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  • 1.
    I woke up hearing the shooting and screaming. The state police finally got into action and is trying to chase away a thousand women, men and children from the land they invaded 2 weeks ago.

    My road is blocked.

    My friend Carolina, the literature - teacher, lives right beside the invaded land, also her land has been threatened. She sits with her two grown sons trembling in the attic and sees people running in all directions. Her son Diego has paranoic schizophrenia and all his dark fantasies seem to have come true.

    I cannot call a taxi and go to my weekly meditation.

    I feel myself also trembling.

    I have seen the invaders, poor people, women and children with big poles and machetes, guard the land. I also have seen the fat camionetas - trucks - of their leaders, who use these people as cannon fodder. They charge these people money for the "Right To Invade Land" and when they are chased away, the leaders are the first to leave....with all the money of the poor. When they are interviewed by the media they pretend being revolutionary leaders..... all a scam.

    In the radio they say that the police has not been able to get in, several policemen are hurt. Some policemen are kidnapped, They have them naked and threaten to burn them alive if the police does not retreat. I am getting really scared. I never imagined myself being worried for policemen and being against Indian leaders one day.....

    This is what happened 2 weeks ago:

    They came at midnight. 400 indigenous men with rifles, pistols and machetes. They tore the fences down, burnt the cornfields, destroyed the green – houses, slashed and burnt everything on their way. The family jumped out of their beds, went out and the invaders´ leader said,” No police, you do not call anybody, we will slaughter your chicken and cows now, we are hungry for meat!”

    This happened to our neighbors. They are not rich people. The men have a nursery, all the women work as maids. They are scared out of their minds. They see everything they have, their lives destroyed in one night. They deposited their few valuables and documents with us, the daughters will stay with us, they are afraid the invaders might rape them.

    The city - police have come. When they heard shooting, they left and never returned.

    These invasions have taken place continually. At the first glance you see these indigenous men and say: It is poor people, they do not have a place to live, and they are desperate. But exploring deeper you discover that these are well – organized groups of few leaders, who organize indigenous men to invade private property. They destroy everything and divide the land in small pieces, which they then sell. It recently happened in one of the few natural reserves that we still have around our town. The authorities did absolutely nothing. The forest has been destroyed and the land is selling for a lot of money, which fills the pockets of the leaders, who are known and from another state.

    We live like in the Wild West.

    My grandsons slept over. When we heard all the shooting and screaming this morning I remembered the Zapatista Uprising 1994 and the war in the mountains surrounding town for days after. We were scared. We felt as if we lived in a movie, not in our little everyday - lives. My grandsons just told me before falling asleep last night that today a huge birthday party awaits them. Now they look at me with sad eyes," Kiki, I do not think that we will be able to attend that party today!"

    I will bake a bread now, haven´t done that in a very long time, but Hop inspires me again to do so.......

    I am listening to the radio now, the only way to get some news. This is Mexico: most people, who call the radio station are - just like my grandson - worried that they will miss their fiestas, which they had planned for today, because the road is blocked and the air filled with tear gas..

    The police is leaving, they came with face - protection and tear gas, but the invaders have guns.....7 of policemen hurt, one dying, the invaders are back and say they have won the war.....

    There is the Cervantino Festival happening in town, the Russian Circus on Ice is there, yesterday there was a wonderful African singer - for three days bands and concerts given by people from all over the world. The town is full of music and people.

    Still everybody, who is not a tourist, is worried about the war that seems to have emerged in between the town and several corrupt Tzotzil - Indian leaders and their very violent followers.

    Behind the stage for the outdoor concert tonight, in front of the municipal palace, citizens collect signatures to support our new mayor. We are worried.

    Rumor has it that some of the leaders are teachers and the same ones that invidaded the INI, the local bureau for Indian affairs, and they pay the Indians 300 to 500 pesos to invade per week. My taxi - driver today said that these leaders pay the Indians 5000 pesos, but just if, when the police comes, they do not run. If they run, they do not pay them anything. I tell you: even the dark side of this Mayan culture. the captioning and torturing of victims, is very much alive. But then, that seems to exist in all human cultures.

    A local journalist published something I said on Facebook in an article about the occurrences this morning in a big national newspaper in Mexico - City.

    First I was content about that, I did not say more than that if these invasions are not discouraged, we all might lose our properties here sooner or later. That is true. I stand up for that.

    What did Frau Richter tell us in school once and again." You always have to speak out, otherwise the next Hitler might be around the corner!"

    The next Hitler could be a corrupt politician or Indian leader.

