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Indybay Feature

Justice for Sali/Justicia para Sali!

by Oaxacan collectives (rebeldiasentrelazadas [at] yahoo.com)
Our hearts are full of sadness and rage because our sister Sali was brutally raped and murdered 20 minutes from San Jose del Pacifico and up to this moment the Oaxacan Attorney General's Office, as is its custom, is not doing anything regarding the fact that there exist witnesses who have information to identify those responsible.
sali.jpg
Version en espanol sigue

Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca.
Thursday, September 25

Justice for our sister Marcella Sali Grace!

Brother and sisters,

Our hearts are full of sadness and rage because our sister Sali was brutally raped and murdered 20 minutes from San Jose del Pacifico and up to this moment the Oaxacan Attorney General's Office, as is its custom, is not doing anything regarding the fact that there exist witnesses who have information to identify those responsible.

Marcella Sali Grace was born in the United States, with a big heart in solidarity with just causes. She had many friend because she was always inclined to help, using her artistic talents to paint a banner or a wall or dancing Arabic dance to raise funds for the struggle, or putting on punk shows, or giving self-defense courses to the women because she knew very well how the men accosted them. This was one of her struggles, that women were free and respected. Sali was so involved in the struggle that she was an international accompanier of brothers and sisters who felt harassed by the bad government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Unfortunately, on September 24, a woman's body was found with the physical characteristics of Sali, in a deserted cabin twenty minutes from the village of San Jose del Pacifico and at the moment when a village member went to feed some dogs around that area, he was struck by a fetid odor coming from this cabin and notified the municipal authorities of the village, who proceeded to removed the body that was found which was already in a state of decay, and after these events, they did not give any more information to the people in the village.

Yesterday, companera Julieta Cruz (who knew Sali was headed for San Jose del Pacifico) was informed that a young, foreign woman was found in the Miahuatlan amphitheatre, where she went, and where she recognized the body of Sali because of the tattoos she had, as her face was unrecognizable. Julieta thinks it is because of burns, but it doesn't explain why the rest of her body has less visible damage. When we asked for the case number we were denied as well from seeing the results of the autopsy, as they argued with us that because we weren't relatives they couldn't give us any information.

Due to her solidarity work with the popular struggle of the people of Oaxaca, in other struggles in the world and against the racism on Mexico's border with the U.S., on different occasions and to different people, Sali mentioned that recently in Oaxaca she had suffered political persecution and surveillance. This makes us think that her cowardly murderer is related to the widespread repression against the social movement and directed particularly at international observers. Because of this, we don't dismiss that the intellectual authors are the same who ordered the repression against the people of Oaxaca in their struggle for justice and freedom.

In the face of these bloody events, and for the brutal cruelty used against companera Sali, we don't disregard that this could be a clear message directed at all the people of Oaxaca, as well as the companeros in solidarity from different parts of the world; we say this based on the recent national and international news which says that "APPO members were the ones who killed U.S. journalist Bradley Roland Will" and as there is no justice in Oaxaca, we worry that the distortion of information could interfere in procuring true justice for our companera and the clear bureaucratic slowness with which the involved authorities are already treating this investigation.

In the face of these lamentable events, WE DEMAND:


The immediate speeding up of the investigations.

The immediate clarification of the facts.

Punishment for the intellectual and material murderers.

Justice for our sister Marcella Sali Grace!

Enough is enough with of the murders, violence and hate against women who fight for justice!


We ask you to sign on (at the email indicated) to this demand for justice and to become a part of the urgent activities to demand the clarification of these cowardly acts.

rebeldiasentrelazadas [at] yahoo.com
Information: (01 951) 5178190 CIPO

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25
9:00 am Presence at the U.S. Consulate in Oaxaca
(Santo Domingo Plaza, Col. Centro, Oaxaca)

12:00 noon Rally at the State Attorney General's Office: To demand the case is brought to Oaxaca and to speed up the bureaucratic procedures for the administration of justice.
(Domicilio conocido, San Antonio de la Cal, Col. Experimental).

Signed:
Encuentro de Mujeres Oaxaquenas "Compartiendo Voces de Esperanza"
Colectivo Mujer Nueva
Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magon
Voces Oaxaquenas Construyendo Autonomia y Libertad
Colectivo Tod@s Somos Pres@s
Encuentro de Jovenes en el Movimiento Social Oaxaqueno
(...)

Translation by Scott Campbell
http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/weblog/2008/09/justice-for-our-sister-marcella-sali-grace.html

---------------------------------------------

Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca.
Jueves 25 de septiembre.

!Justicia para nuestra hermana Marcella Sali Grace!

Hermanos y hermanas.

Nuestros corazones estan llenos de tristeza y rabia porque nuestra hermana Sali fue violada y asesinada brutalmente a 20 minutos de San Jose del Pacifico y hasta este momento la procuraduria de Oaxaca como es su costumbre no esta haciendo nada a pesar que existen testigos que dan indicios para identificar a los responsables.

Marcella Sali Grace nacio en los Estados Unidos, con un corazon grande y solidario con las causas justas quien tenia muchas amigas y amigos porque siempre estaba dispuesta a ayudar, asi con sus dotes de artista pintaba una manta o una pared o bailaba su danza arabe para sacar fondos para la lucha, o hacia sus conciertos con bandas de punks, o daba sus cursos de defensa personal a las mujeres pues conocia muy bien como los hombres las acosan, esta era una de sus luchas, el que las mujeres fueramos libres y respetadas, Sali estaba tan comprometida en la lucha que fue acompanante internacional de hermanos y hermanas que estan siendo hostigadas por el mal gobierno de Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Desgraciadamente este 24 de septiembre fue encontrado el cuerpo de una mujer con las caracteristicas fisicas de Sali, en una cabana deshabitada a veinte minutos de la poblacion de San Jose del Pacifico y al momento en que un poblador fue a alimentar a unos perros que se encontraban por ahi, lo impresiono un olor fetido que provenia de dicha cabana y dio aviso a las autoridades municipales de dicha poblacion, los cuales procedieron a hacer el levantamiento del cuerpo que se encontraba ya en estado de putrefaccion, y despues de dichos sucesos, no se dio mas informacion a los pobladores.

El dia de ayer se le dio aviso a la companera Julieta Cruz (quien tenia conocimiento de que Sali se dirigia para dicho lugar), que una joven extranjera se encontraba en el anfiteatro de Miahuatlan, a donde ella se dirigio, en donde reconocio el cuerpo de Sali debido a los tatuajes que tenia, ya que su rostro estaba irreconocible, la companera supone que es debido a quemaduras, pues no se explica por que el resto del cuerpo tiene danos visiblemente menores. Al momento en que pedimos el numero de averiguacion se nos fue negado al igual que los resultados de la necropsia, argumentandonos que debido a que no eramos familiares de la persona no se nos podria facilitar ningun dato.

