Memory is the Library of the Mind

“Disregard for the past will never do us any good. Without it we cannot know truly who we are.” This saying holds true because if nothing is done to record the events and tragedies of our ancestors’ past lives, mankind will never truly evolve as a species. We will just be in a constant cycle of living and dying without making any true progress or accomplishments as a species. Unfortunately, with all the different events that occur in a generation’s timeline, it will be difficult to remember every single detail in history. One solution to this dilemma was the creation of libraries, where people can externalize their memories and store it into a single location. melk_-_abbey_-_library

Melk Benedictine Abbey Library

The creation and use of libraries has been a practice since ancient times, dating back to about 600 BCE. The first systematically organized library that was discovered was in Nineveh, which is known as the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal. The owner of this library was King Ashurbanipal, who was the ruler of the Neo-Assyrian Empire at the time. It was reported that over 30000 cuneiform clay tablets were discovered. The library was said to be have organized by subject, which included history, poetry, government science and much more. In the picture below, one tablet that was discovered was part of the Epic of Gilgamesh.


But as time passed, people noticed the importance of libraries and realized that they were necessary to collect information of externalize memories into pieces to be stored. Because tablets took up a lot of room, people needed a new form to better manage and store collections, instead of carving it into a stone or clay tablet. That’s when humans found a new form or writing, which was to write things down in papyrus plants. These plants were the paper of the olden days, where they were lighter, durable, and easier to manage then tablets. This new innovation was one of the next stepping stones to the modern libraries of today because it introduced people to paper and scrolls, which would later lead to books.


Picture of a Papyrus Scroll

As centuries have passed, humans have made technological breakthroughs and discoveries that have lead to massive changes in the practices that have been around for centuries. One of these changes has been the use of libraries and the storing of information into libraries. Advancements, such as the internet and computer, have made libraries more easier to use because now you can search through millions of documents and records in a matter of seconds to narrow down searches. One of the most famous modern libraries is the Library of Congress. 11603r

The Library of Congress is one of the most famous libraries of the twenty-first century and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. It has an estimated 161 million physical pieces in its collection in 470 languages. Many of these books, pieces, articles, etc, can be found in databases and archives online in the library. This rapid progression in technological advances has lead more digitalized era, where mostly everything can be found online. Externalizing memories has never been made easier, as now people can upload information directly to the internet in a matter of seconds. And as techno0logy keeps on evolving, it’s only a matter of time before libraries get rid of book and paper all together and turn to the digital world. Welcome back students.

The National 9/11 Memorial Site-Why do we Remember?

Memories. Why do we remember? How do we remember? What is the significance of taking a traumatic experience-in particular-and traslating it into an external memory? Memorial sites associated with some sort of grave tragedy are some of the most widely utilized forms of external commemoration in our world, today. From the Pearl Harbor museum to roadside memorials, we are able to clearly see our human need to transform sites associated with tragedy into something of great significance to either a group of individuals or-on a grander scale-to entire population, but why is this necessary? Why is it important for us to remember tragic events and externalize these memories in the form of memorial sites?

September 11th, 2001. America’s greatest personal tragedy since the WWII attack on Pearl Harbor. A day on which hundreds of lives were lost due to senseless acts of violence…acts that would launch America into a war that would last for well over a decade. It was a day in which we all were forced to bear witness to an unspeakable acts of terrorism as we watched the Twin Towers embodying our World Trade Center were destroyed. In addition to the thousands of lives lost on that fateful day, our strength as a nation was was called into question. So, why do we choose to remember an event bathed in such tragedy through sites such as the National September 11th Memorial?

