Seventh Anniversary of the Zapatista Uprising.
Through my voice speaks the voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation;
Indigenous Mexican brothers and sisters;
Brothers and sisters of Mexico and the World;
In this, the seventh year of the war against forgetting, we repeat what we are.We, we are wind. Not the breast that inspires us. We, we are word. Not the lips which speak to us. We, we are steps. Not the foot that walks us. We, we are beat. Not the heart that drives us. We, we are bridge. Not the lands which are joined. We, we are path. Not the point of arrival or of departure. We, we are place. Not the one who occupies it. We do not exist. We only are. We are seven times. We, seven times. We, the mirror repeated. We, the reflection. We, the hand that is only opening the window. We, the world called to the door of the morning.
Brothers and Sisters:
Seven have been the reflections which the ancient mirror has plucked in the second century and the twentieth hundred which have ended.
In the first, we were wind from below, unexpectedly awoken. From very far back in time, memory was made breath of fire. Fierce was the look and hard was the path, we returned, then, as the dead of always, but this time in order to wrest a place in life. With us, the mountain thus knelt down on the land and blew our history through the streets where the tyrant dwells.
With the second reflection, we were lips for the word and ears for the heart of the other. The fire remained quiet and the heart learned to conjugate by broadening ours. Shield and blade thus made, the word resisted in that way, and betrayal was rendered futile.
With the spark of the third reflection, we made agreement with the one who governs so that we who are color and blood of the earth might have a dignified place with everyone. The one who governed did not honor his word. We, however, became bridge for other worlds. Thus we learned that dignity is not the exclusive property of any nation, and that goodness has many faces and speaks many tongues.
It was in the fourth reflection that those who govern and sustain us took the first step. One thousand one hundred and eleven times our gaze looked upon the solitude finally defeated. Nonetheless, the stupidity that governs with blood wanted to block so much gazing. "Acteal" it is called where they will still never close their eyes.
The fifth reflection was growing resistance, making it school and lesson which gave direction. There, alongside the one who says he governs, war, destruction, lie and intolerance. Here, quiet dignity, rebel silence, self-governance.
The sixth reflection traveled much, five times a thousand, to all the lands of those we call brothers. We asked of them, we listened to them. We held our word so that it would become fruitful and, in its time, it might find its time.
The seventh finally came, and with it, the one that was already tottering fell. The other came, with many faces and without face, with name and unnamed, and, completely anonymous, not the last, but indeed a ladder. The one who never imagined that anything would be possible without his tutelage, found himself alone and fell, to the regret of no one.
With the seventh reflection completed, the most old of the first ones spoke to us through the mouths of our most recent dead. They spoke to us and they told us that the seventh was the moment to return to the earth which is growing upwards. Where the gentleman with much talking and little listening has his palace. Where dwells reason which can guide the good law. Where the other different is our equal. Where struggle is the bread and salt of every day.
How can this government display itself in front of the eyes of the world as long as this absurd and cruel situation continues? How can they speak of "change", of "democracy", of "justice", if they are maintaining their troops as an occupation army? The Federal Army should leave Guadalupe Tepeyac, not because it is one of the requisites for the renewal of dialogue, but because no one can speak of peace while the warlike actions begun by the previous government continue.
Still remaining are the military barracks of Roberto Barrios, La Garrucha, Cuxulja', Jolnachoj and the Euseba River. In Roberto Barrios the army does not only have a barracks. It is also maintaining a checkpoint day and night which inhibits the movement of the indigenous in the area, thus contradicting Senor Fox's statements and the government propaganda which speak of the checkpoints having been suspended. The only purpose of the military position of Roberto Barrios - as well as those of La Garrucha, Cuxulja', Jolnachoj and the Euseba River - is to threaten the zapatista cultural centers which are close to those locations. They have no tactical military, strategic, propaganda, social or economic value. Their only purpose is to intimidate. And that, as has been seen, has been a failure.
Still remaining is the release of all the imprisoned zapatistas. In Chiapas, Tabasco and Quere'taro there are persons who have committed no crime other than that of sympathizing with our cause. There can be no dialogue if we zapatistas are criminals in the eyes of government justice. Their release is fundamental for dialogue.
Still remaining is the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture. The so-called Cocopa law is not the result of a zapatista whim. It was drawn up by senators and deputies from the four principal parties registered as: PRI, PAN, PRD and PT. This law captures the essence of what was agreed to at San Andre's, at whose table not only the federal government and the EZLN were in dialogue, but also indigenous representatives from all the country's ethnic groups, scientists, researchers, humanists and law experts.
