2 more earthquakes, 2 murders

 a bit of earthquake damage in my house...!

A complicated week. 

Two more earthquakes, which were probably replicas from the last big one on Easter Friday, but big enough in their own right to worry people. I was in Mexico City last Thursday in my car, stopped at a red light, when I felt the car rock to and fro sideways. I had a huge Metrobus right beside me and I thought that it was that, its vibration, but then I saw loads of people flooding out of the tall buildings all around me and I realised that yes, it was quaking, I think it was 6.8 this time. Weird feeling being in the car, that’s for sure. And this after I had been in a meeting with a client in Vallejo, a horrid part of Mexico City, an industrial area that is in no way attractive. It’s hugely industrial and full of massive lorries all loading and unloading heavy loads with factories and warehouses and offices all over the place. The building where I had my meeting is very modern but it shudders the whole time as the lorries thunder by so it feels permanently as if it’s quaking. I’ve been there lots of times before so wasn’t unduly worried. That’s why when it did actually quake later I assumed it was the bus beside me passing its vibration to my car, but no.

Driving back to Cuernavaca that day was horrid too, since it rained the whole way, rained heavily and up at the top it was really foggy so I was driving gritting my teeth and thinking, why do I do this? Then a couple of hours later one of our designers, with 3 others in his car on his way back to the office after lunch, was crushed into the central reservation by a bus, whose fault it was. They were all fine fortunately and his car not too badly damaged, it was more the inconvenience than anything else. When it quakes things happen afterwards, we are unaligned, we behave differently, we are unbalanced and it’s not uncommon that we do silly things right afterwards. This accident is a classic example of that. And then we had another quake on Mother’s Day, 10 May, at 2.30 am. Most people didn’t feel it here but I did, it was 5.8 on the scale so not too bad this time. In Mexico City everyone came out on to the streets yet again, this time in pyjamas! So three quakes in a short space of time, enough thank you… My house always take time to move after each earthquake, and move it always does. Sure enough I am discovering new cracks in the walls, nothing serious, but one of the windows has moved apart from the wall by a centimetre, hence the photo I posted above. I shall have to get that fixed...

People are very upset in Cuernavaca at the moment. A very well known and hugely respected professor and his wife were murdered in their house a week ago. This is what was written on the International Association of Universities (www.iau-aiu.net) website: The International Association of Universities expresses its deepest sorrow upon learning of the brutal killing of Dr. Alexandro Chao Barona and his wife Sara Rojas Chao in their home. Both were personally known to and greatly admired by the IAU Secretariat and the Reference Group on HEEFA.    
Dr. Chao distinguished himself as a tireless social activist for the recognition and preservation of indigenous knowledge and languages within his local community of Morelos and internationally. Widely respected, he served over 36 years at the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos (Autonomous University of the State of Morelos: UAEM), as professor and founding director of the Directorate of Community Development. He was also one of the founding members of the IAU Reference Group on HEEFA, successfully championing higher education EFA engagement within his home state of Morelos.
He and his wife Sara will be both remembered by their incredible generosity and kindness to all”.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  I didn’t know him personally but a lot of people I know did and everyone was universally outraged, and I mean nationally and internationally, not just locally. The UAEM organized a march through the streets of Cuernavaca, led by the Rector himself. Thousands of people joined in and this has been the strongest call to the state government to DO SOMETHING about the terrible situation we are currently living. There is virtually no law and order. These were such senseless deaths.

Today I got the newsletter from Brain Pickings, which is a marvellous website: www.brainpickings.org/. The reason I mention this is because of a letter they published today, written in 1973 by E B White in response to a man who had written to him saying that he had lost faith in humanity. I would like to share the letter with you, it’s beautifully written and so uplifting:

"Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
E. B. White"


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