Sunday, May 10, 2015


Ah, Mexico, Mexico, also known as Texas in some quarters, and actually seven of the fifty United States originally belonged to Mexico: Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah make up the sacred number. 

But then, on the other hand, before the Spanish stole what the Americans would later steal from them, Mexico belonged to the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya and the Aztec, all great civilisations in their own right, with advanced, sophisticated tribal structures, agriculture - the cultivation of maize and beans especially - as ancient as the Mesopotamians, who Europeans like to think invented it; and sedentary village life four thousand years before the first European village; and a form of hieroglyphic writing so similar to the Egyptian that some Pharaonic Columbus must surely have beaten Christopher to these shores by a millennium or two; and a vigesimal numbering system (which is to say based on the number 20, where we prefer 10); and the most beautifully complex mythological explanations of the universe, manifested in architecture that likewise resembles the Egyptian, but even more than that the Babylonian, and...but this is all nonsense; let's be honest; they were brutal savages and heathens, barely human, and thank God the European Christians came to save their souls, even if they did have to wipe them out almost in their entirety to do so.

Just for the interest (mine, even if not yours), Mexico is really Mēxihco, in the Nahuatl language, and its capital, now Mexico City, was Mēxihco-Tenochtitlana, a compound word achieved by joining Mēxihtli, the Aztec god of war who ruled the city, with tetl, which means a rock, and nōchtli, which is the prickly pear that Israelis call the sabra, the custard-like fruit with a hard and prickly shell that grows on the desert cactus.

The illustration above is one of dozens by one of the greatest modern artists, and not only of Mexico: Diego Rivera. It reconstructs the Aztec capital as it was at the height of the Toltec culture, and if anyone has a convincing argument that modern Mexico City is even in the same league, I would be very happy to debate it. Other than a few ruins, which include the economy and the political system as well as the Spanish churches and grand palaces, it is modern Mexico which truly reflects the primitive, the savage, the barbaric, but please don't tell the drug-lords that I said so, because they tend to shoot up first and then ask for payment later.

Interestingly, more Mexicans are leaving the United States to return home than are either being trafficked there, or wetbacking their way there, or even, though this is denied by most parties in the USA, coming there entirely legally. Statistics from both governments on both sides of the border agree that just 870,000 crossed the Rio Grande northwards between 2009 and 2014, while more than a million either took the advice of the zenophobes and rejoined their families in Mexico, or recognised that the upgrading of border controls and illegal immigrant checks was no longer in their favour, or just possibly it was the scale of the recession in the United States, which actually made staying in Mexico a better economic option.

Marks For: 0

Marks Against: However many Catholic missionaries and conquistadores and drug-barons and missing-presumed-dead kidnapped students you can count.

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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