“Ca love ra Sa n Yg nac io ” by Er ic Ave ry others were imprisoned . . . Noche de Tlatelolco [Massacre in Mexico, Viking Press, New York, 1975] is still read, but now it’s not the younger brothers but rather the sons and nieces and nephews of those who were at Tlatelolco in 1968. This is another generation, and particularly in the University . . . they want to know what happened, who were the assassins, what were the circumstances.” There have been more recent “warnings,” and Poniatowska cites one: “There are still some journalists who dare to criticize, to denounce; like in the case of Buendia. [Manuel Buendia, a columnist for the Mexico City daily Excelsior, and one of the most highly regarded and influential journalists of the Mexican left, was shot to death by a paid assassin on May 20, 1984.] We see the assassination of Buendia as very symptomatic. It has been made to appear a factional thing. But the killing of Buendia was obviously a political assassination. So this, for the community of journalists, is a very, well, I think that it’s a very rude warning. No?” ELENA Poniatowska has written of two Mexicos, one before and one after Tlatelolco. For her, and for many other Mexicans, what she calls, in a dedicatory page, Ano de Tlatelolco was a watershed year in Mexican politics. Few are so naive as to believe that life, public and private, was better then. But many consider those years before political dissent was silenced as a time when, by collective political action, advocacy journalism, and “public dialogue with the government,” life in this republic might be improved. 1968, then 1971, and the years that followed proved a hard lesson in political and economic reality. Poniatowska dedicated her 1969 novel, Hasta no verte, Jeslis info to her brother Jan, who at 21 died in an automobile accident in 1968, and, “to all the boys who died in 1968: Year of Tlatelolco.” After 1968, something important in Mexico’s public life was lost, Poniatowska claims. “Politically, yes, there was a big change, a big change. Above all among Mexico’s youth. Those who went to prison, or saw friends and leaders imprisoned for them, the city was theirs, a city that they had taken, a city whose streets they had walked, and now, this Mexico, De quien es? Who does it belong to? Who? No one knows.” There is in that at least as much realism as romanticism. Perhaps it was at the funeral of Jose Revueltas, the novelist who spent two years in prison for embracing the student’s cause, perhaps not. But somewhere, between that summer and fall of 1968 and today, something of the soul of this city and country was lost. Note: Elena Poniatowska lives and writes in Mexico City. For several years she has been working on a biographical novel about the life of Tina Modotti. Poniatowska describes it as her personal favorite among what she has written and has no idea when it will be completed. To describe Elena Poniatowska as a feminist writer would be to force her writing into a narrow category where somehow it just wouldn’t fit. But she has pointed the way in making women subjects rather than objects of Mexican fiction. At this time only one of her titles, Massacre in Mexico, is available in English, though her work has been translated into several European languages. Hasta no verte Jesus info, a 310page story of Jesusa Palancares, a woman “born in Oaxaca, who fought in the Revolution, who went to the capital and was employed as a servant and worker, who spoke with the dead and spoke with those she could find living in the middle of the century” will be translated into English by Magda Bagin. First released in 1969, it is now available in its 23rd printing \(Ediciones 22 MARCH 22, 1985
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