For dialogue and peace, during this seventh anniversary of the zapatista uprising, we are calling on all the honest men and women of Mexico and of the world, along with us, to demand that Senor Fox withdraw the Army from Guadalupe Tepeyac, and in that way the indigenous, who have been living in exile for almost six years, may return to their homes;
To demand that the military barracks which are threatening the indigenous zapatista cultural centers, in La Realidad, La Garrucha, Roberto Barrios, Moise's Gandhi and Oventik, be withdrawn once and for all;
To achieve the release of all the zapatista prisoners who are in jails in Quere'taro, Tabasco and Chiapas. Their release will be an act of basic justice for our dead.
And already, many times before this 7, it was written:"Come and see a wild nopal: and there you will calmly see a soaring eagle. There he eats, there he grooms his feathers. And with that your heart will be content: There is the heart of the Co'pil that you were going to wrench out, There, where the water turns and turns again! But there, where it was going to fall, you would have seen amongst the Crags, in that cave between reeds and rushes, That wild nopal has sprung up from the heart of Co'pil. And there we shall be: There we shall await and meet all peoples."
(Taken from the Nahuatl poetry "Foundation of Mexico" in 1325)
Brothers and sisters:
Today it has been seven years of the war against the forgetting. Today, the one who governs says he wants peace. The one who preceded him said the same, and he did not do so, but rather tried to destroy those who defied him by merely living.
That is why we wish to remind everyone, and the one who is government, today, that there are still many injustices which must be put aright.
As a part of the signals which we are demanding for dialogue, we have demanded the withdrawal and closing of seven military positions. Each of them represent an affront to the desire for peace by the great majority of Mexicans and hundreds of thousands of persons from other countries. The withdrawal of the military barracks at Amador Herna'ndez was a good sign and a first step towards the dialogue table, but six positions still remain.
Guadalupe Tepeyac still remains. On February 10, 1995, the residents of this community were stripped of everything they had by Federal Army troops. Preferring exile to serving the occupation troops, the residents of Guadalupe Tepeyac went to the mountain, and they are living there now. For 2149 days these Tojolabal indigenous have been forced to live and die far from their lands. A result of the Zedillo betrayal, this injustice continues today under Se~or Fox's regime.
For dialogue and peace, on this seventh anniversary of the war against forgetting, we are inviting everyone to accompany us to Mexico City, seat of the federal Legislative Branch, and, for us, together, to convince the deputies and senators of the justice represented by the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
Brothers and Sisters:
For many years, those who were the government took, and they helped themselves to it, they tried to destroy the first blood of these lands. Seeing how the most first seed abounded, they grew tired of fighting with us with their most terrible deaths, and then the great gentlemen tried to kill us with forgetting.
But we indigenous resist.We resist unto death that which killing kills. We resist unto death that which kills forgetting. We resist unto death. We live. We are here. So it has been ordered by our most first: Our heartbeat unfolds in the 7. It shall make echo And bridge And path And place And home So that the first heart of this Patria might live, So that silence shall never again be accomplice to crime, So that the word is not lost amidst the noise, So that solitude may be defeated and there be no borders for hope, So that everyone's steps might have dignified path, So that no one may be without place for sowing memory, So that all may come and go, and that walls be not jail, but shelter, So that this country called Mexico may never again forget those whom they are for and with, So that those who were previously outside and persecuted, might be within, and with everyone, being who they are, but with everyone, So that never again will a first of January be necessary which awakens and returns memory, So that the Mexican indigenous might be indigenous and be Mexican. So it is ordered by our most first. It is 7 now. It is now the time of the most small. The time of the indigenous of Mexico. Brothers and Sisters: We are the zapatistas. We do not conquer. We persuade. We are not served. We serve. We are not wall. We are bridge. We do not dictate the steps, we, we are the most small.
Brothers and Sisters:
It has been 7. This year our steps grow wider. Like seven years ago, but with words instead of fire, the hour of the Mexican indigenous is arriving once again. From them, with them and for them, we are today once more lifting the flag of indigenous rights and culture. We shall continue fighting because Mexico shall never again walk in the forgetting. Because the Patria will not again be synonymous with exclusion. Because the morning shall find us alongside all the different ones.
VIVAN THE MEXICAN INDIGENOUS!
VIVEN THE EXCLUDED OF THE ENTIRE WORLD!
VIVA THE ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION!
VIVAN OUR DEAD FOREVER!
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ________________________ Translated by irlandesa