The invitation for a dialogue between the EZLN and civil society

Zapatista Army of National Liberation
September 7, 1998

To the persons and organizations who signed the invitation for a dialogue between the EZLN and civil society

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico ("Chiapas" should go in the blank space, but that word is now considered "insignificant").

My companeros, chiefs of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the EZLN, have told me to respond, in the name of all the zapatistas, to the invitation you made to us to have "a meeting of the signatory organizations and persons with the EZLN," and to "analyze proposals and to reach agreements on the carrying out of the consultation and, in addition, for an exchange of opinions, points of view and possible alternatives for a solution to the conflict."

The conflict (the one which does not exist in the government reports, the one which is so "insignificant" it requires more than half the federal troops just to "contain it," the one which is as equally "irrelevant" to the government as is the blood of the indigenous) continues to be painful and to signify. A year ago senor Zedillo was silent on the war in Chiapas in his Government Report. Weeks later, Acteal pointed out what the silence was concealing: the decision by the government to make crime a government policy. Today, "Chiapas" is again absent from the government's "priorities." What new nightmare does this omission portend?

Senor Zedillo bid farewell on September 1, and in doing so he has decreed that the year 2000 is now here. Those in his cabinet who want to suceed him repeat the lesson: apathy is another way to make war, and, as in the times of the conquest, assassinations of the indigenous are tools for lessons and for warnings.

We have to prevent the repetition of Acteal. And we also must seek the means for solving the unresolved which this pain points out: the recognition of the rights and culture of the indigenous. On this basis it will be possible to finally construct peace, the only peace possible; the peace with justice and dignity. This will not come from above (senor Zedillo has been very eloquent in his silence). It is good that you note you are not trying to be a bridge for the government (besides, the chair is still empty on the side above), but rather a dialogue between civil society and the zapatistas. And, in truth, we must construct the peace in the same way things which are solid and lasting are constructed: from below. Old Antonio says the very first gods created the world starting from below, and the greatest gods remained down there. They were making things from below, and from there they pushed them above. When they were finished, they saw that the world had become round, and they remained in the center, in the heart of the earth. That is why it endures and why the earth is hard, because it was created from below. Because of that, in order to understand what goes on above, one must know to look beneath...

We very much noted, in the invitation you made to us, the broad rainbow of thoughts who had signed it. Beneath every name and abbreviation there are men and women who are the center and the heart of an effort, of a hope and of a history. This demonstrates - in addition to the failure of the government strategy of offering forgetting at bargain prices - the place that memory still occupies among the many dignities who make this country.

And so we want to thank all of you for the invitation, but above all we want to thank you for giving memory the place that tomorrow needs, that place which, for the sake of physical geography, we generally locate between the chest and the back. Some call it heart, others call it soul, but, however it is named, it is what pains us when things such as liberty, democracy and justice...for all...are missing.

And speaking of "all"...

To everyone who invited and signed...

We inform you that we accept with much pleasure the invitation you made to us. It will be an honor for us to meet with all of you, and, together, to begin the consultation on the indigenous law, in addition to exchanging points of view on the current situation. We also inform you that at this time our companero chiefs have begun the selection of the CCRI-CG delegates who will attend, with the EZLN representation, the meeting to which you invited us. We will be waiting to hear more details on this dialogue from you.

Until soon, then, embraces for everyone as you will and, certainly, enough to fill the entire page.

Be well and I hope everyone fits at the meeting: those who signed, those who signed on and all the rest who neither signed nor signed on, but who also want to meet.

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
General Quarters "Playa de Trigo"
Mexico, September 1998

Month of the Homeland (ours, yours and us).

P.S. And are all those who signed going to come? Don't be guerrillas, because then we would have to push 1111 (with everything and the buses).

Not responsible for the publication: Yo merengues.

To the Mexico page