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Despite reports of violence, I feel totally safe walking around Mexico

Some 50,000 people have been killed in the war on drugs, and yet the country will survive this calamity as it has survived others

By on Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A statue of Jesus is seen in the Church of St. Andrew in Cholula, in the Mexican state of Puebla CNS phot o/Greg Tarczynski

A statue of Jesus is seen in the Church of St. Andrew in Cholula, in the Mexican state of Puebla CNS phot o/Greg Tarczynski

Some years ago there was a criticsally successful exhibition in the depths of the National Gallery entitled The Sacred Made Real, which examined Spanish religious art, and the realtionship between painting and polychromatic sculpture. One of the most arresting exhibits was a statue of the dead Christ, lying on a catafalque spotlit from the ceiling, giving one exactly the feeling of being in a morgue. The statue, painted wood, had real hair and wounds that looked all too realistic.

I am now in the country where this type of art is most at home – not Spain, but Mexico. These sort of dressed statues are very common in churches and I have come across several Christs in agony, with their long hair and their haunting glass eyes. But always, for me at least, most distrubing, are the glass coffins containing the Dead Christ. I have seen several dead bodies in my time, but none speak as much as the image of this dead body, all suffering now past, at peace, but a peace gained at so high a price.

This sort of religious statuary often arouses negative emotions in English breasts, I think partly because we do not want to be reminded of just how much the Christ suffered. His sufferings can be denied, his betrayal explained away as some terrible musunderstanding, nobody’s fault, or so we like to think – but someone was to balme, and he did suffer, horribly. When faced with that glass coffin, you cannot really subscribe to the idea of human progress or natural human goodess, much as you would like to.

Mexico is a land of dramatic beauty and terrible sufffering. I am told that some 50,000 people have been killed or have disappeared in the current war on drugs, a war that has no end in sight and which has been singularly unsuccessful. And yet, the country will survive this, just as it has survived other disturbances. Incidentally, this unfortunate history is not visible in any of the places I have visited. One feels no danger on the streets, which, as evening falls, come alive with people. I was last here seven years ago. I wonder why I have stayed away so long.

  • Ratata18

     STO ES PARA QUE USTEDES SE DEN CUENTA LO QUE HACE ESTE TRUCO VAMOS A PROBAR NO SE SI ES VERDAD PERO LA PERSONA QUE ME LO ENVIO ESTA TODAVIA ASOMBRADA DE LO OCURRIDO, YA QUE ELLA … DICE QUE LO HIZO POR HACERLO Y QUE PIDIO ALGO QUE CREIA CASI IMPOSIBLE DE LOGRAR PROBEMOS. * Para ti mismo di el nombre de la unica persona del sexo opuesto con quien quieras estar (tres veces…)… * Piensa en algo que quieras lograr dentro de la proxima semana y repitelo para ti mismo(a) (seis veces)… * Piensa en algo que quieras que pase entre tu y la persona especial (que dijiste en el no. 1) y dilo a ti mismo/a (doce veces)… * Ahora haz un ultimo y final deseo acerca del deseo que escogiste. *Despues de leer esto tienes 1 hora para mandarlo a 15 temas y lo que pediste se te hara realidad en 1 semana. A la mayor cantidad de gente a quien lo mandes mas fuerte se hara tu deseo. Si tu escoges ignorar esta carta lo contrario del deseo te sucedera, o esto no sucedera jamas………….. Que tus días estén llenos de logros y tus noches de sueños copia y pega esto en 15 o tema

  • BTyler

    I returned from Baja Mexico last night. What surprised me was the absence of churches. The ‘cathedral’ in Todos Santos looked pretty but un-used. Chewing gum in the font. 

    While we were there we were pulled over by the Federal police. They put their balaclavas on and un-holstered their weapons, threatened us and took most of our money.

    I travel a lot and can honestly say I felt safer in Nairobi or Mumbai.