Every real revolution carries a sense of imperishability with it. Although details may seemingly lock it into its era, the emotions of a revolution are timeless. Land ownership disproportion, wealth distribution, corruption and influx of foreign capital (sounds familiar?) were the hot issues that sparked the initial revolt in Mexico back in 1910, which over years turned into a full blown civil war. Some say things didn’t go far enough. It is impossible to say 100 years later what should have happened. The outcomes remain a source of controversy and intellectual debate across Mexico and beyond. One thing is for sure: as with many significant revolutions, the cultural impact of Revolución mexicana trumps its concrete results.
Yes, regimes and presidents were overthrown (Diaz, later Huerta, who was then replaced by Carranza, to be replaced by Obregón in 1920). Constitution written (1917) and put in place, although effective implementation didn’t occur until the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas in 1934. Lives were lost. The total “demographic cost” of the Mexican Revolution is estimated around 2 million people over the decade.
Revolutions are by nature controversial. They often reflect the will and opinion of the louder, braver and more extreme portion of a society; not necessarily the majority, as some may have you believe. We can argue over the lasting political impacts of the Mexican Revolution, but the influence on the collective psyche of Mexico is indisputable. It is no coincidence that ironically the two most recognized heroes of the revolution – Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa – were in fact on the losing teams. And therein is the key to the most valued legacy of any revolution. Its heroes.
As said by Octavio Paz: “Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.” It is perhaps this sense of solitude why humans desire to align themselves with others; it is why we seek mutuality and look for reflection of ourselves in others. The most significant outcome of the Mexican Revolution is that it happened. There is no purer source of inspiration than your own people claiming power back from the few that oppress. To know, that you belong in a country, whose masses can rise and overthrow its regime is an honor in the deepest sense of the word. With the revolution claiming its place in the world’s history, it produced enough revolutionaries to forever change the confidence of the Mexican people.
This weekend, in honor of a few that may or may have not accomplished what they set out to do, think of your heroes, no matter who they are and where they come from. Let’s raise our glasses to the human ability to withstand, but better yet – to the limits of this ability.
P.S.: Speaking of changing the history – did you know that the first bomb ever dropped on a ship anywhere was during the Mexican Revolution in 1914, during the battle of Topolobampo?