According to ideas presented in an article by Billie Pivnick, “The memorial at the site of the former World Trade Center is meant to be seen as a means of helping us–as a nation–commemorate, honor, educate, and mourn the events that took place as well as the lives lost on that day.” It is his understanding that the act of memorializing involves shared memory and collective grieving. From this point of view, we might be able to infer that the active rituals that accompany memorial activity–particularly the construction of memorial sites such as the 9/11 Memorial Museum–is meant to help those directly affected by tragedy come together in an effort to cope with the loss and the fear that stems from such emotional trauma as well as to commemorate and mourn the lives of all who were lost on that fateful day.


An interesting characteristic of National September 11 Memorial site is that it spans around half of the 16 acre lot on which the World Trade Center originally stood. Because of its geographical location along with the sheer magnitude of the tragedy that which is being memorialized, this particular memorial site holds a certain degree of significance to Americans across the country as it is representative of our ability to externalize our recollection of such a tragic event. According to the Mission Statement section found on the official 9/11 memorial website, the explicit purpose of the construction of the memorial and museum is to, “Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss. And to recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.” In doing so, this site has in turn become a symbol of our resilience and strength as a nation.

As a general concensous, I believe it’s fair to say that through the externalization of memories through memorial sites–traumatic memories in particular–we as individuals as well as a population (in more catastrophic cases) are able to come together and mourn the lives of those lost to tragic events.

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words


It is often mentioned that “A picture is worth more than a thousand words” because an image can convey its essence more effectively than a description or words. By preserving photos, humans are able to give value to meaningful items that kept a material record of what occurred at the moment. Photos that are preserved are meant to be stored away and only taken out to be enjoyed or skimmed through sporadically in order to honor and remember what occurred in the moment and see how the memories within photographs live onto the future.IVstrong-01

On May 23, 2014, tragedy struck the community of Isla Vista when six students: Veronika Weiss, George Chen, Weihan Wang, Christopher Michael-Martinez, Chen Hong, and Katherine Cooper who lives were taken away too soon. Despite such tragedy, the Isla Vista community was able to come together as one. The story told through the archived and published photographs of the spontaneous and planned memorials, artifacts and messages left at these memorials are able to tell a story of community, unity, and solidarity within Isla Vista despite such senseless tragedy. These photographs are able to explicitly and implicitly convey the “IV/UCSB strong” message. 16592070554_a7a2cdd9e6_o.jpgAfter the tragedy occurred in Isla Vista, many spontaneous memorials occurred throughout the community. People who knew the victims and even people who did not know them came together to set up memorials to show their solidarity. The below and above photograph is very moving as it was taken the night of and day after the tragedy occurred. These photographs are able to preserve how a community came together in solidarity and keep documentation on how the community’s actions support the message of “IV/UCSB Strong.”


The community came to mourn and show support by placing flowers, candles, posters, and objects that represented the victims. 17213970071_36dfb482cc_z.jpgThere were also six individual black posters set in front of Pardall Center for people to write their condolences for the six victims. The community left positive remarks for a peaceful afterlife for the six individuals and prayers for the IV community as they continue the healing process.

16592117994_0cca42e7bf_z.jpgThis photograph shows that the IV community created a memorial to show that the people injured in the tragedy will have a quick and healthy recovery. Sometimes the death of people may overshadow the ones who were injured and traumatized. In the case of the tragedy, the community did not forget the thirteen injured people and created a spontaneous memorial for them as well. Not only does the photograph show how the community commemorated the six victims, but also shows their support for the people who were injured in the tragedy.

17213957801_3173c6baef_k.jpgThe UCSB Surf team also organized a paddle-out memorial to honor the six killed and thirteen injured people. UCSB surfers and Isla Vista residents gathered in the ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara to honor the six killed and 13 injured in the shooting rampage that took place. Three-thousand people RSVP’d for this evenUniversity of California-Santa Barbara surfers and Isla Vista residents gathered in the ocean Wednesday evening off the coast of Santa Barbara to honor the six killed and 13 injured in the shooting rampage that took place last Friday night.t and hundreds of surfers created a circle by holding hands. This breath-taking picture of the event symbolizes the unity and solidarity that the IV community shares as they overcame this tragedy and also documents an event in which its atmosphere of community is impossible to replicate. 17297822865_682e09e639_z.jpgAt the paddle-out, students chanted, signed and tossed bouquets of flowers into the ocean. This is one of the many photographs that displayed the strength and resilience of the IV community.

