In Ayotzinapa, Mexico, the 26th of September, 43 student disappeared in the hands of local police. This was an operation coordinated in conjunction with government officials and drug cartels. Since then, five mass graves with unidentified bodies have been uncovered in the searches attempting to find the students – The students have been missing since. This event has triggered many demonstrations around the world, demonstrations that not only call out for the return of the 43 but break the silence of more than 20,000 disappearances in Mexican territory during the past six years.
Mourning for those that have disappeared is not uncommon, from war memorials to demonstrations by grandmothers in Argentina, public grieving has been used as a way to share and maintain communities from crumbling in times of great violence and oppression. Whole communities have learned to mourn together for the unknown fates of their loved ones and for their impotence before war, state corruption and impunity. Nevertheless, to acknowledge loss that lacks a body and to mourn for uncertain deaths remains uneasy. For some forgetfulness is convenient, for others necessary, but when an entire country forgets it allow the erasure of its history. To allow oblivion, to force oblivion, is to allow the present to be hidden and the field of sight to become gray, dirty, diminished.
In Mexico, about these 43 students, millions of words have been written, printed, spread, read. Ears and eyes are present, the world listening. This is an event in its most passionate state. This is an impulse at its peak that will most likely slowly fade, a moment that will sadly be forgotten. Grief hidden will remain. Memory fails, corrodes, it changes, it forgets itself but without memory our ability to mourn dissipates, becomes invisible – out of sight–
Without remembering we are unable to mourn.