A Letter and a Poem

July of 2002.

To: Fernando Yañez Muñoz, Architect.

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Don Fernando: Greetings from all the zapatista compañeros and compañeras and from the indigenous communities in resistance. We hope that you, and all of those working alongside you, are in good health and of good cheer. You, as we know, are working alongside other honest men and women in tending to the memory of our people’s struggle. An important part of this memory is being kept in the Museum of Doctor Margil, in the City of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. There are testaments in this museum to a fundamental part of our history as zapatistas, a history of which we are proud and which we are trying, as much as we are able, to honor.

You, and those whom you work with, are zapatistas. And that Museum is zapatista. That is why we have wanted to send you a small gift with zapatista earth. It is a modest homage to all of those men and women who died for liberty after living for the Patria. We hope that there is a place in the Museum for this modest homage from the EZLN to the Mexican men and women who gave birth to that hope which will be celebrating 33 years on this August 6, 2002. It will be a great honor for us to have this zapatista earth shine in the Mexican north on August 6, 2002, and for the lines to be listened to, timidly, of this rudimentary attempt at a poem, entitled “Account of the Events” – which I wrote 18 years ago, at the dawn of the EZLN – and which, as is known, already has a place in the Museum of Doctor Margil.

Hoping to see you soon and to once again have the honor of greeting you personally, I bid farewell in the name of all my compañeros and compañeras.

Vale. Salud and may hope gain new spirit when the 3 faces the mirror and memory is given the gift of one of the most honorable moments in the history of Mexico.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. Mexico, July of 2002.

POEM (?) “Account of the Events” “Today, the sixth day of the month of August of the year nineteen hundred and seventy-nine, as history forewarned, the coffee bitter, the tobacco running out, the afternoon declining and everything in place for conspiring against the shadows and darkness which obscure the world and its sun, the below signed appear in front of me, the patria, in order to declare the following.

First. – That the below signed renounce their homes, work, family and studies and all the comforts which have been accumulated in the hands of the few upon the misery of the many.

Second. – That the below signed renounce a future, paid on time, of individual enjoyment.

Third. – That the below signed also renounce the shield of indifference in the face of the suffering of others and the vainglory of a place among the powerful.

Fourth. – That the below signed are prepared for all the sacrifices necessary in order to fight silently and without rest in order to make me, the patria, free and true.

Fifth. – That the below signed are prepared to suffer persecution, calumny and torture, and even to die if it is necessary, in order to achieve what was noted in the Fourth point.

Sixth. – That I, the patria, will know to keep your place in history and to watch over your memory as they watch over my life.

Seventh. – That the below signed will leave enough space under their names so that all honest men and women may sign this document, and, when the moment comes, the entire people shall sign it.

There being nothing left to be said, and very much to do, the below signed leave their blood as example and their steps as guide.

Valiantly and Respectfully,

LIVE FOR THE PATRIA OR DIE FOR LIBERTY. Manuel, Salvador, Alfredo, Manolo, María Luisa, Soledad, Murcia, Aurora, Gabriel, Ruth, Mario, Ismael, Héctor, Tomás Alfonso, Ricardo… And the signatures will follow of those who will have to die and of those who will have to live fighting, in this country of sorrowful history called Mexico, embraced by the sea and, soon, with the wind in its favor.


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