Those From Below: The Walled National Palace and March 8th

Walls erected to protect the National Palace from the Women’s Mobilizations became a memorial to thousands of women murdered in Mexico each year. Photo: Desinformémonos.

By Gloria Muñoz Ramirez

“They sowed fear in us, we grew wings,” says Vivir Quintana’s emblematic song of women’s mobilizations against gender violence. The lyrics portray the outrage for the thousands of murdered, disappeared, harassed and violated women; and also the strength of those who have lost their fear and have taken to the streets to demand “not a single one more.”

A year ago, we experienced in Mexico a historic women’s demonstration -the last one before the beginning of the health measures due to the coronavirus. The National Palace was painted by dozens of young people, with slogans denouncing not only the fact that 11 women are murdered every day in this country, but also the impunity that these femicides enjoy.

The building was whitewashed that same night and, the next morning, it seemed that nothing had happened. The usual dismissal othe violent women who denounce the murders with graffiti followed; then came the pandemic and violence against women intensified.

Today, the federal government has decided to wall itself off. A metal wall of more than three meters high protects the compound that the President of Mexico decided to inhabit. Such a thing had never been seen before, especially from someone who claims to care for the people.

With the enormous gray sheets, the government is recognizing that it has no dialogue with one of the most important movements not only in Mexico, but in the whole world. It anticipates the possible damage to the walls, it puts the protection of a building ahead of responding to the wave of complaints about the various forms of gender violence. With the wall, it recognizes that it is incapable of breaking the pact [of patriarchy]1.

The disqualifications are prepared in advance of the mobilizations, the discourse is already written about those conservative women who play into the hands of the right, the script is already prepared to justify the contempt for mothers, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, friends, companions who demand justice and an end to impunity.

“”We sing without fear, we ask for justice,” says Vivir Quintana from the country with the second highest number of gender-based crimes against women in Latin America.

This article was originally printen in La Jornada on March 6th, 2021. https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2021/03/06/politica/los-de-abajo-palacio-nacional-amurallado-y-el-8m/ This English interpretation has been published by Schools for Chiapas.

Footnotes

  1.  Recently AMLO claimed that he was unaware of the concept of the patriarchal pact, when women demanded he break with the pact with regard to the candidacy of a sexual abuser, Felix Salgado, for the governorship of Guerrero.