43 Students Are Missing in Mexico: Racism and Ethnicity Around Narratives of Denial and Justice

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Natividad GUTIERREZ CHONG, Estudios agrarios, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, Mexico
The forced disappearance of 43 students and 6 killed at the hands of the police linked to organised crime has deeply shocked Mexican society to say the least. In this presentation my aim is to discuss, based on documentary data, why are there two very different versions of this horrific event. One version entails the official discourse characterised by the way it manipulates data and conceals facts thus conveying a fictitious and unreal narrative of events. The other version shows the tireless journey to each corner of Mexico and many places abroad of the student's parents delivering a message of justice and truth. The word "forced disappearance" has become normalised, somehow accepted, while the parents insist that as the students were taken alive, they want them back alive ("Vivos se los llevaron vivos los queremos"). An international commission has been allowed to investigate the case; forensic international experts have been summoned to find out what ever evidence of the 43 students is available. If the official discourse denies such a cruel atrocity, restricts investigation, and delays results, allows me to argue that institutionalised racism is rampant and overpowering, because the ones that are missing, and are the victims, are young students belonging to impoverish indigenous ethnic communities. Conversely, the ethnic identities of the 43 missing have turned them into a leading aspect concerning public visibility of the case.