Diary of Your Week: Difficult thoughts

Hi it’s Paul here, in the time I’ve been working here I established pretty early on that WHYS is privileged to have fantastic contributors and callers . You all lead different and interesting lives so I’d like to start a new feature on the blog : to ask one of you every week to write a diary of your week – with photos -so the rest of the WHYS community can learn more about you.
If you think this should be you, get in touch and don’t let me down now”.

Normally we will have the diary post up every Friday but to kick off this diary today Thursday we have asked Arturo Chacon a Journalist from Juarez in Mexico. Arturo was on our recent programme on Mexico and drugs and here are his thoughts on his week.

When I think about Juarez, the city where I live, where I belong, this is a subject I think about all the time, but it is not such a terrible feeling that you think about leaving your home town because of fear of getting killed or because you cannot do your job.

Well the answer is quite simple; the whole city dynamically changed since 2008, when the Army arrived. It was sent in by the federal government, when the President started a fight against drug dealers to support his recent disputed triumph as the Mexican president back in 2007.

Living in Juarez

My life in Juarez has changed because our reality, we all, citizens and of course as a journalist, too. My week always starts on Sunday. For the last six years, after graduation I begun working for the media, as a reporter you never have enough time for you.

Last Sunday I went to the same place I have been going since January 31, where 15 young students were killed by “sicarios”, the typical word in Mexico known for assassins, pretty much related with drug dealers. I remember the day; I was there with many other reporters, at the beginning the crime scene was just like a tons of others I had been to, I knew that more than ten teenagers were killed by a group of an armed people who interrupted a drinking party in the middle of the night.

The shooters started killing everyone, the result 13 students under 21 years of age and three more people were killed that night. Another 7 men were injured. In addition to the other homicides that occur everyday. I cannot get out of my head the image of the blood running from inside the house to the street. The bedroom walls were full of bullets holes and the floor was covered with blood. The smell of gunpowder still in the rooms and probably my imagination, but we all felt the pain of the mother’s who lost their sons. They are asking for justice and respect.

President Calderon came to talk to the people of Juarez and to guarantee peace in Juarez, but everything is still the same here. In February there were 150 homicides, five per day; far too many for a community that is patrolled by six thousand soldiers, two thousand federal officers, and another two thousand state and local police. Juarez is not bigger than 1.5 million people.

Any day of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, it doesn’t matter, the crime is out there and the victims are everyone. On Friday, just when I finished my shift, in the parking lot I saw a man with a gun trying to carjack a lady. In the same moment I heard shooting just one block away, more than 67 shots from an AK47, in less than 20 seconds, were enough to put away the man who tried to rob another ladies car. I witnessed two different crimes, in one spot at the same time.

The next hour I went to my place to spend some time with my wife, and try to explain that I could get fired in the next weeks because the paper is not going well. Maybe in some way it’s good to hear that, and be safer, but this could undermine the dream of all my days of study.

The important fact is not that I’m exposed to violent events, Juarez citizens are all the time, but how it will affect us. We don’t know yet. That is worse thing about this situation in my town.

6 Responses to “Diary of Your Week: Difficult thoughts”

  1. 1 ken lapham
    March 12, 2010 at 00:14

    Regarding the viability of (phone) on internet : Immediately after the Chile earthquake explained on our local radio (Victoria BC, Canada )the only way she could communicate with her family in Chile, for their saftey and needs was through internet phone; My question; Would not emergency communication itself be justification for virtual free access ?

  2. 2 nora
    March 12, 2010 at 07:39

    Do not worry. You will climb out of your nightmares on the rope you are weaving as a scribe of the people of Juarez. You will deal with post stress phenomena well because you are already balancing the cruel realities with the love of home and dialog. The killings will eventually stop because violence goes in cycles and communities change and Juarez will not always be bathed in blood. Thank you for telling of this terrible time and alerting us to this suffering. ook forward to hearing more from you.

  3. 3 patti in cape coral
    March 12, 2010 at 14:03

    Hello Arturo – Thanks for sharing your story with us. I wish you well and hope things change for the better soon in Juarez. It may not seem so at times, but as Nora says, things go in cycles and hopefully positive changes will be on their way soon. Know that there are people who are listening and care.

  4. 4 Peter Gizzi UK
    March 12, 2010 at 14:12

    I’m noted as being a cynical, sceptical, grumpy old man who feels my country has been “sold out”. As compared with you though I realise I have much for which to be thankful.

    I truly hope the situation improves for you.

  5. 5 Arturo Chacon
    March 12, 2010 at 17:52

    Hello, thank you all for your comments. I wish violence stop soon, but the true is that the situation is out of control. Since the president Calderon visit, the number of homicides is the same or even worse. In february were more than 152 dead people and yesterday were killed another 9, in diferent events. 5 were killed in a funeral, where a group of an armed people started shooting….

  6. 6 Guillermo
    March 13, 2010 at 20:26

    People around the world have no notice of what happens in Ciudad Juárez.
    Obama, Bush and whatever just say, “is not of our business”. The 18,000 casualties in Calderón´s office do not make a difference to him. He sleeps well,eat well, travels with safety guarded by the army and his children do not know what happens in Juárez. The laundry of money is the toral question for the government. But, “Chapo Guzmán” appears in the list of Forbes as one of
    the richest people of Mexico. The peso holds on because of the narcodollars.
    The DEA,FBI, and other agencies are involved directly in México, but to no use
    ¿Why? Because the gringos are avid of cocaine and all the imaginable drugs.
    ¿Who are the rich people on the other side of the border? The people who sell
    firearms, the polleros, the kidnappers, the bribers, all of them cross the border
    and seek sanctuary. The border patrol, the customs agents and all that try to
    detain terrorism are absent when all this scum goes back and forth.
    The life of a journalist is always harrased and with the probability of becoming a victim. Good wishes won´t fix anything. The only way is to change the government in the next elections.

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