Brothers and sisters of the UAM-Azcapotzalco:
Brothers and sisters of the neighborhoods of Northwest Mexico City:
You must all excuse me, but I have not managed to prepare anything special for this event. I have, therefore, had to resort to the advice of a specialist in issues of this area, since he once, he says, worked in what was once a refinery, located close by here.
Since you are, most certainly, very knowledgeable about the history of the lands you walk, you will already know that I am referring to Durito, known (he says) at that time as "Heavy Metal Durito," and not exactly because of his spectacular abilities, but because he was buying and selling barrels from the refinery and reselling them as archeological pieces to Coparmex leaders who, as everyone knows, are very knowledgeable, know a lot about history, and have always been concerned about the preservation of historical heritage.
"It was really easy," Durito tells me. "They only had to see that the pieces were oxidized and rusted to be convinced that they belonged to an ancient civilization."
Durito studied at the UAM, and he was a professor there, and he had to engage in these things in order to pay for his tuition and cover his salary.
Durito became bored quickly because, he said, there was nothing admirable about conning imbeciles, and he thought it would be better to fight for the helpless. And so he became a university worker, and he joined the SITUAM. It was during this time that they wanted to introduce the category of "'C' Beetle, time incomplete" It was then that he moved from "AZCA", as he says, and he went to other refineries which required his modest efforts and his precocious business initiative.
Durito, as everyone already knows (and if you don't know, you're spending your tuition to no avail), embraced the noble profession of knight errantry, and he learned a million and one arts there, as well as a wealth of knowledge that would put the Encyclopedia Britannica and all its cybernetic links to shame, reducing it to the category of school dictionary "The Crumbs S.A. de C.V. de R.L.", whose motto is "The street vendor closest to your wallet."
And so, I then asked Durito if he knew why the "hard-liners" in the Congress didn't want to engage in dialogue with the zapatistas. And here is what he told me:
"My dear and flu-ridden peanut nose..."
"It's not flu, it's imecas," I interrupted him.
"So be it," Durito conceded. "Don't think those scoundrels are refusing you the ear and the word because of that ghastly mask, since it's common knowledge that you'd be even more ghastly without it..."
Durito paused so that all of you could start shouting that marvelous slogan which reconciles us with ourselves, and which goes: You are not ugly, you are not ugly!
Since the slogan was just a slogan, and reality is reality and nothing more, Durito continued:
"You must find the reason yourself in what I am going to tell you...
The professional politician is accustomed to confronting life as if it were a pencil, of the kind that almost no one uses any more, with lead on one end, and an eraser on the other. Making politics has come to be like that, like a continuous writing and erasing, always trying to improve the tracing of the letters and their complex stringing together to make words, which is also how worlds are called. They try to rectify errors with the eraser, to start each page over again, to embellish the letters, to hone the word, to decorate the world. The politician always tries hard to improve his penmanship, and he makes power a magnificent pencil sharpener with which he hones his words and turns them elegant and seductive. He astonishes many, and some applaud him. But a pencil sharpener, as every student knows, in addition to sharpening the pencil, also uses it up and makes it smaller. Soon it is so small that it becomes useless, and it ends up, like everything the politician hones, in the wastebasket.
Another pencil then takes its place, and the writing of politics begins again. The intellectuals call the dead letters "democratic change." But the power is always ready to offer another pencil sharpener, and there will always be a wastebasket for the sharpened pencils of politics.
The history of those in power in politics only repeats itself, the words are the same, only the drawing of the letters changes, their slant, their flourishes, their size. But the words do not change, and, ergo, neither do the worlds.
The problem, then, is not the beauty of the letters, but that words announce the worlds which, after being left behind, give birth to other words, and so on.
For example, at times a pencil is not even necessary. At times it is enough for a hand to trace a name on the sea or the sand. A world, that is, in which there are two: the one who is named and the one who has in his hand the point which creates the mutual tomorrow.
Did you understand?" Durito asked me.
"Sure," I responded. "It's better to use an automatic pen, the kind that changes its answers."
"Good heavens! What strange and perverse wizard has cursed me by putting you as my assistant? In truth, I have never known a companion so long of nose and so short of wit. Automatic pencil, my foot! Think, blockhead!"
"A nib, then?" I suggested timidly.
"It's too much! I'm losing the best years of my life trying to educate a scoundrel like you! To the devil with nibs as well! And let's go, because we have to go to Azcapotzalco, and then to Iztapalapa, and afterwards to Xochimilco, where they had the idea of dividing up this university, so that it would be easier to control it, and you see now, divided and everything, zapatista it is, and zapatista it will be."
"Let's go, then," I said, resignedly, but, without Durito noticing, I had taken the indelible ink marker, with which I wrote in one of the bathrooms "UAM-Azcapotzalco has two "Z's" so that, even if they want to abbreviate it, it will always be zapatista."
Vale. Salud and don't think I didn't understand. The issue is not about what you write with, but the hand which dreams when it writes. And that is what the pencil is afraid of, to realize that it is not necessary.
>From the Azcapotzalco Unit of the Autonomous Metropolitan University.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, March of 2001.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN _____________________ Translated by irlandesa