<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 24, 2017 | Issue #43


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On the Streets of Oaxaca, the People Remember Brad Will

“Covering the Current Events in Oaxaca Since Brad’s Death Has Been a Completely Different Experience”


By James Daria
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Oaxaca

October 30, 2006

Word quickly spread on the streets of Oaxaca Friday that an American journalist had been killed. His death, along with two others, at the hands of gunmen allied with the hated governor Ulises Ruiz and his Institutional Revolutionary Party fueled an international controversy that led Mexican president Vicente Fox to send in federal police to restore order to a city that for over five months has been the site of a popular uprising. His death, in fact, over shadows the death of two other Oaxacans the same day. Unfortunately, when a Oaxacan is killed it doesn’t make the news. When an American is killed it makes headlines.


Illustration: D.R. Latuff
The death of Brad Will resonated throughout the city of Oaxaca on many levels. One of the most amazing occurrences has been the amount of concern and sympathy felt for him by large sectors of the Oaxacan populace. Many people have commented on the tragic death of an innocent person.

Doing independent media work in Oaxaca has always been difficult. The amount of distrust and hatred of the corporate media puts all media workers into a dangerous situation where one is liable to confront verbal and physical accusation of manipulation and lies. Trying to explain the role of the alternative or independent media often falls on deaf ears. Covering the current events in Oaxaca since Brad’s death has been a completely different experience however.

Walking towards the front lines of the eventual confrontation between protestors and federal troops on Sunday, many people along the way noticed the international press badge this reporter was wearing and wished to speak about Brad. They asked if I knew him, if I worked for the same organization and everyone made respectful comments about him.

In the barricades in front of the monument to Juarez heading away from Oaxaca City towards Mexico City, the people gathered there held a moment of silence in honor of Brad. One woman made an important remark. She said that he went everywhere the APPO went. He was at their side because he wanted to tell the truth about what was going on. He was in the street with the common people of Oaxaca who were fighting for justice. And when he was shot it was the APPO who was by his side and tried to help him. And when he died he died in the arms of the APPO. She remarked about how he gave his life at the service of the Oaxacan people and the Oaxacan people respect his presence. The fact that someone from the United States would come to a place like Oaxaca and fight along side the Oaxacan people is testament, according to her, that people can be good despite differences in nationality, color or economic status.

According to what has been said and written about him, Brad has always worked to develop and spread the idea of independent media. With his death, the people of Oaxaca have been exposed to his ideas and thus the ideas of a free and independent media. The amount of people who are now conscious of the efforts of the independent media in divulging the truth in contrast to the lies and misinformation of mass media is incredible.

Although tragic and senseless, the death of Brad Will was not in vain. His life was given at the service of the truth and he died with the people. His memory is carried by every Oaxacan and he is now considered of their dead, another person who died fighting for the betterment of others. As the ritual celebration of the days of the dead approach, although occupied by federal troops, the people of Oaxaca will remember the life of Brad Will and offer him prayers, flowers and chocolate. And the people of Oaxaca will carry his memory with them in their resistance.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America