Chiapas: The 13th Stele – Parts 5 and 6


[translated by irlandesa]

 

Part Five:  A History


The history of the rebel zapatista Autonomous Municipalities is relatively young, it is 7 years old, going on 8.  Although they were declared at the time the December 1994 siege was broken, the rebel zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (the MAREZ) still took a while to become reality.

 

Today, the exercise of indigenous autonomy is a reality in zapatista lands, and we are proud to say that it has been led by the communities themselves.  The EZLN has been engaged in this process only in order to accompany, and to intervene when there have been conflicts or deviations.  That is why the EZLN’s spokesperson has not been the same as the Autonomous Municipalities’.  The Autonomous Municipalities themselves have directly communicated their denuncias, requests, agreements, “twinnings” (not a few rebel zapatista Autonomous Municipalities maintain relationships with municipalities in other countries, primarily in Italy).  If the autonomous have now asked the EZLN to fulfill the duties of spokesperson, it is because they have entered into a higher stage of development and, having broadened, announcements are not the purview of one, or several, municipalities.  That is the reason for the agreement that the EZLN would announce these current changes.

 

The problems of the autonomous authorities, in the period which is now over, can be divided into two types:  those having to do with their relationship with national and international civil society, and those having to do with self-governance, that is, with relations with zapatista and non-zapatista communities.

 

In their relationship with national and international civil society, the primary problem has been an unbalanced development of the Autonomous Municipalities, of the communities located within them, and, even, of the zapatista families who live there.  Those Autonomous Municipalities which are most well known (like those which were the seats of the now defunct “Aguascalientes”) or closer at hand (closer to urban centers or with highway access), have received more projects and more support.  The same thing has taken place with the communities.  The most well known and those along the highway receive more attention from “civil societies.”

 

In the case of zapatista families, what happens is that, when civil society visits the communities or works on projects or sets up a peace camp, they usually build special relationships with one or more families in the community.  Those families will, obviously, have more advantages – assignments, gifts or special attention – than the rest, even though they are all zapatistas.  Nor is it unusual for those who interact with civil society because of the position they occupy in the community, in the Autonomous Municipality, in the region or in the area, to receive special attention and gifts which often give rise to talk in the rest of the community and do not follow the zapatista criterion of “to each according to his needs.”

 

I should clarify that it is not a bad relationship, nor what someone proudly called “well intentioned counterinsurgency,” but rather something natural in human relations.  It can, however, produce imbalances in community life if there are no counterbalances to that privileged attention.

 

Regarding the relationship with zapatista communities, the “govern obeying” has been administered without distinction.  The authorities must see that communities’ agreements are carried out, their decisions must be regularly informed, and the collective “weight”, along with the “word of mouth” which functions in all the communities, become a kind of monitoring which is difficult to avoid.  Even so, instances take place of persons managing to get around this and to become corrupt, but it does not get very far.  It is impossible to conceal illicit enrichment in the communities.  The guilty party is punished by being compelled to do collective work and to repay to the community whatever he wrongfully took.

 

When the authority goes amiss, becomes corrupt or, to use a local term, “is a shirker,” he is removed from his position, and a new authority replaces him.  In the zapatista communities, the position of authority is not remunerated at all (during the time that the person is in authority, the community helps to support him).  It is conceived as work in the collective interest, and it is rotated.  It is not infrequently enforced by the collective in order to punish laxness or indifference of some of its members, such as, when someone misses a lot of the community assemblies, they are punished by being given a position such as municipal agent or ejidal commissioner.

 

This “form” of self-governance (of which I am giving just the sketchiest summary) is not an invention or contribution of the EZLN.  It comes from further back in time.  When the EZLN was born, it had already been operating for a good while, although only at the level of each community.

 

It was because of the enormous growth of the EZLN (as I have already explained, this was at the end of the 80s), that this practice moved from the local to the regional.  Functioning with local responsables (that is, those in charge of the organization in each community), regional ones (a group of communities) and area ones (a group of regions), the EZLN saw that those who did not discharge their duties were, in a natural fashion, replaced by another.  Although here, given that it is a political-military organization, the command makes the final decision.

 

What I mean by this is that the EZLN’s military structure in some way “contaminated” a tradition of democracy and self-governance.  The EZLN was, in a manner of speaking, one of the “undemocratic” elements in a relationship of direct community democracy (another anti-democratic element is the Church, but that’s a matter for another paper).

