Workshop by artist Lise Bjorne Linnert in Juarez, Mexico,
hosted by Foro de Dialogo Cultural Transfronterizo/FDCT.
[Photo courtesy of PDCT]
By Marisela Ortega Lozano
Special to The Digie Zone/May 27, 2016
JUAREZ, MEXICO -- Norwegian artist Lise Bjorne Linnert conducted a workshop Thursday in Juarez, as part of her worldwide Project Unknown, which focuses on missing girls and women.
Foro de Dialogo Cultural Transfronterizo (FDCT) sponsored the participatory event that involves the embroidery of name tags of victims that are then displayed as part of Bjorne's exhibit.
Bjorne said that in collaboration with Amnesty International she decided to come to the border after learning that women's murders continued to be an issue of concern in Juarez.
Bjorne is scheduled to serve on a panel that highlights her project today (May 27) at noon, at Cafe Mayapan in El Paso. The event is free and open to the public. Other panelists will discuss art as social protest and the current situation in Juarez.
Itzel Gonzalez, monitoring coordinator for the coalition Red Mesa de Mujeres de Ciudad Juarez (http://www.mesademujeresjuarez.org/), said in an interview that violence against women in Juarez has not declined since the trend first became a subject of international interest.
She also said that after taking into account the drug cartel wars that killed unprecedented thousands of men and women in Juarez, generally between 2007 and 2013, the murders and disappearances of women are on the uptick once more.
"For example, in 2002, Juarez reported 38 women's murders," she said. "In 2015, during President Enrique Peña Nieto administration, Juarez had 45 women's murders - a greater number than in 2002."
"The year 2010, during Mexican President Felipe Calderon's administration," Gonzalez said, "was the most a lethal period for women in this border city with 304 women's murders, and with officials attributing the slayings to the 'war against drug-trafficking.' This implied that the victims died because they were involved in illegal activities. However, we have yet to receive responses from the special prosecutor's office to our requests for the official causes of death of these women."
A spokesman for the special prosecutor's office in Chihuahua state that investigates women's murders was not available for comment. Officials have noted that they continue to make arrests and hold trials for suspects accused of gender violence.
Marisela Ortiz, an activist who was granted U.S. asylum after receiving constant death threats related to her advocacy, will speak at today's panel at Cafe Mayapan.
"In the early years, 1993 to 1998, officials blamed the victims for what happened to them," Ortiz said. "They (officials) said things like, 'it happened to them for a reason,' 'it doesn't happen to decent women,' it's because of how they dress.'"