    My husband is upset about my name being cited in this connection in a national newspaper. " You are a foreigner," he says," People here might see you as an enemy now, pone of the leaders knows us well"

    My husband is not a person, who is easily afraid. That is me. I am the chickenshit. That he is upset, makes me a worse chickenshit right now.

    How have I tortured my dad asking continuously," Why didn´t you kill Hitler?"

    And now I am afraid, because I said that invasions like these have to be stopped, which I believe. Nothing compared to Hitler, right?

    It is so easy to tell others," Stand up for your rights!"

    Chickenshit that I am!

    Pete wrote me this: "True bravery is when one does what they know to be right despite their fears. Sounds like you! Keep on doing it."

    Hop says,"I have read the local updates and some of the printed history regarding this "Operation" that threatens Flora Edwards and then directly you. Please.... remember , when you are a speaking to a single person, it is a simple thing to hear clearly, the voice, since you can see the eyes and the hands. When you speak to a small group, their can be civility and agreement in the forms of our social understandings while hospitality is offered and recieved in the comforts of giving. When A mob , which is directed from the outside, then all becomes unpredicatable and no honor is left, since it is the blood in the belly that feeds the ignorant. The leaders will foment the sour stomach in all such wild actions in the eyes of the onlookers, yet no one will see, the hand behind the hand, since money/greed/false rightouseness, is in them...

    You must choose wisely , for your own life depends on this. Guaging the first two is easy, the third can be guaranteed. There is no control of a Hungry mindless Mob...You Do NOT want to be a victim there when they redirect their moving attention, due to proximity. A rule of War, in this case, is to Withdraw.. If you can not prevail, due to circumstances unprepared for, there is NO Position you can safely take."

    Mary Stebbins Taitt says," Adding anger WILL HURT both you and the world. Adding anger to a dangerous situation with only help escalate it. However, sometimes anger can be a friend if it stirs you to right action (or right inaction.) Hasty action is rarely right action. The trick is to combine the power and strength of anger with the wisdom of silence and contemplation to take right action or inaction. I am not wise enough to advise. May you have deep inner peace and wisdom."

    Gloria advises,"One thing I learned in my 20 years of Crisis Intervention was that if you're not sure what to do in a crisis, then do nothing. Just wait it out and see what happens, and often, the crisis has a way of resolving itself, or changing into something you can handle."

    I am just the tiniest ingredient in this feud. I am scared and I want to be wise inside my micro - part, though.

    Thank you Pete, Hop and Mary. I do not like to run around with anger. I ask all my read Buddha - wisdom: how to turn anger into compassion????

    What is the wisest thing to do?

    Today the severely hurt policemen are in all the national newspapers and even the leftest and most pro - Indian ones are appalled.

    I will sit and breathe and wait to be a little bit enlightened.....

    Yesterday my taxi - driver was hesitant, he told me once he had arrived, to pick me up. Rumor had it the army would take action in the case of my neighbor´s invaded land.

    We are waiting for that, as the state police does not seem to be able to deal with this. We are all tense. I have hated soldiers my life long, now I find myself wanting them to safeguard my existence here - how life can change your perspectives!

    Nobody wants violence. Nobody wants his or her land taken away like this. It seems a chess - mate - situation.

    At night people sent me messages that many trucks of Army Elite - Troops were in town.

    We had our ears open all night long, even while asleep, it seems to me.

    Nothing happened.

    Then I discovered that all the army trucks had brought the military orchestra into town, where they gave a glorious concert as part of the Cervantino Festival last night.

    War and Fiesta, really!

    Still: there is a huge meeting in the zocalo now, the central plaza; 12 thousand signatures have been collected since last Saturday, citizens calling the government to act. The governor is expected. My husband just went, he said, I better stay, I am a foreigner......

    Yesterday before waking up I had this dream, where I was back in the subway in Hamburg. I have ridden that subway many thousands of times, but in the dream I took the wrong line or at least got out at the - what seemed to be - the wrong station. As soon as I was in the station I spotted an African band playing excellent music there. I forgot that I was lost at the wrong spot and the miracle happens: my sisters arrive! I met the people I was looking for at the supposedly wrong spot!

    Later during the day I notice again, what I have realized since the diagnose of my eye - illness (Retinitis Pigmentosa): I often feel as if I am a little drunk, even though I have not had any alcohol. After 4 years of observing this I realized that when I am getting drunk I feel "more inside" than outside, actually I continually lose connection with the reality surrounding me while drinking wine or whatever other alcoholic beverage.. That is also true when the eyesight goes: I lose contact with a lot of details of the world enveloping me, which also forces me to be more inside than outside.

