Recently I saw an article on stuff.co.nz about a video that has been going around here in Mexico aimed at the presidential candidates. While I had already seen the video myself, the idea of this video being considered as child abuse inspired me to write this post.
The 4 minutes of this video show children acting as adults in this unfortunately corrupt country, touching on the themes of environment, violence, street crime, corrupt police, money laundering, drug trafficking, economic problems and the list goes on. At the end a little girl, directing her speech at the presidential candidates, states that if this is the future that awaits her, she doesn’t want it. Quite rightly, I don’t think it is a future that anyone in their right mind would want.
While the publication of this video is controversial it highlights something evident here in Mexico. All of the things that are seen in this video happen daily, probably not all within 4 minutes as portrayed on the video but they do happen. What’s more, the use of children to act out the daily atrocities that occur is sickeningly appropriate.
Most children here do not have an innocent childhood. In a country where they are under the constant threat of violence and kidnapping they become very aware of the situation from a young age. Unlike children in some countries whose main concern at the age of 10 years is to get home in time to see their favorite cartoon, Mexican children have their classes interrupted by shootings, hear the stories of kidnappings for adoption and for organ trafficking. They see the faces of missing children on the posters printed by desperate parents. They know what could happen to them if they walk home alone. They have to be aware of dangers which have never even occurred to children in some other countries. The violence present robs them of the fairytale simple, happy childhood which we all idealize.
I know this because I have heard children talking about drug trafficking and the narcos (traffickers). Some of my students are children aged 9 – 11 and they are well aware of the dangers they face, they tell me about it. Some are scared to walk home by themselves if their parents cannot come for them. Even I am apprehensive walking the streets alone after work when I have to, something that not too long ago I didn’t worry about here.
So is this video shocking? Yes. Does it show children representing a dark side of Mexico of which knowledge is beyond their years? Yes, but they already know about it. The video makes a very good point. Here in Mexico we have a situation that everyone is aware of and nobody wants and its up to the new President to make a change if we want a different future for our children. The real question is; is it possible to make this change? Who knows, but while the political system in Mexico is still rife with corruption and drug money, I doubt it.