Debido al trabajo solidario con la lucha popular del pueblo de Oaxaca, de otras luchas del mundo y contra el racismo en la frontera de Mexico con Estados Unidos, en diversas ocasiones y a diferentes personas, Sali comento que en Oaxaca, en fechas recientes sufria de persecucion politica y vigilancia. Esto nos hace pensar que su cobarde asesinato tiene relacion con la represion generalizada a los movimientos sociales y dirigida particularmente a los observadores internacionales. Por esto mismo no descartamos que los actores intelectuales sean los mismos que ordenan la represion contra el pueblo de Oaxaca que lucha por justicia y libertad.

Ante estos hechos sangrientos, y por la brutal crueldad que ejercen sobre la companera Sali, no dejamos de lado que puede ser un claro mensaje dirigido a todo el pueblo de Oaxaca, asi como a los companeros solidarios de diferentes partes del mundo; esto lo decimos basado en las recientes noticias que estan circulando a nivel nacional e internacional, de que "los appistas son los que mataron al periodista norteamericano Bradley Roland Will" y como no hay justicia en Oaxaca, nos preocupa la distorsion de la informacion que pudiera interferir en la procuracion de una verdadera justicia para nuestra companera y la ya evidente lentitud burocratica con la que estan tratando el caso las autoridades actualmente implicadas en la investigacion.

Ante estos hechos lamentables EXIGIMOS:


La inmediata agilizacion de las investigaciones.

El esclarecimiento inmediato de los hechos.

El castigo a los asesinos intelectuales y materiales.

!Justicia para nuestra hermana Marcella Sali Grace!

!Basta de asesinatos, violencia y odio contra las mujeres que luchan por justicia!



Pedimos su adhesion (en el correo que se indica) a esta exigencia de justicia y a formar parte de las actividades urgentes para demandar el esclarecimiento de estos hechos cobardes.

rebeldiasentrelazadas [at] yahoo.com
Informacion: (01 951) 5178190 CIPO

VIERNES 25 DE SEPTIEMBRE

9:00 am Presencia en el Consulado de los Estados Unidos en Oaxaca
(Plaza Santo Domingo, Col. Centro. Oaxaca)

12:00 del medio dia Mitin en la Procuraduria de Justicia del estado de Oaxaca: Para la exigencia de atraer el caso a la ciudad de Oaxaca y agilicen su tramite burocratico para la imparticion de justicia
(Domicilio conocido, San Antonio de la Cal, Col. Experimental).


Firmas:
Encuentro de Mujeres Oaxaquenas "Compartiendo Voces de Esperanza"
Colectivo Mujer Nueva
Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magon
Voces Oaxaquenas Construyendo Autonomia y Libertad
Colectivo Tod@s Somos Pres@s
Encuentro de Jovenes en el Movimiento Social Oaxaqueno
(...)

http://vocal.lahaine.org/articulo.php?p=187&more=1&c=1
§r.i.p sally
by friend of sally
640_laddie-and-sally.jpg
640_marcella_sali_grace.jpg
Marcela Sali Grace, activista norteamericana de los derechos humanos fue cobardemente asesinada
por el gobierno represor de Ulises Ruiz.

Oaxaca mata impunemente
en la oscuridad
en cualquier lugar
asesinos del gobernador se fueron a cazar
encontraron sola a Marcela Sali Grace
su pecado denunciar
señalar represión y muerte

Sali Grace mujer
derechos humanos, su tejer
boca amiga que habló por la mujer
por esos indígenas que vio al morir
una lucha que sigue viva
Oaxaca un pueblo violado una y otra vez

Así murió Sali Grace
con su mano en el pecho
abriendo su corazón al pueblo de Oaxaca
sus últimos minutos fueron de plegarias
lloró por ese pueblo reprimido
sufrió por no verlo liberado
sin pobreza y sin violencia

Hoy la montaña luce sin flores
el pueblo de Oaxaca está de luto
mataron a una mujer que repartía frutos
semillas de libertades infinitas
cantaba a los ríos de la rebeldía
soñaba con ver a Oaxaca sin monotonía
llena de vida y mucha alegría

Sali quería a los niños de Oaxaca
soñaba con que ellos tuvieran otro destino
que fueran libres en un México sin mentiras
sentía en sus venas la agonía
saber que la esperanza se moría
latidos de una mujer que si sentía

La noche no es la misma noche
el día no es el mismo día
Sali Grace murió en la lucha
silencio, está dormida
despertará cuando Oaxaca sea libre
cuando México destierre la impunidad
sueños de una realidad muy triste
violencia vete ya
Carlos Vigueras
§my heart hurts
by jordyn
sali-singing.jpg
some pictures from her band's myspace:
§another photo
by jordyn
640_sali-dancing.jpg
§sali in the Circus of (Im)Migration
by lotu5
sali_circus_1.png
I met sali while traveling in Chiapas. She was always happy, full of energy and creativity. She seemed to be living her passions every day. I am still recovering from this horribly sad news. Sali later joined us on the Circus of (Im)Migration, helping spread stories of resistance to borders in 3 performances in berkeley, sf and santa cruz. She also danced before the circus at station 40 in sf. I will miss her, but my memory of her will always be a beautiul one.
§Sali Dancing
by lotu5
sali_dancing_2.png
You can also see Sali in the video of the circus, mocking the minutemen, and in the end, around 35 minutes, is a short clip of her dancing.

Tambien puedes ver sali en el video del circo, chistando sobre los minutemen, y al final, en como 35 minutes, hay una pequeña video de ella bailando.

http://sdhacklab.org/circus-med-deinterlace.mov
(big, higher quality)

http://sdhacklab.org/circus-small-deinterlace.mov
(smaller, lower quality)
§short clip of sali's arabic dancing
by lotu5
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
we will miss you sali... but always remember you dancing and singing...

http://sdhacklab.org/sali-dancing.mov
§memorial on the ocean
by pipi
traveling.dancer.sali.jpg
when i heard about sali being murdered i felt isolated here in san diego, all my friends who knew her were out of town.
i shared her story with a group of women who never knew sali but, were moved by her story. enraged at the daily realities of abuse, torture and murders of women around the world. also, inspired by her spirit to move forward and live life passionately and fully.
together a group of 11 women built this memorial for sali on the ocean shore. we remembered sali as we collected shells, bones, stones and flora on the coast. we remembered sali as we dug in the sand for hours and lugged the ocean water in buckets.
we sang, cried and danced with sali. the seagulls joined us toward the end and kids ran around her and began to build their own sands sculptures
i felt blessed to be supported in such a magical way to say good bye.
i wanted to share with you, this memorial.
§For Sali
by tsisay
640__mg_0037.jpg
Photo from the National and International Caravan in Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities in Chiapas.
We love you Sali
§For Sali
by tsisay
640_sali.jpg
more photos
§ratty in strawdevil
by ohia
ratty.jpg
ratty in strawdevil
§ratty in strawdevil 2
by ohia
strawdevil.jpg
happy times
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
woladodddcdemocracynow_.jpg
check this out!


http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/09/100215.html


Inspiring video at the second comment of the link above and a way to contact Congress. Please do something.

by CXB
640_meridacartooncxb_1_1.jpeg
Use it.
by pixie
R.I.P sali...seh was great,beautiful,fun,such a good person..fcuk those bastardssssssssss
by Carlos Vigueras
oaxaca-assassins.jpg
Asesinos del gobierno de Ulises Ruiz. Asesinato impune de Brad Will de Indymedia New York.
by Carlos Vigueras
oaxaca_jose_jimenez.jpg
Marcha contra los crimenes del gobernador de Oaxaca Ulises Ruiz.
by Oaxaca-based reporter
Can someone post some information about Marcella Sali Grace for those of us who didn't know her?

