Friday, September 26, 2008

If You Don't Like It, Leave

In my five years of living in Mexico I've been pretty active on the message boards (and more recently the blogs) for foreigners living here. One of the things I've noticed is that as soon as a foreigner says anything negative about the country, people will jump on them, "If you don't like it, leave" is the common theme, often with much stronger language than that. This is the response whether the person has complained about the food, the culture, the living conditions, way of life or current events.

I am not by nature a complainer. I think my blog is pretty darned positive about my life in Mexico and that is why I was surprised to receive the "why don't you leave" email yesterday in regards to my last post about the news items that I have been reading. I don't believe that the post was a complaint, nor a criticism, it was simply reporting the current events of the day. The person who emailed me suggested that as a foreigner I can never understand the culture or politics (or the gastronomy) of Mexico as I am not Mexican, and if I don't like it I can return to my "safe nest".

I took the email as a suggestion that a foreigner should not have the right to be aware of current events or to report them or comment on them. The stories I posted were completely up to date and they reflect how ALL residents of Mexico feel about crime, corruption and security. I did not post that as a foreigner, gee, things are different here and they are so much better in my "home" country. I simply reported the facts, with legitimate news sources. I think if the person who emailed me had read the links I posted, they may understand that the topics of crime, corruption and security are the number one concerns of Mexicans all across the country, not just lil ole me.

As a resident of a foreign country, it is important for me to learn as much as I can about the country that I am living in. It is important for me to be able to communicate with other members of my community on the big issues of the day. It's really important for me to not bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is "A OK", just because I am not Mexican and have the option of living in Canada. I have a Mexican job, I pay Mexican taxes, I do not live in an enclave of foreigners, I am a part of this community and I believe I have a right to share the news that affects me everyday. To suggest that because things are bad in Mexico I should leave is very simplistic, just because I have another nationality does not mean that this is not my home. Having a Canadian passport does not mean that I should not be concerned about what is happening here. When people ask me if I ever think about returning "home", I tell them I am already here, I never refer to Canada as "home" anymore. Mexico is where I live, work, love, play and lead my life with my family.

If I were living in Canada and writing a blog I would be posting similar news items. It's my nature, I am a news hound and I care about the place I live in. I did not suggest that Mexico is the only country with issues of crime, corruption and insecurity, but because this is where I call home, and these are the topics that everyone is worried about (Mexicans and foreigners alike), that is what I write about. The same would hold true if I were in Canada, Japan or Australia, I would report the news of the day and the items that affect all the residents of the land.

Do I have concerns about what is going on in Mexico? Yes. Does that mean that I think Mexico is a terrible place? No. Do I think the Mexicans are terrible people? Of course not. Does it mean I don't want to live here? No. It only means that I am a concerned citizen who is paying attention to the realities of life in Mexico and am actively participating in my community to make changes for the better. I am one of millions and millions of people who have the same concerns, the suggestion that because I am not Mexican and therefore cannot participate in the debate is absurd. On this blog I will not criticize the government or the powers that be, the Mexican constitution is quite clear that I am not allowed to participate in that manner, but I can certainly share news, links and information with limited commentary.

And on that note, I thought I would share a video by "Molotov", one of the more controversial bands in Mexico. They don't hold back on their political thoughts, they just let'er rip and this is one of their most famous songs "Gimme tha Power". For the lyrics in Spanish click here, for a rough English translation, click here.

And now I am breathing in......and breathing out.....ahh, that's better. Thanks for reading my rant, you may now return to your happy place.


Heather said...

Girl I get that comment all the time when I talk about the usa problems and I am a citizen, but because of my travels else where I also have the knowledge of life outside this bubble. People would rather just say, "Than leave" rather than actually have an intellectual adult conversation . Bah hum bug on the haters and kudos for you for being true to yourself.

Anonymous said...

One of the most simplistic, ignorant things that ever come out of a racist's mouth...and I'm quite sure immigrants around the globe have to hear it from jingoist "patriots."

What a cop-out.

Brice said...

You have forsaken the benefits of being Canadian (OHIP), and have a Mexican home, Mexican job, and Mexican family.
You have every right to voice your opinion of Mexico - you're living it.

Gary Denness said...

I've gotten this too, before now. Mostly from one off 'commenters' (could I say commentators?!) on a blog post, who've decided they can sum me up and know what I'm about from that one blog post!

