Arturo Malvido Conway has become something of a celebrity by attending marches in his tree outfit all over North America for the past 40 years. His initial campaigns focussed on environmental matters but since the murder of his brother, Rafael, 23 years ago, he has also been campaigning to end violence, corruption and impunity.
“The Tree,” as he is called, talks to me as he walks the 12-kilometer stretch of road from Cuernavaca to Mexico City on the first leg of a march for peace in January. His efforts include petitioning United States President Trump to stop selling arms to Mexico and distributing cards to raise awareness for gun violence.
Arturo’s description of violence verges on poetic. “Each one of us is a leaf,” he says, “nobody can come and pull us out. We should only die when God says we will die.” He goes on to say that “violence is chopping the head off liberty.”
When asked about progress, the Tree shakes his head and says how hard it has been. He believes that the real crime is in the way that the Mexican government applies the law. “In the United States, if you commit a crime you go to jail, even if you were the son of the president. Here they do anything they can to protect the criminals. That is not fair.”
Arturo’s two-pronged solution for change is clear and simple. “Firstly, we must educate our people in the school of peace; secondly, the state should be tougher to protect us from criminals — while respecting their human rights.”
Mexico News Daily