What city or town was she from? How old was she?

What organizations did she work with? How long had she been in Oaxaca?

Had she been in regular contact with her friends in the US before she left Oaxaca city? How had she been spending her time in Oaxaca?

The information first published in the Oaxacan newspapers was vague and gossipy. For example, they were reporting that she appeared to be 30-40 years old, although she looks younger in the photos posted here. Also, the papers and at least one local radio newscast were reporting that she had been in Oaxaca since 2006, was with Indymedia, and was a friend of Brad Will. Can someone confirm or deny this?

None of the papers mention evidence of a rape, although it's a charge that has been repeated by activists and NGOs, although it's unclear how they could confirm if the coroner refused to give them information on the case. It could just be speculation. It could be true. What has been reported is that, besides the stab wounds mentioned in the above post, an autopsy found that the cause of death was a stab wound to the heart.

Can someone else confirm her legal name? She has been identified in the Imparcial newspaper as Marcela Grace Eiler from Washington state. ADN Sureste reports her name as Marsella Sally Ellerde and says that her presumed murderer is already in police custody. http://www.adnsureste.info/index.php?news=5968

The suspect is identified as Omar Yoguez Singo, alias “El Frankie”.

When I found out about this murder on Friday morning, I started looking around for information about Marcela and who knew her locally. One person told me that she hung out a lot with a guy named “El Frankie” but that not much was known about him other than he was from Mexico City.

Forensic evidence should be able to establish if the suspect in custody is responsible for the murder, since there was apparently a struggle involved, which means there may be skin particles under Marcela's fingernails or something similar.

The question is if Oaxaca state investigators will actually conduct those kinds of tests or if just having a suspect is a good enough reason to close the case.

by friends of sally
she is from eugene, oregon, she is 20 years old she has been in and out of oaxaca since 2006 but traveled around here and there thru the stated stayed in tuscon arizona a lot.
by friends of sally
here is a rough translation from an article i just found in oaxaca newspaper
http://www.adnsureste.info/index.php?news=5968


Oaxaca de Juárez. - (Rescuing GARCI'A) the 24 of past September were located assassinated to machete blows Marseilles Sally Ellerde inside a cabin located in the place “Yologó” of San jOse Pacific, pertaining to San Mateo Deep River, Miahuatlán. And as it says the popular jargon, the General Office of the judge advocate general of Justice of the State of Oaxaca (PGJEO), made caravan with other people's hat, when presenting/displaying to the presumed homicida of the young North American found without life in a cabin of San jOse of the Pacific, Miahuatlán, because they were his own friendly gave that it to the authorities of the Federal District to where it had fled. In agreement with the press conference, summoned by the Solicitor of Justice, Evencio Martinez Ramirez, the 24 of past September was located assassinated to machete blows Marseilles Sally Ellerde inside a cabin located in the place “Yologó” of San jOse Pacific, pertaining to San Mateo Deep River, Miahuatlán. In that occasion, the authorities recognized that they did not have tracks of the homicida, that later would be known that the FranKie responded to the name of Omar Yoguez Singo “”, of 32 years of age, original of the Federal District, that after the homicide fled finally to Acapulco and to the city of Mexico. It was there that the presumed homicida that belongs to a “social group” denominated Hippy, went to one “touched” to University Cudad when being under the effects of the cocaine it confessed to have assassinated to a woman in the state of Oaxaca, their companions when listening struck it to the confession they gave and it to the ministerial authorities of the Federal District. It was so the Oaxaqueña Office of the judge advocate general was found out and later this Friday was by “the Frankie” until that city, to transfer it to this capital where this behind schedule it was presented/displayed to mass media.” The authorities presented/displayed a video where the defendant confessed that afternoon of the 14 of September he was with Marseilles Sally Ellerde, in the bar the “genies”, where was ingesting alcohol and drugs, later went to his cabin. After having sex, they began to discuss, there under the effect of the alkaloid the woman, according to him attacked, it first, reason why it took a machete it assassinated and it of four machete blows one of them in the heart, later fled to Acapulco and soon to the DF, where to his own they gave it friendly to the authorities.
by friends of sally
sally does not do drugs/get irresponsibly drunk and she would never sleep with this man. he murdered her for no reason . no doubt she fought back at this bastard but he is lying about the facts
by rip sally
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2008/09/mexican-activists-turn-over-mexico-city-man-police-sally-grace-eile

Last night Mexican police transferred Omar Yoguez Singu, 32, to the Oaxacan attorney general's custody for murdering 20-year-old Marcella "Sally" Grace Eiler. The AP reports that he claims he had consensual sex with Sally, then killed her with a machete during an argument.

Yoguez Singu was captured thanks to the quick action of Oaxacan activists who publicized her murder internationally.

Yoguez Singu raised his friends' suspicions when he returned to Mexico City from a recent trip to San Jose del Pacifico, were locals discovered Sally's decaying and mutilated body in a cabin. They noticed that he was injured and that his two dogs were missing, so they asked him what happened. Yoguez Singu reportedly told them that one of his dogs bit a child in the community, so locals tried to kill the dog with a machete. He allegedly told them that he was injured attempting to save the dog.

Thanks to the widely disseminated statement signed by Oaxacan organizations that Sally worked with, people in Yoguez Singu's circle of friends knew that a woman was murdered in San Jose del Pacifico while Yoguez Singu was there. They called activists in Oaxaca to confirm Yoguez Singu's story about his dogs.

Townspeople from San Jose del Pacifico denied Yoguez Singu's story. They said both of the dogs were still with them because Yoguez Singu had left without them. They also reportedly said he was the last person they saw with Sally before she disappeared.

When Yoguez Singu's friends confronted him about his lies, he reportedly confessed to them. His friends kept an eye on him while Oaxacan activists made the trip to Mexico City to obtain an arrest warrant.

When the arrest warrant was finalized, activists reportedly arranged to meet police in a supermarket to hand over Yoguez Singu. The AP reports that he was arrested on Wednesday, September 24.