 

When the Autonomous Municipalities began operating, self-governance did not move just from the local to the regional, it also emerged (always tendentially) from the “shadow” of the military structure.  The EZLN does not intervene at all in the designation or removal of autonomous authorities,  and it has limited itself to only pointing out that, given that the EZLN, by principle, is not fighting for the taking of power, none of the military command or members of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee can occupy a position of authority in the community or in the Autonomous Municipalities.  Those who decide to participate in the autonomous governments must definitively resign from their organizational position within the EZLN.

 

I am not going to expand much on the operations of the Autonomous Councils.  They have their own methods of acting (“their way,” as we say) as guarantor, and there are not a few witnesses (national and international “civil societies” who have seen them functioning and who work with them directly).

 

I do not, however, want to leave the impression that it is something perfect or that it should be idealized.  The “govern obeying” in zapatista territories is a tendency, and it is not exempt from ups and downs, contradictions and errors, but it is a dominant tendency.  Its having managed to survive in conditions of persecution, harassment and poverty that have rarely existed in the history of the world speaks to the fact that it has benefited the communities.  In addition, the autonomous councils have managed to carry forward, with the fundamental support of “civil societies,” a colossal labor:  the building of the material conditions for resistance.

 

Charged with governing a territory in rebellion, that is, without any institutional support and under persecution and harassment, the autonomous councils have focused their efforts on two fundamental aspects: health and education.

 

In health, they have not limited themselves to building clinics and pharmacies (always helped by “civil societies,” it must not be forgotten), they also train health workers and maintain constant campaigns for community health and disease prevention.

 

…One of those campaigns came very close, once, to costing me being criticized in assembly (I don’t know if you know what it’s like being criticized in an assembly, but, if not, it’s enough to tell you that hell must be something like that) and being “looked at” by the community (the people “look” at you, but with one of those looks which make you tremble, in sum, a kind of purgatory).  It so happened that, I think I was in La Realidad, I was passing through, and I spent the night in one of the huts the compas have for these cases.  The community’s “health committee” was going around checking out the latrines in each house (there was an agreement that the latrines had to be regularly blocked with lime or ash in order to prevent the spread of disease).  Our latrine, of course, had neither lime nor ash.  The “health committee” told me, kindly, “compañero subcomandante insurgente Marcos, we’re checking out the latrines by agreement of the community, and your latrine doesn’t have lime or ash, so you have to put it in, and we’re going to come tomorrow to see if it has it then.”  I began babbling something about the trip, the lame horse, the communiqués, military movements, the paramilitaries and I don’t remember what all else.  The “health committee” listened patiently until I stopped talking and said only “that’s all compañero subcomandante insurgente Marcos.”  When the “health committee” came by the next day, the latrine, of course, had ash, lime, sand, but not cement, only because I couldn’t find any and seal the latrine up forever…

 

Regarding education – in lands where there had been no schools, let alone teachers – the Autonomous Councils (with the help of “civil societies,” I will not tire of repeating) built schools, trained education promoters and, in some cases, even created their own curricula.  Literacy manuals and textbooks are created by “education committees” and promoters, accompanied by “civil societies” who know about those subjects.  In some areas (not in all, it’s true), they have managed to see to it that girls – who have been traditionally deprived of access to learning – go to school.  Although they have also seen to it that women are no longer sold and may freely choose their mate, what feminists call “gender discrimination” still exists in zapatista lands.  The “women’s revolutionary law” still has a long way to go in being fulfilled.

 

Continuing with education, in some places the zapatista bases have made agreements with teachers from the democratic section of the teachers’ union (those who aren’t with Gordillo) that they will not do counterinsurgency work and will respect the curricula recommended by the Autonomous Councils.  Zapatistas in fact, these democratic teachers accepted the agreement, and they have fully complied with it.

 

Neither the health nor the educational services take in all the zapatista communities, it’s true, but a large number of them, the majority, now have a means of obtaining medicine, of being treated for an illness and for having a vehicle for taking them to the city in case of illness or serious accident.  Literacy and primary education are hardly widespread, but one region already has an autonomous secondary school which, incidentally, recently “graduated” a new generation made up of men and, ojo, indigenous women.

