Will Presidente Fox Massacre the Teachers?

If he turns the guns on the teachers,the students will again learn the lesson taught by men with guns to students with pencils.

It’s octubre, the Mexican season of massacre. Every year on the night of the second a long shudder rolls up the rocky spine of the continental divide from somewhere in Chiapas near the sea through Oaxaca and Puebla down into the volcano valley of México

from La Plaza de Tres Culturas to Los Pinos --the Mexican White House--where it stops. Walking the streets just after sunset one can see the ghosts of flares lingering in the purgatory sky like homeless smoke.

Soon after, the bone-bass of helicopter blades returns to the air like distant thunder, and looking up, there are machetes spinning above a metallic cloud of sharp angles from which the strong rain of bullets came.

That was almost forty years ago. 1968. Forty years doesn’t seem so long ago in octubre.

In Los Pinos, behind a large desk, a presidente in his final days doesn’t feel as if forty years is so long ago, thinking about the teachers and their strike, the teachers and their graffiti, the teachers and their raised torches, the teachers and their sacking of a capital city, the teachers and their demands, the teachers and their long, long summer.

His long fingers find the metal revolver he keeps in the wide drawer above his long legs. He picks it up. He puts it down. He picks up a heavy telephone.

Blood drips from his right ear from violent conservative cries.

Blood drops from his left ear from the teachers and their chants, and from the parallel government flanking his left.

His long face looks old, he raises white handkerchiefs to both ears, and both come away with a blood portrait of Díaz Ordaz--the presidente from forty years prior. Outside, the press screams through the windows.

Will Presidente Fox massacre the teachers? Even as they march from Oaxaca, across some three hundred miles of cactus and thick politics, a Mexican flag at their front? Or will he leave unfinished business for the next politico from his party?

Here in México they say--among other things--that uno se convierte en aquello que estudia--one becomes that which one studies.

As the long days of octubre wear on, we wonder if Fox studies Díaz Ordaz, if the teachers study Castro, if the sky remembers what bullets feel like as they cut little lines through it...

we wonder what will ever come of it? Will Presidente Fox massacre the teachers?