Tragic Independence Day

On Monday night all across the nation of Mexico, communities gathered in their town squares to celebrate the independence of Mexico. Cries of "Viva Mexico!" reverberated across the land, leaders recited the famous "El Grito" speech ("The Scream") and the bells were rung in one of the most important and usually joyous occasions in the country. Families gathered together with friends, children waved flags and painted their faces red, white and green and everyone felt the pride of living in a free Mexico.

And then "El Grito" turned into real screams. Screams for help, screams of terror, screams of despair.

At 11:00 pm on Monday night in Morelia, Michoacan, terrorists attacked the innocent revelers, throwing grenades into the crowds, killing seven people (some sources say eight) and injuring more than one hundred others. While no group has claimed responsibility, it is suspected that the drug cartels are involved, though this act against innocent civilians is unusual, even for the violent mafia. The city of Morelia, Michoacan is the home town of the Mexican president Felipe Calderon and many speculate that this was meant as a personal warning to him. Since taking office two years ago, Calderon has waged an aggressive campaign against the drug cartels in Mexico. The cartels have been responding with violence, killing rival gangs in very public displays and taking the lives of hundreds of police officers across the country. This is the first time that an attack has been made on the public, leading some to believe that the violence and terror will escalate across the country.

This news has distressed me and depressed me. I must admit that we did not go the Cancun "El Grito" celebration, partially because I was a little nervous about it not being safe this year. We've been in the past and the feeling you get standing in a crowd of thousands screaming "Viva Mexico!" is unlike any other. Though I am not Mexican, I have felt great pride to be there with my Mexican son and husband. The events in Morelia could have happened anywhere, could have happened here in Cancun. My heart is aching, for the people who were killed, their families, the injured and for the country itself. Independence Day 2008 will forever be marked in my memory, a day of sadness now, no longer of joy and pride.

The following video is a news report of the events of that night, it is in Spanish, but I think even if you don't understand the words, you will certainly understand the significance of the moment.


My3Ro's said…
Canuck, that is heartbreaking. I was wondering why you had not posted yet. Now with this bad news. I am so sorry. We celebrated La dia de indepencia with friends and too did the grita in his backyard. I will keep the country in my prayers. I too have a love for this country I have never been too and to find out this terror breaks my heart. September is a bad month.
K.W. Michigan said…
How sad. I was reading about this incident in our newspaper today. Will violence ever end in this world?!!... I don't like being around huge crowds either.
Heather said…
Very well written, you can feel the love, pride and sadness. Horrible news, I pray for peace and for the families of lost ones.
Ale said…
I am in shock. I am from Morelia!!! my parents live there!!! agh..*SIGH* it is a horrible feeling, you just can't believe that the place you used to live in, where you grew up is not safe anymore... there is no place in this world, forget Mexico alone, where you are safe. it is so sad. I am speechless.
islagringo said…
these are scary times, getting scarier everyday. Sadly, no place, nobody, is safe from these idiotic assholes. This night is such a joyous occasion for so many thousands of people, building up to the dramatic grito. My heart goes out to those in Morelia and to the entire country who will now forever remember this night like we in America remember 9/11. So sad. So senseless.
BBmama said…
How awful! I can't even imagine. Those families are in my prayers.....
Kathy said…
We spent the Grito in Valladolid and it was super tranquilo there - maybe due to the drizzle - but most there said it is generally a tranquilo Grito.

The newspapers were all over the Morelia incident. I'm still shocked. It used to be that narcotraficantes kept their violence towards the narco world. I just don't know anymore...
CancunCanuck said…
To all (grrr, I had individual comments but the compu lost them, sigh, and I am lazy, so one for everyone...)

It is incredibly sad and has affected the whole country. Reports today say they have three men in custody, but I never know if they are just making random bad guy arrests to appease the worried public. Speculation is that it is indeed the work of the drug cartels, La Familia or the Zetas, they are not sure which. Which makes me question their arrests. There is something very wrong in Mexico right now, I can't believe how much things have changed for the worse in the last year, something must be done! And like many others in the blogosphere, I believe it starts with legalizing drugs.

I'm still in shock, still sad and truly a bit scared for what is to come.
Anonymous said…
See for reactions in Morelia.
Todd said…
I have been speechless since that night.

I have not blogged.

I have not commented.

I could not find the words.

It has been 5 days now, but there are tears in my eyes writing this.

It is only by chance that we were here in Paztcuaro instead of Morelia.

El Grito, was a very special night here in Patzcuaro. So the news of what happen did not seem real at first.

I now know that three suspects have been detained in Zacatecas.No matter what happens to them, it can not change that night.

Perhaps the only thing I can say is...
"Paradise lost"

I hope that tomorrow I can start taking Paradise back, a bit at a time.

Step One, we will be giving blood in Morelia.

Perhaps you, and your readers can give blood too. It won't make it to Morelia. But I think the sentiment will the best thing that can come for this.

Todd "A Canuck in Patzcuaro" McIntosh
CancunCanuck said…
Anon- Thank you for the link, important reading about this very sad event.

Todd- Your comment made me want to cry again. It has been a very heavy week, even this far away in Cancun. I think giving blood is a great idea, thank you for thinking of it. This event has scarred and scared the nation. I wish you and your loved ones peace and safety.
BBmama said…
Kel--our friends just got back from their honeymoon in morelia 2 weeks ago...i'm not sure why that matters, but i just wanted to share.

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