Being sick always puts a negative spin on things. It’s frustrating because I want to see the good in life, but I have trouble when I don’t feel well. It’s worse because I don’t feel bad enough to stay home from work, just bad enough to be irritable. That’s the problem with a new country, all the new bacteria. In the States we have everything sanitized and pasteurized, but the rest of the world still relies on their immune system in a way we don’t. I have been sick more here than back home, but when I got sick back home it was always much worse. Here it’s annoying, there it was crippling. The only real sicknesses I got here were the couple times I had a fever over a weekend and the day I lost my voice. Back home it was always a flu or worse. I wonder if the world has changed or if it’s just my perspective.
Some things still surprise me here. Today my students were discussing the 43 students who disappeared and about how nothing has been done or found regarding them. They agreed on something very interesting, by my perspective. They said they could never trust the police or the government, but they trusted the military, as though they were untouched by the corruption that infects everything here. The articles I’ve read about a cell phone from one of the 43 pinging at a military base in Mexico before going dark and the articles and videos of the military firing at civilians in the South, then lying about what can be easily seen on the videos, tells me a different story. Which story is true?
I remember stories about people being grabbed by the military in Tijuana and being forced to dig their own graves before being ransomed. I remember another student, an ex-soldier who left the military because he couldn’t deal with the corruption of his superior officers. I remember the rates of sexual assault reported in the US military, an institution as honored as any, and the effect of violence on the human psyche. Looking at a country where everything must be questioned, how can anyone assume the military here are the good guys.
The military is the sword-arm of a nation. Whatever good or evil they may do, their purpose is violence, either to protect or destroy. Some places the military takes over the country and becomes a dictatorship. In the US, the military is constantly at war, performing tactical strikes, or protecting bases throughout the world as much as they build infrastructure, send assistance to disaster areas, or train other countries how to be more effective. Can all the good in the world balance the harm done through violence? I could never join the military because I never stop asking questions, and I never obey without explanation. Also they have a weight requirement. No fatties.
I always find the views of different people to be fascinating, and this new class in one of the more interesting. It’s like watching all the stories of white privilege, but in middle class Mexico instead. They don’t want to see the problems of the poor because it just makes them sad. They can trust the military because they live in a city where the military only visits for parades. I even had to teach them never to start a sentence with, “I’m not racist, but…” because it is always followed by a racist comment. It amazes me to see people get so angry about the disappearance of 43 students that remind them of themselves and to decide that the Syrian refugees shouldn’t be allowed to come to Mexico because there are Mexicans who need help first.
I understand their points, but I can never agree with their conclusions. The longer I’m out here the less I find I have with conservatives in either country. The separation of us and them is an illusion, and as long as I have food, health, and shelter, I don’t mind giving so that others can have the same, regardless of where they were born or whether I believe they can’t work or just won’t. There are too many variables in the world for me to go among people and judge them on whether they should be helped or not.
I keep thinking of the internship I have coming up. I think the thing I want the most out of it is just to start to understand what it’s like to be that far down the economic scale. I get depressed when money gets a little tight, what must it be like when you have nothing? Just being there is probably going to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and I am grateful for that.