Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mexico City’s seven ‘anti-monuments:’ reminders of injustice

Mexico City is filled with famous monuments – the Angel of Independence, the Monument to the Revolution and the Benito Júarez Hemicycle to name just a few.

Less known is that there are also seven recently erected “anti-monuments” in the capital that serve as a reminder of a range of injustices that have occurred in Mexico.

The purpose of the first “anti-monument” that appeared in Mexico City was to call for justice for the 43 Ayotzinapa teachers college students who were abducted and presumably killed in Guerrero in 2014.

Erected on Reforma Avenue in 2015 by the missing students’ parents, the anti-monument consists of a large plus sign in red next to the numerals 43 in the same color.

Beneath the “+43” monument is a message that reads, “Because they were taken alive, we want them back alive,” a slogan that has been chanted at countless protests across the country.

The Ayotzinapa anti-monument on Reforma.
The Ayotzinapa anti-monument on Reforma.

In June 2017, parents of 49 children that died in a fire at an ABC Daycare center in Hermosillo, Sonora, in 2009 followed suit and erected an anti-monument outside the Mexican Social Security Institute offices on Reforma.

It consists of the number 49 above the letters ABC, a sign that reads, “Never again!” and bronzed children’s shoes, some of which were stolen last year.

Another anti-monument popped up at the junction of Reforma and Bucareli Avenue in January 2018. The pale and dark blue structure, whose two halves together look like a person, was erected to denounce the disappearance of two young men who were kidnapped in Guerrero as they traveled to the coast for a holiday.

It also serves as a monument to the thousands of other people who have disappeared in Mexico.

In February 2018, a fourth anti-monument appeared on Reforma Avenue outside the Mexican Stock Exchange. The “+65” structure calls for the immediate rescue of the bodies of 63 of 65 miners who died in a methane explosion at the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in Coahuila in 2009.

The anti-monument was erected on the 12th anniversary of the miners’ deaths. More than two years later, the bodies of the 63 miners remain underground but the government has announced plans to recover them.

Anti-monument in front of the IMSS offices on Reforma remembers the 49 children who died in a daycare center fire in Sonora.
Anti-monument in front of the IMSS offices on Reforma remembers the 49 children who died in a daycare center fire in Sonora.

The three most-recently erected anti-monuments recognize injustices against women, migrants and students.

On Juárez Avenue opposite the Palace of Fine Arts in downtown Mexico City is a pink and purple anti-monument that demands a national gender alert due to the high levels of violence against women.

Featuring a raised fist and ringed by pink crosses, a message on the structure reads, “NO + FEMINICIDIOS,” or no more femicides.

Just over a kilometer away in a small garden next to the zócalo, Mexico City’s central square, is an anti-monument to commemorate the students who were killed by government forces while protesting in Tlatelolco in 1968.

The memorial features a dove and a message that reads, “October 2 is not forgotten. It was the army, it was the state.”

The seventh Mexico City anti-monument, like five others, is on Reforma, the capital’s most emblematic boulevard.

A memorial to the students killed by government forces in Tlatelolco in 1968.
A memorial to the students killed by government forces in Tlatelolco in 1968.

The “+72” memorial remembers the 72 undocumented migrants who were killed in a massacre in Tamaulipas in 2010 that was allegedly perpetrated by the the Zetas drug cartel.

Erected last month, the anti-monument includes the message,“To migrate is a human right.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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