Indigenous Brothers and Sisters Gathered Today in Puebla de los
Brothers and Sisters of Puebla Civil Society:
Worker and Campesino Brothers and Sisters:
Brothers and Sisters from the Barzo'n:
Town of Puebla:
Through my voice speaks the voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
We wish to say that it is an honor for us, the zapatistas, to be able to set foot on the dignified Puebla soil.
Because flourishing on Puebla soil is the wise struggle of the indigenous, of the workers, of the campesinos, of the teachers, of the students, of the housewives, of neighbors, of honest religious men and women, of professional persons, of the employed, of small and mid-sized business owners, of debtors, of committed artists and intellectuals, of homosexuals and lesbians, of women, of the old ones, of the youth, of the children.
So much wisdom and so much dignity will undoubtedly make us, the zapatistas, better.
That is why we have come to Puebla.
To learn from you.
Thank you for allowing us to be students of the great lesson you give those who walk this land and these times.
Thank you Puebla!
We wish to pay our regards to the memory of two people from Puebla who died some time ago in order to give voice to those of us had no voice. I am speaking of Julieta Glockner and Francisco Cabrera Huerta.
Brothers and Sisters:
We have reached the gates of the Valley of Mexico.
From here forward, our march, the March of Indigenous Dignity, the march of the color of the earth, will begin to make a circle around the valley where the Powers reside.
This circle will be extended from these Puebla lands, and, tracing their arch of dignity by the states of Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Quere'taro, Guanajuato, Michoaca'n and the State of Mexico, it will be closed in the lands of our General Emiliano Zapata, in the state of Morelos.
With the circle complete, we shall make our entrance into Mexico City.
The final circle of the March of Indigenous Dignity, the march of the color of the earth, begins, then, in Puebla.
That is why we have chosen, at the beginning of this final circle, to have a word spoken which looks very far ahead.
A word which might not, perhaps, find its true meaning immediately.
A word which requires time and wind in order to find its place in the heart of the all that we are.
A word which speaks tomorrow.
A word which comes from very far back and, because of that, walks very far ahead of us.
A word which is greater than us and which, nonetheless, must be spoken.
A word which is only spoken together, which demands that everyone walk it in order for it to be able to be pronounced.
"Dignity" is how this word speaks.
And dignity is a bridge.
It needs two sides which, being different, distinct and distant, are made one by the bridge, without ceasing to be different and distinct, but ceasing, then, to be distant.
When the bridge of dignity is extended, the We that we are speaks, and the Other which we are not speaks.
The One and the Other are on the bridge which is dignity.
And the One is not more or better than the Other, nor is the Other more or better than the One.
Dignity demands that we be We.
But Dignity is not our only being ourselves.
The Other is necessary for there to be dignity.
Because we are always Ourselves in relation to the Other.
And the other is Other in relation to ourselves.
Dignity is, therefore, a looking.
A looking at Ourselves, who are also looking at the Other looking at themselves and looking at us.
Dignity is, therefore, recognition and respect.
Recognition of what we are and respect for that which we are, yes, but also recognition of what the other is and respect for what the other is.
Dignity is, therefore, bridge and looking and recognition and respect.
Therefore dignity is tomorrow.
But tomorrow cannot be if it is not for everyone, for those who are We, and for those who are Other.
Dignity is, therefore, a house which includes the Other and Ourselves.
Dignity is, therefore, a house with one single floor, where we and the other have our own places - which is what life is - and nothing else, but the same house.
Therefore dignity should be the world, a world where many worlds fit.
Dignity, therefore, does not yet exist.
Therefore dignity is yet to come.
Dignity, therefore, is struggling so that dignity might finally be the world.
A world where all worlds fit.
Therefore dignity is, and it is to come.
It is the path to travel.
Dignity is tomorrow.
Brothers and Sisters:
When we speak of indigenous dignity, we are speaking of what we are as indigenous, and of what the other is who is not like us.
Indigenous dignity is not dominating the other who is not indigenous, subjecting him, destroying him, humiliating him, ignoring him, forgetting him.
Indigenous dignity is a bridge which needs the other side in order to extend itself to, an other in order to look at him and to be looked at.
When we speak of the March of Indigenous Dignity, we are speaking of the indigenous who see ourselves as indigenous, without shame, without embarrassment, without sadness, without the death of what we are.
When we speak of the March of Indigenous Dignity, we are also speaking of the indigenous whom we are being looked at, respected, by the non-indigenous.
When we speak of the March of Indigenous Dignity, we are also speaking of the indigenous whom we are seeing and looking at the non-indigenous, we are respecting them.
The March of Indigenous Dignity cannot be just by the indigenous.
The March for Indigenous Dignity must be the march of the indigenous and the non-indigenous.
Only in that way shall we be able to build the house, which is how it is called to the world, where all of us who are equal because we are different fit.
Brothers and Sisters:
The most ancient indigenous recount many stories about the world's past.
One of them tells us that, in the beginning, when time was not yet time in the course of time, everything was darkness and obscurity and silence and sadness in the world.
The people of that time had already become accustomed to living in that way.
But then the time did indeed arrive when time began to walk, and the sun and music were birthed.
At those times, the sun would sometimes cover itself up so it would not get cold, and, since the sun's covers had many holes, pieces of light pierced it.
Our most former forebears called it "day" when the sun went about undressed.
And "night" they called the many-holed covers which protected the sun from the cold.
And "stars" they called the many holes which pierced the night.
Along with the day and the night, arrived music and, with it, joy.
That came to pass, as our most former forebears recount.
And they also recount how, when that came to pass, there were people who were afraid, and they set about digging deep holes, or they surrounded themselves with large rocks.
They did that so their eyes, accustomed to the dark and to the obscurity, would not be hurt by the light.
They did that so their ears, accustomed to the noise of sadness, would not be pained by the joy of music.
Among these people who did so, recount the most former forebears, one of them finally died of sadness, hidden as she was in her holes.
Another died when the great rocks of arrogance fell on top of her, instead of protecting her.
There were, however, also those who learned to see and to listen, not to the new, because it was already there, but to the good.
Because the world teaches that things are not good or bad in themselves, but rather, when we touch them, we make them either good or bad.
The new man is, in reality, the same old man, but he is made good through touching things with dignity, with respect.
Brothers and Sisters:
The March of Indigenous Dignity has caused some to set about digging deep holes or to trying to protect themselves by closing themselves off, surrounded by large rocks.
The fact is they are accustomed to not looking at the other who we are.
And, therefore, when we make ourselves light of the shadow we are, we hurt their eyes, and our word is music which wounds their ears.
But there are those who are learning to see the good that is this march.
They are learning and we are learning to look and to look at ourselves, to speak and to listen, to speak to ourselves and to listen to ourselves.
They are learning, and we are learning, then, to be dignified.
And so all that remains is to choose: either we learn, together, to be dignified, or we shall die and be outraged alone.
Our most sincere condolences to those who choose not to look at us and not to listen to us.
Long life to those of us who, all together, are learning to live.
Because to live without dignity is to be quite dead.
Salud to ourselves and to the other!
>From Puebla de los Angeles, Puebla.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, February of 2001.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
______________________ Translated by irlandesa