Monday, July 19, 2010

Youth Voices against the Drug War: The Case of the Boy Scouts of Juarez

How do youth resist feeling disempowered by the Drug War? With their schools and communities on lockdown in Northern Mexico, what do young people have to say about their confinement in one of the hemisphere's most violent cities?

On Saturday 17 July youth from Juarez, Chihuahua attended a Panamerican Boy Scouts Jamboree in Tepotzlan, Morelos State with three thousand scouts from 15 countries. Juarez has a homicide tally this year at around 6,000 people. The killings have been indiscriminate: two scouts ages 19 and 21 from Chihuahua were killed earlier this year.

Mexico's first lady, Margarita Zavala, attended the jamboree as a guest speaker and as head of the Department of Infancy and Families (DIF). Zavala failed to address the Drug War that has claimed 25,000 people since her husband, President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, took office. Newspapers in Mexico reported that she actively declined to address a question about the Drug War.

So some of the youth met silence with sound. At an assembly for the last group photo of the reunion, the scouts from Chihuahua began a chant which also told them to dive for cover. Margarita Zavala could not help but listen.

"What do we shout in Juarez?" "Everybody hit the

"What do we shout in Chihuahua?" "Everbody hit the

"What do we shout in the North?" "Everybody hit the floor."
The stunt caught the attention of newspapers around the world. The media interviews enabled some scouts to contribute their sense of deep frustration.

One scout told El Diario that "you should see that we are not happy at living in war, between the military and members of criminal organizations."

No comments: