Patriotism and an earthquake

For this post I had actually planned to write about last weekend and the national celebration of Mexicos independence day on 16th of September. However, now there is an earthquake I would like to talk about. I am not going to bore you with the facts about the earthquake that happened on tuesday in Central Mexico, you can check that in the news. I want to talk about the atmosphere and what is going on here in Mexico.

The month of september is a month of pride for Mexico due to the celebration of independence. The whole month you find city centers decorated with the faces of the heroes of the independence and with the colours of the flag – white, red and green. This year I heard a little jingle on the radio – imagine a Mariachi like melody singing “México, México, México que país!” Than I don’t remember well the lyrics, but in the end it said “Unidos somos uno, un sólo México”. So translated: “Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, what a country! United we are one, one Mexico.” Never ever would you hear or see such a public display of patriotism in Germany. Yes, ok, we put out our flags for a FIFA worldcup or Europe cup, but that’s no more than pseudo national pride. Mexicans are actually proud to be mexicans! They are aware of the problems in their country, but they love it anyways. That is something I absolutely admire but it’s true – there are a lot of reasons to be proud of our home countries!

The earthquake in Central Mexico happened two days ago and since then everyone I know is doing something to support the people in Mexico City and the states of Morelos and Puebla. People living in Mexico City distribute messages about where help is needed via WhatsApp and facebook, people living in the surrounding cities like Querétaro distribute messages about places where people can bring relief such as food, articles of personal hygiene (diapers, paper, shampoo etc.), blankets, clothes and so on. Daily several trucks and vans leave Querétaro, bringing the needed articles to the affected areas. Just on a short walk in the city center today, I saw 4 of those places where relief is collected – it can be anything: a café, a university, a medical station, any public place really. People are even collecting in their houses to help the people in need. Most of the news you get via facebook and WhatsApp – I read about a woman who is collecting toys and things for children at her home to bring it to the affected areas, there are messages asking for translators because german and english speaking people from european brigades come to Mexico City to evaluate the damages and help with reconstruction. On facebook I saw the message of a couple living in Mexico City that went around several places to bring food yesterday – at three places they were sent away because there was no need for food anymore! The user wrote that it was kind of frustrating but also amazing that so many people are helping!

Mexico is being very strong and the population incredibly supportive. Something that cannot be said from the mexican government where several deputies refused to help the people in need. People are angry about that as they say they pay taxes, so it’s their money the government doens’t want to give them when they are in need. Hopefully, people will remember this in the next election.

The earthquake happened on 19th of september, exactly 32 years later than the last big earthquake in Mexico City in 1985. Mexicans are superstitious and believe in destiny, so they say that this can not have been a coincidence. In 1985, thousands of people got killed and over a million of people where left without their homes. The good news is, that since then, construction improved to prevent such a disaster and it worked: In a city of millions and millions of inhabitants, only around 40 building collapes this time and so far there are 250 dead due to the earthquake.

I also think that this earthquake wasn’t a coincidence. I don’t know yet, what was it’s purpose, but so far the consequences it brings are good: mexicans working together and helping eachother without much help from their government but with a lot of support from one another.

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