Seven Stories Press, Paperback, 9781583226087, 141pp.
Publication Date: January 6, 2004
On the night of October 2, 1968, there occurred a bloody showdown between student demonstrators and the Mexican government in Tlatelolco Square. At least two hundred students were shot dead and many more were detained. Then the bodies were trucked out, the cobblestones were washed clean. Detainees were held without recourse until 1971.
Official denial of the killing continues even today: In the first week of February 2003, Mexico's Education Secretary Reyes Tamiz ordered a new history textbook that mentions the massacre-Claudia Sierra's History of Mexico: An Analytical Approach-removed from shelves and classrooms. (Public outcry led Tamiz to reverse his decision days later.) No one has yet been held accountable for the official acts of savagery.
With provocative, anecdotal, and analytical prose, Taibo claims for history "one more of the many unredeemed and sleepless ghosts that live in our lands."
Now available for the first time in English, Mexican author and essayist Taibo’s beautifully realized memoir of the Oct. 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre in Mexico City documents "The Movement" of students that, at one point, was half a million strong. Taibo begins more than a decade before the massacre, when the movement was inchoate and the "invisible enemy" was purely an intellectual concern. He evokes relationships, passions and arguments lovingly. (Relevant section titles include "Of Women and Mattresses," "And Sometimes We Believe in the Informative Value of Tremors Running Through the Atmosphere" and "In Which the Virtues of the National Anthem Are Rediscovered.") The Cuban revolution and the Vietnamese resistance galvanized democratic idealists across Mexico, and The Movement turned to action: widespread propaganda dispersion, silent demonstrations, flash rallies, community organizing and the 123-day strikes in high schools and universities across the country. Then, as the impact of the student revolt in Paris in May 1968 reverberated throughout the world and governments became increasingly reactive, 200 protesting students were murdered in Tlatelolco Square by government military police, and hundreds more were arrested and jailed. In the days and weeks following, the corpses of the slain students disappeared, the facts were contorted by government-controlled media, and reality turned to myth. Today, over 35 years later, much of the truth remains uncovered, but Taibo’s memoir goes a long way toward setting the record straight.—Publishers Weekly