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"A soldier in every son".

By Raúl Romero. Peninsula 360 Press

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the military parades that are organized every year in Mexico to celebrate national independence on September 16. Seeing thousands of soldiers, in uniform, loading their weapons and in perfect coordination, was something amazing for me. Looking at the tanks, the planes, the helicopters, the soldiers on horseback, the paratroopers, the boats and all that military arsenal undoubtedly made me feel proud to be Mexican. I didn't know it then, but the ideas of strength, discipline, courage, honor and loyalty that I learned in those days as a patriot were the perfect complement to my patriarchal training that I was beginning in those years.

My formation as a patriot, and that of millions of childhoods, was reinforced at school every Monday morning, honoring the flag and singing the national anthem. Men were forced to cut our hair into the "short cap" or "regular cap" cuts, which were the cuts required in public schools. Seeing Luis Miguel on public television, dressed as a soldier, singing "La incondicional" was part of the ideal that was imposed on us. The nonsense reached such a point that many young men were dressed as military cadets to participate as chamberlains for the girls who were turning fifteen.

The crowning of that patriotic-patriarchal formation came when you were close to turning 18 and it was time to do military service, enlist to be the soldier that heaven gave to the country in each child. The military card was like the birth certificate of that new soldier.

Little, very little of all this has changed in our days.

My disenchantment with the military began when I was a teenager, and then, more than a disenchantment, came an aversion that arose in me when I heard about the events of October 2nd from several survivors, or when I met some of the survivors of the Acteal massacre in Chiapas. Then the number of stories that I heard in which the army massacred, disappeared, repressed, directly or indirectly, humble people and members of the organizations of the towns; grew: Aguas Blancas, El Charco, El halconazo, Tlatlaya, Ayotzinapa?

And what is this story about?

In Mexico, there has been talk lately of the great acceptance that the military has among Mexican society. This "argument" is even used to legitimize the continuation of the militarization of security, of war. We must ask ourselves how this "acceptance" is built and who benefits and has benefited. It is necessary to investigate if it is not largely the result of the constant dissemination of these patriotic values, accompanied by a reinforced media strategy, and a repetitive discourse that appeals to reconciliation to hide impunity.

There are several ways to defend and understand the homeland, I learned later. Homeland is Humanity, José Martí told us. Other reasons are used from anti-imperialism. there is even today women who fight that they propose to talk about motherland. Let everyone choose. In any case, what seems unacceptable to me is that in the name of the homeland those who have massacred our peoples and those who exploit impoverished peoples are protected.

Raul Romero

Sociologist.

Twitter: @RaulRomero_mx

More from the author: Against capitalist wars

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