Culture

A Mexican Church Might Have ‘Accidentally’ Commissioned The Largest Baby Jesus Statue In The World

A Mexican church has erected what might be the world’s largest-ever baby Jesus statue, but the Internet thinks it deserves another recognition: The World’s Largest Phil Collins Statue. La Epifanía del Señor church in Zacatecas, Mexico reportedly commissioned the larger-than-life “Niño Dios” or “God Child” statue without realizing it would break a Guinness World Record. “There is a space of between 26 feet between the ceiling and the floor and I ordered a statue measuring 21 feet, but I never intended to make it the biggest baby Jesus statue in the world,” Rev. Humberto Rodriguez told Central European News. Now, the Niño Dios is getting more press for its uncanny resemblance to British singer Phil Collins.

When you see it, you might know why.

While the rest of us are dusting off our tiny baby Jesus nativity sets, this Mexican reverend inadvertently commissioned the largest baby Jesus statue in world history.

CREDIT: @JOSEMANUELRADIO / TWITTER

The statue is nearly 22 feet tall and weighs in at 2,000 pounds. Artist Roman Salvador built the statue out of fiberglass, resin, automotive paste, and paint in Chimalhuacán under the specific instructions of Rev. Rodriguez. Then, the enormous statue was carefully transported 12 hours to Zacatecas. Once it arrived, the church decided to do more than just wonder aloud if its the largest baby Jesus ever created. They started looking into it and found that the last record-holder for the biggest baby Jesus statue was a mere 16 feet tall and 661 pounds, more than 30 percent smaller than Salvador’s statue. The church officially submitted its claim to Guinness World Records, which, if approved, would make it the “largest baby Jesus statue,” according to an email exchange between Guinness and The New York Post. That is if they don’t determine it’s, in fact, the largest erected statue of Phil Collins.

“In the “The Epiphany of the Lord” church of #Zacatecas, do they have a huge statue of the “Child God” Or Phil Collins?” asked radio host Jose Manuel on Twitter. Rev. Rodriguez has yet to comment on the Internet’s reaction to the statue.

The Internet is doing its thing and the comparisons are truly uncanny, down to hairs on their heads.

CREDIT: @THEJAYSAURUS / TWITTER

This baby Jesus has a mullet, and a single tuft of hair resting atop its balding head, just like Phil Collins once did. He’s completely bald now and is mostly seen wearing baseball caps. The artist, who rose to fame in the 1980s, found success in his very first band, called Genesis, where he started as a drummer and later became the lead singer after Peter Gabriel left. Some of his song titles include, “Jesus He Knows Me,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Another Day in Paradise,” “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” and “No Son of Mine.” So, you can imagine, the Twitter thread is getting very punny.

Jesus he knows me, and he knows I’m right. He was in a band called Genesis! It all makes sense now,” tweeted Any Pag (@andybutshorter). “He’s no son of mine!” tweets Donald Twain (@donaldtwain1). “Just another day in paradise,” Gary Crosbie (@GaryCrosbie5) tweets, quoting Collins’ lyrics. “Well well well, it seems @PhilCollinsFeed didn’t just know Jesus, he was actually Jesus…” tweets Michael McCarthy (@McCarthyMR).

While some others are more closely comparing the Niño Dios to American actor Nicholas Cage.

CREDIT: @RIBALCOR / TWITTER

“”Phil Collins is NOT the baby jesus”, and other things I didn’t think I’d say today… ” tweeted Hell’en Bach (@TheHamsterIsDed) For the folks who can’t decide whether the statue looks more like Collins or Cage, listen to Temi Russel (@TemiRussell): “What if Phil collins and Nicolas Cage had a baby?” We have our answers now. But we still have more questions…

Like, why is this Mexican church’s baby Jesus so white, though?

CREDIT: @EMMGZSZ78 / TWITTER

“Viene por nosotoros!” or “He comes for us!” tweeted Emmanuel alongside his photoshopped masterpiece featuring Jesus/Phil with red lasers coming out of his eyes. Aside from the resemblance to the ’80s drummer, folks have questions about this particular ‘body of Christ.’ “Does baby Jesus have abs or moobs?” asks Iscribe (@iscribe). Why would a Mexican church’s resemblance of Jesus look so much like a white British man anyway?

 “I am brown. There has never been a white christ,” tweeted Jesus Hedge Fund Apocalypse (@FundJesus).  “How come even Mexican Jesus is white?
The propaganda runs deep.” 
tweets Jhark Greycap (@JharkG). #MakeJesusBrownAgain

READ: Mexican Government Makes It Illegal To Buy And Sell The Moss Families Use To Create Their Nacimientos

A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

Things That Matter

A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

ChilangoMX / Instagram

Like most countries that depend heavily on coal energy and on manufacturing to keep its productive wheels running, Mexico is deeply affected by the environmental damage that many industries cause. Added to local production, Mexico has also been the site of maquilas, factories set up by foreign investors who are lured by cheaper labour and by lax tax regimes, as well as by looser rules when it comes to environmental impact. Both industry and public opinion need to be better informed of the toxic hot spots in the country.

Mexico sits at an strategic political and commercial position, and industrial powerhouses such as the United States and Canada, whose companies have set shop in the other member of NAFTA, by far the most disadvantaged. 

The toxi-tour caravan will travel the country for ten days in total, December 2-11.

Participants include environmentalists and scientists from both Mexico and overseas. The objective is to raise awareness and to denounce the companies that cause most damage. Perhaps shaming is the first step towards change. Besides Mexicans, there are representatives from the United States, Europe and other Latin American Countries. 

The journey began in El Salto, Jalisco, where a polluted river has led to cancer and death.

