There's an untold story from Mexico's drug war. Young people are answering the violence with acts of courage. This Bravery Tapes video profiles some of those tales in Monterrey, a city under siege from drug-related violence. It's set to my original song "Guns Down," which tells the story of a young child growing up in a world of kidnapping.
Of all the horrors associated with a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Mexicans, the country's children and adolescents are perhaps the greatest casualty. They are the future of the country, yet an estimated 30,000 minors in Mexico are involved in some sort of organized crime, while more than 1,400 were killed in homicides between 2006 and 2010, according to Mexico's nonprofit group Network for the Rights of Children.
Seeing the headlines isn't shocking anymore: 14 teenagers massacred in Ciudad Juárez, seven minors killed in Durango, a 4-year-old girl shot to death in a car in Acapulco. The list goes on. The rate of 15-to-17-year-olds who have been victims of homicides tripled between 2008 and 2010. Thousands of children are believed to have been orphaned. And many minors who aren't directly impacted by the drug war have been scarred by the bloodshed in some way.
Some people in Mexico argue that ordinary citizens are innocent victims of the conflict and shouldn't be actively involved in a solution. Surprisingly, the director of a Mexican NGO told me it wasn't wise to praise individual heroism too much because it distracted us from the government's obligation to do more. For its part, the Mexican press, under attack and facing threats, doesn't always search for the bright spots. In fact, one editor at a prominent newspaper told me he couldn't remember any stories of personal bravery.
But they do exist, as this video shows. And highlighting them can provide inspiration for others to do the same.
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