It is only my 5th day, but the 12th day since it left Seattle, the west coast leg of the International Caravan for Justice to Juarez and Chihuahua has been proving to be quite the adventure. Yesterday especially was fraught with stress and weird mishaps. Some people on the trip are not used to hectic and stressful travelling. They are more the hippie back-to-the-land type (and I mean that not in a negative, derogatory way at all! I have fantasies about drastically changing my life and moving to some remote wilderness to grow vegetables. But when you do that and then you come back to Babylon, you have to be very prepared!). So the very fast pace of this trip has been taking its toll on some, and the stress sometimes gets taken out on the rest of us, sadly. |
Anyway, the events have been good, for the most part. In San Diego we had an amazing turnout at this big world music center. We were treated very well by the local organizers, as well, in terms of food and stuff. That afternoon we also went to a manifestaçion at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego. It was a big success, I think - the Consul came outside with his assistants to talk to us, because we wanted everyone to be present, and they said there wasn't enough room inside. He and his people were wearing very fine suits, better than any U.S. politicians or bureaucrats I've seen up close. The poor guy was really on the spot and visibly nervous and uncomfortable. We gave him studies from Amnesty International, a bunch of statistics, reports on very recent killings, and a recent article from the Washington Post about Juarez, which he seemed to be suprised about. He made all these stupid comments about how there was progess being made and how President Fox's new commission was an important first step. Jessica, our fearless leader from Mexico Solidarity Network, basically said no, the commission isn't doing anything, it's toothless. The guy was like a deer in the headlights. One other amusing thing was that as I filmed the whole thing, during the introductions the Consul turned to me and said "and who are you?" I kept shooting and just said "I'm with the Independent Media Center." He paused briefly, looking confused. He obviously had never heard of Indymedia. Then he just said "okay," turned away and his weaselly assistant took a photo of me with a tiny digital camera, and I taped him taking my photo. (I was going to post a still from the shot I got of this, but I have just not had time today)
The important thing with an action like that, as Jessica explained, is not what information we give him and or what we even say to him, or what he says to us, but what he says to his boss, President Fox. The idea is for Fox to hear about people in the U.S. showing up, in numbers, hear that we care very much about this issues and are going to keep pressuring him till he does something.
So yesterday we went to Phoenix, did our show and then immediately got back on the road and drove to Tucson, to avoid morning Phoenix rush hour, which is supposedly hellish. So at 10:30 at night we're half an hour away from Tucson and one of the vehicles runs out of gas. I go with Luma in the other truck to go down the road and get some. We eventually found a gas station that was open and that sold gasoline jugs and we brought a gallon back. Finally we got to our resting place here in Tucson by midnight - and we had skipped dinner.
It is only 8am and Jessica has already run off somewhere to do a TV interview. Ramona Morales, the mother from Juarez that is with us, has another interview at 9:30. Then at 2 we have an event at the university, and then the main one for the public at 6 tonite. This has been pretty much what every day has been like. Crazy hectic fast. I don't even like to travel this way. I know it's for the sake of the success of the Caravan, but I wish there was another way, a way to live values of peacefulness and awareness and care while also fulfilling the goals of the Caravan. The problem is always that time is money, I guess, and time is time. Every hour we relax is an hour not getting closer to an event, or to Juarez itself, or giving an interview, or what have you.
Well, at least I'm getting good footage. I kind of wish I was some kind of muckraker that could tape all the trials and tribulations we're going through too, and reveal some of the inner workings, so as to make the documentary a sort of drama with interpersonal tension and stuff. But I'm too nice of a guy to do that, and also I'm PART of the Caravan, not just covering it. I guess one might say I'm "embedded." Oh well.