Mexican poet, activist's Peace Caravan makes stop in Tucson
Javier Sicilia gave up the pen for a caravan, poetry for protest.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – After Mexican drug traffickers killed Javier Sicilia’s son, the renowned author and poet closed the final chapter in his literary career and embarked on a mission to end the Mexican drug war and violence.
The activist’s “Caravan for Peace” stopped by Tucson Thursday afternoon at Veinte de Agosto park and later at Southside Presbyterian Church. Dozens of victims and supporters are accompanying him on a month-long tour in the United States – promoting awareness and calling for an end to U.S. policies that he believes contribute to more drugs an violence.
“The caravans that we have done in Mexico have been stronger than the pen, but I see them as an extension of my pen,” Sicilia said to KGUN9 News, through an interpreter.
Personal tragedy stirred Sicilia’s heart. Drug traffickers killed his 24-year-old son and health administration student Juan Francisco in March 2011. So Sicilia started a powerful movement – a rallying cry for peace. It’s told by names and faces and voices, against a drug problem that begs depersonalization.
“Behind each addict who is using drugs in this country, behind each weapon produced in this country and sold in Mexico exist our dead, our suffering, our pain,” Sicilia said. “We have come to tell you to take on this responsibility, and that together we can find a way to create a policy of peace.”
Those people accompanying Sicilia on his cross-country caravan said they attest to the truths he speaks of: that violence – like justice – knows no racial or geographical boundaries; that the U.S. demand for drugs is a problem just as the violence it invites in Mexico; and perhaps the biggest roadblock in preventing bloodshed is closer than many think – the all-too-easy willingness to look away.
“[The biggest obstacle] is fear, resistance, abandonment of our shared conditions as citizens, self-preferentiality, egomania and the absence of the capacity to feel the pain of others as a shared human pain,” Sicilia said.
When asked about S.B. 1070 and similar laws, Sicilia said they are the “shame of Arizona, but also the United States and the entire world.”