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Why are they murdering singers in Mexico?

On December 5th covering ,

This is a disturbing development. This is the account from BBC news.

Sergio Gomez, of the K-Paz de la Sierra band, was seized after a concert in the western state of Michoacan on Sunday. The motive for the attack is unclear but Michoacan has been the scene of gruesome drug-related violence. Several musicians have been killed over the year, including performers of the popular “narcocorrido” music whose lyrics centre on drug-trafficking. …Gomez was killed hours after another singer, Zayda Pena, was killed in the border city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas state. Pena, 28, was shot by an unknown assailant in hospital where she was recovering from a previous gunshot wound. The motive behind her murder is also unknown. Several of the murders of musicians over the past year are believed to be tied to organised crime and drug-trafficking.

It seems implied that the murders are because the singers are critical of drug traffickers, but it’s possible they have affiliations with rival organizations, or maybe they simply present high-profile “soft targets” for these groups to demonstrate their murderousness and so intimidate others.

This is a grisly demonstration that issues of culture have a serious impact. Somenone has decided it’s important to go after the singers, maybe for the same reasons they go after the judges and prosecutors. I’m afraid in the US, cultural issues are classed as “entertainment”, trivial distractions from the real issues. And we don’t murder our singers. We just let them die from lack of health insurance.

The news item is a bit off the beaten path from what I usually commont on: psychoanalysis and organizations, especially music organizations, but there’s a connection: Musicians and performing groups are important to our culture, not just as entertainment or star-worship. Bands aren’t really taken seriously as organizations the way, for example, the board of Hewlett-Packard is taken seriously. This is why they’re left to fend for themselves while corporate boards employ armies of consultants and executive coaches helping them play nice with one another. And there are significant failures to play nice.

UPDATE: I haven’t had time to look much, but it seems this story has been picked up by some more major outlets. From a quick glance I was able to glean that rival organizations would adopt a particular song or singer as theirs, and use the music as sound-track for video of gang members committing mayhem. Singers would seemingly have no part of this, but they’d become targets of rival organizations who would target the singer as though they were killing the rival’s mascot. A horrific and nightmarish recognition of the power of music.

Singers in Mexico therefore must live in terror that they will become popular among gang members — what do they do about this? Look for a great flowering of musical forms that don’t appeal to gang members. Or the hollowing-out of Mexican musical styles as musicians flee physically and stylistically.

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