[Jimbaux va a descubrir el universo para alcanzarte.]
Greetings, dearest readers. In the my prior posting, which received a respectable amount of comments in the comment section (check it out if you haven’t already), I connected the reaction some made to bin Laden’s death with ignorance in the United States over the Canadian elections this week, anger, and arrogance. Coincidentally, the post previous to that one also had Canada as the subject of the photo, meaning Canada was inadvertently the photographic subject of two consecutive postings here in Jimbaux’s Journal. Continuing in that theme, today, I present to you some of my images of Mexico, today on Cinco de Mayo, this very American holiday.
You Heard That Right
Yes, except in Puebla, where the battle was fought, this isn’t a big day of celebration in Mexico. Not only is this not Mexico’s independence day (which is in September), but the French forces defeated at Puebla on 5 May 1862 later came back to conquer the country. Did you know that? Did you there were elections in Canada this past week? Did you know that Canada has many thousands of boots on the ground in Afghanistan? (I don’t suppose they’re looking for bin Laden anymore.)
Terror In The Homeland
Evidence that Osama bin Laden has been victorious in his efforts to terrorize Americans can be found in the very Americans who so jingoistically are celebrating his death, which I find to be somewhat repulsive, as I wrote last time. After reading the previous post, a friend wrote this to me:
I was also a little, uhhh, disturbed about the great joy that people have been publicly taking in the death of another human. When this news broke, just to see their shenanigans, I viewed Fox News for a few minutes, and their reaction was almost sickening. Geraldo and Greta Van Susteren and some other dumbass essentially having an on screen party about how f^^^ing awesome this was, and Geraldo saying he was high-fiving people in their office when the news broke. Really????
Yeah, really? Disturbing indeed. Again, bin Laden wins.
As a photographer, I’ve had my share of questioning and even, yes, harassment from law enforcement officials in the post-9/11 hysteria that so signifies bin Laden’s victory over us.
Perhaps the most benign and professional questioning I’ve ever gotten came from the Mexican Army, the same army that defeated the French forces at Puebla 149 years ago today. I was getting gasoline in Monterrey on the morning of New Year’s Day 2007 when I grabbed the below two photos.
Several of the soldiers on the base saw me photographing them, and an armed soldier then came out of the base, approached me, and directed me to drive my rental car to the base entrance for questioning.
“¿Cual es tu motiva?” the soldier (if memory serves me correctly, the one smiling and walking towards me in the above picture) asked me. I was then surrounded by armed men, all of whom were very professional. I showed them my KCS calendar pictures, was told “Por favor, no tome fotos de un campo de militar,” and went on my way to pick up my ferroaficionado pals for some holiday foaming in the desert.
I miss this place. I really do. My Mexican friends won’t even go here anymore because they tell me this area is where bodies are dumped in Mexico’s ongoing drug war. Anyway, here we see the pusher of a grain train west of García, Nuevo León, a picture taken a couple of hours after the two above at the army base that you’ve already seen.
That place will always be special to me. Some of the same friends and I went to this same area three years to the day later, as seen here.
Now, That’s How I Like It!
Here we see the A-SANL heading from Satlillo to Nuevo Laredo (hence its name A-SANL, the “A” prefix symbolizing it is an “automotríz” carrying automobiles.) Saltillo is a major producer of automobiles.
The train had to stop for some maintenance work for a derailment that had happened here the night before.
I want to leave you with some words of Benito Juárez, who was president of Mexico during the Battle of Puebla. It was his suspension of debt payments that led to the the French intervention.
“Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.”
In English, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”
It’s also something to remember this Mother’s Day, especially for me. My mother sent me this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson today:
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
My mother said that these are “words that describe you to me.” Wow! Thanks, Mom, and I apologize that the card will likely get to you a little late, but it’s on its way!
The most relevant thing for me is that a year ago, not only would I have not publicized that, but that little dialogue wouldn’t have happened, as I had not yet left the path. I was blind. Now I see. Amazing grace.