07 February 2011

Courage: "An Open Letter from an Artist to a Mexican Crime Cartel Boss"

"Do you ever feel sorry and secretly cry? Do you sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and feel embarrassed or angry? Do you really believe that Jesus Malverde, St. Judas Tadeo and the Holy Death are protecting you? Are you willing to pay the huge price of putting your relatives and friends at risk for a relatively short life of power, sex and glamour? Do the movies and soap operas that you inspire make the daily risks worthwhile? Don’t you ever wonder if creating a truce with other cartels might actually be beneficial to you and to the whole country? Am I naïve for asking these questions?"

Photograph © Michael Macor / The Chronicle.

At In These Times this week you can find this courageous open letter by performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. In his letter Gómez-Peña addresses the performative dimensions of the violence and mayhem that the drug cartels generate. The passage I've lifted above contains a series of hardly naive questions. Unfortunately, the answer to each is very likely not those Gómez-Peña would like. And I fear that he has placed his well-being in jeopardy by speaking out.

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