My long journey into the heart of darkness, hand in hand with the “Unidentified Woman”—the title of my novel, to be published on August 15—began in the fall of 1998. It was then that I first read about the disappearance of young Mexican girls from their homes, and the tragic end they had consequently suffered. It affected me like no other news story at the time. Even the most hardened, jaded of hearts—like mine, an old traveler in the peaks and valleys of life’s battles, border fronts and home fronts alike—could not but stop beating momentarily when reading about the numerous bodies, all of them of girls between the ages of, roughly, twelve and eighteen, who were found dead on the dusty roadsides of the desert surrounding that most notorious of Mexican border towns, Ciudad Juárez.
According to the reports at the time, their bodies—though body parts might be a more accurate description—were unrecognizable, mostly naked, and almost always mutilated. It was a big news item and it lasted for quite a while, until it died a natural death. The much bigger and headline-grabbing stories coming from Mexico then, as now, such as the drug war between the Mexican Government and the Drug Cartel, took over and had covered it as if with the dust of the desert. And yet, the mystery behind the death of these young girls remained unsolved.
How surprising it is that now, when I’m finally about to turn on the light on this dark story, here comes the NY Times with its own story: “Wave of Violence Swallows More Women in Juarez” (June 23, 2012, by Damien Cave), about all those forgotten victims and their grieving families. Not only are they still demanding and begging the authorities for answers, but worst of all: these mysterious kidnapping and murders are still going on, and at a faster pace than before. Bodies continue to pile up in the desert surrounding that infamous town, Ciudad Juárez, and in a mass grave in the Juárez Valley.
Here’s a quote: “State officials say there have already been more women killed in 2012 than in any year of the earlier so-called femicide era.” Everybody, it seems, is still watching helplessly from the wayside as bodies, and body parts of young naked girls continue to mound. For how long… nobody knows. So far, there is no solution or resolution to this case. Just theories. So here is mine as well, maybe it will help and urge the police and other government authorities in their investigation. And if not, let my words serve as flowers on the young, unidentified victims’ graves.