26 June 2013

"This Love Is Not For Cowards" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from the book This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez by Robert Andrew Powell.

- "'When I was young, I wanted to travel abroad,' he tells me. 'I wanted to see more of the world. My mother gave me a card. It had a picture on the front and in the picture there was a desert. Nothing but sand. Except for this one flower growing. Where God places you, that's where you must do your work.'" (37)

- "The owner concludes with a line cribbed from Mike, of all people. The El Kartel captain has printed the phrase on those t-shirts he sells outside the stadium before every home game: Este Amor No Es Para Cobardes. The line is El Kartel's rallying cry, a testament to the strength of their bond with the Indios. It's Francisco Ibarra's rallying cry now, too, a statement that clearly speaks to a struggle that has nothing to do with soccer, and to a commitment to more than just a sports team." (70)

- "I'm often struck by the fluidity of the border. Radio signals flow freely in both directions. If I'm driving around Juarez at midday, I'm in the jungle with Jim Rome. In the morning and late afternoons I'm usually following Washington politics on NPR. Most nights, even when I'm in El Paso, I like to listen to Orbita radio out of Juarez, the most eclectic radio station in the world, home to a playlist that bounces from a French torch singer to Ozzy Osbourne to an Appalacian folk song. Juarenses ask for 'sodas' when they order a soft drink, using the English word although everyone else in Mexico says 'refrescos.'

Yet the border is so concrete. The woman who cuts my hair in Juarez has never set foot in El Paso despite living along La Frontera for thirty-six years, her entire life. When I'm surfing the Web at the burrito stand near my apartment, I can't watch clips of The Daily Show over the internet, because they are available only to people physically in the United States. Ken-tokey is unable to visit his girlfriend, Sofia, at her house in El Paso. To him and to hundreds of thousands of other Juarenses, the border is as impregnable as the Indios' defense against Cruz Azul. How impregnable? The U.S. government will kill to secure it." (113)

- "I find Paco's life story pretty interesting, even if he's young. His grandfather is passionately Mexican, yet we're speaking English in the car, a language Paco says he learned from watching television; his parents don't speak it. He's a Mexican, yet he's also an American, more and more so. He's a young man in both cultures in the Fussion sense, but he's also an unwitting pioneer. The rich and connected of Juarez are all setting up shop in El Paso these days. Even Paco's high school, the most elite prep school in Mexico, is opening its first American branch in El Paso." (133)

- "There is a toxic energy in Juarez. It flows underground, vibrating to the surface in scenes like this, scenes I witness in some form almost every day. Living here is like living in that Shirley Jackson short story. We accept that a few of us will be chosen for the daily killing ritual, that the likelihood of being chosen is very small, and that the killing is a cost of residency. We try to to wipe the violence from our minds, to "go about living as best we can." But it takes a toll, this game of chance. It flavors every aspect of our lives. A poison leaches into everything." (146)

- "It was a nice day and I wasn't in any particular hurry, so we talked for a while longer. She invited me over for dinner with her family whenever I'm free. She told me the violence is making her crazy, but she can't leave.
Our young people, they don't watch what they're doing, so we send them to El Paso. But we're all going to stay. We have a mission here. When our mission is up, then we'll go up.'
She pointed not north, to Franklin Mountain, but straight up, to the sky. What is her mission?
'To love people. To help people.'" (153)

- "The longer I've lived in Juarez, the more I feel the city's problems have little to do with gender. Girls are not being snatched off the street by serial killers or kidnapped and killed by U.S. Border Patrol officers making snuff films or whatever it was Gaspar de Alba conjured up for her mystery novel. The problem is that life itself in Juarez, across the board, has been devalued. Murder is effectively legal. You can kill almost anyone you want." (191)

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