Ya Van Muchos Hermanos Muertos

January 27, 2009

Ya Van Muchos Hermanos Muertos

Before I spent much time on the US/Mexico border, I thought of it as the closest war zone. But war in the military sense, with guns and helicopters and high-tech surveillance, is just one aspect of the conflict. All things political, economic, social, and historical intersect there. They crash into each other, they try to overpower one another. It is where the global economy and everything that supports it is stripped of its rhetoric and shields, of its disguises and glossy advertisements and decontextualized economic statistics. It is a complicated war in which individual people struggle against an entire system that wants to make them disappear. Men, women, and children trying to pay their bills and see their families are left standing alone, burning up in the desert’s harsh heat and light.

Over the last two summers I volunteered with No More Deaths, an organization based in Tucson that runs resource centers for deportees, documents Border Patrol abuses, and advocates for a more just immigration policy. They are best known, however, for providing food, water, and medical aid to migrants along one of the deadliest stretches of the border. The majority of the time I spent volunteering was at the desert camp and going on daily patrols on the migrant trails.

This zine is not meant to be an investigation of the process of migration or the policies that relate to it; rather, it is an evocation of the border as a place, a stretch of rugged desert straddling a line on the map that is populated by Border Patrol agents, migrants, humanitarian aid workers, ranchers, bandits, and drug traffickers. It is a mixture of stories from the desert and of people I met there and reflections on the situation in the Borderlands. Walking those trails out in the desert made the border very real to me; this is my attempt to make it real to others too.

This file is set up to print in a zine format–page two prints on the back of page two, page four on the back of page three, and so on. Click here to dowload a pdf to print.

If you prefer to read it on a computer screen, download this low resolution readable version.

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One Response to “Ya Van Muchos Hermanos Muertos”

  1. […] the first two summers, I wrote this zine about what I’d learned from spending six weeks out in the desert. It was mostly edited and […]

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