Letter From The Editor: fall's twilight hour
With the the twilight of the fall semester now upon us, our final three issues for this season are once again dealing directly with issues both at home and abroad. As I have stressed in previous editions of The Corsair, what happens abroad has an effect at home.
In our Opinion section I explore a current crisis in Mexico. The disappearance and likely murder of 43 students by corrupt police forces and local drug gangs in the state of Guerrero, Mexico has sparked a nationwide wave of unrest.
As news begins to leak that President Obama is preparing to unveil a vast immigration reform package, which might finally provide a legally recognized status for at least five million immigrants, our next door neighbor is being shaken by this major social upheaval.
For us, it should be not only a wake-up call to the realities of life across the Rio Grande, but a clear reminder of why so many Mexican citizens (as well as Central Americans), risk themselves in crossing the border.
Mexico is a nation where the state itself is proving to be a crumbling shell hiding a rotten core. Years of sharp inequalities and near feudalism are reawakening the same rage that sparked the original 1910 Mexican Revolution, the first major upheaval of the 20th century before Russia or China. In fact, I highly recommend readers to head over to our campus library and check out the excellent, eloquent, bloody chronicle of that conflict, "Insurgent Mexico," written by the journalist John Reed (who was later played by Warren Beatty in one of my favorite movies, "Reds"). It is a bold, tragically heroic tale of a nation at arms against tyranny, and a landscape of peasants fighting for basic necessities such as land and bread.
It is no joke to compare Mexico's social crisis to that of France in 1789, as the lavish oligarchy and political class live in a marble tower, oblivious to the lives of their subjects. Their subjects are beginning to set fire to their country. As the writer Carlos Fuentes dramatizes in his beautiful novel "The Death Of Artemio Cruz," the original revolution was hijacked and suffocated by Mexico's entrenched rulers. Now a new generation is feeling the call to correct the errors of it's history.
We as Americans, living in a country birthed in a revolutionary war against the British crown, should sympathize with our Mexican neighbors and support their struggle. It is a struggle against injustice, and that is universal.
Also in our Opinion section, Devin Page discusses the reality of sexual harassment on campus. It is a topic I discussed in detail in the letter from last week's issue, but it is also a topic that merits as much discussion as necessary. There is no excuse for harassment to be rampant on college campuses. Sometimes I wonder if we have evolved much from the ape swinging the bone in the opening of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Other sections of this week's issue also provide insights into local art and theater culture. Local actress Tanna Frederick is interviewed about her role in a Santa Monica Playhouse production of "Train To Zakopane." Interviewing Frederick was an interesting experience because she began to open up about the difficulty of playing a brutal anti-semite in the play. Not only is her interview a discussion about the technique of acting, but of the fear of discovering our inner, more unpleasant selves. But as the Mexican masses are doing, it is always good to self-reflect.
The late Mexican poet Octavio Paz, who's centenary is being celebrated this year, once stressed the need for occasional solitude for a writer. In this way, the writer better understands his or her thoughts, and can reflect on decisions and the world. The Mexican people have been living in the solitude of repression and corruption for too long, now they are reflecting and beginning to break out.