Activists were quick to place Sally's murder in the context of rampant unchecked violence against women in Oaxaca. They note that aggressors are hardly ever punished for their crimes. "There is no justice in Oaxaca," said a spokesperson for the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM).
by repost (Kristin Bricker)
In my memories of Sally Grace, she looks just like the photograph of her that her friends published along with the communique denouncing that she was raped and murdered--laughing and smiling with a camera in her hand.

Sally told me she was a wanderer who had her strongest ties to Arizona. When she arrived in Oaxaca in the summer 2007 to help out local organizations in the popular struggle against Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, she published her photos, updates, and translations from the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM) and the APPO on Arizona Indymedia. When she went back to Arizona for a visit in March, she organized fundraising events and reportbacks where she showed photos and videos from the streets of Oaxaca and sold artisanry woven by CIPO women.

Sally's friends in the CIPO-RFM, Encuentro de Mujeres Oaxaqueñas "Compartiendo Voces de Esperanza" ("Sharing Voices of Hope" Gathering of Oaxacan Women), Colectivo Mujer Nueva (New Woman Collective), Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom), Colectivo Tod@s Somos Pres@s (We're all Prisoners Collective), and Encuentro de Jóvenes en el Movimiento Social Oaxaqueño (Gathering of Young People in the Oaxacan Social Movement) say that she helped out wherever needed, be it painting banners or murals, performing Arabic dances, organizing punk shows to raise money for the organizations she supported, teaching women's self-defense classes, or translating and teaching English. She also served as an international human rights observer, accompanying activists who felt threatened by the government or paramilitaries in Oaxaca.

Most recently, Sally accompanied family members of a witness in the case of murdered Indymedia journalist Brad Will. She lived in their home and accompanied them as they went about their daily lives. However, a family member decided that the situation put Sally's life in danger, too. For example, the mysterious people following the family didn't leave them alone, even if Sally was around. So the woman encouraged Sally to go off with some friends who were uninvolved in the movement.

***

Sally and I met in Oaxaca during the November 2007 commemorations and protests that marked the anniversary of Brad Will's murder. We woke up early the morning of the gathering that aimed to re-erect the barricades in the place where government agents shot Brad to death. Someone went out to check out the meeting spot. He came back pale. "There's police there. They're masked and they're grabbing everyone who shows up. We can't go." So we stayed hidden where we were, and Sally and I chatted about who we were and what we did. She talked about the neighborhood where she lived; she said it was dangerous because it was teeming with PRI members, supporters of the despised Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Hours later, Sally left with other compañeros and compañeras to participate in and take photos of a huge march called by the Section 22 teachers union and other APPO members. I stayed behind, using the excuse of other work that had to be done behind the scenes. Sally came back hours later and got to work uploading her photos of the march to Arizona Indymedia and her Flickr album. She worked all night while we slept.

We stayed holed up where we were for a few days. When a friend and I decided that the situation on the streets had sufficiently cooled down, we decided to venture outside to run errands downtown and find a new place to stay. Knowing that tattoos, dark clothing, and anything else "suspicious" would be more than enough reason to snatch us, we borrowed light clothing that covered our tattoos and bade farewell to Sally and the rest of the compañeros there. Then my friend and I walked out into the streets for the first time in days.

When we reached downtown we made our way towards the market. I don't know exactly at what point the pick-up truck full of municipal police began to follow us, but they made their presence known soon enough. Two cops jumped out of the back of the truck and, communicating with whistles and hand signals, ran towards us. One came around front and, without saying a word, pointed his automatic weapon in our faces.

I grabbed my companion's hand, and even though he didn't speak a word of English, I began to talk to him in English: "What's going on? What do they want?"

"Tranquila, tranquila," he responded. Act calm. Don't show them fear. They're looking to see if you get scared.

The police officer kept his gun leveled at our heads, first pointing it in my friend's face, then mine, then back again. "What's happening?" I asked in English.

The cop's colleagues whistled to him. He whistled back. Then he lowered his weapon and ran, disappearing around a corner. The pick-up full of cops peeled off. We continued towards the market as if nothing had happened.

I knew that being a reporter in Mexico entailed risks. Mexico is, after all, the most dangerous country in the hemisphere to be a reporter, and second in the world only to Iraq.

This point was driven home when I was working in Sonora in late October 2006. I was covering a Day of the Dead celebration with Subcomandante Marcos when everyone's cell phones began to ring. Those of us who answered got the bad news: they'd killed a gringo Indymedia reporter in Oaxaca. His name was Brad Will.

***

Sally's raped and decaying body turned up in a cabin 20 minutes outside of San Jose del Pacifico. A neighbor noticed the smell and called the police.

According to the friend who identified the body, her face was unrecognizable: it was black as if it had been burned, and all of her hair was gone as if it had been ripped out. But Julieta Cruz recognized Sally's tattoos.

Sally's murder may have passed as yet another case of sexual violence, completely unrelated to her political work with some of the most persecuted organizations in Oaxaca. But Sally's friends in Oaxaca City know that she was being followed as a result of her human rights work and her associations with CIPO and other Oaxacan organizations for whom political violence is a daily fact of life.

While Sally's friends can't say for sure that her murder was politically motivated, they are certain that the government is not doing enough to seek justice in her case. The police and attorney general's office are slow to act, and they are not interviewing key witnesses who saw Sally before she was murdered and may be able to identify whom she was with. To protest this lack of action, organizations who knew Sally held a protest on September 25, first in front of the US consulate in Oaxaca and then at the local attorney general's office. A CIPO spokesperson says CIPO simply doesn't have the resources to thoroughly investigate the case, and the government won't share information with anybody who isn't family. Therefore, they have to resort to pressuring the government to do its job and investigate the murder of Sally Grace.

***

Sally was not by any means a central figure in Oaxacan activism. She was not an organizer. On the contrary, she did the only thing a foreign activist can do: she helped out here and there as she could. And through her translations and reportbacks, she kept the lines of communication between the US and Oaxaca open. Long after international attention and outrage had fizzled in Oaxaca, Sally stayed and accompanied activists whose safety no longer matters to the international community. She didn't protect them and she didn't get involved--she just watched and listened.

So why would someone take the trouble to follow and then brutally murder someone like Sally?

My friend Sister Dianna Ortiz was disappeared and tortured in Guatemala in 1989. Sister Dianna taught Spanish to indigenous children, hardly a revolutionary or insurgent undertaking. She hadn't been in Guatemala long before she was disappeared. But they chose her.

Years later in her memoirs, Sister Dianna notes that torture and political violence aren't just intended for the individuals who physically suffer a violent act. Torture and political violence are meant to terrorize an entire population. When the attackers grabbed Sister Dianna – probably one of the least prominent and powerful people in her mission, and one without any connection whatsoever to the resistance – they sent a message to everyone: No one is safe.

If they'd grabbed a priest, a bishop, a social leader, or an insurgent, everyone else would have been able to explain it away, "Well, he was an insurgent, and she was a leader. I'm neither. I'm safe."

