Street kids on Avenida Technologico, Juarez – 2010
More pictures of dead bodies in the streets of Juárez?
Hard to want to do. I’m not visiting. I live here. It’s better when you have to get the images for your boss/editor and then high-tail it to the airport.
But, I’m not working for a daily paper anymore.
Bodies? I’d do that to inform a reader/viewer, but others are doing it well right now. Really well. For my money, the Juarez newspaper photographers deserve a mental Purple Heart and a Silver Star or whatever the Mexican equivalent of that is. Everyday El Diario de Juárez published Pulitzer-quality pictures of the daily slaughter.
Then, do I do no pictures at all?
That’s hard for me.
Yeah? Nah? Do I show life going on as normal (it doesn’t)?
It’s a confusing time on the border. Cartels continue on like every murder is worth doing because it generates income, and, it does.
The city reels. People still cross the bridge, heading north, to go to school, to visit relatives, to do business and people still head south to work in the factories or go home at night or to make text and images for the info industry (when this industry is booming…it ain’t a good thing), but it’s a grim journey. You gotta watch your own back.
All around, this feels different, like the wolves howling: the U.S. military inches closer going south. The sicarios inch toward the north (and everywhere else). Yesterday some bullets hit the city hall of El Paso, from just across the river in Juárez. In the mornings that building is, literally, casting a shadow onto Juárez.
The bullets? Strays. There was a killing on the Juárez side and the bullets found their way to City Hall of America’s “second safest city.”
One thing the border has not been is boring. El Paso? Juárez? Never. The border? Never. Now, the excitement is all on the south side of the river and the buzz feels more like acid adrenalin, not an upped pulse.
How’s that for an irony? The murder capitol of the world on one side of a river and the second safest city in America on the other.
The murder goes on and on and the boredom does too. It goes on and on and on and, after fear comes anger and after anger comes sadness and after sadness comes resistance and after resistance comes…comes what?
This is about the time for real sharks to move in, to capitalize on the tragedy, isn’t it?
Real Estate must be a good investment right now in Juárez, no?
Another irony: the hell of Juárez is going to make a lot of people rich and the hell of Juárez is has already deflated a lot of equity dreams on the U.S./El Paso side. Gentrified Downtown Plans for Starbucks-SUV-loft living-college graduates?
The jefe of that wet dream just moved out of town.
How about a Latte con whatever the hell, with a little dose of plomo, muchacho?
Hell is investible. Safety? Well, it works for Switzwrland, but you can get bargains when there’s anarchy! No emergency? No chaos? Then you’re paying reatail. Things turn bad, things become static?
Move your money to Houston.
What to do?
Everyone is asking, What do I do? Every person I know, from both sides of the river keep asking, what should I do?
A shoulder shrug is the most common response.
Writer? Photographer? Librarian? You can document it if that’s your bag.
Or, you can find something else to do.
As mentioned, one thing the border has not been is boring.
This is something new.
I have noticed that the Juarenses who have moved to the safety -and boredom- of the U.S. side in El Paso, seen in Walmarts and other stores, look, I must say, profoundly pleased by the boredom of El Paso. That’s why they’re here. Who can blame them?
Lo entiendo, man!
Charles Bowden called his prescient book, Juarez: The Laboratory Of Our Future.
Is this Post Future? El Paso/Juarez: Heaven and Hell?
Is this the future?
Hell or boredom?
It’s a luxury to be able to choose.