TWO HISTORICAL PLAZAS: IN MEXICO AND IN PERU

In the final comparisons in my two-piece work The World According to Aztecs and Incas: MYTHS AND STORIES OF MEXICO AND PERU I write (pages 488-489 in Volume 2):

*****

Today, the populations of Mexico and Peru are results of meetings between Indians and Spaniards; in most, genes originate from them, and then there are genes caused by Africans, Danes, Frenchmen, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Russians, Germans and others who sailed or were sailed to America.

This cultural mixture has at the Tlatelolco, where the Aztecs last Tlatoani, Cauhtemoc, surrendered to Cortés on August 13, 1521, received a modern memorial with the text:

This was neither

triumph or defeat.

It was the painful birth

of the Mestizo people that is todays Mexico

The text is formulated in an attempt to satisfy everyone, and the Tlatelolco is also named Plaza de las Tres Culturas, The Square of the Three Cultures, for here meets Aztec, Spanish and modern Mexican culture in the form of an Aztec temple ruin, a Spanish church and the building that formerly housed the Ministry Foreign Affairs.

But the square ought to be called The Square of the Four Cultures, for in this square 10,000 students demonstrated on October 2, 1968, and were mowed down by Mexican security forces, after which both dead and alive disappeared; long after, the authorities released some survivors and some corpses. Officially, 44 students lost their lives, unofficially 300 were murdered. Those responsible for the massacre were never held accountable.

The memory lives of a critical opposition that is not bound by ethnicity. After 25 years of criticism, a memorial was erected on the square and 39 years after the massacre a museum was inaugurated in the former Ministry Foreign Affairs.

***

In the central square in Cusco, on 12 October, 1992, a bronze plate was revealed with the text:

By the five hundredth year

glory and honor to the anonymous victims

of the invasion

and to the heroes of the Andean resistance

… and they could not kill us

The five hundred years are counted from the moment Columbus as the first Spaniard landed on a beach in America, and the memory applies to all the anonymous victims and heroes of resistance. We can nod recognizing to the end line: You can’t kill us, we are part of yourself! The square, Plaza de Armas, The Square of Arms, should be renamed to the Square of Resistance.

***

Latin Americas history was sad for most people, contains a lot of suffering. Recognizing the counterparts pain is crucial to achieving national reconciliation, and in both countries there is still a long way to go. Mexicans probably reacted more violently to rulers assaults than Peruvians, who resigned more.

Some myths should give people hope, a belief in the future, others should keep people down. The stories were different. Some people reacted more outwardly and others turned inward.

Dramatic, but people also put many curls on life, spreading laughter and joy. Some of those people I met, I listened to their stories and share them gladly.

……..

(pp. 488-489 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERUEdited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael WitteVolume 1 + Volume 2

476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors

400  Dkr. for each volume (Danish tax is included) + shipping

Published by Selskabet for smukkere Byfornyelse

Sale: selskabetfor@outlook.dk

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