Teachers in Mexico

Martha Rivera Alanis, a teacher from the Mexican city of Monterrey in the State of Nuevo Leon, received an award from the Sate Governor, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, for her actions seen by thousands on Youtube where she protected children in her kindergarten class as several people fired machine guns nearby (Emma Daly 2011).

Emma Daly 01.06.2011, Teacher’s Terror6.30 with George Negus/Ten Network Australia, viewed 13.08.2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vHFgJs9uY8

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported that five men were reputed to have been killed in the shooting, some were taxi drivers and one was a man alighting from a bus.  The Tribune goes on to say that teachers in Mexico receive training on how to handle shootings:

Since last year, the Nuevo Leon government has begun offering training courses to thousands of teachers so they know how to react to shootings, whether inside the schools or in their immediate vicinity… More than 1,300 people, including about 80 police officers, have died in the violence in Nuevo Leon in the past 14 months.  

– Author Unknown 2011 (possibly 29.05.2011), Clash between police, cartel hit men in Mexico leaves 11 deadLatin American Herald Tribune, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=395228&CategoryId=14091

Indeed, on 8th July 2010, Chris Hawley reported in the Arizona Republic, that teachers across Mexico were receiving training on how to manage students when shootouts occur near schools, including in Nuevo Leon.  The danger is very real as in a locality close to Monterrey, in March 2011, the bodies of scores of people were buried in mass graves, and since being found in early April, the number of bodies recovered has increased to over 200 (Mara Gay 2011)(Lincoln Tribune admin 2011).

People posting to Martha Rivera Alanis’ Twitter account showed admiration, and some indicated they wanted their children to become teachers.  She said she had not uploaded the video herself, and had not profited from the video, saying “esa no fue mi intencion, el video lo subieron terceras personas, no busco lucrar con la intranquilidad de los niños…”.  Immediately after the shooting Martha Tweeted “estuvo muy feo mis peques del jardin estaban muy asustados :( y yo tambien !!! BASTA A ESTOOOO !!!!”, indicating she and the children were scared at the events.

A story which almost certainly passed you by is that on 5th May, 2011, only a few weeks before the shootings in Monterrey, about 90,000 people  met for a three day march to Mexico City, walking in silence for both an end to violence and against the Mexican Government’s handling of the gang/drug war, which has seen approximately 35,000 people killed  in the past few years (William Lloyd 2011)(National Public Radio 2011)(Talk of the Nation 2011).   A report on SBS Television’s Dateline (2011) showed the march led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed by members of the drug cartels.  The slogan for the march was “Estamos hasta la madre” translated as “We’ve had it up to here”, and receiving support as they marched, the people were joined by many who had lost family members and friends.  In the SBS report, Sicilia said:

our citizens are terrified, people are being told that they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a country tells its citizens that a place and time are wrong – it’s on the edge of the abyss. If this continues, I don’t know what the right place will be, not even your home.

Yaara Bou Melham (Reporter) & Javier Sicilia 30.05.2011, Poetic justice, SBS Television Dateline, viewed 13.08.2011,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0w-FUW-Hhg

When she accepted the award for bravery from the State Governor, Martha Rivera Alanis said she accepted it “on behalf of teachers everywhere” (Emma Daly 2011).  Hopefully, Martha Rivera Alanis’ life can return to normal after all this publicity, and the attention the story receives is only positive.  It’s unfortunate that ‘normal’ in Mexico seems to be quite different to what ‘normal’ should be.

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SOURCES (in date order):

Martha Rivera Alanis 2011, Twitter Account of Martha Rivera Alanis, Twitter.com, viewed 02.06.2011, http://twitter.com/#!/@———– (NB: Account was viewed but not included in this entry)

Andrew O’Reilly 01.06.2011, Fate of Mexican drug war hinges on Monterrey, report says, Latin American News Dispatch, viewed 02.06.2011, http://latindispatch.com/2011/06/01/fate-of-mexican-drug-war-hinges-on-monterrey-report-says/

