Perder tu cara, perder tu nombre / Heriberto Yépez

Losing Your Face, Losing Your Name

Exactly twenty years ago I was worker in a factory in Tijuana and I was planning to put bombs in those factories and in the building of the PRI political party facing the wall built by the United States on the border.

I don’t know if due to the most wonderful or to the worst luck, the factory (Verbatim) where I was working that year was located in front of a public university, and I applied and was accepted and decided to cross that bridge, which took me out of the assembly line and the Cartolandia slum of the East of Tijuana where I lived without public utilities and surrounded by drug labs, because those were the years and zone of operation for the cartel.

Many things have happened since then. I sometimes ask myself why I wanted to stop being a maquiloco factory worker, that miserable person who was at war with every single point of the system.

Today I’m a writer (hated by many) but, in contrast to that young Tijuana native who dreamed of being “someone” (escaping misery), today I want to be “nobody.”

In the middle of September of this year I announced I had closed the project of “Heriberto Yépez” because I considered it the dream of a marginalized young man who wanted to save himself by transforming into a writer of “Mexican literature”; there was no shortage of idiots who jumped for joy about the (imaginary) disappearance of an oeuvre, a name or, even worse, a writer.

A few weeks later, the Mexican government decided to organize yet another of its killings of discontent people. Faced with that event I reiterated that my decision to disappear as a “name” wasn’t a “personal” whim but rather an act that is part of something much larger.

One of the students executed in Ayotzinapa had his face ripped off, he was skinned; while that horrifying crime was circulating (like an anti-selfie), I couldn’t help but think that the decision to disappear my name, and practically bury my own career, was congruent with this moment (and others).

That young man dreamed of being someone, because that’s what could be dreamed in a marginalized neighborhood in Northern Mexico, the backyard of the United States.

I used to be a foul proletarian and today I’m a foul intellectual. Today I want to show my solidarity with those who have been executed by all the causes (and all the cartels) and, consequently, dispossess myself of my own name. To not have a face or a personal signature, to be just another disappeared person (in this colonial-capitalist control).

No other book assembled by these hands under that name will ever appear again.

Unfortunately, I have to make a living and I’ll surely have to sign here or there with the name that appears on my birth certificate, which is false (like all names and identities), but as a minimal intellectual gesture and as a minimal sign of congruence with the Mexican history to which I belong I want to make it clear I’m convinced that being ethically Mexican today means abandoning everything, starting with our own (skinned) face and our own name (target of a CIA drone).

The wind says now is the very moment to lose your face, to lose your name.

Nothing in the previous world is worth anything. Another world is coming.

{ Heriberto Yépez, Archivo Hache, Suplemento Laberinto, Milenio (México D.F.), 25 October 2014 }

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