Thursday, June 12, 2008

Update on Desconocida Unknown Ukjent

Hi all.

A long silence on the blog, but not any "silence" in working with the project.
A youth project has been established, selected to tour middle schools from the fall, through a governmental program called "The cultural school bag". Through this program about 1200 students will embroider in solidarity and to protest the still ongoing murders in Juarez, Mexico. For this project I am currently working on a documentary film that will emphasize the wonderful work Marisela Ortiz and her organization Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa do, for families of the victims, but also for the community in general, working specifically with youth. Marisela's belief is that the only change that can happen has to come from within, and any small change one person does will have an impact on someone else and so on. The film will be presented at an exhibition I will have in Oslo in August 2008. The exhibition will emphasize the political aspect of the project and show documentation from all the workshops held globally, along with several workshops held during the exhibition period.

Working with the film I was recently in Juarez. We were invited to stay with Marisela and her family in Juarez. A wonderful experience which gave us a very different view and understanding of the work she does. While we were there the Hollywood movie Bordertown, was shown in Juarez. The film was causing an uproar and major protest from many people; People who want these murders to be forgotten, hidden, covered up in a hope of living a normal life. Marisela helped the film crew knowing details of the stories by letting them meet and talk with families of victims etc. In interviews about the film on TV she was also the only one that stated that this film did not even come close to tell the truth of what is going on in Juarez. As a result she and her family have received death threats and are now under Amnesty International watch. The time we were in Juarez also collided with intense fighting among particularly two different drug cartels, which raised the violence in the city to new levels. The military came to try to calm things down a bit. A scary presence in the street.

And nothing really seems to change from the governments attitude. Women still disappears, only now to be explained they have run off. Bodies found is described as death of normal cause, even if the woman is found with a string around her neck.
Although the important work for change has to come from within, the international society can help by putting pressure on the Mexican government. It also helps to know you are seen and heard outside your country, when inside this is hard to feel.

This will have to be it for today, I will try to update more regularly now. And please, embroidering is still going on, Let me know if you want to participate. I also hope the project for the youth could travel to other countries. If you have any interest in this let me know.

Best Lise