But when they grab someone who operates on the periphery, like Sister Dianna or Sally, they succeed in terrorizing everyone: foreigners, locals, leaders, rank and file, neighbors, activists, punks, journalists, women... No one is safe.

***

Brad Will died a martyr. He died on the job. He died in the streets during an uprising. He filmed his own murder. He died surrounded by compañeros and witnesses. Despite this and other damning evidence, the Mexican government still tries to explain away his murder. As if using his murder as justification for a violent police invasion of Oaxaca City weren't enough, the day Sally's body turned up the government announced that it will yet again seek arrest warrants for APPO members and supporters in relation to Brad Will's murder.

Sally, on the other hand, died in the worst way: scared, tormented, and alone. There's no video or photographic evidence. There was no uprising providing an obvious motivation for murdering her. On the contrary, her murder leaves open the question of whether it was politically motivated or a random act of sexual violence. This could have been intentional on the part of her attacker or attackers to hide their true aims.

***

Shortly after publishing my article exposing the identities of the private contractors who led torture trainings for police in Leon, Guanajato, people followed me. It happened at least twice. The first time I was with a friend, and the person drove off after a few blocks.

The second time I was alone. A gray pick-up started following me very slowly, keeping pace behind me as I walked. I stopped and asked him what he wanted. He didn't respond. He just stared. I kept walking.

After what seemed like forever, I stopped a second time. "What do you want?" I yelled in Spanish. He rolled down his window a bit. "Tell me what you want or leave me alone!" He just stared. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?!" He stared.

I stomped off. He kept following. I called someone for help. My friend came out into the street. The gray pick-up drove off.

I never denounced it because I still don't know if the motivations behind it were political or perverted. That's the double-bind of being a female social fighter. We suffer violence as activists, and we suffer violence as women. The violence is almost always linked. But political violence can be used as a cover for sexual violence, and sexual violence is used as a cover for political violence.

by photo by Sali
sali_lucha-por-la-vida.jpg
"You can not call somebody dead who fought for life"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oaxacaverano/1226966882

More of Sali's photos from Oaxaca
http://www.flickr.com/photos/oaxacaverano
by AWK
Comrades, Sali's killer was arrested on Friday in Mexico City and transferred to Oaxaca on Saturday. The AP story is somewhat accurate. Kristin Bricker's article is more accurate: http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2008/09/mexican-activists-turn-over-mexico-city-man-police-sally-grace-eile. There should be another communique coming out in a few hours which I'll translate and repost. We're trying to keep everything right on and rumor free. The Oaxacan press has been horrible and of course the government, which is trying to prosecute the APPO for Brad Will's murder, is more than happy to go along with it.

I do wish Indymedia and Indybay gave this more prominent coverage. One of our fighters has been lost, stolen - brutally - well before her time. Sali Grace, presente! Ahora, y siempre! Abajo con el mal gobierno! Que viva la lucha libertaria!
by volunteer
we're trying to process this news that hits very close to home and also waiting for more news from oaxaca. thank you for translating and posting.
I'm in a blank nebulous state of dealing with how I feel right now reality past and future.

I've been struggling to suppress processing this yet and have stifled crying at least 3 times today.

I immediately think about her family and her mother and everyone else who was close to her, and how it could have been myself in a similar situation, and then I think about my mother and family and any female loved ones and anyone who we wouldn't want to see harmed.

Even though the personal emotional distress is deep there is a much bigger picture here of institutional dismissal of male oppressive violence against women, as well as disservice from government for indigenous/minority communities, and social justice struggles. We need to be conscious of building and maintaining good social support and safety networks to take care of each other and educate against this oppression, and fight for accountability when it happens... not just by finding the person who did it but acknowledging and challenging societal structures that allow this to happen! This kind of crime is an epidemic and needs to be addressed like one.

I'm tired of violence and sexual harassment against women I know and love and care about and tired of violence and sexual harassment against all women all over the world in every community.

Justice for all the women
past,
present,
and into the future,
who stand up and fight oppression!

xx
Rio
by Octavio Vélez Ascencio
Oaxaca Oax., 27 de septiembre. La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) presentó hoy al artesano Omar Yoguez Singo, El Franky, originario del Distrito Federal, como el presunto responsable de la muerte de la activista estadunidense Marcela Salli Grace Ellier, cuyo cuerpo fue localizado el miércoles pasado en una cabaña en San José del Pacífico, perteneciente al municipio San Mateo Río Hondo, de la Sierra Sur, ubicado a 136 kilómetros de esta ciudad.

Según la explicación de la autoridad, El Franky, de 38 años de edad, confesó a sus propios compañeros artesanos, que tenían amistad con Grace Ellier, que él mató a la mujer en Oaxaca, por lo que éstos lo retuvieron la noche del jueves al salir de un concierto de música africana en el auditorio Che Guevara de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, informó Evencio Nicolás Martínez Ramírez, titular de la PGJE durante una conferencia de prensa ofrecida con mandos policiales.

Los amigos de la estadunidense golpearon a Yoguez Singo y después lo entregaron a las autoridades correspondientes.

El crimen fue cometido, según la confesión realizada por el presunto responsable en un video, la madrugada del 14 de septiembre por una disputa que tuvieron en el cobertizo, después de haber tenido relaciones sexuales y haber ingerido alcohol, cocaína y mariguana. “Me dio una cachetada y me hirió con una navaja; yo le di con un machete”, asentó.

“Miembro de la cultura hippie”

El procurador precisó que El Franky, a quien definió como “miembro de la cultura hippie”, huyó después a Puerto Escondido y posteriormente a Acapulco, Guerrero, para regresar luego a la ciudad de México, donde vende artesanías en la delegación Coyoacán.

Expuso que elementos de la Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI) ubicaron en la cabaña una bolsa de revelado de fotografías con el nombre del presunto responsable y ante esto indagaron en San José del Pacífico su paradero con otros artesanos y amigos de la estadunidense, y así pudieron establecer debidamente su identidad.

Martínez Ramírez señaló que el presunto responsable tenía dos ingresos en el Reclusorio Norte del Distrito Federal por el delito de tentativa de violación.

El Franky fue presentado en la conferencia de prensa para ser fotografiado y videograbado, pero no se autorizó a los reporteros hacerle preguntas. El Ministerio Público con sede en Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz inició la averiguación 310(II)/2008 por el delito de homicidio.

En un comunicado, el Consejo Indígena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magón (CIPO-RFM), organización con la que había colaborado la mujer de 21 años de edad, activista de los derechos humanos y maestra de danza árabe, había participado en la solidaridad internacional “con la lucha popular del pueblo de Oaxaca, de otras luchas del mundo y contra el racismo en la frontera de México con Estados Unidos, en diversas ocasiones y a diferentes personas”, reportó en un comunicado.

