A week ago last Wednesday we took a bumpy bicycle taxi ride to the National Palace where Diego's Rivera's detailed frescos cover the second floor walls. They show Mexico's troubled history from the Olmec (1400-400 BCE), the Maya, the Teotihuacan, and the Toltec civilizations, the Aztec Empire (1325-1521 CE), then the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519 and forward through the chaotic Mexican Revolution between 1910 and 1920 when Mexicans fought to regain land from wealthy Spanish landowners and to determine their future.
Both Rivera and Frida Kahlo were firm socialists and close friends with Soviet politician and Marxist Leon Trotsky. Rivera was the noted one in his day, although he encouraged Kahlo and told her that she was talented. Now she is the famous one.
|Indigenous people making paper.|
|Aztec women painting with dye.|
|Dying cloth, cooking, hewing wood, harvesting cotton and in the background the lake and volcano.|
|Indigenous daily life: reading, making music, talking, eating. |
One of Mexico's many volcanoes in the background.
|Gouging a rubber tree to collect sap.|
Hernán Cortés, 1485-1547, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who caused the fall of the Aztec Empire in 1521 and brought large parts of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile. Cortés began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas. He controlled vast territories of land and allied some indigenous people against each other to win power. He is not portrayed well by Rivera.
|Cortez on right is being paid money.|
|Cortez on the right. He owned 1000s of acres of land.|
|Spaniards and indigenous slaves.|
|Indigenous slaves working. Ninety percent of the slaves died |
mostly from disease, overwork and maltreatment.
|People charged and hanged.|
|Always debauchery around.|
|During the Mexican Revolution. Kahlo on left.|
|Signs of strike and strife.|
I wondered if we would do the same here. So after the "Judas Kiss" in Toronto last week a woman in front of me was struggling to get her arm in her sleeve and I helped her. What goes around comes around as they say.
I will post again as my thoughts change. The world is not as scary as place as we and the press make it out to be. My final thoughts today are that being kind to others and living a simple life will make us feel happier and safer.
Be well. More to follow.