November 26, 2012

Museo de la Revolución

Yesterday I visited the Casa de los Hermanos Serdan with the family.  Alex has to visit two museums a month for a project at school and since Nov 20th was the celebration of the Mexican Revolution, the teacher assigned this museum.  These hermanos Serdan helped start the revolution, a movement with Francisco I. Madero to get Porfirio Diaz out of the office of president, which he had held in an oppressive rule for around thirty years.  After having lived here for SO long, I can't believe I'd never set foot in this amazing museum.  It was inspiring to hear the story of how these two brothers, their mother and sister and one of the brother's wives fought off the police when it was discovered they were involved in the movement to oust Diaz.  Both brothers lost their lives that day but it marked the beginning of a revolution that ended the regime of Porfirio Diaz.  To this day there are huge bullet holes in the front of the house.  The tour guide explained that the house had been covered inside and out by the bullet marks but for a time it was used for housing and the tenants patched up the holes.  Now only holes on the outside remain and a mirror that also has huge holes.

What strikes me as so very sad, is that after the revolution, not too much truly changed.  Instead of "el Porfiriato", the Revolutionary Party become the ruling party and had seventy years without competition in which Mexico continued under oppression, now by them.  And now after twelve years under a different party, we go back to lo mismo.  Some people call the reign of the PRI (revolutionary party) el PRIato.    Under the PRI corruption abounded, the poor remained poor, the rich became richer.  Now I'm not saying Fox, or Calderon were much better, I'm really not.  I'm just saying it saddens me to go back to this party instead of moving forward.  But as the tour guide explained yesterday... "There are no more men like the Serdans left."  Men who rise up and face their oppresors and are not easily sold out.  Obviously I can't vouch for the Serdans or anyone who took part in the revolution. How can I know much except what history books say?  I can't.  All I know is what I see today, and it's an amazing country treading water with it's boots on.  The oppression of the poor and less fortunate is obvious.  Corruption touches everyday life from the corrupt officials making money off public works, to the taxi driver paying a bribe to the cops.  I have been touched by this corruption too, more than a few times.  

Sometimes when I go to the zocalo or to the museum yesterday, I really just have to stop and look around at this incredible city where I live.  The buildings and architecture and colors are amazing.  This city is so picturesque, but its the systematic corruption that continues to taint the view for me.

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