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Last night as we put the finishing touches on an altar for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at a local gallery, I stepped back to take in all of our tribute to the spirits of the dearly departed. Photos of the dead, family and friends, lovingly arranged with flowers, candles and items from their everyday lives that we identify with them. Their favorite foods, a musical instrument, an old metal comb. Among those items I had placed an old film camera and a photo of a guy that I had never met. His name was Bradley Will, an American indie documentary filmmaker and reporter. He was killed by government forces in Oaxaca, Mexico on Friday.

As a filmmaker and activist, I feel a deep connection with Bradley Will. As an American citizen who lived in Mexico for 3 years, I fear what is about to befall my beloved adopted country. But what is really happening in Oaxaca, Mexico?
Imagine if teachers in Philadelphia finding out their salaries were being cut, without possibility of a raise and the man responsible was the governor, a man who was already under suspicion of rigging his own election the previous year. Imagine taking to the streets to protest and being met by thugs and police in plainclothes, shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd. Brad Will died on the front lines of a barricade, shot by goverment officials, with a camera still in his hand. He wanted to bring the truth of this uprising to the world and it cost him his life.
You would have heard about it in the news, no?
It is happening in Oaxaca, Mexico, but it might as well be on a planet in another galaxy.The silence of the MSM on this conflict is deafening, maddening and completely understandable. Populist movements are to be ignored until they come to power, when they can be openly reviled.
Now as the federales march into Oaxaca to "RESTORE ORDER" I cringe at the thought of more violence - and I make a promise to Brad Will as I light the candle in front of his photo.
You won't have died in vain, compadre, the future will know what peace really means, the future will know what justice really means, the future will know what democracy really means.
Please Kossacks, take this cause on as your own- push this into the news and save some lives, for Brad Will and for us all.

Originally posted to smartinez on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 08:15 AM PST.

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