For some, today is Thank God It’s Friday. For others, Thank God I’m Alive.
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Lauren Wolfe posted this earlier on Twitter:“Fri misery stat: #CPJ has confirmed 20 #journalists killed for their work so far in 2011. http://t.co/0Nebr0D #Pakistan“
She then updated the number to 21.
Like I mentioned earlier, I recently read the controversial book El Sicario, an autobiography of a Mexican hitman who used to work for cartels and now is on the lam. The hunter becomes the hunted. He credits God with his lifestyle change.
In his book, he discusses the murder of a journalist who was killed in Juarez about 20 years ago. In fact, he was stabbed to death on July 3, 1991, so in about a week and a half it will have been exactly 20 years since he died. Victor Manuel Oropeza was a dentist and newspaper columnist, and he was widely read in the area.
In what seems to be a paradox, the police officers who investigated his death were the same people who Oropeza had accused of being involved with the cartels. The book’s introduction also states that “according to some press accounts, the officers were responsible for the investigation were suspects in the killing.”
To this date, the case has not been solved. If you’re interested, read more about it in the Proyecto Impunidad website.
It’s a sad fact that people are killed when they speak the truth. I’m sure many of you have been attacked for speaking the truth, whether at home, at work or among friends. The last time I tried to speak the truth I lost all of my friends, except one person who I don’t blame for being afraid to stand up for me. But mine is a trivial case.
I sometimes wonder why the truth is valued so much, especially when life proves to you that so many people just want to conceal it, a few of them willing to eradicate it completely, like extinguishing a forceful flame.
Going back to The Sicario.
On Oropeza’s death: “Nothing was ever done to punish the responsible. If that is what happens with such an important case, what can a common ordinary citizen expect in these times of threats and the wave of violence that is happening today?”
He continues on to journalism. “It is not that there are not honest journalists who write the truth and who have the courage to do it. There are, but they have to hide.”
They have to hide, he explains, because the government won’t protect them or their families. And this made me realize that until the people we call our leaders, our politicians, our governors–the people who, in theory, should protect and promote the public and its interests–are able to value the truth as should be valued, then journalists won’t have to worry about losing their lives in the pursuit of the truth.