Ciudad Juarez

By Mayra Martell

Ciudad Juárez is one of the fastest growing cities in the world despite being called "the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones”. My re-encounter with the city took place years ago. Walking downtown, even though I thought I knew the place by heart, I came to learn how fragile memory is. I am disconcerted; maybe it’s that I'm becoming aware of myself. Or, perhaps it’s my realising the ferocious destruction that happens over time.

It’s been 10 years since the downtown area started to disappear, becoming a battleground for drug cartels, the scene of murdered women and the vanishing place for countless people. Ciudad Juarez is the typical example of a society that is consuming itself without being able to stop. I believe that there is something there in those spaces that makes people forget that other places exist; as if one had no past, like the city itself. Perhaps I like it because it has no memory, or at least not one as obvious as other places where I’ve been.

It’s as if it had collapsed and something broke inside; it’s like the life-essence of someone in disgrace, so overwhelmed by her loss that she has become stuck, stranded in the same place; a place of sadness. Juarez is like an old and abandoned kitchen; as the sun rises, buses can be seen roaming about like iron cockroaches crawling on a dirty, retched floor; a floor in ruins; a lonely floor.