17295981982_f4965f5161_z.jpgWords cannot do justice for way the IV community came together in solidarity and unity. Before doing my research on this tragedy, I would throw the pun “Gaucho Back” around to my friends. After looking at these photographs, I truly understand what “Gaucho back” means to the IV community. It is vital that these photographs are preserved because it allows people to see the meaning of community, unity, and solidarity in the moment and how the IV community continues these. Without these photographs, people would not truly understand “Gaucho Back” and “IV/UCSB Strong.” People are also able to experience an atmosphere evoked in these photographs that are impossible to replicate. The photographs of the spontaneous acts of kindness from the community are able to reveal that people externalize memory because of the everlasting memory created within each photograph. They evoke many emotions and allow audiences to gain a greater understanding of the events that took place and the sense of community in times of darkness. By preserving these photographs, we are also preserving a time in place that will forever be cherished in the heart of the IV community and will continue to touch lives of other.17213977181_0d22333acf_z.jpg

Dia De Los Muertos, To Mourn or To Celebrate the Dead?

Death itself is tragic; thoughts of losing a loved one seems inconceivable. When someone dies the victims tend to mourn. For Dia De Los Muertos, a two day celebration on  the dead, the families of Mexico don’t just mourn the dead, rather they celebrate the dead.

Especially day two of Dia De Los Muertos, families all over Mexico tend to celebrate the day with festivities such as dancing, music, and sing along songs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 8.30.04 AM Found on Google images

The reason behind the festive culture is to celebrate the best of their lost loved ones. The communities of Mexico dance for their lost loved ones, they eat the food that their lost ones used to love to eat, and so much more. Practically, everything they due for the second day is to celebrate all the qualities that made the dead special as they were living before they died.

By mocking the idea of death, Mexican families are viewing death as nothing more than a part of life. Peter Ward, a professor of sociology and C. B. Smith, Sr. Centennial Chair in United States-Mexico Relations #2, states that “Mexicans revere death and do not fear the afterlife to the same degree as many other culture.”

With this mentality, the people of Mexico are able to remember the dead in a new meaning and by doing so they remember the dead different than most cultures. By believing death is another part of life it provides a new sense of environment for the dead. It provides a change in ideas for what to do when a loved one dies. The act of using memories to create an upbeat environment is one that fascinated me since in America that kind of attitude towards the dead has not been socially adopted.


Keeping the Memory of the Pearl Harbor Attacks Alive

The popular saying,”Lost the battle, win the War”, has strong relevance for the Pearl Harbor Memorial. While the attacks on December 7, 1941 left 3,000 dead or wounded, those who survived created a strong tradition of annual pilgrimages to respect and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The initial Pearl Harbor Memorial site, the USS Arizona, was created to honor those who had died in the attacks.  The Pearl Harbor Memorial is a 184 feet structure that spans the sunken USS Arizona, which still holds the remains of hundred of servicemen.

The main attraction, the USS Arizona, on which the memorial is built holds special significance. The memorial structure, pictured below, was designed to give an overall effect of serenity. The Pearl Harbor Memorial holds special significance to those directly impacted to it; it has still managed to gain prominence throughout the United States. Dee Britton, in her piece What is Collective Memory, discusses the ability of memorial sites to act as a totem object to create a sense of community and unity. The Pearl Harbor Memorial is able to create a sense of community and unity because it represents a tragic attack and loss on not just in Hawaii, but on the American people.


