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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

Dead Guy, 02 June 1999

02 Jun 2009

On Wednesday, June 2, we took a trip to Zaachila with the Anthropology class.  The trip was very enlightening.  We got to crawl around inside some ancient tombs and saw things like this carving of an owl, a symbol of the underworld, on the walls.  We understood what it meant to be gringos, as we were forewarned that people in this town are not fond of outsiders. 
We climbed atop a hill that looked out on the small Mexican town, and saw a similar view as the ancient people.  The spot where the priest stood was still intact, miraculously, considering thousands of years of erosion and human interference.  What really shocked mewas what we saw after we got back to Oaxaca.

Christy, Andrea and I were leaving the taxi cab terminal and were headed back to to zocalo, or our houses or whatever, when I stepped over – almost tripped over – a person lying in the street.  I stopped, turned around, and looked at him.  He was lying in a really uncomfortable position.  He had dried blood under his nose and mouth, and not a little.  There were flies buzzing on his face and body.  From what I could tell, he wasn’t breathing.  I opened my water bottle to splash him to wake him up.  The it occurred to me.
No matter how hard this man was shaken, no matter how cold the water was, he wasn’t going to wake up.  This man was dead.  Deseaced.  The brother had left the building, bought the farm, gone to the great palace in the sky. 
 “Hey,” I called after the girls, who had walked past me.  “Look at this.  I think this guy is dead.”
 “He’s not dead,” one of them responded.
 “No, really.  Look.  He’s not moving.  Should we do something?”  Not that wer could have done anything.  It was midday, and there were people everywhere.  No one was stopping, probably because they didn’t know.  He looked as if he were hit by a cab or a bus or something, judging by the way he was situated on the ground.
 “He’s not dead!” was the response I was met with.  I don’t know who said what, I was still looking at the person in front of me.  I came to the conclusion that this situation had nothing to do with me, and I had better be on my way.  Smart move.
A couple days later I was out with a couple of my Mexican friends.  We were talking about the situation, when one of them told me, without reservation, the way things are in Oaxaca.
 “Oh, yeah, he was dead.  Probably got hit by a taxi, ” she said.
 “I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what,” I offered.
 “Did anyone see you?”
 “I don’t think so.”
 “Good.  If the police had seen you, you would have been arrested for murder.”
 “Because I’m a gringo?”
 “They need to arrest someone, and it might as well be a gringo.”

There’s a big wake up call for anyone who thinks they’re protected because they are Americans.  Having citizenship to this country does not automatically protect you from anything.  As a matter of fact, it could make matters worse.  I have heard of Americans claiming they are Canadian in order to keep out of trouble.  I can't say I blame them.

© 2009

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