Wednesday, September 14, 2005

In patriotic fervor, I just bought a 6-foot-tall Mexican flag, haha. On the night of the 15th of September, Mexico celebrates the start of the revolutionary war against Spain for its Independence which took place in 1810.

September is a month when all Mexicans become very patriotic. All feelings of inferiority and shame suddenly melt away and we all celebrate the very act that inspired the creation of a national identity. I actually think this is a welcomed attitude; defeatism and cynicism eventually get old and boring. A change indeed does us all good.

There are many myths and flat-out incongruence that marks our Independence from Spain. I won't go into any of them in detail, but I just want to say that history and historical figures are inherently mythical in their own right (i.e. lies). The fact that Mexican heroes and our history are marred by this fact only makes them more valid. History is an interpretation of reality through the eyes of people (who usually win conflicts and kill off other people who can contradict them). Who's to say they weren't caught up in patriotic fervor and while faithfully writing down "reality" fail to mention the fact that the father of our nation (and a Catholic priest) fathered many children, or that he originally campaigned for Spain against Napoleon, or that he might have only freed slaves to help make up the bulk of his army. What matters is what that man symbolized, which was (and is) a country stumbling through its first few breaths of liberty.

Spain was a treacherous and selfish mother. But we inherited many of her wonders and many of her worst faults, and we wear them proudly like a newborn tiger wears its spots. We eventually merged our European education with our ancestral pre-Hispanic origins, and created a culture so dynamic and colorful, Europe would never have been be able believe or accept it; and so incongruous and insatiable, that our indigenous fathers would have shunned us (or conquered us and ripped-out our hearts). We created a strange and un-natural hybrid; we put the symbol of our pre-Hispanic past on our flag, yet established Catholicism and Spanish as absolute religion and language; we ashamed ourselves of our indigenous background, and looked up to Spain as a symbol of all that was beautiful and cultured; we refused to learn Spanish and have kept our original language and traditions to this day; we established a strict policy of no intervention in other countries, but had no problem killing ourselves for decades; we believe in hope and union and purity; we trust no one and criticize our country every minute of every day, wishing it were better, not realizing a country begins with one's own self; we are fervently Catholic, yet spend Sundays watching soccer; we are friendly to foreigners, a symbol of our good will and trust, more so after all hell broke loose for letting the Spanish in; we love security and wealth, and are willing to leave our beloved homes, all we know, to venture off to hostile lands in search of a better life for ourselves and our families.

To all those faces of Mexico, that cry tears of joy for the birthday of a land we consider both beautiful and damned; to all those violently contradicting voices that merge into one on this eve of all eves, I join them, and say VIVA!


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