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Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty said: raise this wall

But down south, over the border

Holle’ed they: With gringo no palaver!

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EMILIANO ZAPATA (1879- 1919) Mexico

Revolutionary

 Emiliano Zapata was a Mexican revolutionary and advocate of agrarianism who fought in guerrilla actions during the Mexican Revolution. He formed and commanded the Liberation Army of the South, an important revolutionary brigade, and his followers were known as Zapatistas.

When General Victoriano Huerta deposed and assassinated Madero in February 1913, Zapata and his men arrived at the outskirts of Mexico City and rejected Huerta’s offer to unite with him. This prevented Huerta from sending all his troops against the guerrillas of the north, who, under the direction of a moderate politician, Venustiano Carranza, had organized the Constitutionalist Army to defeat the new dictator. Huerta was forced to abandon the country in July 1914.

Zapata knew that Carranza’s Constitutionalists feared him. He attracted some intellectuals from Mexico City, among them Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama, who became his theorist and later established an agrarian party. When Huerta fell, Zapata invited the Constitutionalists to accept his Plan of Ayala and warned them that he would continue fighting independently until the plan was put to practical use.

In October 1914 Carranza called an assembly of all the revolutionary forces. Pancho Villa, who commanded the most important part of the army of the north, refused to attend the meeting because he considered Mexico City as enemy ground. The assembly was moved to Aguascalientes, where both the Villistas and the Zapatistas attended. These two groups constituted a majority, and the convention agreed to appoint General Eulalio Gutiérrez as provisional president. Carranza rejected this decision and marched with his government to Veracruz.

War broke out between the moderates (Carrancistas) and the revolutionaries (Conventionists). On November 24 Zapata ordered his army (now called the Liberation Army of the South and numbering 25,000 men) to occupy Mexico City.

Two weeks later Zapata and Villa met on the outskirts of the capital and then visited the National Palace. The two leaders promised to fight together until they put a civilian president in the palace, and Villa accepted the Plan of Ayala.

Zapata created agrarian commissions to distribute the land. He established a Rural Loan Bank, the country’s first agricultural credit organization; he also tried to reorganize the sugar industry of Morelos into cooperatives. In April 1915 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s personal representative in Mexico met with Zapata; Zapata asked that Wilson receive his delegation, but Wilson had recognized the Carranza government (the convention’s government under Gutiérrez had dispersed).

Meanwhile, the war continued. Zapata occupied the city of Puebla and won various battles, advised by some professional soldiers who had joined his side. In 1917 Carranza’s generals defeated Villa and isolated Zapata. Carranza then called together a constitutional convention but did not invite Zapata; the convention approved and passed a constitution and elected *Carranza as president of the republic.

Soon afterward General Pablo González, who directed the government operations against Zapata, had Colonel Jesús Guajardo pretend to want to join the agrarians and contrive a secret meeting with Zapata at the hacienda of Chinameca in Morelos. There Zapata was ambushed and shot to death by Carrancista soldiers. His body was carried to Cuautla and buried there.

*Venustiano Carranza(1859-1920) whose term as president was due to end in December 1920, he attempted to force the election of his chosen successor, Ignacio Bonillas, despite opposition from his more radical generals. Obregón led an armed rebellion in April 1920, and Carranza fled the capital. When he headed for Veracruz with government records and treasure, his train was attacked. With a few followers, he fled on horseback into the mountains. On the night of May 20/21 he was betrayed and murdered.

(victor alba/brittanica.com)

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Global economy is not run by sheer ingenuity of some intrepid souls whose motto is not excellence but profits. Their dynamic leadership as some segments of capitalistic society make out, does not take finance of nations still higher. Gordon Gekko of Wall Street is a pathetic lost soul who represents a part of global consciousness to enrich themselves. Isn’t it a good thing? The answer depends on the state of our existence. We have chosen to be materialistic at the risk of losing our keen eye and ears for finer things in life. We have become crass  and arrogant in the many number of weaker people we have pushed to the gutter in order to prop up consumer market. It is like the curate’s egg which is good in parts and rotten in the other.

“Crime works

The economic value of crime and its profits are not confined to global finance. It also makes a difference on the ground. Take jobs and living standards. From the 1980s onwards, real wages in OECD countries have declined for those in unskilled and semi-skilled occupations, that is, a good majority of the labour market. If wage stagnation was the order of the day in the West, you can imagine that developing states were hardly lands of milk and honey for ordinary workers.

Take Mexico following the signing of the NAFTA agreement in 1994; this ushered in privatisation by the back, front and side doors. By 1996, if you were not one of Mexico’s 8m unemployed, you worked legitimately in the maquiladoras sweatshop assembly plants or in the informal economy. Poverty became endemic. Fast-forward to 2012 and a banner appears above a highway in Monterey, placed there by one of the countries “big four” cartels:

Operating Group ‘Los Zetas’ wants you … We offer a good salary, food, and we care for your family. Do not suffer bad treatment … We will not feed you Maruchan (noodle) soups. Do not hesitate to call 8671687423.

To Mexico’s legion of economically disenfranchised, Los Zetos are really making an offer they cannot refuse. And the available figures prove as such: the drug industry employs around half a million people – the fifth largest employer in Mexico. Those employed in the drug trade are required to possess a unique skillset – the ability to variously murder, torture, kidnap, mutilate and rape. But this is not the whole story.

The illicit narco economy creates a virtuous commercial circle of sorts. The narcoeconomy not only employs directly but sustains a network of existing or new support industries and business ventures: banking and finance, IT, logistics, farming and transportation, pharmaceuticals, industries which have transformed backwater towns.