 

…A few days ago, they showed me the diplomas and school-leaving certificates from the Rebel Autonomous Zapatista Secondary School.  My humble opinion is that they should have made them out of chewing gum, because at the top they have “EZLN. Zapatista Army of National Liberation,” and then they read (in “Castillo” and in Tzotzil) “The Rebel Autonomous Zapatista Educational System of National Liberation (referring to how it operates in Los Altos, because there are other educational systems in other areas) certifies that student so-and-so has satisfactorily completed the three grades of the Autonomous Secondary School, in accordance with the Zapatista Plans and Programs in ESRAZ, Primero de Enero of 1994 Rebel Autonomous Zapatista Secondary School, obtaining an average of__.  Therefore our Educational System recognizes your efforts, your contributions to the resistance struggle and invites you to share with our peoples what the people have given you.”  And it then says “For a liberating education! For a scientific and popular education!  I put myself at the service of my people.”  And so, in the event of persecution, the student will not only be unable to show it, she will also have to eat it, that’s why it would be better if it were chewing gum.  There is also the report card (which appears as “Recognition”), and there you can read the subjects (in reality, they aren’t subjects, but “areas”) which were completed: Humanism, Sports, Arts, Reflection on Reality, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Reflections on the Mother Language, Communication, Mathematics and Productions and Services to the Community.  There are only two assessments:  “A” (“area approved”) and “ANA” (“area not approved”).  I know that the “Anas” of the world are going to be offended, but there’s nothing I can do, because, like I say, autonomies are autonomies…

 

Education is free, and the “education committees” go to great efforts (I repeat: with the support of “civil societies”) to see that each student has his own notebook and her pencil, without having to pay for it.

 

In health, efforts are being made to see that it is free as well.  In some zapatista clinics, they no longer charge the compañeros, not for the consult, not for the medicine, not for the operation (if it’s necessary and able to be performed in our circumstances), and in the others only the cost of the medicine is charged, not the consult nor the medical care.  Our clinics have the help and direct participation of specialists, surgeons, doctors, nurses from national and international civil society, as well as from students and assistants in medicine and odontology from UNAM, from UAM and from other institutions of higher education.  They do not charge one single peso, and, not infrequently, they pay out of their own pockets.

 

I know that some of you will be thinking that this is starting to look like a government report, and the only thing missing is my saying “the number of poor have been reduced” or some other “Fox-ism”, but no, the number of poor have increased here, because the number of zapatistas have increased, and one thing goes with the other.

 

That is why I want to emphasize that all of this is taking place under conditions of extreme poverty, shortages and technical and information limitations, in addition to the fact that the government does everything possible to block those projects which come from other countries.

 

A short time ago, I was talking with some “civil societies” about the suffering they had to go through in order to bring a freezer that worked off solar energy.  The project involved vaccinating children, but the majority of the communities do not have electricity or, if they do have it, they don’t have a refrigerator.  And so the freezer would allow the vaccine to be maintained until it was administered to those who needed it.  Fine, it so happened that, in order to bring the freezer, they had to go through an infinity of bureaucratic procedures and, according to their investigation, there was only one organization which could bring what they wanted in from the outside expeditiously:  Martha Sahagún de Fox’s “Let’s Go Mexico Foundation.”  They did not, of course, resort to that publicity agency.  They carried out all the procedures, and the freezer will be installed, although late, and there will be vaccinations.

 

In addition to education and health, the Autonomous Councils look at problems with land, work and trade, where they are making a little progress.  They also look at the issues of housing and food.  Where we are in our infancy.  Where things are doing a bit well is in culture and information.  In culture, the defense of language and cultural traditions is being promoted above all.  In information, news in local languages is being transmitted through the various zapatista radio stations.  Also being regularly transmitted, alternating with music of all kinds, are messages recommending that men respect the women, and calling for women to organize themselves and to demand respect for their rights.  And, it may not be much, but our coverage on the war in Iraq was very superior to CNN’s (which, strictly speaking, isn’t saying much).

 

The Autonomous Councils also administer justice.  The results are erratic.  In some places (in San Andres Sacamch’en de los Pobres, for example) even the PRIs go to the autonomous authorities because, as they say, “they do take care of it and resolve the problem.”  In others, as I will explain now, there are problems.

 

If the relationship between the Autonomous Councils and the communities is full of contradictions, the relationship with non-zapatista communities has been one of constant friction and confrontation.

 

In the offices of non-governmental human rights defenders (and in the Comandancia General of the EZLN), there are a fair few denuncias against zapatistas for alleged human rights violations, injustices and arbitrary acts.  In the case of the denuncias which the Comandancia receives, they are turned over to the committees in the region in order to investigate their veracity and, when the results are positive, to resolve the problem, bringing the parties together in order to come to agreement.