Grace Ellier, añadió, “comentó en fechas recientes que sufría de persecución política y vigilancia, y esto nos hace pensar que su cobarde asesinato tiene relación con la represión generalizada a los movimientos sociales y dirigida particularmente a los observadores internacionales”.

Ante esto no descartó que los “actores intelectuales sean los mismos que ordenan la represión contra el pueblo de Oaxaca que lucha por justicia y libertad”.

El cónsul de Estados Unidos, Mark Arnold Leyes Cooney, identificó el cadáver de la víctima, originaria de Washington, y pidió su entrega para ser cremado a consecuencia de su avanzado descomposición para posteriormente sus cenizas ser dadas a sus familiares.

De acuerdo con informes del diplomático, Grace Ellier ingresó el 30 de mayo pasado a territorio mexicano. Pero la agencia Afp atribuyó a una organización no gubernamental que no identificó, que ella “nació en Estados Unidos pero vivía en Oaxaca al menos desde 2006, año en el que se sumó a las movilizaciones contra el gobernador Ulises Ruiz”.
Se exige justicia para mi hermana Sali, exigimos la rapida capturacion d estos infames y cobardes asesinos¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

No podemos quedarnos callados ante este tipo de abuso a nuestra gente, nuestra hermana nunca fue una mala persona para merecer este tipo de barbaridad¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

JUSTICIA PARA SALI¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
by Carlos Vigueras (mexiamerica [at] mexico.com)
marcela5.jpg
Marcela merece un jardín de rosas, no un baúl de mentiras.
Ella fue cobardemente violada, torturada y asesinada, pero
las autoridades asesinas de Oaxaca ya trasmitieron un
mensaje malintencionado, trasmitido en boca se un asesino
que es complice de los represores del pueblo oaxaqueño.
Omar Yoguez, el supuesto asesino, ha sido utilizado por
el gobernador Ulises Ruiz para desprestigiar, descalificar,
engañar, confundir y encubrir los verdaderos motivos de
la muerte de nuestra compañera Marcela Grace.
No se debe permitir que el gobierno maneje una versión que
contradice la verdad y niega todo derecho a Marcela de morir
dignamente, sin mentiras y con justicia para que se castigue
a los culpables de tan sádica muerte.
El gobierno ya juzgó negativamente y por anticipado a Marcela
Grace Elier, la declaración de su supuesto asesino la condena,
la descalifica como activista social en favor del pueblo de Oaxaca,
además de negarle sus plenos derechos al hacerla ver como
alguien totalmente ajena a la lucha social.
Los amigos , amigas, compañeros y personas que la conocieron
en vida deben de reclamar que se le trate como una activista
comprometida con las causas populares y no con la figura que
le quiere imponer el gobierno en boca de un vicioso, violador y
asesino al servicio de los intereses del gobierno.
No sabemos cuantos asesinos terminaron con la vida de Sally,
pero pudo haber sido uno o varios individuos, eso es lo que
necesitamos saber para demandar justicia y castigo para sus
crueles asesinos, no solamente los materiales, sino a los asesinos
intelectuales que ordenaron tanta violencia y venganza contra
nuestra compañera.
Este asesinato podría quedar impune como muchos más ejecutados
con el sello del gobierno de Ulises Ruiz, no podemos olvidar que
desde el 2006 hasta ahora han muerto más de 70 luchadores
sociales, principalmente indígenas y sin dejar de mencionar a nuestro
compañero Brad Will, acribillado en octubre del 2006.
La impunidad en estos casos ha sido la constante y la esperanza de que
se haga justicia es muy remota, pero debemos de luchar por conocer
la verdad y reivindicar a Sally su derecho a morir como una defensora
de los derechos del pueblo de Oaxaca.
Las investigaciones realizadas hasta el momento y la información
proporcionada por las autoridades de Oaxaca ofenden a la inteligencia,
manipulan, degradan, confunden, desprestigian, descalifican, desorientan
y sobre todo, nos alertan de que este montaje lleva el mensaje del
gobierno para reprimir a los movimientos sociales y a sus participantes.
Justicia y toda la verdad es lo único que podemos reclamar, no podemos
conformarnos con las mentiras torcidas que empañan los caminos de la
verdad, eso es lo menos que se merece Sally, que luchemos por no
dejarla que la maten otra vez con todas esas mentiras de un asesino
hecho a la medida de Ulises Ruiz.
Marcela Salli Grace Elier vivirá para siempre como una activista enamorada
de la vida y de la libertad.

Carlos Vigueras
by no false binaries
while i deeply appreciate kristine bricker's reporting, please lets not fall into this trap of saying it's not "just" gender violence, its political violence. clearly its both.
by via Roque Juan Carrasco (henaivan [at] hotmail.com )
México, D.F. 29 de septiembre del 2008.

Al pueblo de México:

A los que con sus ideas, se esfuerzan con sus aportaciones para difundir en la inmensidad de la censura; a los que desafían el control mediático que pulula sólo para los que hegemonizan los pensamientos; a los que con rabia rechazan todo acto de injustica; a los que con un abrir y cerrar de ojos, destinan la esperanza para que todo el estado de cosas se conviertan en miseria del pasado:

Es lamentable el hecho que estamos padeciendo, desde lo más hondo de nuestros corazones. Desde luego, es un acto reprochable y que tiene un culpable, además, una dedicatoria. Sabemos que este suceso no es aislado. Esperemos que en nuestras conciencias permanezca ese sacrifico; seguramente, es una lucha que desarrolló y construyó para nuestro pueblo oaxaqueño, no debe quedar impune. A Marcella Sali, no tuve la oportunidad de conocer, empero, basta con sus acciones de solidaridad y de su corta edad, florecerá sus enseñanzas y las sonrisas que dejó para todos los que vieron en ella, una forma de hermanar pensamientos, voces, miradas, expresiones y caminos para la libertad.

A Marcella Sali Grace

Tu sonrisa divina como el rocío,
Tu mirada tierna como tu edad,
Tu voz dulce como tu corazón,
Tu solidaridad color de la razón.

Tú eres el alivio de mujeres,
Tu pensamiento eterno para todos,
Tu cadencia en el bailar lograste amor,
Tu vida es sacrifico para renacer.

El viento lloró por ti,
El suspiro te dejó sin ver,
Tus lágrimas no nos vieron,
Pero, el sollozo nos llegó…

Nunca es tarde para ti,
Te lloramos para eternizarte,
Tu entrega a la lucha:
Es victoria entre de libertad.

Estás entre el néctar de flores,
Lograste lo que algunos hacen,
Tu grandeza de solidaridad,
Rompió con el silencio atroz.

Roque Juan Carrasco Aquino
Justice and an end to violence against women!! Dignity and respect for women!!

Oaxaca
MARCH

JUSTICE

For Marcella Sali Grace
End violence against women

Tuesday September 30
Fuente de las 7 regiones
4:00 PM

On September 30, Sali would have turned 21 and a gift for her would have been to uphold the causes she was involved in here.

