CDMX: Is it correct to change the name Árbol de la ‘Noche Triste’ a la ‘Noche Victoriosa’

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Claudia Sheinbaum and Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller unveiled the plaque with the new name of the square in front of residents of the area.

The square where the ahuehuete tree is located next to which the conqueror Hernán Cortés shed his tears in the so-called Sad Night after losing a battle on July 30, 1520, is called as of this Tuesday Plaza de la Noche Victoriosa, one more step in the eagerness of the AMLO Government to rewrite the history of the conquest.

500 años de la Noche Triste: cómo fue la "infernal" derrota de Hernán Cortés  y sus tropas a manos de los mexicas - BBC News Mundo

“Why change the name of the square? Because we start from the conviction that a society needs to know where it comes from in order to know where it is going ”, declared the head of government of the Mexican capital, Claudia Sheinbaum, during the“ Vindication of the Victorious Night ”event.

The name of the formerly called Plaza de la Noche Triste, located in the northwest of Mexico City, had been questioned for decades by some civil society organizations, but with the arrival of the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, history has changed. with another orientation.

Mexico commemorates in 2021 the 200 years of its independence (1821), the 500 years of the conquest (1521), and although it is a questionable date, the 700 years of the founding of Tenochtitlán, present-day Mexico City.

The López Obrador government has prepared 15 commemorative events along the lines set by the president since in 2019 he demanded King Felipe VI of Spain and Pope Francis to apologize for the abuses of the conquest.

“If we say sad night we think of Cortés and the conquest. If we say victorious night we honor those who died in the massacre of the Templo Mayor and the settlers, “Sheinbaum continued in a speech in which he recalled what happened a few days before Cortés was defeated and went to the place to vent next to the ahuehuete tree.

After the initial speeches, the authorities present stood in front of the old ahuehuete and, in front of residents of the area who asked them to take care of the place, unveiled a plaque with the name of the Plaza de la Noche Victoria.

Should historical place names be changed to fit modern values?

Changing names or symbols amounts to falsely negating historical truths and legacies. 

Cultural symbols are open to changes in interpretation as part of an organic social process but it is wrongheaded to hand down changes as a form of collective cultural therapy. The built environment can’t operate as if it were a therapist’s couch or a group form of cognitive-behavioral therapy [a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave]. Removing uncomfortable reminders will not – and arguably should not – alleviate the suffering and conflicts stirred by our traumatic past. Whatever good intentions are involved, to attempt to mobilize the production of heritage to eradicate past sins, assuage our guilt and dump the excrement of the past in a memory hole, only ultimately harms us. The damage is done by using the past as a mirror to reflect back into the present only flattery and self-love; it suggests the narcissistic neediness of a culture ill-at-ease with itself.

Forgetting history is not a tonic for the anxieties of the present.  

Perhaps it has become a cliché to cite Orwell but his dictum that ‘he who controls the past, controls the future’ is too often read as a manual for action rather than a warning against authoritarianism.

Is it correct to change the name Tree from the Sad Night to the Victorious Night?

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The Mexico City Post