That reason win always and never force

Zapatista National Liberation Army
Mexico, March 25, 1995
To: The Dialogue of the Civic Society
Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Mexico
From: Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos
Zapatista National Liberation Army
Mountains of Southeastern Mexico
Chiapas, Mexico

Brothers and sisters:

Welcome to Zapatista territory, which is to say "territory in rebellion against evil government". That is how things are, even though these lands are filled with war. Even though they want to trample dignity with war tanks and even though they want to shut up reason with the noise of planes and helicopters.

We wanted to participate personally in this dialogue, but there are approximately 60,000 olive green reasons that prevent us from doing so. It doesn't matter, we hope that you accept this letter as the means by which our voice, our thinking and our hearts can reach all of you, who, after detaining the government's war, came to our lands to reaffirm the search for civic and peaceful ways to resolve the problems that we, both nationals and foreigners, suffer from in this last part of the 20th century.

We hope that this will not be the last time that you visit us, and that many of you will be able to stay in the "Peace Camps" that are located in various villages in the state of Chiapas, and which have made it possible for our civilian brothers and sisters to return to their homes.

We hope, also, that on another occasion we can be present to receive you as it is the custom to receive brothers and sisters: with flowers and the music of marimbas. We owe you those two things, in addition to everything that we owe you.

In continuation, we present to you our proposal for "Complementary Protocol" for being incorporated into the "Universal Social Convention" which will be approved by you. We are clear that our proposal is equivalent to all the others, that it is subject to discussion, and we will respect from here the decision that you make.

*Complementary Protocol for the Universal Social Convention*

We human beings present today in this place demand:

1. That reason always win and never force.

2. That the majority find what the majority does, imposing its will on the minority, without the minority disappearing or having its right to become the majority restricted.

3. That any man can give any woman any flower in any part of any world, and that this woman give thanks for the flower not with just any smile, but with the best and only one.

4. That the morning no longer be a great question or a disaster waiting to happen; that the morning be just that: the morning.

5. That the night not be a cave of fear; that the night be a bed of desire.

6. That sadness be surprised with a simple look of disdain; and that happiness and laughter be free and never lacking.

7. That for everyone there be, always, bread to illuminate the table, education to feed ignorance, health to surprise death, land to harvest a future, a roof to shelter hope, and work to make hands dignified.

8. That the words and hearts of men and women no longer be prisoners of jails, tombs or threats.

9. That war be part of a long ago and foreign past, and that neither armies nor soldiers be any longer necessary.

10. That those who govern command obeying. That those who do not fulfill this, be changed for others.

11. That there always exists someone who is willing to struggle so that all that came before become not a demand, but a reality.


>From the mountains of southeastern Mexico
Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos
Mexico, March 1995

(translated by Cindy Arnold, volunteer, National Commission for Democracy in Mexico)

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