¡Vivos Los Queremos! We want them alive!
Throughout October 2014, marches and vigils took place across Mexico, hoping to force authorities to find the “disappeared” college students. In Chilpancingo, the Guerrero state capital, Ayotzinapa students smashed windows and set state government buildings on fire. In Iguala, protesters sacked and burned the municipal palace.
Although it was neither an isolated event nor the largest massacre in recent years, what occurred in Iguala struck at the core of Mexican society. Perhaps it was the scale of the violence, or the sheer brutality, or that the victims were college students, or that the perpetrators were mostly uniformed police officers, or that “drug gangs” and police collaborated in the attacks, or that the state and federal governments were initially deceptive in their investigation and callous in their treatment of the mothers and fathers of the murdered, wounded, and disappeared.
Whatever the cause, it is impossible to overstate the initial effect of the attacks on the country. In the winter of 2014, Mexicans spoke of Iguala as shorthand for collective trauma. At the heart of that trauma are those 43 families uncertain about the fate of their children.