John Gibler ----EVENT POSTPONED----
Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
How a State Lies: Looking at Alternative Models of Impunity
A talk by John Gibler
Inventing a false crime scene, producing false confessions though torture, and planting evidence. Looking for bodies underground. Reconstructing the mechanics of an assassination while refusing to ask who paid for it.
What are the various ways that governments try to create the illusion of justice while concealing the truth behind atrocity?
John Gibler will talk about the government investigations into the 2014 forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa college students and the 2017 murder of the Mexican political journalist Miroslava Breach and discuss how both federal and state governments employ different models of judicial theater to ensure impunity.
John Gibler lives and writes in Mexico. He is the author of I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt, To Die in Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War, 20 poemas para ser leídos en una balacera, Tzompaxtle: La fuga de un guerrillero. His work on Ayotzinapa has been published in California Sunday Magazine, featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," and praised by The New Yorker.
praise for the work of John Gibler:
"The hideous Ayotzinapa atrocity reveals with vivid horror how Mexico is being destroyed by the US-based 'drug war' and its tentacles, penetrating deeply into the security system, business, and government, and strangling what is decent and hopeful in Mexican society. Gibler's remarkable investigations lift the veil from these terrible crimes and call for concerted action to extirpate the rotten roots and open the way for recovery from a grim fate."—Noam Chomsky
"A powerful and searing account of a devastating atrocity. Gibler's innovative style takes us on a compelling journey through a landscape of terror and brutality against those whose only crime was to demand the freedom to think."—Brad Evans, columnist on violence for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books
"We are fortunate to now have in English, John Gibler's courageous account and oral history of the 2014 atrocity in Mexico in which 43 students vanished from the face of the earth and remain absent, while six more people (three of them students) were found dead, one of them mutilated. The US 'war on drugs' has unleashed decades of unimaginable and hideous terrorism in Mexico, just as the 'war on terror' is doing in the Middle East. The cruel viciousness of Ayotzinapa, with the 48 families of all the disappeared, murdered, and critically wounded students insisting on answers from the Mexican government, opens the door to a powerful resistance movement, which also requires U.S. citizens to insist on ending the US war against the Mexican people, which began in the 1820s and has never abated."—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, and the forthcoming The US-Mexican War, 1846-1848
"The value of Gibler's book is not that he tells us or posits that that night (September 26-27, 2014) was a historical turning point. Instead, what is so astonishing is that, using documentary writing, he shows us how the protagonists of the events themselves discover suddenly that they live in a different world than the one they were used to only a few hours before. The book illustrates with precision the move from a Mexico before to a Mexico after that which we have decided to call 'Ayotzinapa.'"—Guillermo Espinosa Estrada, Horizontal
"Gibler's front-line reportage coupled with first-rate analysis gives an uncommonly vivid and nuanced picture of a society riddled and enervated by corruption, shootouts, and raids, where murder is the 'most popular method of conflict resolution.' . . . At great personal risk, the author unearths stories the mainstream media doesn't–or is it too afraid–to cover, and gives voice to those who have been silenced or whose stories have been forgotten." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Gibler argues passionately to undercut this 'case study in failure.' The drug barons are only getting richer, the murders mount and the police and military repression expand as 'illegality increases the value of the commodity.' With legality, both U.S. and Mexican society could address real issues of substance abuse through education and public-health initiatives. A visceral, immediate and reasonable argument." —Kirkus Reviews
"Gibler provides a fascinating and detailed insight into the history of both drug use in the US and the 'war on drugs' unleashed by Ronald Reagan through the very plausible – but radical – lens of social control. . . . Throughout this short but powerful book, Gibler accompanies journalists riding the grim carousel of death on Mexico's streets, exploring the realities of a profession under siege in states such as Sinaloa and just how they cover the drugs war." —Gavin O'Toole, The Latin American Review of Books