Brad Will in Oaxaca

Image by IndyMedia

Ten years ago today, Indymedia reporter Brad Will was killed while filming teacher protests in Oaxaca, Mexico. His case remains unsolved, despite calls for an investigation by members of Congress, and even a temporary delay in U.S. aid.

But there have been some recent developments.

I knew Brad as an impassioned and committed reporter of anti-globalization protests. The last time I saw him was in Cancun in 2003 at the independent media convergence outside the WTO meetings and his death is chronicled in a book that I co-edited: Rebel Reporting: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists.

On May 23, 2012, Lenin Emilio Osorio Ortega was arrested for Will's murder. Osorio maintains his innocence, claiming that testimony of witnesses was false and compelled under threats from Mexican authorities. However, on October 3 of this year, a second judge reaffirmed the determination of the original court, continuing Osorio’s detention and stating that if found guilty, he would serve thirty-five years in prison.

In October 2014, the teachers of Section 22, the independent union in southern Mexico created a memorial for Will. This week, commemorations are taking place in New York, and as far away as Freiburg, Germany where Will continues to be celebrated as an independent media activist.

Brad Will was not alone. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Since 2000, more than 100 media workers have been killed or disappeared, according to the Mexican “Freedom of Expression” website. Most of these crimes have remained unsolved, but the Committee to Protect Journalists say that in at least thirty-seven cases, the confirmed motives are related to their work as journalists.

Norman Stockwell is publisher of The Progressive.


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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