    In the afternoon my friend Christel invited me for a coffee to the excellent French Bakery in town. We sat there sipping coffee and talking about the recent invasion. Christel reminded me of our friend Susanne, a tall flamboyant English lady, who lives here since a very long time. Suzanne talks for hours every day to Arcangel St Germaine and then she takes out a long sword and fights demons with it.

    She also has a house on the outskirts of town. One night several years ago invaders came with machetes and torches. They knocked at her door and when she opened ordered her to pack her stuff and leave.

    "Just a little moment," Suzanne said and disappeared.

    A few minutes later she appeared dressed in a kind of sorcerer´s robe, flailing her sword screaming prayers in a strange language and the invaders fled in horror. They never returned.

    I guess, invaders have gotten tougher by now.

    My friend, the German composer, lives close to the land of my neighbors, which got invaded by hundreds of indigenous men three weeks ago. When the police tried to get them off the land last week, the invaders beat 7 policemen, two of them severely, and threatened to burn two of them them alive and by this succeeded in getting the police to retreat.

    My friend lives close to the invaded site and walks by the invaders every day on his way to town, who watch the land. They stand there with their faces covered and huge sticks in their hands. Many of them carry tattoos and look dangerous.

    My friend told me today that when he walked by them yesterday he tried out his newly acquired Spanish and asked several men, why they carried these huge sticks.

    “To beat your head with them!" One answered.

    My friend laughed nervously and pleaded," No, not my head, please!"

    “Another man with a stick answered," No, not your head, just policemen’s heads!"

    My friend rushed by these men today on his way downtown without halting to chat a bit.

    My taxi - driver just now told me that the boys, who sell chewing gum in front of the big Chedraui - Supermarket, where their taxi units are stationed, walk around offering plots of 10 X 20 meters to any taxi - chauffeur, who is willing to pay 5 thousand pesos to one of the invasions leaders. The 500 Pesos (around 500 Dollars) are without guarantee: if the state does eventually succeed in getting the invaders out, the money is lost, because it has long vanished in the leaders´ pockets.

    Tomorrow is the Fiesta of our barrio, our part of town, the Fiesta of the Barrio of San Martin. We are not many people, maybe 2 thousand. But with these aggressive invaders, their heads covered and the beating sticks in their hands, the people of our barrio are not too much in fiesta - mood, it seems. They are afraid. The invaders, though, want fiesta: they are going around from house to house and tell the people, that they might look dangerous, but in reality they are not, they respect the fiesta, maybe, please, they even could get invited ? As long as they are the invaders, they, too, belong to our barrio.....

    It has been cold since quite some time, but yesterday the sun hardly made it through the clouds and it was even colder. A grey November Sunday, quite similar to a typical German one.

    First thing in the morning my husband wrote a letter to the radio station, where he was so unjustly accused, he says, he is not Spanish, he never has taken land from anybody, the land he owns, which is not too much, was bought. He has always supported the Indian communities. He is hurt and shocked and outraged.

    I try to get a fire going, but the wood I just bought with Juana is fresh and completely unburnable, even using tons of Ocote (a very resin – rich wood great for getting fires started). I try to switch the gas heater on, but it does not function either, the gas pipe must be obstructed.

    We discover that the water cistern is empty, we have a major leak and the water got lost over night. There is no wet wall, so the water must all run into the ground.

    False accusations by corrupt and potentially dangerous Indian leaders, cold weather, no heating and no water…. I take refuge in my bright orange good old German winter coat and sip my coffee staring into the dead fire – place, sometimes the wind rustles a bit in the ashes from many days ago.

    We receive notice via Face Book that another 100 men with their faces covered holding sticks and machetes are trying to invade the Santa Cruz Hill, where all the water of town comes from. People of the colony are confronting the men. Stones are thrown.

    I go to You Tube and watch a tutorial about how to fold a heart out of paper, my first intent in Origami ever; I fold hearts as if my life depends on it, hearts out of gold foil paper.

    Later the taxi that brings me downtown to meet Shoshana, has to stop because a Fiesta is underway, the Fiesta of San Cecilia, who is the Patron Saint of Musicians, the chauffeur tells me. There are floats and disguised people with masks who dance happily in the bitter cold. War and Fiesta!

    At night the cold creeps into my bones, my husband has bought me Baileys, which I sip, again staring into the black hole of the fire place, but then I return to folding more golden paper – hearts.

    I remember our group session from 2 days ago. A young woman explained to us how her father had two women at the same time, each got pregnant four times always at nearly the same moments, so she discovered recently that she has four half brothers and – sisters, who all carry the same names as her real ones. You find this pretty outrageous? I did, but not two days ago anymore, because this is the third case of the same story I have listened to during the last month.

    What a strange place I am living in!

    You might be tired by now of my story of the local politics and invaders. But I have to continue, because if I don´t, I will burst:

    Yesterday these invaders covered their heads again - a la zapatista - fashion - and went straight to the kids march, which is custom here on November 20th, the Day Of The Mexican Revolution all the kids from all the schools march. The invaders invaded the march and arrived in about 20 trucks filled to the brim with masked men holding sticks and machetes. They jumped off the trucks and mingled themselves in between the kids. Mothers freaked out. Again one "encapuchado" held a sign denouncing my husband as an enemy of the indigenous people and a racist.

    Later I saw the trucks driving back to the invaded ranch. There was a car with music out of loudspeakers in between them, they were all young guys on the trucks, driving over the crossing with red light, stopping all traffic, they seemed high and dangerous.

    I have talked to many people these days, good friends and acquaintances. I see their fear. Most do not want to speak up. They are afraid of the journalist ( who does not like us, because we never wanted to buy publicity in his magazine), they are afraid these indigenous leaders will put their eyes on them.

    Suddenly I understand exactly what happened in Germany when the Nazis rose to power: just this - people being afraid, not standing up when civil rights were neglected. Sooner or later it also reached these fearful anyways and then there was nobody anymore, who could stand up for them.

    These invaders pretend to be from the left, those who fight for Indian rights. It is all a scam.

    In our elections for mayor here, which passed a couple of months ago, the left party lost. The right party won. All these parties are scams, there is no one believing in any ideology, it is all business and I am with no party at all. They all seem to be the same dirty soup to me. Party - members change over to other and even the oppsoite party continuously, if that one offers them a position. The candidate, who lost, had promised land and many rights in the market to the indigenous leaders, then he could not keep the promises and told them: just go for it, just take what you want and destabilize the government of the guy, who won.

    It is all politics. Mexico pays - besides South Africa - the highest salaries worldwide to deputees and senators and it has the double amount of such politicians than in comparison the US. And this is just what they earn legally. It makes you understand why they fight this fiercely for power and in the process risk the safety of the people they should serve...

    I might be a chickenshit, but I will speak out....

    I know that everyone carries his or her very own trouble.

    Many of my friends have been left by their husband or they have left him, but now live alone. Children are out of the house and struggling with their own limitations be it money, a shaky marriage or sick or addicted children. Some of my friends have survived cancer or struggle with that. You know about some of my struggles by now. Last night I decided to not complain anymore but return to the question: how can I love exactly what is? How can I make a piece of art of the trouble I am in?

    Since yesterday I have not been able to get to my house. Furious invaders have cut off the road with a huge truck which they have kidnapped and then burnt. The road is full of nails and angry men with black masks throw Molotov. More and more roads are cut off by these groups and our government does not seem to know what the heck to do. One of my sons, his wife and baby are locked in up in their house. Last night at 3 ´clock in the morning his schizophrenic ex - wife called - she seemed drugged - she would kill herself now....

    How can I make a piece of art of the trouble I am in?

    I write so much about the invasion of our neighbors’ land, I talk about this so much with whoever I meet during the day and I went to the march today, because I am afraid.

    I am afraid that one day aggressive people like these might take my land and chase me out of my home.

    I am afraid I might lose my privileged life.

    What I am afraid of has already happened to Alejandra, who comes every morning to clean our house and sometimes cook for us.

    She has done this forever; we have sent her kids to school and university. Before she took care of us her mother, Chelo, did. Chelo was the nana of our children. Chelo is barely older than I, but had a stroke a few years ago and afterwards became diabetic. She cannot work anymore and we have her pensioned.

    Alejandra´s father was separated from Chelo by the time of her stroke. He used to take care of the nursery, the bunch of cows, the cornfields that they had on Flora´s ranch for over 40 years.

    They lost all of it 3 weeks ago. All their tidbits are left in what was their house, their documents are deposited with us and each of them sleeps with whatever brother or cousin has a good heart and lets them sleep with them.

    Still, Alejandra comes every morning and smiles. She prepares breakfast – also for herself – we have a coffee together; we do talk about the issue of the invasion, but not all the time. We also talk about other things, we make jokes, and we laugh. She is not heartbroken or she does not show it. I bake cakes for her to take home for the parents, children and grandchildren. I give her extra money. She brings me flowers. Actually, she brought me some lilies from her land the day after the invasion, callas, which usually do not hold for very long. They are still fine, even after three weeks now! I have never seen calla lilies holding up that long and would want to find a meaning in this fact.

    Today during the protest march towards the city hall Alejandra´s sister and brother were there, friendly and smiling.

