Entrance to Juarez, June 2009
Militarization works two ways.
The bridges between Juarez and El Paso used to be friendly -although tedious if in a car- gateways to good times or better times, depending on which way you were traveling. Or is that just nostalgia?
Well, if not “friendly,” than at least not hostile.
Now they are reinforced pathways to go do what you gotta do. No joking. Get back by dark. All business. No fun or pleasure. Nothing lives. One endures the crossing. Rigid. Steel. Chrome molly tubes. Crash proof.
This impregnable gate has sprung up since the Cartel War began. It is on the Mexican side, El Lado Mexicano. What’s it for? Keep gringos out? Keep Mexicanos in? Stop guns coming in? Wha-a-a?
The more serious things become on the border the more hard-edged become the aesthetics. The color goes. The made-by-hand-ness goes. The alegria becomes a murmur. Then the steel comes. The edges get stiffer. The heartbeat becomes more faint. The border becomes divider and the dream of a unite-ing slowly fades into the horizon of our current dark reality.
Welcome to Juarez.