Today, journalists around the world came together to honor slain Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas on the one-month anniversary of his assassination. The global campaign, known as “Our voice is our strength” or, in Spanish, “Nuestra voz es nuestra fuerza,” saw journalists offer essays, posts, tweets and images to express their solidarity and outrage at the killing of a journalist who risked, and lost, his life to cover the drug cartels in his country.
Earlier today, Storyboard published an interview with the one of the organizers of the event. Now, we’d like to offer some of the highlights of the day.
For Storyboard sister site Nieman Reports, organizers Alfredo Corchado and Ricardo Sandoval Palos say Valdez’s murder is a test for Mexican democracy. They write:
“We are sons of Mexico, born in the country’s rural north. We were educated in the United States as children of immigrant farm workers. We returned to Mexico as correspondents for American news audiences, chronicling life in a country that wasn’t “foreign” to us. We’ve also come face-to-face with risks that emerge from covering the illicit drug trade. This is why we’re writing now in the name of Javier Valdez. We want the dastardly crime that claimed his life to not be forgotten.”
In the New York Review of Books, in a piece headlined “Mexico: A Voice Against the Darkness,” Alma Guillermoprieto has a take with a taste of gallows humor:
“On reflection, I was grateful that, unlike many of the more than one hundred reporters killed in Mexico over the last quarter century, he was not abducted, tortured for hours or days, maimed, dismembered, hung lifeless from an overpass for all to see. No doubt Valdez owed his comparatively charitable execution—he was merely pulled from his car and shot twelve times—to his prominence.”
Former Los Angeles Times reporter and “Dreamland” author Sam Quinones appeals to Mexico to change things from the ground up in an essay titled “The lessons in a brave man’s death”:
“As we examine all the reasons why brave people like Javier Valdez have fallen, Mexico needs to look to its local government and build up its institutions, its capacity, its ability to protect its citizens and the ability to find justice for them when it cannot. Like politics, justice is local. Ensuring that would be the greatest tribute to a brave man.”
In the Times of San Diego, Everard Meade writes in an opinion piece headlined “Remembering Javier Valdez Cárdenas and Other Victims of Terror in Mexico”:
“The only antidote to the crippling fear and isolation that an atrocity like this produces is to tell precisely the kinds of stories in which Javier specialized — stories that showcase our common humanity, that reduce the distance between victims and perpetrators, reporters and readers.”
In another opinion piece, in the Houston Chronicle, former AP Mexico-Central America bureau chief Katherine Corcoran connects the killing to the rising rhetoric against journalists in the United States:
“Amid the accusations and insults President Trump hurls at the U.S. media, it’s easy to ignore that there is a real, shooting war on the press — and it’s happening in Mexico.”