There is a decline in veteran pilgrimages due to aging occurring at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. There is a sense of hopelessness from the veterans that they won’t be able to keep the memory alive for future generations. John Anderson, a Pearl Harbor Survivor, lost friends and a twin brother on the USS Arizona; he has continued to come back to pay his respects to the fallen and keep the collective individual memories of the soldiers alive with other veterans.   But looking at tourism at the Memorial site, that shouldn’t be a problem. But at 97 years old, Anderson, like many other veterans, are becoming to old to make the journey every year. This is shifting the focus of visitors to the memorial to tourists who are looking into the American collective memory for the Pearl Harbor Attacks.

This increasing demand for the Memorial has allowed the tourism to flourish, even though the number of veterans are decreasing. While direct connections are decreasing with time, popularity for the Memorial sites is increasing. Developments such as the Pearl Harbor movie, increased patriotism after 9/11, and more additions to memorial sites have increased the marketability and allure of the Pearl Harbor Memorial sites. For example the Pearl Harbor Memorial now contains the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri battleship, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and gift shops.

Today there are a number of ways to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Sites, such as Pearl Harbor Tour Reservations & Visitor Information provide comparisons between numerous tour companies that focus on the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The upcoming 73rd anniversary is fast approaching on December 7th, and there are a number of websites, such as the one listed above that, offering tourists the opportunity to see the courageous sacrifices made for America.




A makeshift memorial on the 1400 block of East Fairhaven Avenue where three 13- year-old girls Andrea and twin sisters Lexandra and Lexi Perez  were killed in a hit-and-run collision while trick-or-treating in Santa Ana on Halloween night.  Photo: C. Yamanaka 

On October 31, 2014, a terrible tragedy occurred.  Three young girls age 13 were viciously struck by a car resulting in their deaths. This is an image of the street corner where the incident happened. It has been over a year that this has happened and on this years Halloween Day a Rosario was held for the young girls. A Rosario also known as a Rosary in english, is a prayer of peace taken place at the scene in which a person might of passed away.

The timing of these deaths was especially hard to deal with considering that it was just a day before Day of the Dead.This is a holiday originated in the Mexican culture that honors the dead. The year the incident occurred it was extremely devastating in our community as we all mourned the young girls death. It was hard not to celebrate the Day of the Day when that tragedy was only a day before. However, this year it was easier to honor the young girls since the incident wasn’t as fresh. Our community participated in remaking the vigil and participating in prayers.

It is always difficult loosing a loved one and in the Hispanic culture it is very interesting how they choose to remember and honor a loved one. It is amazing how the traditions and culture has continued for so long. When a loved one passes it is tradition to hold a Novena. A Novena a tradition that takes place after a death in a family. It is nine consecutive days of prayer and devotion to their lost one. This consists of repeating prayers in a meditational way. An hour or two a day of prayer is taken place. As families gather it is important that a vigil is set up in the remembrance of their loved one. The prayer is usually at someones house.  Here is an example of how a shrine is set up for Novena. Beautiful lights and candles are set up, with many photos and flowers to create an amazing view.

20131122_185259The whole point of a Novena is to pray and honor their loved one who has passed.  This mechanism is to never forget and always bless the soul of the person who has died. Pray is used to ease the soul of the person who has passed into the afterlife. Here is an example of one of the prayers used in a Novena this prayer translates to being the Hail Mary prayer.

EL AVE MARÍA (Hail Mary in Spanish)

Dios te salve María, llena eres de Gracia, El Señor es contigo, bendita Tú eres entre todas las mujeres, y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. 

Santa María Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros los pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amén.

A Novena is traditionally a nine day process that takes place after the death of a person however, in some families this Novena is repeated every year after the death to continue to bless the soul of the person who has passed away. This usually goes on for a couple years after the death until the family and friends of the loved ones feel or are more accepting of the passing of a loved one. Religion is a very common way of remembering people, traditions and much more. Holidays are put in place to remember traditions about religion such as Christmas and Easter. These are two holidays put in place to recognize and honor people through religion.

For more information please visit these sites:

Who makes it to Cooperstown?

