencies have pressed for approval. We also understand that the executive branch has disrupted the conditions of seriousness and dignity under which these issues would be discussed in working groups. We reiterate our readiness for a true dialogue to deal with the substantive issues involving the ongoing war.
3) We urge the executive and legislative branches to return to the dialogue by showing an authentic willingness to listen to the citizens so that together we can bring peace. We remind them of the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”
4) We are going to mobilize and call on you, brothers and sisters of our nation, to mobilize with us on Sunday, August 14 and beyond so we can together raise the national flag, the “white flag” against the war, to again insist on what State powers and the criminals do not understand: that we do not want one more death, not one more person disappeared, not one more person tortured, that we want a Mexico where each place is suitable, where each hour is favorable, for us to look each other in the eye and love one another.
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