Freedom and respect for women!
Bring signs demanding justice for Sali and an end to violence against women.


I want to be a woman

And to not be afraid of being one
And not to be murdered for being one

I am a woman without being one

I am a woman when I hide
When I plan how to defend myself
I am a woman when they persecute me
I am a woman when they kill me
I am a woman when they rape me

For being a women they stare at and accost me

I am a woman without being one

I am a woman building
I am a woman and here I am
Ready for the war they've declared
I am a woman and that is my resistance
Because I did not wish to be born in this trench, but here I've found myself

I am a woman and I have another cause
Never on my knees
Never defeated
Giving live for this right, the natural right of being a woman

The hate planted in my being for not understanding the hate that persecutes me

Resisting woman
Fighting woman
Woman that keeps fighting

I've thrown every word in the trash that does not define me as I wish to define myself, every whisper that harasses me in the streets, every images that imposes itself on me and every duty they assign me. And in spite of having won, they keep killing me, keep accosting me...

Regardless I am ready...
I will not accept your war
I will not accept the terror you sow in my heart
I will not accept your violence
And I will not accept my own death

I remain with my FREEDOM, with my decision to keep being a woman and not to die for being one.

I am a woman and want to keep being a woman

I've died with each murdered woman,
And I've lived in each of them that live, in each of them that struggle.

I will continue being the carrier of live and if you turn around to see me,
I am your mother...

Justicia y no mas violencia para las mujeres!! Dignidad y respeto para ella!!...
Oaxaca
MARCHA


JUSTICIA


Para Marcella Sali Grace
NO MAS VIOLENCIA Para las MUJERES!


Martes 30 de septiembre
Fuente de las 7 regiones
16 horas, 4:00 de la tarde

Este dia 30 de septiembre, Sali estaria cumpliendo 21 anos de edad y un regalo para ella seria enarbolar las causas por las cuales ella se encontraba aqui.
Libertad y respeto para las mujeres!
Trae pancartas exigiendo justicia para Sali y no mas violencia para las mujeres etc.


Quiero ser mujer:

Y no tener miedo de serlo
Y no ser asesinada por ello

Soy mujer pero sin serlo

Soy mujer a la hora de esconderme
A la hora de planear defenderme
Soy mujer cuando me persiguen
Soy mujer cuando me matan
Soy mujer cuando me ultrajan

Por ser mujer me miran y acosan

Soy mujer sin serlo

Soy mujer construyendo
Soy mujer y aqui estoy
Lista para la guerra que me han declarado
Soy mujer y esta es mi resistencia
Por que no quise nacer en esta trinchera, pero aqui me encuentro

Soy mujer y tengo otra causa
Nunca arrodillada
Nunca rendida
Dando la vida por ese derecho, el derecho natural de ser mujer.

El odio sembrado en mi ser por no entender el odio que me persigue.

Mujer resiste
Mujer lucha
Mujer sigue luchando

He tirado a la basura cada palabra que define mi persona sin que yo quiera serlo, cada murmullo que me acosa en las calles, cada apariencia que me imponen y cada funcion que me asignan. Y a pesar de haber ganado, me siguen matando, me siguen acosando...

Apesar de estar lista...
No tomare para mi su guerra,
No tomare su terror que siembran en mi corazon,
No tomare su violencia,
Y no tomare mi propia muerte

Me quedo con mi LIBERTAD, con mi decision de seguir siendo mujer y no morir por serlo.

Soy mujer y quiero seguir siendo mujer

He muerto en cada mujer asesinada,
Y he vivido en cada una de las que viven, en cada una de las que luchan.

Sigo siendo la portadora de la vida y si volteas a verme,
Soy tu madre...
by friends
happy 21st birthday sally, we love you
by perico ataxia
nose cuanto tiempo llevara a las flores para recupear su aroma
o cuanto tiempo le llevara a la manana para que brille con tu ausencia
se seguira negando la noche de estrellas
se seguiran callendo gotas de lluvia, lagrimas jigantes de el univeros infinito
no se cuanto tiempo estaremos aqui sentados
esperando escuchar tu canto, tu sonrisa sincera
habra que callar por instante companera
habra que extranarte una vez mas
gracias por los momentos de amistad compartida
de sonrisas colectivas
te vamos a extranar tanto carnalita
tus chikitos de ataxia y cizana.
by Rio
Marcela Grace Eiler was my friend. I knew her as Sali, but also remember
her funny nickname as Ratty. I first met her when she was 16, which
unfortunately wasn't that long ago. I always remember the first time I saw
her in the Eugene public library because even though she looked healthy,
happy and smiling she was covered in dust and mud and had a pet rat
peaking out from her pocket like a cartoon character. We didn't actually meet then, just smiled and
passed by, but I was really curious why she was so dirty. I ran into her
repeatedly all that summer traveling around the west coast and later found
out that when I saw her that first day she had just gotten back from a
forest defense campaign, living in the trees to protect an old growth
forest from being cut down. The very first thing she did back in town, not
caring about what any of the fancy city slickers thought, was check her
email in the public library and write her friends and family with an
update. So I guess it all made sense in retrospect. Sali loved nature and
was an activist for many causes. Sali had so much good energy and was
always educating herself, learning new things and traveling. I was in
Eugene with her the day she first bought her banjo, shortly after we said
goodbye and parted ways as I headed up to Portland. Later that fall when I
saw her walk into my friends house in Philadelphia I jokingly accused that
one of us was stalking the other. She was one of the last friends I
expected to run into so far from home. We were both on the east coast for
the Republican National Convention protests in New York City in 2004,
though we had not compared travel plans before that, so it was a pleasant
surprise to see her there. Things would continue this way constantly and
we would often find ourselves in the same places at the same time, and it
was unavoidable to become good friends because we both loved to travel,
play music, and perform and had a lot of the same friends. Sali had many
friends because she was so charismatic and talented. Over the last few
years I have been out of contact except for intermittent emails catching
up with each other. Though our paths remained similar by context
geographically we were worlds apart. I'd been spending a lot of time in
Asia and living in Indonesia with artists and activists there, and she had
been in Mexico mostly doing solidarity work with indigenous groups and
social justice campaigns. Just last week I chatted with friends about how
I planned to see Sali again when I go to Mexico this winter.

Its easy to smile reminiscing about the beauty of her life and the
opportunity to know her, but when I snap out of it and think about the
last moments of her life I almost choke everytime.

Happy Birthday and Rest in Peace Sali

She was beautiful in every way with the most amazing compassion,
intelligence, art, and constant search for the beauty of life- just ask
one of her friends...she had many.

xx
Rio
by Ofir Uziel (ofirsnest [at] gmail.com)
in those gazes that you live in, poets breath movement to spin the world,
by ratitat crazed inspiration you have made us dirt in roll,
provoked us a touch a lamented sword, now,
silent suffocates the stroll, only momentarily,
for us to embrace your movement to fight the unjust blue scorn,
cure from all those passive of frowns, those beast people that dont know,
your beat in hearts will continue dance our drown,

the moments you stood to oppose, stand in self to define screaming worlds,
and all you that read sigh a restin peace a proud we to know.

