Subversive hairstyles?

There’s a series of ads for hair gel that show young people in various repressive regimes expressing themselves by, er, restyling their hair.

OK in adland. But not in Mexico.

An email arrives from Eulette at Amnesty International:

I don’t know about you but I’ve definitely had some interesting hairstyles in my time. Those who knew me a few years ago wouldn’t have been surprised to see me with a different hairstyle every other week. I’ve always taken for granted that I could express myself through my hair and never once thought I could be attacked for it.

But it seems as though that’s exactly what’s happened to a 16 year old student and graffiti artist in Mexico. Amnesty International has received reports that José Emiliano Nandayapa Gomez was beaten unconscious by police officers in Chiapas state in southern Mexico and was apparently accused of having a “subversive” hairstyle.

Three police officers are alleged to have kicked and punched 16-year-old Jose, stepped on his back, head and legs. They’re then reported to have said to him “what a lovely subversive haircut you have, here’s your revolution, get the weapons and the drugs out.” They went on to tell him, “if you keep on the same path, you won’t live to tell the tale.”

They then kicked him in the face and he lost consciousness.

Amnesty’s expressed concern about the news of this case. Perhaps more so because we know that just a few months ago a 16-year-old graffiti artist was shot and killed in another part of the same state – San Cristobal de las Casas.

Amnesty is urging its supporters to urge Mexican authorities to guarantee the safety of José and his family. You can click here for more information and to take action.


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