Cooperstown, NY.  This is the city that houses the building where baseball greats and legends are remembered. The Baseball Hall Of Fame, often referred to as Cooperstown, is the place where those who excelled the most at the sport are forever remembered with their name and face engraved in an iron plaque. Or is it really? How is it decided who makes it to Cooperstown? And why? Might there be a reason why certain people are not remembered?

The Rules for Election: Every year active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote on who will be enshrined in the HOF. Pretty much, anyone who has played in the MLB for a minimum of 10 seasons and has been retired for a minimum of 5 years is eligible to be voted in and to be voted in, you must receive at least 75% approval of the ballots cast to be inducted.

Voting is not based solely on performance however. From the Baseball Hall of Fame website, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

Note the words integrity and character. These words alone make the difference on who is ultimately remembered in the sport.

One instance where the integrity of the game played a huge factor in whether a player was inducted into the hall of Fame was in the case of Barry Bonds. He is currently MLB’s Homerun leader, a feat he achieved after hitting his 756th homerun, breaking current hall of famer Hank Aaron’s record of 755 homeruns. He was one of baseball’s most feared hitters. However, he is currently being rejected admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame due to his involvement taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Although his ridiculous numbers would make anyone else a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the fact that he has cheated the game of baseball using PEDs has for now kept him out of the Hall of Fame.


Barry Bonds rounding the bases after he hits his historic 756th homerun.

Another interesting case is that of Pete Rose. He arguably had one of the greatest careers in baseball history. He currently holds 17 MLB records including most career hits, most career singles and most career games played, which show that he was an exceptional hitter not only for a season, but for a long time. He is a 17 time all-star, won the championship 3 times and was even voted into the Major League Baseball All-century Team, where the best 30 players in the 20th century are selected to create the best possible team.

pete rose

Pete Rose Sliding into 3rd base


However despite his many accomplishments, he is currently being left out of the Baseball HOF because he had wagered money on baseball games. Many baseball fans, analysts and writers currently argue on whether he should be included in the HOF because he didn’t directly cheat in those baseball games. He never took any PEDs and those records he holds are because of his extraordinary talent and dedication to the game. Nonetheless, those who are in charge of the Baseball HOF argue that he jeopardized the integrity of the game, and that he will never be voted into the HOF.

Players and coaches aren’t the only ones invited to Cooperstown. Lee MacPhail was an MLB executive who was actively involved in the game of baseball for over 40 years. He is remembered for improving many facets of the game and is most remembered for bringing an end to the 1981 Baseball Strike.


Picture of Lee MacPhail

From the examples above, it is clear the baseball HOF chooses to remember the rich and positive history of baseball. Yes, the main purpose of a Hall Of Fame is to remember the best players to play the game but the baseball HOF does not care only about statistical greatness. To be in the Hall Of Fame one must not only be great on the field, but also show integrity and bring pride to the game. By leaving out players such as Rose and Bonds, choosing to only remember the players who positively impacted the game. This would be an example of a presentist approach to collective memory. As Dee Britton explains in her piece What is Collective Memory, “Groups select different memories to explain current issues and concerns.  In order to explain the present, leaders of a group reconstruct a past using rationalization to choose which events are remembered, those that are eliminated, and rearrange events to conform to the social narrative.” Here, the MLB is trying to tell present and future players, as well as the public, that if you do not abide by what is seen as an exemplary player, then you will not be remembered as a Hall of Famer. This in turn is beneficial to the overall image of baseball. Since they have refused to allow cheaters into the Hall of Fame, it has set a precedent that will discourage the use of PED’s and any other form of cheating or dishonesty.


Armour, Mark. “Lee MacPhail.” Society For American Baseball Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <;.

“BBWAA Election Rules.” National Baseball Hall Of Fame. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2015. <;.

Britton, Dee. “What Is Collective Memory?” Memorialworlds. Memorial Worlds, 27 June 2012. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.

