The New York Times has an excellent collection of essays by writers from four Mexican cities, each affected by the ongoing drug war.
The pieces give a fleeting but thoughtful impression of how life in each town has been changed by the upsurge in violence.
I was particularly struck by the piece on Sinaloa, the town forever associated with the cartel that shares its name, which reflects on a dark cultural history and the uncomfortable ambivalence it causes in the residents.
The Mexican drug industry was established in the 1940s by a group of Sinaloans and Americans trafficking in heroin. It is part of our culture: we know all the legends, folk songs and movies about the drug world, including its patron saint, Jesús Malverde, a Robin Hood-like bandit who was hanged in 1909.
There are days when we feel deeply ashamed that the trade is at the heart of Sinaloa’s identity, and wish our history were different. Our ancestors were fearless and proud people, and it is their memory that gives us the will to try to control our own fear and the sobs of the widows and mothers who have lost loved ones.
All four pieces quietly but powerfully portray how the currents of everyday life continue to move beneath the surface of the conflict.
Link to NYT collection ‘In Mexico, Scenes From Life in a Drug War’.