In a throwaway phrase, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam concluded a news conference Friday by muttering a comment that might be translated as “Enough, I am tired,” or “I’ve had enough.”
The phrase took on a life of its own over the weekend, and Murillo Karam tried to explain it away Monday by saying he’d been awake for 40 straight hours.
The comment left Murillo Karam’s lips Friday at the conclusion of a dramatic news conference in which he’d outlined how gang members in the state of Guerrero had thrown the bodies of 43 students into a pit, burned them for 14 hours, then dumped the ashes into a river.
“I am tired” – “Ya me cansé,” in Spanish – immediately soared on social media among those criticizing the government’s handling of the case of the students, who went missing in late September. The case has horrified Mexicans and sparked heavy demonstrations in dozens of cities.
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Typical of tweets was one sent by Twitter user Felipe Garcia, in which a photo of Murillo Karam carried this advice for him: “So quit.” Other tweets said, “Mexico is tired, too.”
Vandals daubed the phrase “I am tired of being afraid” in white paint on a wall outside Murillo Karam’s office in downtown Mexico City.
Others posted signs that said things like, “I, too, am tired, but of this rotten government” and “I am tired of #MurilloKaram.”
The phrase spawned dozens of YouTube videos. One showed Murillo Karam on a loop repeating, “I am tired. I am tired. I am tired.” Another compiled clips of musicians singing the phrase. Still another ridiculed Murillo Karam with scenes of puppets repeating it over and over.
Murillo Karam, a veteran politician of the Institutional Revolutionary Party with a usually affable manner, went on a popular morning television show Monday to explain why he uttered the phrase.
“When I said I am tired, I am tired of this, this brutal violence that I have lived every day since then (the disappearances) and it has affected me, yes, affected me,” the attorney general told Carlos Loret de Mola, a widely viewed Televisa program host.
“Moreover, I had been awake for 40 hours,” Murillo Karam added.
Was it a poor choice of words, he was asked.
“No, I had been awake for 40 hours,” he responded.
Would he repeat the phrase?
“Naturally, I don’t have any reason to lie. I am human just like everyone, and I, too, get tired,” Murillo Karam said.