Here is a recent article I wrote for the Movement Medicine newsletter about the Ayotzinapa project. Much gratitude to them for publishing it, and for also selling my work through their online store. You can learn more about their extraordinary movement practice at www.schoolofmovementmedicine.com
**It has since been decided by the Solidarity Group in Vancouver, and myself, that the funds raised will go to an account to support the ongoing legal fees of the parents of the missing students. They are in Mexico City fighting for answers from the state.**
OUR MISSING BY LAWRENCE KELSON
‘Our Missing’ is a piece of music I wrote about the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico on the night of September 26th 2014. This, and a shorter remixed version, are available to download from my website, with all profits going to support the teacher training school that the missing students attended http://www.lawrencekelson.com
I was travelling in Mexico in the autumn of 2014 when I encountered a large demonstration in the streets of Oaxaca. People were powerfully and peacefully protesting the recent forced disappearance of 43 indigenous students of the Rural Teachers Training School, ‘Raul Isidro Burgos’ in Ayotzinapa. It was moving to hear their names being called out amid passionate demands for their safe return. This was the latest in a spate of kidnappings and murders and it marked a tipping point in the consciousness of the Mexican people. Global news outlets covered the fated incident as tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets across the country. It has been estimated that, up to, 100,000 Mexicans have been killed in recent years in escalating drug related violence while the government appears unable or unwilling to intervene, its power curtailed by widespread corruption. Indigenous communities suffer greatly for their resistance, and defence of their land and way of life.
On my return to Vancouver I set about finding ways I could help. I got involved with a local solidarity group, AYO 68, which campaigns to support indigenous peoples across the globe who face continued threats from governments, corrupt authorities, and foreign extraction companies. It was here that I was introduced to two filmmakers from Mexico City, Patricio Cartas and Oscar Flores, who were making a short film about the missing students. I was asked to write a soundtrack that reflected the despair and darkness of the situation but which also illustrated hope, as people gather together to fight back. It includes recordings I made of the demonstrations in Oaxaca.
The soundtrack is available to download from my website, as is a remix of the fourth section, amended specifically with the movement community in mind. All the profits from both will go to the school in Ayotzinapa. Such places are vital for the preservation of indigenous culture and independence. The school is founded on principles that reflect the ideals that education leads to liberation. They have recently set up a radio station to keep their communities better informed. They also now have their own volunteer security personnel, as the police and government forces in the region can no longer be trusted to protect them. Donations will be sent to an organisation called H.I.J.O.S. who will pass the funds to the school. Below is an excerpt from a letter to the Vancouver Solidarity Group:
Our path is long, but our end will be glorious. This is why we love and we fight for our school, so that tomorrow when our 43 comrades are back we can finish the road. Maybe we don’t run, but we go slow because we are going far.
On April 10th 1971, Raúl Isidro Burgos died in Mexico City and today his remains rest in our Teachers School, which currently bears his name and where our 43 young brothers were being formed in the principles that our teacher used as foundation with the goal of educating a country.
…Burgos transmitted to his students…the ideals that education in Mexico should follow: “Let’s plant the seeds of freedom in the virgin field of the young ones hearts. The duty is to teach our students to be free.”
…that is still our goal. Educate not to obey, but to be free. The education is the only weapon to defeat poverty, marginalization, violence and illiteracy with which we grow up, we the people from below… The forgotten. The peasants. The natives…
P.S.: By the way, “Ayotzinapa” means place of turtles, and for that reason our mascot is a turtle. Actually, during the rainy season they are always on the hallways biting the feet of one or two distracted guys. Hehehe
You can read more about Ayotzinapa, and listen to the tracks, on my website http://www.lawrencekelson.com
Your support of this initiative is much appreciated. I wish you all many deep dancing moments, good health, and happiness. With love from the beautiful west coast of Canada,
‘Our Missing is especially poignant, spacious, and tender... There is an unspoken sadness.’
Peter Fodera, movement teacher, New York.