Sponsored by


Note: This story is more than 1 year old.


Sonora: That land where nothing happened

I passed through my hometown like many do; I didn’t stop or turn around. It’s the first time I just keep going. I wanted to stay and visit my father’s grave, go up to the San Francisco chapel, eat a raspado in the plaza and sit down to talk with mom in grandma’s armchairs. I couldn’t. I was afraid. The violence in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, doesn’t relent.

I felt nostalgia. I remembered the evenings when nothing happened and those days when I complained about the monotony of life in such a small place, where we were all family, like uncles and aunts and cousins and we killed the time going up and down the same street in town dozens of times. We could have been in heaven without knowing it. I was lucky.

En español: Sonora: Esa tierra donde no pasaba nada

Now few of us recognize each other. The loving friends who were like family left or disappeared. There are many faces of strangers in the street. Outsiders are noticed, too much; they impose. They want to be seen. Those, the ones that aren’t from here, have taken over the peace; they handle her at their whim, they kidnap her. For us, faith is all that can save us.

Now no one can say nothing happens in Sonora. The authorities can’t keep camouflaging the bloody war against organized crime. The politicians can’t blame the imagination; no, nothing is an isolated case anymore. The monsoon of lead has forced them to look at what they didn’t want to see. Maybe, for them, justice is blind; for us, it has obituaries and shot up houses, it has names, last names and people who disappeared. No. We’re not blind; nor deaf. We see and we hear... but we silence ourselves.

Everything has changed. The war is against everyone: the people hired to settle scores and the innocent who cross their path. Now crime is barefaced, bloody and noisey. Fear flourishes where there's no law. We feel —and we are— alone, unprotected, at the mercy of faith and with fear of man. It’s not just Magdalena, it’s Sonora and Mexico.

And we resign to force. Helplessness eats away at us. Our nerves are frayed and our skin is stiff. In silence. In private. Shut inside. We pretend not to see, not to hear, not to know and we become accomplices held back by everything we condemn. It's just so that... so it never happens!

We don’t say it out loud because we still refuse to accept reality. We believe everything will pass; that if we shelter ourselves, we’re saved; that if we don’t get involved, we won’t be affected; that if we look the other way, it will hurt less; that if we flee, it won’t reach us. We fool ourselves to take asylum from reality. We lick our wounds. We pray. We survive, by force and if they let us.

Support TucsonSentinel.com today, because a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson.

Since when? I don’t know. It’s one shooting after another; bodies that never get to the grave. And we have a cemetery in our conscience. Because in Mexico, whether we want to admit it or not, the desert is watered in blood. The Earth trembles to its core, we’re right, but for all the decomposed remains... without cries of war*. Gags. Terror. A silence that echoes louder than bullets.

*Reference to Mexico's national anthem: "al grito de guerra...retiemble en sus centros la Tierra." In English: At the cry of war...the Earth trembles to its core.

This article was first published by El Sol de Hermosillo. TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter and Report for America corps member, Bennito L. Kelty, translated it into English with permission.,

- 30 -
have your say   


There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Read all of TucsonSentinel.com's
coronavirus reporting here »

Click image to enlarge

Czilena Demara García/Sonora Querida

The San Francisco Xavier Chapel in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico.