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Text and Photos: Andre Vltchek
You all know how the saying goes: "Poor Mexico -- too far from God, too close to the United States."
This proud, beautiful and deep part of the world has been plundered, ravished and humiliated for many centuries, first by the Europeans (both the Spaniards and French), then by the Norteamericanos.
The vulgarity and brutality of the conquest had often been unbelievably grotesque, unreal, insane - to the point that I decided to name it a "magical imperialism" (or call it 'magical colonialism' if you wish).
Great cultures created by Mayas, Aztecs and other native people - cultures much more advanced than those of the Europeans, have been crushed, tricked, cheated, and finally forced into submission. Local gods were 'sent to a permanent exile' and Catholicism, under the threat of death or torture or both, was forced down the throat of everyone.
Yes, Western colonialism often takes truly bizarre, surreal, forms. What example should I provide, to illustrate 'magic imperialism'? For example, this one: in Cholula, near the city of Puebla, Spaniards slammed their church on top of the biggest (by volume) pyramid on Earth - Tlachihualtepetl. It is still sitting there, even now as I write this essay: the church is sitting on top of the pyramid, unapologetically. Local authorities are even proud of its presence, promoting it as a 'major tourist site'. I hope, one day, UNESCO includes it in the "memory of humanity" list, as a symbol of cultural vandalism.
Catholic church arrogantly slammed on top of the biggest pyramid in the world, outside Puebla
(Image by Andre Vltchek) Details DMCA
I summoned the curator at a local museum, Ms. Erica, asking her about this insanity. She explained, patiently:
"We are strongly discouraged from speaking about brutality of the past. Mexico's attitude towards its own history is truly schizophrenic. On one hand we know that our country was plundered, raped and abused, by the Spanish colonizers, by the French, and then by the U.S. But we, scholars, teachers, curators, are literally ordered to ignore it, to 'be positive'; to 'look for good things' in what was done to us, and what we inherited."
Clearly, Ms. Erica has had enough. She speaks openly, passionately:
"In the past, the church had been hit and damaged by lightning, on several occasions, and the local people believe that it happened because of the wrath of local gods, who were protesting against the desecration of their site and an architectural masterpiece -- the pyramid. However, the structure was always quickly restored by the religious and state authorities. The church still dominates the landscape, visible from as far as the city of Puebla, while the grand pyramid looks humiliated and belittled, like nothing more than a forested hill."
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