The Roundabout Remains

Published in Camino al Andar
By Araceli Osorio Martínez

*On the afternoon of 25 September 2021, a group of anonymous feminists resignified what had been the Christopher Columbus roundabout on Paseo de la Reforma Avenue. On an empty plinth surrounded by protective fences, they installed a wooden antimonumenta, anti-monumente calling for justice for the unceasing violence against women in Mexico. The roundabout was also symbolically renamed the Glorieta de las mujeres que luchan (Roundabout of Women in Struggle)– taken from the Wikipedia page.

The roundabout remains, the roundabout resists. It is part of this war against what we  It is part of this war which they want to force us to stop fighting, to stop naming in this war that does not end up being recognized, that still goes unnamed.

It seems that saying the word war makes us look elsewhere, forces them to look elsewhere, to take into account that we have to be here, not just surviving, but resisting. The way in which the State and its institutions want to wear us down every day in a struggle that seems to have no end. We live in this situation that we do not ask for, and after all it seems they just ask, “Why do we go out into the streets? A while back it was very emblematic when some of the press asked us: “Why the anger? Why the rage? Why do they have to go out to burn and paint everything? Why the rage of these women?” And we, who have learned from our Zapatista compañeros and compañeras, answered that the rage was because they are murdering us. And that they would never again have the comfort of our silence; that we are not the ones who want to take to the streets one day just because we want to, but because we are obligated to do this. Because out of love the first thing we have to defend, when they take away one of us, when they take another away, is to go out to the streets and say: we are outraged, we are fed up of being murdered, we are fed up of being kidnapped, of being taken away by someone with very perverse intentions and very well known ways of operating.

They are murdering us for the simple fact of having feminized bodies, but in the face of this we have left behind our fear, and we are not going to stop going out into the streets, we are not going to stop naming them, we are not going to stop going out carrying the memory, because what we have is life. We have the life that was taken away from them, at the moment that we are determined to go out and name them. Because memory, when it is collective, is only then memory. Because we have said time and time again that we do not want to count the people murdered, kidnapped, mutilated and violated in this war in which we find ourselves, we do not only want to tell the horror we are facing, we do not only want to say that in Mexico, a femicidal country, 11 to 13 women are murdered every day without the state and its institutions taking responsibility – and not as authorities, because we are not going to give them that rank.

We do not feel represented and that is why we have to build new ways, out of pain, out of rage, out of resistance, and out of indignation because we have the right to be outraged, because we have the right to memory. And in this search for justice, truth, and memory we have met so many times, and we have come together because we have always been on the same side, we have come together because we are outraged by the same thing, we have gathered because in this war we are always below and to the left.

Today has been complex, because it has meant being in two institutional places and that takes a lot of work, comrades, because what we nourish ourselves from are the healing spaces, from these spaces, from the spaces that others have been building for a long time so that today we can be here in a university that has been defended and that continues to be public, free and secular. With the threat always looming.

The Roundabout at Paseo de la Reforma after its resignifiction on November 25th, 2021.

We have decided to be here because we want to speak out about what is happening in Mexico, and we want to speak out everywhere. We are here because we are part of this story and because we want to tell those who are not yet born, because we see that it is unlikely that this will stop if we do not organize ourselves, if we do not meet, if we do not take shelter, if we do not embrace each other, that this will stop. We want to tell these women, these girls, adolescents, we want to tell these men too, what we have done this so that they no longer live this reality, so that this is in the past, because it is our obligation to build the future from what we have. And if what we have is pain, let us also build from there. We have said that pain cannot stop us, we have to pass through pain, we are passing through it, pain is a process and what follows in this loving and accompanied process is to organize our rage as our Zapatista sisters have taught us –who one day decided to cover their faces in order to be visible in the midst of this war.

In a country at war, in a country in flames, in a country, as you can imagine, the only thing we say is that we are here and we give our hearts, our love, our hope for life, for another life, because we are not going to agree to play a role in this war, because it is not our war. Because what we are betting on is life, as our sisters have said “our struggle is and will always be for life” and no, this war does not belong to us, this war is here, it touches us, it challenges us, it questions us, it obliges us to organize ourselves, but it is not ours. What is ours is solidarity, affection for those who are like us. It is with them we want to walk, with them we want to go through the pain, to organize the rage and to defend the joy for life, and for knowledge. The joy for companionship, the joy because we are here and now, what it is about is building and planting for the future, and of course WE DO NOT ACCEPT that they bring us into this war of theirs.

For that, we need to continue naming one other, recognizing one other, holding hands to walk together with whoever is and whoever is possible, with whoever at this moment is willing to walk in truth, to walk honestly, without becoming less, without seeing ourselves as more, but only as what we are: people who one day said no, who one day said enough is enough. People who said yes, it is possible to build a better world in the midst of its war, with our hearts from below and to the left Because we are alive, free and without fear, that is how we want to live and that is the invitation — to live living for those who are no longer here, with the promise that another, better world is possible, and for that purpose our presence, our love and our hope are here.

This piece was published in Spanish by Camino Al Andar on November 13th, 2022. https://www.caminoalandar.org/post/la-glorieta-se-queda English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas.

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