 

But in the case of human rights defenders organizations, there is doubt and confusion, because there has been no definition as to whom they should be directed.  To the EZLN or to the Autonomous Councils?

 

And they are right (the human rights defenders), because there is no clarity on this matter.  There is also the problem of differences between statute law and “uses and customs” (as the jurists say) or “path of good thinking” (as we say).  The resolution of the latter belongs to those who have made the defense of human rights their lives.  Or, as in the case of Digna Ochoa (whom the special prosecutor regarded as nothing more than an office worker  – as if being an office worker was somehow less – but who was, and is, a defender for the politically persecuted), their death.  Regarding a clear definition of whom one should direct oneself to in order to process those denuncias, it belongs to the zapatistas.  It will be made known soon how they will try to resolve them.

 

In sum, there are not a few problems confronting indigenous autonomy in zapatista lands.  In order to try and resolve some of them, important changes have been made in its structure and operation.  But I will tell you of these later, now I just want to give a brief sketch of where we’re at.

 

This long explication is owing to the fact that indigenous autonomy has not been the work of just the zapatistas.  If the process has been carried out exclusively by the communities, its realization has had the support of many and many more.

 

If the uprising of January 1, 1994 was possible because of the conspiratorial complicity of tens of thousands of indigenous, the building of autonomy in rebel lands is possible because of the complicity of hundreds of thousands of persons of different colors, different nationalities, different cultures, different languages, in short, of different worlds.

 

They, with their help, have made possible (for the good, because the bad is our responsibility alone), not the resolution of the demands of the rebel zapatista indigenous, but their being able to improve their living conditions a bit, and, above all, to survive and make grow one more, perhaps the smallest, of the alternatives in the face of a world which excludes all the “others,” that is, indigenous, young people, women, children, migrants, workers, teachers, campesinos, taxi drivers, shopkeepers, unemployed, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, committed and honest religious persons, artists and progressive intellectuals and____(add whatever is missing).

 

There should also be a diploma for all of them (and those who are not them), which says “The Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Rebel Zapatista Indigenous Communities certify that____ (name of the accomplice in question) is our brother/sister and has, in these lands and with us, a dusk-colored heart as home, dignity as food, rebellion as flag, and, for tomorrow, a world where many worlds fit.  Given in zapatista lands and skies at such and such a day of such and such a month of the year, etcetera.”  And it would be signed by those zapatistas who know how to do so, and those who can’t would leave their mark.  I, in a corner, would put:

 

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

 

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

 

Mexico,  July of 2003.

 

(To Be Continued…)  

 


Part Six:  A Good Government


…In each one of the five “Caracoles” which are being created in rebel territory, they are working at top speed to see that everything is ready (well, like a compa committee member told me:  “It’s going to be a bit ready, but not nearly, but a bit enough”).  With more enthusiasm than wisdom, they are constructing, painting (or repainting) buildings, cleaning, straightening up, reordering.  A constant hammering-sawing-digging-planting is resounding in the mountains of the Mexican southeast, with background music that varies from one place to the other.  There, for example, are “Los Bukis” and “Los Temerarios.”  Someplace else, “Los Tigres del Norte” and “El Dueto Castillo.”  Over there, “Filiberto Remigio,” “Los Nakos,” “Gabino Palomares,” “Oscar Chávez.”  Over that way, “Maderas Rebeldes” (which is a zapatista group which, surprisingly, has been climbing the local “hit parade” by leaps and bounds – but I haven’t found out if they’re climbing up or down).

 

And, in each “Caracol,” a new building, the “Casa de la Junta de Buen Gobierno” [House of the Good Government Junta] can be made out.  As far as can be seen, there will be a “Good Government Junta in each region, and it involves an organizing effort on the part of the communities, not only to confront the problems of autonomy, but also to build a more direct bridge between them and the world.  So…:

 

In order to counteract unbalanced development in the Autonomous Municipalities and the communities.

 

In order to mediate conflicts which might arise between Autonomous Municipalities, and between Autonomous Municipalities and government municipalities.

 

In order to deal with denuncias against Autonomous Councils for human rights violations, protests and disagreements, to investigate their veracity, to order Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Councils to correct these errors and to monitor their compliance.

 

In order to monitor the implementation of projects and community work in the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities, making sure that they are carried out in the time frames and methods which were agreed by the communities;  in order to promote support for community projects in the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities.

 

In order to monitor the fulfillment of those laws which, by common agreement with the communities, are operative in the Rebel Zapatista Municipalities.

