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¡Ask a Mexican! Gustavo Arellano gets it right—Aztlan != Israel

by The Web Guy

November 13, 2008 | 8:30 pm

I have to quote the entire thing to give you the flavor:

Dear Mexican: In a column some time ago, you mentioned the Aztec prophecy claiming that “their descendants would reclaim ancestral lands in the Southwest U.S., and guess what?” I’d appreciate it if you shed a little light on this statement. This is the mythical state of Aztlán you’re referring to, right? What are its “borders”? How many Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Central Americans and indigenous peoples know and/or believe in this? Is there a movement to take over these lands? And how similar is this to the Jews’ (incorrect) claim to the holy land of Israel?

Dear Texas Truth Seeker:

Dear Gabacho: Oh, Aztlán! Nothing gets Know Nothings more encabronados than this creation myth. The breve version: The Aztecs told the Spaniards that their ancestors had migrated from somewhere north of modern-day Mexico City. The Spaniards began slaughtering, unintentionally elevating Aztlán to Eden in the minds of the Mexica. Centuries later, the 1960s Chicano Movement began appropriating Aztec motifs (more on this in an upcoming column) and picked up on the People of the Sun’s longing for the Garden. Not content with pilfering from one culture, the Chicanos also grabbed from another—the historical reality of the Southwest United States once belonging to Mexico—and conveniently anointed this geographic region Aztlán despite there being no evidence the Aztecs ever lived anywhere in the Southwest, let alone the whole enchilada.

Aztlán seems like revanchist irredentism, ¿qué no? But believing in it is mostly a college phase, like thinking that communism can work or that Dane Cook is funny. Most Mexicans only vaguely know about Aztlán, and then in the same way gabachos think about Plymouth Rock. Some Chicanos remove Aztlán from its terrestrial moorings and adopt its Edenic spirit—in other words, the spirit of a people committed to bettering their community. Nothing harmful in that. But, yes, some do believe the American Southwest is Aztlán, and that all non-Mexicans should vamoose back to Europe—the Mexican calls these ahistorical pendejos indigenazis. Don’t believe the hype—Aztlán is as harmless as arroz con leche, and anyone who believes otherwise has listened to too much Coast to Coast. Mexicans aren’t taking back any ancestral lands because they’re guided by Aztec destiny or fiat—los Estados Unidos can take credit for that demographic reality, baby.

Oh, and Aztlán is nothing like the Jewish idea of Israel—Jews continuously occupied their mythical ancestral land for millennia. Save your ZOG canards for “¡Ask Ahmadinejad!”

Excellent! 

Thanks, Gustavo!

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