By Martha Ramos
MEXICO CITY — A couple of days ago, I was talking with a friend about old times. When we were kids, we played on the streets in Chihuahua. Last week, he was at a neighbor’s funeral. This guy lived near where we played. Now, the violence there took his life.
My friend suddenly told me: “I’m selling my house. I’m looking for something on a street with gates, ’cause I don’t know what else to do with my kids. I don’t want them playing in the parks any more…”
On 9-11, everyone was scared — in every part of the world. In Mexico City, schools started some kind of therapy with small kids to talk about what had happened and why their parents were so afraid. It was a way to show kids how to deal with the permanent sensation of uncertanty.
Yet, what are we doing now to explain to our children about the violence, the war against drug dealers?
This is not a phenomena in just one city. It is affecting every city in Mexico. In Huixquilucan, for example, an area near Mexico City known as a very, very rich neighborhood, there was living a very important drug dealer . The violence there is now permanent.
So I asked friends about my concern: How are we explaining to our children about the violence? Do they fear it? Is it normal for them to overhear conversations about the drug war?
Their answers were terrible:
Nancy Escobar, Notimex
Let me tell you about my experience. My 8-year-old daugther watches the news with me in the morning, while she’s getting ready for school… and she gets nervous when she hears shootings.
Once she asked why these guys were called drug dealers. My answer was very orthodox and clear. Then she said: “If drugs get us killed, why does someone sell it?”
Well, I said, because it’s a way to get people to give away money, because at the end addicts depend of drugs and that generates more violence and deaths.
“Mom, I don’t want to take drugs, and neither my brother.”
My conclusion: They know what is going on, and they are worried.
Miguel Ãngel Serrano, photojournalist for Reuters
One day I asked a 10-year-old boy what he wanted to be in the future. He told me: “I want to be a Zeta, have a big truck and feel that everyone is afriad of me”.
At that moment, I knew I was in the wrong place. Minutes before our conversation there, in Nueva Italia, Michoacan, five people had been executed. The way he looked at me gave me the hint — I was a stranger there.
Erica Smith, designer
My generation is wondering if we really want to have kids living in a world like this. It’s very hard to make up my mind.
NO, IT WILL NEVER BE EASY but I think we have to talk to our kids, have a permanent communication with them to explain to them that they are the future, the revolution that can bring hope.
It’s a hope for Peace and Love.
Learn more about Martha:
I’m Martha Ramos, born 43 years ago, a journalist during the last 24 years and a mother since 1998.
I believe in the power of friendship, and the wisdom of children. I defend women as a basic element in every society, every group, every family.
I recognize journalism as the most important tool of a democratic country and the imperfect way of getting to the truth. Now, in the era of journalism 2.0 and 3.0 I really thank you for the possibility of talking to you and hearing from you.