Brothers and sisters of the Iztapalapa UAM:
Students, teachers and workers of the SITUAM:
Brothers and sisters of the neighborhoods of East Mexico City:
We would like to thank everyone for the time and the space they have opened for our word. If we are taking pencils, erasers and pencil sharpeners to the UAM-Azcapotzalco, we are bringing books, libraries and silences to the UAM-Iztapalapa.
Books, as everyone knows, are misunderstood beings. The Indian peoples are also misunderstood, but the similarities do not end there. Books are also persecuted, as are we, and they have their own jails, with cruel cells disguised as shelves, and their legal proceedings can be read in the card files, organized, absurdly, in alphabetical order. Ignoring the fact that books can be classified by their flights: there are those of timid and stuttering flight, which, instead of flying, barely make a few little leaps. There are those of florid flight, which trace joyful lines when their pages-wings are unfurled. There are the dilettante and disperse which, in addition to going about the branches, flit from one tree to the other, without deciding, or committing themselves, to anything or anyone. There are those of impotent flight, whose weight keeps them from moving at all, let alone from trying to fly. There are those of volatile flight, barely a giddy flapping, then they dissipate. There are those of long and decided flight, who know from the beginning where they are going, and they fly there with determination. There are those of unpredictable flight, who do not reveal their nature until they are open. There are those of nostalgic flight, who look backwards and stumble in the present. And there are those which look all around, in order to thus know where they are and where they are heading.
As everyone knows, there are also many kinds of silences. There are those indifferent to everything that takes place around them. There are those cynical towards another's pain. There are those complicit with crime and unfairness. There are those impotent in the face of the one who commits outrage. There are those arrogant who humiliate with the word denied. There are those fertile for dream. And there are those subversive and rebellious.
For each book - for, that is, each flight - there is a silence. Not infrequently, however, misunderstandings reign, and then the prison closes over both: containing the flight and the silence.
But other times there is meeting, and silence flies flight, and flight silences silence.
But other times there is meeting, and silence flies flight, and flight silences silence. And then miraculous things take place: lights leap forth which illuminate corners whose existence were unknown to us. Thoughts are born which no word embraces. Paths are opened for those with no feet. Or, as with us, keys are created for doors which are yet unmade .
A silence may most certainly meet with a book, and, upon meeting, free the flight which encloses, and lift the flight upward and break the silence.
We should not be surprised or frightened if there are libraries and books, jails and silences and flights.
We should be surprised or frightened if there is nowhere a silence poised to be broken and thus free the flight which the word promises. We should be surprised or frightened if someone believes they are free if they stay far away from books and libraries, who believes they are free if they are silent alone and if they speak alone.
And so, as there is a book in a library waiting for the silence to free it, we have not just one, but many, flights in ourselves which are waiting to be freed, as flights are, in fact, freed, that is, a word fighting: dignity.
>From the Iztapalapa Unit - Autonomous Metropolitan
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