Davidoff, Ken. “Barry Bonds Must Be in Hall of Fame after Courts Clear His Name.” NY Post. New York Post, 22 July 2015. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

Neyer, Rob. “Rethinking Rose’s Reinstatement.” Just a Bit Outside. FoxSports, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.

Scrapbooks – A Way To Preserve Memory

Scrapbooking is a practice that has been around for years now and the earliest findings of scrapbooks date back to the 17th century. Scrapbooking is about expressing one’s thoughts, feelings and sentiments by placing pictures/objects together that relate to a memory. Modern scrapbooking has several different purposes however the main reason a person would choose to scrapbook now is to have something special to look back on. When creating a scrapbook the first thing to consider is what is it that you want to remember?

Scrapbook Pic

Found on

A scrapbook is a decorated photo album that preserves stories/ memories behind a photo, it can also hold memorabilia such as tickets, certificates, letters and many other things. A scrapbook is special because it allows memory to be preserved through combining pictures and other objects that relate to the picture to create a story. Scrapbooks as opposed to other forms of preserving memory are special because they’re very personal and allow whoever is making it freedom to create something unique to look back on.

Scrapbooks give the creator the personal freedom to choose how they remember something. For example, the person creating the scrapbook can choose a theme and use stickers, glitter, and many other decorative objects to make a scrapbook page special. Scrapbooking may seem like just a simple fun arts and crafts project however the placements of pictures and objects are important because they contribute to the externalization of memory.

Angling a picture a specific way may seem insignificant to most people but to the creator of the scrapbook it is crucial. Matching pictures witch specific borders or colors is also important because when attempting to relive a memory these elements can help elicit certain feelings that can take you back to that exact moment that the picture was taken.


Scrapbooking is a main way to store memories and be able to access them whenever you’d like. Placing pictures/objects in a specific spot and decorating the page of a scrapbook however you want will affect how you remember things when you decide to look back at the scrapbook in the future. Scrapbooking can be time consuming however it isn’t hard to pick up on it and below is a link to get started:

Scrapbooking For Beginners – Tips + Ideas

Dia de los Muertos Altars

El Dia de Los Muertos is a way of remembering people that have past away and celebrating their lives. Dia de Los Muertos originated from the Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltecs, however it has spread to many parts of the U.S (Borreli).This tradition helps people cope with the death of loved ones by acknowledging that they are dead but that their souls can come back to visit.

A big part of this celebration are the altars also called ofrendas in Spanish. These altars are usually made by family members who wish to remember and honor their loved ones. The ofrendas can have almost anything on them but they usually contain pictures, flowers, and food.


dia-de-los-muertos-altars An important component of the Altars are photographs. The person making the altar can put up pictures of their deceased family members and friends as a way to show love and respect. These pictures facilitate the externalization of memory because they often enable conversations. When someone asks who the person in the picture is memories will resurface and stories will be told about the person. Every picture has a story behind it and with El Dia de los Muertos these stories can be shared with new generations, who will hopefully continue the tradition.

These altars are also decorated with beautiful flowers called zempazuchitl, which can either be orange, yellow, or a mixture of both. They have become known as Day of the Dead flowers since they are always used during this celebration. The aroma of the flowers are very strong which is why they are used as a guide.“Petals are strewn forming a path to the front door to guide the souls home, especially if the living are far away from the burial place of the deceased and cannot go to the grave” this quote from Ramon Sanchez article explains how the souls of the dead come visit the altars that their families have made for them. Flowers are usually used in funerals and are placed on tombs, however with El Dia de los Muertos they can be placed inside the home, making this type of conmemoration more private.



Food is also placed on the Altars as a way of welcoming the souls.Their favorite foods and drinks are placed on the altar so that they can eat it.By making the favorite food of the deceased, memories resurface of when the person was alive. It doesn’t matter if these memories are painful,with El Dia de los Muertos they are turned into something positive. Something special about el Dia de los Muertos is that family members get to connect with the person that past away even if it just for a little while (UNC Institute). Through the use of food and objects El Dia de Los Muertos celebrates life and death at the same time.