Emma Daly 01.06.2011, Teacher Terror, 6.30 with George Negus/Ten Network Australia, viewed 02.06.2011, http://ten.com.au/630pm-with-george-negus.htm?movideo_m=110620 ; ALSO Emma Daly 01.06.2011, Teacher’s Terror6.30 with George Negus/Ten Network Australia, viewed 13.08.2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vHFgJs9uY8

Lincoln Tribune admin 01.06.2011, Two more bodies found in northern Mexico’s mass graves, 226 overall, Lincoln Tribune, viewed 02.06.2011, http://lincolntribune.com/?p=12979

Author Unknown 2011 (possibly 30.05.2011), Mexican teacher hailed as hero for calming kids during shootout (VIDEO), Latin American Herald Tribune, viewed 02.06.2011,  http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=395374&CategoryId=14091

Daniel Hernandez 30.05.2011, Video: kindergarten teacher leads children in song during shootout in Mexico, La Plaza Blog/Los Angeles Times, viewed 02.06.2011, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2011/05/mexico-video-kindergarten-shootout-teacher-drug-war.html?cid=6a00d8341c630a53ef014e88ce64da970d

Yaara Bou Melham (Reporter) & Javier Sicilia 30.05.2011, Poetic justice, SBS Television Dateline, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/transcript/id/601161/n/Poetic-Justice ; ALSO Yaara Bou Melham (Reporter) & Javier Sicilia 30.05.2011, Poetic justiceSBS Television Dateline, viewed 13.08.2011,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0w-FUW-Hhg

Author Unknown 2011 (possibly 29.05.2011), Clash between police, cartel hit men in Mexico leaves 11 dead, Latin American Herald Tribune, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=395228&CategoryId=14091

Phillip Caufield 29.05.2011, Mexican kindergarten teacher has students take cover, sing song as gunbattle rages outside (VIDEO), NY Daily News, viewed 02.06.2011,  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/05/29/2011-05-29_kindergarten_teacher_in_mexico_has_students_get_down_sing_song_as_gunbattle_rage.html

Melissa Bell 10.05.2011, Thousands protest Mexico’s drug war with 4-day march, The Washington Post/Blog Post, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/thousands-protest-mexicos-drug-war-with-4-day-march-photos/2011/05/10/AFc1FoiG_blog.html

William Loyd 10.05.2011, Mexico marches over deadly cost of war on drugs, Independent, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mexico-marches-over-deadly-cost-of-war-on-drugs-2281626.html

National Public Radio 10.05.2011, Following Arab world’s lead, Mexicans rise up, National Public Radio, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.npr.org/2011/05/10/136179771/following-arab-worlds-lead-mexicans-rise-up

Talk of the Nation 10.05.2011, Citizens protest Mexican drug war after murder, National Public Radio, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.npr.org/2011/05/10/136177394/citizens-protest-mexican-drug-war-after-murder

Mara Gay 15.05.2011, Officers arrested over Mexico mass graves; death toll climbs to 145, AOLNews.com, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/15/police-officers-arrested-over-mexico-mass-graves-death-toll-cli/

Wikipedia 2011, Govenor of Nuevo Leon, Wikipedia, viewed 02.06.2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Nuevo_Le%C3%B3n

Access4Media 20.08.2010, Narco-censorship: Violence against Mexico’s journalists on the rise, Access4Media Blog, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.access4media.org/blog/?p=123

Jose de Cordoba & Nicholas Casey 20.08.2010, Violence in Mexico takes rising toll on press, Wall Street Journal, viewed 02.06.2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703824304575435623953338224.html?mod=ITP_pageone_2

Chris Hawley 08.07.2010, Mexico’s drug violence leads schools to teach students to dodge bullets, Arizona Republic, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/07/08/20100708mexico-drug-violence-affecting-schools-and-students.html

Associated Press 28.08.2009, Protests in Mexico after Oaxaca teacher killed, The Seattle Times, viewed 02.06.2011, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2009767117_apltmexicooaxacaprotest.html

Rutgers University & Emma Fawcett 2009, Emma Fawcett – Teacher protests in Oaxaca, Mexico, Rutgers University on Youtube, viewed 02.06.2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDnLI3zRVhQ

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This post will be updated from time to time (Updated 13.08.2011)

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