Credit: Regeneración radio

In this site industrial pollution of the Santiago river has caused the death of more than a thousand people due to cancer and kidney failure. People from cities in the United States affected by pollution in places like Flint, Michigan, can surely relate. A river is generally a propeller for economic development and productive activity, as well as a source of an increasingly scarce commodity: water. However, this river is basically poisonous now and has brought death to those who live nearby. 

The caravan will visit sites were more than three million people have seen their health diminished by pollution.

Credit: Notimex

The rest of the Toxi-tour stops include Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato; Apaxco, México state; Atonilco de Tula, Hidalgo; Tlaxcala; Puebla; and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The journey will conclude in Mexico City on December 11. As you may lmow, Mexico City is deeply affected by high levels of pollution. Its high altitude and the fact that it is nested in a valley make it prone to elevated pollution levels that have damaged the upper respiratory tract in millions of its inhabitants.

In the photo we can see the cement manufacturing plant of Apaxco, which releases fine particles that have caused upper respiratory tract issues for both the workers and the people living near the factory. Imagine breathing grainy, minuscule cement dust day in, day out. Another big issue is the unlawful disposal of waste in landfills which end up pumping chemicals into the soil and rendering it sterile. 

The organizers have a pretty clear idea of who is to blame for the environmental crisis in these places.

As Mexico Daily News reports: “The Toxi-Tour will “denounce United States, Canadian, German, French, Spanish and Mexican companies” that cause environmental damage, said Andrés Barreda, a representative of the National Assembly of Environmental Victims, which organized the caravan.”

Yes, Mexican companies share the blame, but the fact that Global North companies have caused physical damage to the land and people of a previously colonized nation brings back memories of colonial times and trauma. So for these companies the lives of Global South countries are less valuable? It would appear that is the case. This is afforded of course, by corrupt authorities. The caravan will also get political and will engage local community leaders and people that have been affected or displaced by industry.

As Mexico News Daily reports: “In Tlaxcala on Friday, caravan members will learn about the community proposal to clean up the Atoyac–Zahuapan river basin, while on Saturday they will visit contaminated areas of Puebla city and speak with locals who have been dispossessed of their communal lands.”

Mexican history is a history of dispossession, and environmental violence is another way in which those in power have decimated the productive capabilities and future survival of communities that live and die by a deep attachment to the land and nature. 

Schools In Mexico’s Yucatan Have Made Mayan Language Classes A Requirement And Here’s Why That Matters

Culture

Schools In Mexico’s Yucatan Have Made Mayan Language Classes A Requirement And Here’s Why That Matters

Child-Aid.org

Sometimes there are big, big steps towards inclusivity in Latin America, a region that is still defined by colonial structures in which the indigenous is frowned upon and often looked down at. Indigenous languages, for example, are always at a clear and present danger of becoming extinct due to the imposition of Spanish (or Castillian, as people who speak other languages in then  Iberian Peninsula call it) as the main language and often the only way to be part of the productive force. However, the southern state of Yucatan is taking a big step towards acknowledgement of the original owners of a land that was never ceded. 

Schools in Yucatan have taken an important step towards real cultural inclusion and diversity.

The State Congress of Yucatan has just made it mandatory to have Mayan language instruction in primary and secondary schools. This is a great step towards true inclusivity in a state that has long benefited from Mayan culture when it comes to tourism and areas such as culinary tradition and art. According to census data, more than 570,000 people in Yucatan speak Mayan, so areas of the state are actually fully bilingual.

The census authority in Mexico has pointed out that the prevalence of Spanish has affected the numbers of people speaking Mayan. “Nevertheless, it is important to point out that the percentage of people that speak Mayan in the state has been decreasing constantly and drastically in recent years,” the agency INEGI warned, as reported by Mexico Daily News.

Change will not come quick, however, as reported by the same outlet: “One reason for going slowly might be a shortage of teachers. Education authorities said in September there was a shortage of bilingual — Spanish and Mayan — teachers. The state said it would attempt to remedy the situation by introducing a “seed group” of 20 primary-level bilingual teachers who would pass their skills on to at least another 40 teachers in a process that would fan out and prepare more teachers to help meet Mayan instruction goals”. 

Mestizo Mexicans have a contradictory relationship to the country’s rich indigenous past.

There is no denying that there is a systematic and everyday racism in Mexican society. From government programs that inadvertently look down on indigenous Mexicans to the actual word of “indio” being used as an insult in everyday vernacular, there are manifestations of this type of discrimination on a constant basis and oftentimes people are not often aware.

This is no doubt part of the colonial heritage in Mexico, particularly when we consider that there was actually a caste system in place with Europeans at the top and indigenous people at the bottom. This discrimination is alive and well, and can be seen in different facets of Mexican society.

At the same time, however, institutionally ancient civilizations, particularly the Maya and the Aztec, are seen as the foundation of the country and a source of pride. The history of these groups is taught in schools and when Mexicans travel abroad usually the first thing they brag about is the glorious indigenous past and how the Spanish destroyed it all. There is a sense of nationalism emanating from the past glory of these civilizations. Sadly, this doesn’t always translate into how indigenous communities are treated. That is why including Maya in the curriculum is a BFD! 

The Maya were amazing scientists, poets and overall a very advanced civilizations compared to their European counterparts at the time.

The Maya civilization was not only advanced in the material aspects of life such as irrigation and construction, but they also reached a very sophisticated level of conceptualization. For example, their number system included the zero, a feat that might seem very simple and almost banal, but that requires a high level of abstraction and a very high level of mathematical intelligence. They also had a deep understanding of astronomy and the ways in which the stars and the Earth’s rotation affect crops and daily life. Hey, maybe we can learn something from them in these times of climate change crisis.