There's lots to love about Mexico, but lots to hate too. That's life. I'm likely to comment on both sides of that coin regularly.

Are we allowed a view? Of course! We have a different perspective to Mexicans of course, some of us expat bloggers more so than others.

The fact is that I can, at any time I choose, up and leave Mexico and return to a cushy life in the UK, where I know free health care and social security payments await me. When you have a safety net like that, certain things here seem less important. To me.

I do think it's often worth qualifying some (not all, but some!) comments as coming from an 'outsider' with an 'inside' view.

Alex said...

There are good and bad people everywhere, here, in Canada, Mexico or China! One thing to keep in mind is that people that love to complain (sounds very much like the person who sent you that email btw) will complain no matter where they are, home or elsewhere.
To me, your last post message didn't come across as a complain. It is just what it is, some comments on what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was really amazed to hear that you had gotten a "so Leave" type of comment after yesterday's post, I for one didn't think any was wrong or out of line with your post. Like you said, you were just reporting the facts.

Keep up the good work with your blog, try to ignore the ones that have nothing better to do than complain, and just live your life.

Good job as always on your blog!

Amy in MN

Jorge said...

Mandalos a la chingada mi amor, así con estas palabras.

Atte. tu marido.

Islagringo said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Right on! After all it is your blog and you can express your opinions whether others agree with them or not. I do not know you but think of you as more of a Mexican resident than a Canadian. As you said that is where you live, work and your family is.

My Way said...

You can pretty much say whatever the hell you want Kel, even if you are dissing the place you live. It seems as though once we get readers we don't want to step on any toes or offend anyone, but in the end, people get offended anyways. So you can really never win. Whether what you say makes sense or not...people will always want to stir the pot or simply want to make someone else feel grumpy because their life sucks :)

And if you want to bitch, and don't want to blog about it....let me know. I am queen bitch. Muak!

Islaholic Trixie said...

I love your posts, your links to the news and your blog. Isn't it ironic that this person emails you instead of posting their comment on your comment section!!
I have this Molotov CD and have had my Mexican friends tell me the history behind the band. I, myself, love this song.
Looking forward to meeting you next month!! Maybe I'll bring a bottle of that awesome wine for us to share.

CancunCanuck said...

Heather- I agree, it does seem to be the easy way out for some people, rather than engaging in discussion of the issues. Boo haters!

Heatherinparadise- It is racist, isn't it? If a Mexican citizen posted the same thing, there would be no problem, but I guess "la guera" can't share the same opinions.

Brice- Thanks man, appreciate the support. You can't win around here, either you're an ignorant gringo who knows NOTHING about what's happening, or you are a "complaining critic" because you DO know what's up and what's real. Sigh.

Gary- True true true. You take the bad with the good and you share your experiences. That's what a blog is all about. I find it interesting that the email came from a Mexican living abroad, I don't think they saw the irony in that. I guess someone told them one too many times that they should "just leave", or they realized that Mexico didn't have all that they wanted from life.

Ale- I agree, I tell my students that there are as many a$$holes in Canada as there are in the STates, Mexico, France, wherever. It's personality, not nationality. I try to report, not complain, and I appreciate your support!

Amy- Thanks for backing me up! I was surprised too. :)

Jorge- Jijijiji, gracias amor. :)

IslaGringo- Thanks man.

Jackie- The funny thing is that I wasn't even expressing an opinion, I tried hard not to, I was just reporting facts! I appreciate your support too, I feel more Mexican than Canadian most days. :)

My Way- Thanks girl, you've got more experience in this than I do, lol! You are much better at really saying how you feel, I still try hard not to upset anyone. But, I can't be quiet about some things. And ooooh, a "ghost bitcher blogger", love it, next time I've got a bee in my bonnet I'll send it to you to "bitch it up" LMAO!

Trixie- Molotov is tricky, they really push buttons! Some of their stuff I do find offensive (the song "Puto" for one), but at least they are brave enough to write about the realities of Mexico and immigration. They've got a "new" song out that cracks me up it's offensive as heck, but it makes me laugh. "Guacala que Rico" is the name of the song, you can see it on youtube, but beware, it crosses some lines! (Google "letras molotov guacala" to see the lyrics, use a translator to see the English. Not sure if it gets the same message across, let me know if you don't "get" it.) :)

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