El Dia de Los Muertos allows people to use their memories to create their loved one’s altars.  The things that the person loved the most are carefully selected and showcased in the altars. We all remember things differently but through the use of Altars our memories are combined into one single practice. The components of the Altars all work together to facilitate the externalization of our memories in a fun and creative way.


Hero or Villain?

    Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria



Today Escobar’s Legacy Is Still Felt

Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug trafficker during the 80s and 90s who supplied 80% of the cocaine that was smuggled into the U.S making him worth 30 billion. If he was included in the Forbes Magazine today he would be the seventh richest man in the world. Many Colombians remember this unforgettable figure as a drug dealer who was responsible for the deaths of approximately 4000 people, while many other Colombians remember him as a legendary hero. Although Escobar died 20 years ago, the actions and decisions Escobar made during those times still have an impact on Colombia today. Under those circumstances, Pablo Escobar’s legacy is memorialized through sites, media and commercial products. Consequently, there are two sides that divide Colombia in half and I want to figure out how this man can be seen at the same time as a notorious criminal to many and hero to others.

Pablo Escobar Biography



                Robin Hood

Robin hood was a heroic outlaw in England who was not only a skilled archer, but a noble bandit, who is often portrayed as “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor”. Similarly, thousands of Colombians today see Pablo Escobar as Robin Hood. Pablo started out poor but as he made his way up the ladder, he built parks, soccer fields, schools, and food programs that made him a legendary hero among the poor. He even built a neighborhood, which is called “Barrio Pablo Escobar”, for numerous families of Medellin who where homeless. Even though many people of Colombia have been affected by Pablo Escobar’s crimes, those who were benefited are grateful. The people from el Barrio Pablo Escobar still admire and remember him by painting his image on walls such as the one below.


Inscription reading “Welcome to the Pablo Escobar neighborhood. Here we breathe peace!”. Featuring Pablo Escobar’s image.


Another way Pablo’s legacy is memorialize is through his grave. Thousands of Colombians and tourist visit this popular place each year to offer respect. Many usually bring flowers or candles. Correspondingly, another way Escobar’s legacy is remembered is through media. Books, magazines, films, internet and documentaries either portray Escobar as a monster or hero. A great example that made Escobar’s public image as a hero was the Semana magazine, which published a story on Escobar titled “A paisa Robin Hood” where they spoke great things about him including his passion for social improvement. Here is the magazine.



                The Other Side


Many Colombians detest Pablo Escobar for the policy he created called “Plata o Plomo”. This policy  helped him run the government through bribery and intimidation, which meant you either take the money or get shot. This led to the killings of around 4000 individuals that today still affect many lives that were somehow related to those civilians. Not only did kill innocent people, but also numerous politicians including Luis Carlos Galan a candidate who was likely to win the presidency in the 80s.


The Colombians of upper class never admired or admire Escobar because they believed and still believe he manipulated the public to ensure his personal security. They believed he wanted to be popular among the poor so when they persecuted him he would be supported by many. Media has played a vital role on the image of Pablo Escobar. A great example is the current show on Netflix called Narcos, which presents Escobar as a cruel almost terrorist who viciously ordered and killed thousands of lives.


Numerous Colombians also find films such as this one insulting because of the crimes he committed. Not to mention that many people are against commercial products sold daily that remember the legacy of Pablo Escobar such as shirts, images, books, and even risk watches. They view this as an insult due to the fact that making money is more important than hurting others who were affected by this man.121003-escobar-220a.660;660;7;70;0


Those Colombians who are poor and were helped by Pablo Escobar tend to see Pablo Escobar as a generous individual. While those who support the government and weren’t helped by Pablo know that he indeed was a villain.