To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples of the world:
With old pain and new death, our heart speaks to you so that your hearts listen. Our pain was in being, hurting it was. Becoming silent, our voice was passing away. Our voice had been of peace, but not of yesterday, not of old peace that was death. Of peace was our voice, of tomorrow's peace. The fire had stayed behind, kept in the days gone by, the fire that spoke for our race when all were deaf to death. Another way our tears asked for, still lost in the arroyos of the mountains. So spoke our dead. The oldest ones then counseled us to look where the sun walks, to ask other brothers of the race, of blood and hope, where our hurt pain should walk, our tired step. This we did, brothers. The silence arrived to put out the fire and there was no arrogance in the word of the true men and women for those who, in other lands and other races, shared the pain and wishes for a tomorrow.
We opened our heart, brothers. We learned to see and to listen to other, different brothers. We listened to their word and saw in their heart. And we saw in their step the same longing that put the fire in our hands, that broke up our face until it was nothing but a gaze, that hid our name and erased our past: the struggle to command, obeying; to leave free, the free word and heart; to give and receive what is deserved. The struggle for democracy, freedom and justice. No more, never less.
The word of these brothers, your word, asked us to try another path, to leave pending and waiting the fire that armed the breast. To talk, and that through the words, would come the destination. It was they, you, the others. Like us, the always forgotten. The always humiliated, like us. The brothers. This we did. Our voice spoke with the powerful lord. Obeying, we sent our word to the great house of money. We spoke and we listened. We were following that path when the treason, again, put arms above words. Our voice was silenced all at once by the noise of the cars of war. Terror was unleashed again in the Mexican lands. He who from arrogance and power looks at us with contempt, denied our name and gave death as a response to our thought.
It wasn't enough for him to deny us a face and life, he wanted to humble our step of dignity, trample our just demands, take truth from our song, sink our flag in oblivion. With the complicity of the big monies and the foreign vocation, he wanted to impose humiliating conditions on us, just to speak. Turning backward the wheel of history, he wanted to force us, by the power of his bayonets, to deny our history. Our women suffered the harassment and the humiliation of the machines of war. Our children grew with bitterness and impotence between their hands. Some, the ones who didn't die. In the men hate sharpened the breast. The greatest grandparents looked again to the earth and asked counsel of the first dead. They spoke. The dead of forever. We. They said this: "Our hand did not rise armed to listen, kneeling, to insults and humiliations. Our step did not rise so that he who is double in his face and in his word could humiliate us, filling hope with lies.
"For justice our hand was armed and our step raised. And justice is only a false promise that the powerful dresses himself with.
"For freedom our hand was armed and our step raised. And freedom is sold for a fistful of coins to the foreign skin.
"For democracy our hand was armed and our step raised. And democracy is still absent by the work of he who cynicism, crime and lies carried into government.
"Everything, brothers, but dignity trampled again.
"Everything, brothers, but lies again on our table.
"Everything, brothers, but to forget once again tomorrow.
Thus they spoke.
This our dead said.
The war came.
Then again we saw the brother come in other clothing. He came to kill. To die. Our hand did not want to again confront he who was sent to kill and to die among the same. For that reason, our past ones went to the mountains; to the caves of those before, we went. Death cornered us and pursued lives that always passed away obscurely, shades of death and of the shadow of a forgetful country. Death came to wield again its knife-edge of oblivion. To kill memory it came. Now our hand filled again with fire to avenge the pain of our own, animals again eating earth, dying persecuted and forgotten.
Now the drums called to war again. Now the bat men and women prepared again their flight of mortal death. Now the night of pain came again to cover the vengeance of the true men and women.
But there came, from where the sun walks, another voice that was not of death. It came great, with the wind it came. Our hurting heart waited and heard what that voice spoke. That the war not go on, it said. That death wait. That the heart of the true men and women not be, yet, a mirror of pain. This we did. The bitterness was put away in the caves and our pain waited for that voice to shout. The voice spoke strongly. How could we not hear it! Many steps was that voice. Great, the song of its drums. Only the arrogant closed his heart. Without fire, with a name and face, that voice raised again the banner of human dignity. For that voice, we were not animals. Men and women again, we were. From other lands came walking that voice. From far away. From the heart of other lands, from other mountains, from other hopes, sisters to ours. It became strong and great. It is a voice. Relief came to our pain, and the waiting harvested hope. A seed, was that voice, in the collective heart that walks in our step.
Brothers: A name, that voice gives us. No more are we the unmentionables.
A name have we, the forgotten. Now our flag can cover, not hiding itself, our dead and our history. We have now a place in the heart of our brothers, - you - and a small corner in the history that really counts: that of the struggle. Having now a collective name, we discovered that death shrinks, and ends up small on us. The worst death, that of oblivion, flees so that the memory of our dead will never be buried together with their bones. We have now a collective name and our pain has shelter. Now we are larger than death.
We have also the hope that just as we received a name, these brothers, - you - will give us tomorrow a face; finish by putting out the fire that lives in our hands; and, instead of the past, give us a future.
They smile, these lives of tomorrow and dead of forever. They dream, the bones of the men of wood in the mountains. They dance, the men and women of corn. Joyful is our heart, although the body hurts. A light lights up these shadows that always dance with death, the true men and women, those of forever.
We are named.
Now we will not die.
Come, brothers, we cannot go. Great is the the strength of you all if you make yourselves one. Come, there will be no fire to receive your step, nor will our heart be closed to your word. Come.
A name we have. Now we will not die. Let us dance.
Now we shall not die. Named are we.
Death to Death!
Long live the EZLN!
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command of the EZLN.