Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Keeping Informed

I've been very disturbed lately by the turn of events in the war on drugs here in Mexico. If you haven't been keeping up, El Universal is reporting that 16 federal police officers have been killed since Saturday's arrest of La Familia's high commander, Arnoldo Rueda Medina, or "La Minsa". In retaliation, members of the La Familia gang have ambushed (by gunfire and grenades) police in the state of Michoacán and the surrounding states. 

Nearly all of these attacks are directed toward those involved in the drug trade (i.e. police, mayors, politicians, activists), so it obviously doesn't affect my life directly except to make me very moved to think more about my role. It's an awkward place to be in as an outsider with an American perspective, few language skills, and no voting rights, but what I can always do is be informed and thoughtful about what goes on.

I mostly use El Universal online because it's free and Reforma is not. One of the cool Google tools I use a lot is the Google Translate button on my toolbar. If you go here, you can drag one of 43 language options up to your toolbar and Google Translate will automatically set to work on translating the entire web page to your preference. So, I set mine to English, and once I'm at a web page that I need help understanding, I click on my "English" (what I named it) button, and Voila! the page is loosely translated to English for me. Not perfect but comprehensible. And if you know some Spanish, you will even start recognizing why some things are translated the way they are. 

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