    I wonder: What do they do with their fear and anger, their helplessness and fury about their terrible loss?

    They seem so much more centered, so much stronger than I feel!

    I met two of their neighbors from before, who lived right at the edge of the ranch. They also have been chased away: poor people out of their tiny houses; one of them ran a small iron workshop.

    A friend told me that on their webpage the Zapatistas express solidarity with the invaders and animosity against anyone, who wants to fight the invasion.

    I find that extremely disheartening.

    Yes: I am a chickenshit, just afraid to lose my good life. Alejandra has lost not her physical life, but everything that was the base of her and her family’s daily existence and he still manages to shine like a little sun…..

    Tons of helicopters rattled over town for hours, 1500 policemen came in I do not know how many trucks, they stationed themselves for 6 hours a few hundred meters from the invaders blocking the road to Chamula and our house with a burnt truck. Then they left without having achieved a thing.

    Are we in the hands of idiots or what?

    I have a warm hotel bed, a good shower, a change of clothes, my Laptop, my iPhone. I realize: I do not need much more.

    I have too much. Everything you own you have to take care of, it turns into a burden, even if you just have to dust it once in a while...

    I had lunch yesterday with a painter from Korea, who lives here now, she had looked me up. She was a nurse in Korea and watched many people die. “I felt that I had to rush to find an answer to the deep questions of life before I am too old!" she said.

    She said the word FRUGAL.

    Afterwards I received something written by a Tibetan master talking about the joy of voluntary renunciation.

    I remember SIDDHARTHA by Hermann Hesse and how Siddhartha feels strong, because he knows that he can fast, think and wait....

    My husband and two of my sons are drinking too much, my schizophrenic ex - daughter - in - law called at 3 this morning, again threatening to kill herself.

    Can I think (well and without desperation), fast and wait?

    My family members’ alcoholism is out of my control, so is my schizophrenic ex - daughter - in - law´s behavior and life. I do not have any control over the invaders or the government officials trying to figure out what to do to free our road. I do not control my waning eye - sight and just hit my tow badly on a piece of furniture that I did not SEE yesterday.

    How can I stay still just as Siddhartha, how can I think calmly and not be addicted to whatever might momentarily fill my doubts and inner void? How can I wait with tranquility in my heart until I SEE how I can create a piece of art of my troubles and limitations?

    Same big question as yesterday, right?

    You would imagine this whole little town to be tense right now, right? Well, that is not so. Some people, who went to the Town Hall 2 days ago to do whatever burocratic thing they had to do there, found a group of masked men trying to storm the building. The police freed the building, people ran, but no panic in the streets. Marimba is playing - live!!!- at the zocalo, people are dancing and going to the theatre and museums.... war and fiesta, I tell you. Maybe we have all gone schizophrenic? What is reality?

    Yesterday in the afternoon the police troops did move in. Most invaders had fled, just forty courageous young guys in their Zapatista masks confronted the police and even with all their beer bottles turned into homemade Molotovs, they soon also ran. They ran towards our little street and the traditional Mayan community of Chamula. Many tore off their masks and threw away their sticks, many over the wall around our house; we found these in the morning.

    In Chamula these men did not find refuge, the traditional Chamulans caught 20 and turned them in to the city authorities in San Cristóbal.

    We can all breathe deeper again: behind the whole scam was not another Zapatista Uprising, but just a small group of fierce criminals.

    The police are guarding and cleaning the invaded ranch, helicopters still come and go, meanwhile many neighbors return to their homes.

    I still did not sleep well. My schizophrenic ex - daughter - in - law called me first late last night and then very early in the morning as she said ready to throw herself from the bridge on the highway in between here and Tuxtla. I listened to her for a long time until she seemed a little calmer. I had just hung up the phone when my other daughter - in - law called to inform me that last night seven businesses just two blocks from ours in the center of San Cristobal burnt to ashes. Our friend Roman, the Argentinean, lost his restaurant, Angelo his Italian Trattoria, Juanita her library.... nobody had any insurance.

    The fire trucks came, but had a very hard time to fight the flames, because our firefighters did not have any water! Can you believe that? We live in a part of Mexico with a tremendous abundance of water.

    Where the heck do I live? Is that really reality?

    Would the war with the invaders still continue, I would fall into paranoia myself, but the reason for the fire was a defective electric contact. Another house burnt down a month ago for that same reason. These are century - old houses with the craziest electric lines you can imagine. In reality it is half a miracle that we do not have many more fires.

    I really need that the eye of the hurricane comes to rest above my head for a couple of days!

    Art by Kiki
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