Mainstreaming crime

Britain maybe some way from being a fully-fledged narcoeconomy but we should not underestimate the economic contribution of illicit markets and their criminal agents. Take the City of London, international citadel of high finance and favoured port of call for international criminals and organisations looking to wash their dirty or corrupt cash.

According to David Clarke, City of London’s police fraud investigator, London is attractive haven for crime money as checks and balances on those setting up businesses or investing are flexible. Possibly this is why London remains an island of prosperity whilst the rest of the UK economy is in a state of austerity stagnation.

Further down the laundering food chain, there are betting shops and high volume fixed odds betting terminals widely used by drug dealers and gangs to wash their profits. In fact, these digital betting terminals now account for half the profits of bookmakers’ profits. However, the chancellor plans to plunder a good deal of this revenue by raising the duty on betting terminals. William Hill, the UK’s largest high street bookmaker, responded by announcing the closure of 109 betting shops at a projected cost of 420 jobs.

To consider the possible macro-economic benefits of illicit markets is not in any way to justify or celebrate crime. Far from it. The intention has been to consider the growing interdependence between crime and the legitimate economy. In fact, a growing body of research evidence suggests that criminal organisations and illicit markets increasingly form part of the mainstream economy. The boundary between the wider legitimate economy and the illicit economy is increasingly blurred.

A recent scandal when horsemeat was discovered in many “beef” burgers sold in UK supermarkets is case in point. A government commissioned review “clearly showed criminal activity in the global food chain”; a process aided and abetted by the aggressive pursuit by supermarkets of margins in a cutthroat commercial environment. The problem, it seems, is not so much organised crime but a crime-organised economy.”

(quote from The Conversation- article: When crooks get rich the whole economy benefits- Mike Marinetto, Lecturer in Business Ethics at Cardiff university/20 May,2014)

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olmec
The Man from Vera Cruz

There was an Olmec
Who had no stomach
for blood and gore-
You see in days of yore
Whenever you lost head
You stayed well dead.

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Los Olvidados/The Forgotten Ones is a film directed by Luis Buñuel, which stands apart from his other works. As with great creative artists, Buñuel is multifaceted. Consider the sheer range of his output! Between his surrealist phase (Un Chien Andalou, L’Age D’Or) and his last which were done in Europe (Belle de Jour)  falls the present film and it is a bitter indictment of poverty.
Over an opening montage of the some famous landmarks – the Manhattan skyline, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower – the narrator sets down the film’s motto: “behind every beautiful city are poor children.”
In one of the film’s early scenes, we see Jaibo, a gang leader, beats his rival Julian to death in the shadow of a half-built high-rise building. Yes beneath the secular cathedral reaching out to the sky things are as before: it is a shadowy world where desperation turns the knife where it will. The plot concerns Jaibo and his associate, Pedro, and their efforts to evade punishment for Julian’s death. The gang leader is sly and intelligent and we see through the eyes of Pedro his predicament. The hold of the more brutal and older Jaibo has the nightmarish clarity of a waking dream.
There is a dream( the surrealist in Buñuel cannot resist I suppose) and it is brilliant. For Pedro the only softening hold, like security blanket is his mother.  In Pedro’s dream the disturbing sight of Julian’s bloody dead body under the bed is offset by the pacifying visage of his mother, soothing him, “Listen, you’re not that bad. I’d like to be with you all the time.” Pedro offers to work in support of his mother, but wonders why she refused him any of the meat she had served to her other children. She smiles, and walks in his direction in slow motion, a rotting slab of diseased-looking meat in her hand. As she walks, a long, distended hand emerges from beneath the bed, looking supernaturally extended as it grasps at the meat. This hand is revealed to be Jaibo’s, at which point the dream ends.

The dream exposes the rot like the worm in the forbidden fruit at the Garden of Eden, and Pedro must live with it. As a coda to this we hear Pedro tells his mother who leaves him at the Farm School,“ Just now you remember that I’m your son”.  Between the harsh reality represented in Jaibo and redemption that his mother  holds out to him, his life has drawn from both and how he is torn by it makes a powerful film.
Cast:
Alfonso Mejía, Estela Inda, Roberto Cobo, Migual Inclán, Efraín Arauz, Alma Delia Fuentes

Óscar Dancigers, the producer, asked Buñuel to direct this film after the success of the 1949 film El Gran Calavera. Buñuel already had a script ready titled ¡Mi huerfanito jefe! about a boy who sells lottery tickets. However, Dancigers had in mind a more realistic and serious depiction of children in poverty in Mexico City.

After conducting some research, Jesús Camacho and Buñuel came up with a script that Dancigers was pleased with. The film can be seen in the tradition of social realism, although it also contains elements of surrealism present in much of Buñuel’s work.

It is considered number two among the 100 best movies of the cinema of Mexico and earned Best Director and Best Film awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
Trivia:
*  UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. This film and ‘Fritz Lang”s Metropolis (1927) are the first two movies (and in 2004, the only two movies) with this recognition.

* Recently a ninth roll off the movie was found after decades of thinking that the movie only had eight. The ninth roll includes an alternative “happy” ending, and is included in a new DVD released in Mexico with a book about the movie.

* When it was released in Mexico in 1950, its theatrical commercial run only lasted for three days due to the enraged reactions from the press, government, and upper and middle class audiences.

* The film unfolds exactly in 365 shots.
Duration of the film: 88minutes

(Ack: wikipedia,sensesoffilm- Saul Austerlitz)
compiler:benny

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