O
by Chris Irwin
Burns are often a sign of police interrogation in Central America, they use blow torches. I used to live in Guatemala and learned this. If the body turns up somewhere real close to the city and visible historically thats been a hit by police as a warning. If the body turns up in remote locations like cornfields thats military fingerprints.

Sad
by AWK
FYI: Summary and photos of yesterday's march in Oaxaca for Sali: http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/weblog/2008/10/march-for-sali-in-oaxaca.html.
A letter to my community about Marcella Sali Grace.
9/29/08

Marcella Sali Grace is an amazing person who I have loved for many years. I met her when we were somewhere around 14 and 16, working with a radical environmentalist group to protect old growth trees from getting cut down. Our relationship has unfolded and grown in that time, she is someone I had a lot of disagreements with and have always respected, and I love her for so many reasons. There have been few times in my life when I have been this angry, and I am deeply affected by her murder.


I preface this letter with my relationship with Sali and the depth of my sadness because there are a lot of important things that need to be said right now, it's a touchy subject for anyone who is grieving her loss, and I want you to know that I am here too.


After a very brief conversation with another friend about what a huge deal politically Sali's death is and about the organizing that people want around it, I read an article that compared her with Brad Will, "a martyr".


And even though this time is one of tenderness and I want to convey respect to everyone else who is mourning Sali's death, I want to voice concern about how our response is going to be made. I know on a fundamental level that we care more about people that we know, and that the tragedy of this will affect those of us who know her more. That's something I understand, and feel no guilt or judgment of. But there's something else going on. When Brad Will, Rachel Corrie, and probably many other white US citizens have died, people make them out as martyrs. This is a legacy that is rooted in colonizing, in missionaries, and in many other dynamics of more privileged activists working in other communities.


Why is it that when white people die their lives are valued more? Why is it that somehow the deaths of people in our community, of white US citizens, are a bigger deal, something more significant, something that signifies indeed, "things really are fucked up down there"? Why are people paying more attention now?
To me, knowing and loving Sali is not a reason to repeat this dynamic again.


For whatever political responses that get made about Oaxaca and Sali's death, I want to see how we can address these issues. I want to know that we are standing in solidarity, and truly standing in solidarity, rather than making this an issue about how her death really means more to us than anyone else's.


I don't really know what true solidarity can look like right now, but I wanna open up this dialogue to challenge ourselves, and each other, while remaining supportive of each other's grieving. There are many conversations to be had.


I love you all very much. If you want to respond, challenge, give me feedback, or talk to me about this for any reason, you can email me at acendance [at] gmail.com.


-cen

Please repost.

If this get reposted to any other media, I'd like to know.
by juli@
read or contribute here: http://sali-ratty.weebly.com/stories.html
by AWK (angrywhitekid [at] gmail.com)
Being here in Oaxaca, I'm not sure of what's going on in the US regarding the murder of Sali, but I have to say I disagree with cen's perception of the mourning of Sali. I completely agree there is a tendency to value white lives more - look at Israel and Palestine, or the Congo or Darfur. But I don't think one article calling Sali a martyr is sufficient evidence that her life is being valued more than any other. Obviously the activist and anarchist and punk communities are talking about this and coping with this in their own way, because she is our comrade. It's normal to honor and lament the passing of comrades in the struggle - it happens all over the world.

The main thing that leads me to disagree with cen is seeing the response here in Oaxaca. People are really distraught. Their compa was raped and murdered. From the rural communities where Sali worked, to the community here in the city, to Mexico City where she had lots of friends, everyone is grieving. There have been two marches in her honor - one here and another in DF. There have been countless meetings, numerous communiques, poems, masses, drawings, all grieving Sali. And these are not white US citizens doing this - they are oaxaquenos and Mexicanos. Are we to tell them they're making too much of a deal of this, or ask them why they care so much about a white US citizen? Obviously not. They are doing the same thing they do when any of their comrades falls. Just as I assume people in the US are doing what they normally do when a comrade falls. I don't think it's helpful or constructive in this sense to pre-problematize something, when at least from what I see (and I admit I could be totally incorrect) the concerns cen has are not occurring in this instance.
by lindsey
i really appreciated the picture that was posted of the beach memorial. i too feel very isolated here in minneapolis. i am deeply affected by her murder and havent had enough opportunity to speak with other people who knew sali. the photo really touched me because it reminds me that i can memorialize her on my own or with friends, even if they have never known her. i am reminded that i do not have to carry my sadness alone. thank you.
by friends of sally
thank you.sally would love it
by friends of sally
In case you haven't already seen it, here's some info I got. I hope everybody's taking care of themselves and is around friends. I miss you all.




hearts,
donny

from Stascha:

sali's mom wants to collect stories of her for her memorial. if you have any, (im sure most of you have many, she is a pretty lively and funny person) please email them to me - youheardofit [at] gmail.com - or send them through myspace.




also, i am planning a memorial in a couple of weeks, if anyone has questions about that or has plans for another memorial, please let me know.




thanks
take care
stascha


Foward of website-type thing for support around sali....

hey y'all

so i put together a bit of web site to try and compile
stories, pictures,
news, and grieving resources.



it could be a good way to
support each other
over long distances...

http://sali-ratty. weebly. com/

you can add stuff or edit by signing on weebly.


com with the
user name
sali-ratty, password ratty

please pass it on

xoxo sid

also, please send debbie stories or pictures of sali so
debbie can put
together a zine

debbie cross
1666 florida st
sf, ca 94110
by brendan
Linday (from SC?), I'm in MPLS until Saturday, find my number

http://www.flickr.com/photos/toothpaw/2071115804/in/set-72157603316515692/
by jordyn
that is so beautiful.
by friends of sally
we will be having a memorial for sally on october 28th here in santa cruz. check out the weeble website for sally listed in an above comment for more info
by Alan Moore
El valiente vive hasta que el cobarde quiere.
The brave one lives as long as the coward lets him.

from Jeff Sellers, Folk Wisdom of Mexico (Chronicle, SF, 1994)

by kaiyote
thank you sali, for sharing with me your strength and confidence. I remember and value every moment I spent with you; you are loved and missed.
by friend of sally
has anyone heard any more news about the killer? jail time? a trial? anything?
by lisa ponomarev
Hi! I love this picture of Sali. Would it be possible to upload it to the wikipedia article about Sali (there is no current picture uploaded). I tried to do it myself, but was not allowed to since i am not the owner of the picture (duh) I guess i should have asked first anyway! Please contact me!
-A friend of Sali
Lisa, aka dragonfly. email: artemiss [at] wildmail.com
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