It is the middle of the night in Mérida but I’m wide awake, partly because my body is still running on European time and thinks it is 7 hours later than it is. I hope that I’ll soon adjust to the time change and feel recovered from the homeward bound flights.
I am ecstatic to be home. Even if sleep is evading me, my own bed feels so comfortable and the long swim I took yesterday soothed my travel-weary muscles and joints. Unpacking, finding places for the small Italian treasures I lugged back with me, and washing the wardrobe we wore for a month helped to restore the sense of normalcy I need.
The past four weeks have left me with so much to ponder… maybe I’ll be lucky to ever sleep again!
Many events and occasions made a deep impression. The old world looks as though it is going through major upheaval: shifting borders, a changing economy, religious conflict and cultural clashes. Just as on the American continent, the European nations struggle with immigration, political and economic issues, and a shrinking middle class. We’re all in the midst of the same dilemmas, and the insecurity we experience feels like something that has never happened before. But, these issues have always existed. “Things were ever thus.”
Back in the latter half of the XVI Century, an alliance between the Medici of Florence and their traditional enemies, the French (through marriage) defeated the aspirations of other powerful states. Today, the current Prime Minister of England, leader of the Conservative Party and the head of the Liberal Democrats Party formed a coalition to gain power as they did not have enough votes on their own. Here in Mexico, the right wing PAN and the leftist PRD want to join forces against the centralist PRI! “There’s not much new under the sun.”
Communication though, is the one variable that I believe has altered our lives significantly. With the Internet, social networks and surveillance everywhere, what happens in one place can instantly affect the lives of others who are thousands of miles away. Violence seems to be provoked by this phenomenon. The rioting in the United Kingdom got the restless stirring in other parts of Europe. The criminal bombing of a casino in Monterrey has been followed by a bank hold-up in Merida.
We watch events unfold before our very eyes, we shake our heads, and that’s it. ¡Que barbaridad! Impunity reigns and we stand by. Is our complacency the culprit? Although lasting change has never been achieved in the world, the ambitions of governments and multinational power brokers need to be kept at bay… swatted back if you will. Much in the way we need to chop back the ever-encroaching vegetation in tropical Merida.
Going away held up a mirror, and helped me to see that our country’s ills are shared by others throughout the world. If we’re all in the same boat, it seems that we should try to paddle in the same direction!