Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

Fear: New Normal

El Paso: Juárez Mayor Héctor Murguía Lardizábal traveled to Austin this week to lobby for more investment from Texas into Mexico. One of his messages to the leaders of Texas was that Juarez was getting back to normal and was a good place to invest financial resources. In an interview with the El Paso Times he said:

“I cannot speak for everyone. I feel that as a whole many people feel secure. Of course, with certain precautions.”

In the same article Carolina Martinez, 21, a young medical student who lives in Juarez observed:

“The truth is, eventually one gets used to living in fear. We are human beings and human beings get used to their environment.”

After over two years of living in the midst of the “drug war” sadly she and many others have grown accustom to “living in fear”–they have grown callous to the dark realities of their plight.

In fairness to Mayor Héctor Murguía Lardizábal I believe he is on track in his attempts to stem the violence. The people of Juarez need hope and help to stop this cycle of violence. Honest jobs and financial security would greatly reduce the ranks of young men and women willing to risk their lives in the drug trade.

In the midst of all the violence these hard working men and women show up for work–work hard–and drive the global economy. I believe Texas government and business leaders need to help Juarez find creative solutions to the violence. Clearly more boots on the ground and guns on the streets have not stopped the violence. Justice and opportunity will go a long way toward making a new world.

It appears that a “both/and” approach is the right approach in stemming the violence all along the border. We need to stand firm in the face of violent men–but we also need to offer a helping hand to those who are struggling to make a new life for themselves.

Being “salt” and “light” in the world means helping our neighbors who “live in fear” to find the hope found only in Jesus who inspires us to get involved in the solution.

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Filed under Border Journal, El Paso Journal

The “Flat World” Goes to High School

Last night my daughter Madison was inducted into the National Honor Society of Franklin High School in El Paso. The induction ceremony was my first real visit to the campus of the high school, and my first real glimpse of Madison’s classmates. We moved to El Paso from a small town in the Panhandle of Texas, so it has been years since we were around the student body of a metropolitan school.

As we entered the room  a usher handed us a long list of those students who would be honored. As I scanned the list I realized that the “flat world” observed by Thomas Friedman was alive and well at Franklin High School. Just to give you a glimpse of what I mean let me just share with you a sampling of the last names of the students honored:

Aguayo, Arciniegaaguilar, Aziz, Egger, Ferguson,Garcia,  Haddad, Hsiang, Hwang, Janssen, Kim, Kuraweg, Lowrie,  Martinez, Nwosu, Nzekewe, Patel, Polinsky, Prochovnik,  Schlak, Thai, Toscanoramos, Trevino, Yanez, Yoon, and Yun.

Truly the world has come to us. My daughter on a daily basis is a citizen of the world while she travels the halls of her high school.

From my observation perch, I noticed a collision of cultures when a young Muslim boy came forward to receive his certificate. As you may be aware young Muslim men are not allowed to touch women, so when his escort met him at the end of the row to walk him to the stage she offered her arm, but the politely rejected her offer. When he walked across the stage and received his certificate the NHS officers who were primarily young women offer him a hand shake or a hug, but again he politely declined much to their surprise and dismay. As he walked away I noticed the young women looking at each other with confusion about what had just happened. What had just happened was a crash course into the new realities of our day. We share this planet, and must learn how to live together in understanding and harmony.

So the next time you send off your daughter or son to high school you need to realize you are sending them off to do foreign missions right here at home.

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Filed under Border Journal, Devotion