they were going to kill us

By: ewhite422

May 27 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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The students in the School of Political Science at the University of Mexico were anticipating a rock group that would help them celebrate the anniversary of their department’s opening.  When we arrived with our guitars and sound system, they were friendly and helpful.

All that changed when we began to sing, and they started to comprehend our lyrics.  “Jesus is Lord” did not fit their idea of celebration.  Ten minutes passed while the crowd buzzed with commentary and curious glances.

I did not speak Spanish well at that time and relied on an interpreter to understand what was going on.  When a young man climbed on top of the roof of one of the classrooms and shouted, “Companeros!” I looked at my interpreter and asked, “What’s he saying?”

He responded, “He’s calling to his Comrades.”

The young man went on, “Estos gringos han venido por siglos a robar nuestros recursos, a violar nuestras mujeres, y hacer dano a todo el pais!”

“What’s he saying?”  I implored.

My translator replied, “These Americans have come for centuries to rob our resources, rape our women and ruin our country.”

I began to think that it was not a good idea to target the political science school.  What were we thinking?  We did not even speak the language well enough to know when we were being threatened.

He continued, “Los gringos han matado nuestros jovenes y nuestras esperanzas de tener una vida major!  Que es lo que debemos hacer a ellos, ahora?”

My translator was listening intently.  “What is he saying?”  I demanded.

Some young people in the crowd shouted back in response, “Vamos a matarlos!”

I asked again, this time shaking his arm to get his attention, “What is he saying???”

“The crowd says they are going to kill us!”

My thoughts raced to my one year old daughter at home with her nanny.  I wanted to live to “be there” for her.  I sent up a mental prayer, “Dear God, please, give us favor with these people.  Diffuse their anger.”

A few minutes later, some students helped the young man down from the roof, and others approached me with apologies.  “He’s just a hot head,” they said.  “Please, don’t take it personally.”

Their kind words were welcomed, especially since I was convinced that I was about to die.

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