“Freedom brings with it responsibilities and I don’t dare fall behind. My long road is not yet finished - the footprint that we leave behind in our country depends on the battle that we lose and the loyalty we put into it.” (Maria-Santos-Gorrostieta/Daily Mail)
CHICAGO, November 28, 2012— Time Magazine is searching for its annual Person of the Year. Politicians, innovators, sports figures, wannabe celebrities like Sandra Fluke, real celebrities, faux celebrities like Kim Kardasian, and other people in love with themselves are vying for the title, opportunity, and prestige to have their mug on the cover of Time.
Most, including our politicians, are merely known for being known. They stand for nothing, are self centered, self-absorbed, and want to be famous, loved, and adorn the cover of Time.
Here is a suggestion. Select the woman who is described as the “Heroine of the 21st Century” on the cover. She was not merely a politician, but a courageous politician, unlike the quislings we elect in the United States. She actually stood for something, the people who elected her. She stood up to evil, and acted on it. She was not content with being counted on. She counted herself in.
She went above and beyond the call of duty, responsibility, and service. She exemplified what public service is really about. She was a sterling example of courage, guts, and integrity.
She was ambushed and shot on two separate occasions. She never backed off. After the second attempt on her life she proudly posed in a bikini top to show the scars from bullet wounds and surgeries, including the colostomy bag she was forced to wear.
“I wanted to show you my wounded, mutilated body.“ Because I’m not ashamed of it. It’s living testimony that I am a strong and righteous woman, and despite my wounds, I’m still on my feet.”
On November 12 she was ambushed for the third and last time. She was kidnapped while her young daughter was forced to watch. Eight days later her bound, beaten, stabbed, and burned body was found on the side of a road. She left behind a daughter and two sons. Her second husband has been officially declared missing and presumed dead.
Born in 1976, Maria-Santos-Gorrostieta earned a Phd. She was elected as the mayor of Tiquicheo, a small town located in a rural area west of Mexico City, in 2008. She openly criticized and defied the drug lords who dominated the region. Since 2006 over 60,000 people in Mexico have been murdered by the drug cartels, including 20 mayors and a large number of journalists.
Aside from her stance against the drug cartels, she was also known for her work with the poorest and most vulnerable of her constituents.
For this she was made to suffer. She never backed down, defiant to the end. In 2009 there were two attempts on her life, three months apart. Her first husband was murdered during the first attempt. She was shot seven times.
During the second ambush over thirty bullets struck the van she was riding in. She was hit three times.
After leaving office in 2011, she ran for a seat on Mexico’s Congress of the Union. She lost that race and dropped out of public sight. She remarried and tried to live a normal life.
The drug cartels do not forgive or forget. They eventually wreaked their revenge. They kidnapped her shortly after the government pulled her security detail. Eight days later her body was found.
Maria-Santos-Gorrostieta stood for the right of people to be free and safe from narco-terrorists and their corrupting influence on public servants. She stood up to the drug cartels, set an example for others, and paid the ultimate price. She stood up for and tried to help the poor, hard working people in her town.
She was a woman of conviction, integrity, and courage.
If anyone should grace the cover of Time Magazine as its personage of the year it should be Maria-Santos-Gorrostieta. The Heroine of the 21st Century, in her quest for the freedom of her people, should be honored so her death will not be in vain.
Compared to Maria-Santos-Gorrostieta, all the other Time nominees are just third rate wannabe runners up.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association, Online News Association, Chicago Headline Club, and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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