Yesterday and today, Mexico celebrates its 1810 and 1910 revolutions (so next year will be una fiesta muy grande!). While this is a big generalization to make, my sense from being in Mexico City last week is the people of Mexico take the spirit of revolution and independence much more seriously than we do here in the US, where my sense is we mostly pay lip service to those ideals.
Sure, Mexico has its share of problems, which I won’t attempt to go into here. But last Saturday night, I had the distinct pleasure and blessing of being in the Zocalo, the national square in Mexico City, among a throng of celebrating Mexicans (the Zocalo was decked out in independence regalia starting last Friday). My (US) friends and I found the experience to be very different than July 4th celebrations here. It seemed a very genuine and non-militaristic expression of patriotism for Mexico and its culture. The square was filled mostly with families, there was no drinking going on (though I surely would have appreciated sipping some tequila!), it was a very wholesome display of pride in the country and its rich cultural history. Again, I felt blessed to be there and experience a different kind of Independence Day fiesta.
Mexico City is a phenomenal place (all the hype about pollution and crime is way overblown), with beautiful people, food, music, street life, architecture and historic/cultural institutions. It was a terrific host city for the 62nd annual United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations Conference, with the theme “For Peace and Development, Disarm Now!” The conference was co-chaired by Peace Action, but I and the other staff of the national office can take no credit for that. It was the indefatigable work of the volunteers of the Peace Action International Committee, led by Judy Lerner, Joanne Robinson and others, and especially Chuck Hitchcock, the conference chair, that helped make the gathering of over 1600 participants such a rich experience. We will post more information on the conference, its outcomes and next steps soon.
Paz, Justicia y amor,