 

In order to serve and guide national and international civil society so that they can visit communities, carry out productive projects, set up peace camps, carry out research (ojo: those which provide benefits for the communities) and any other activity permitted in the rebel communities.

 

In order to, in common accord with the CCRI-CG of the EZLN, promote and approve the participation of compañeros and compañeras of the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in activities or events outside the rebel communities; and in order to choose and prepare those compañeros and compañeras.

 

In short, in order to see to it that, in rebel zapatista lands, governing, governing obeying, the “Good Government Juntas” will be formed on August 9, 2003.

 

They shall be seated in the “Caracoles,” with one junta for each rebel region, and it will be formed by 1 or 2 delegates from each one of the Autonomous Councils of that region.

 

The following will continue to be the exclusive government functions of the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities:  the provision of justice; community health; education; housing; land; work; food; commerce; information and culture, and local movement.

 

The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee in each region will monitor the operations of the Good Government Juntas in order to prevent acts of corruption, intolerance, injustice and deviation from the zapatista principle of “Governing Obeying.”

 

Each Good Government Junta has its own name, chosen by the respective Autonomous Councils:

 

The Selva Border Good Government Junta (which encompasses Marqués de Comillas, the Montes Azules region, and all the border municipalities with Guatemala to Tapachula), is called “Hacia la Esperanza” ["Towards Hope"], and takes in the Autonomous Municipalities of “General Emiliano Zapata,” “San Pedro de Michoacán,” “Libertad de los Pueblos Mayas” and “Tierra y Libertad.”

 

The Tzots Choj Good Government Junta (which encompasses part of those lands where the government municipalities of Ocosingo, Altamirano, Chanal, Oxchuc, Huixtán, Chilón, Teopisca and Amatenango del Valle are located), is called “Corazón del Arcoíris de la Esperanza” ["Heart of the Rainbow of Hope"] (in local language, “Yot’an te xojobil yu’un te smaliyel”), and includes the Autonomous Municipalities of “17 de Noviembre,” “Primero de Enero,” “Ernesto Ché Guevara,” “Olga Isabel,” “Lucio Cabañas,” “Miguel Hidalgo” and “Vicente Guerrero.”

 

The Selva Tzeltal Good Government Junta (which encompasses part of the land where the government municipality of Ocosingo is located), is called “El Camino del Futuro” ["Path of the Future"] (in local language: “Te s’belal lixambael”), and includes the Autonomous Municipalities of “Francisco Gómez,” “San Manuel,” “Francisco Villa” and “Ricardo Flores Magón.”

 

The Northern Region Good Government Junta (which encompasses part of those lands where the municipal governments of the north of Chiapas are found, from Palenque to Amatán), is called “Nueva Semilla Que Va a Producir” ["New Seed Which Shall Bring Forth"] (in Tzeltal: “yach’il ts’ unibil te yax bat’poluc”; and in Chol: “Tsi Jiba Pakabal Micajel Polel”), and includes the Autonomous Municipalities of “Vicente Guerrero,” “Del Trabajo,” “La Montaña,” “San José en Rebeldía,” “La Paz,” “Benito Juárez” and “Francisco Villa.”

 

Los Altos of Chiapas Good Government Junta (which encompasses part of those lands where the government municipalities of Los Altos of Chiapas are found and which extends to Chiapa de Corzo, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Berriozábal, Ocozocuatla and Cintalapa), is called “Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo” ["Central Heart of the Zapatistas in Front of the World"] (in local language: “Ta olol yoon zapatista tas tuk’il sat yelob sjunul balumil”), and includes the Autonomous Municipalities of “San Andrés Sacamch’en de los Pobres,” “San Juan de la Libertad,” “San Pedro Polhó,” “Santa Catarina,” “Magdalena de la Paz,” “16 de Febrero” and “San Juan Apóstol Cancuc.”

 

Among the Good Government Juntas’ first regulations are the following:

 

One. –  Donations and help from national and international civil society will no longer be allowed to be earmarked to anyone in particular or to a specific community or Autonomous Municipality.  The Good Government Junta shall decide, after evaluating the circumstances of the communities, where that help most needs to be directed.  The Good Government Junta will impose the “brother tax,” which is 10% of the total cost of the project,  on all projects.  In other words, if a community, municipality or collective receives economic support for a project, it must give the 10% to the Good Government Junta, so that it can earmark it for another community which is not receiving help.  The objective is to balance somewhat the economic development of the communities in resistance.  Leftovers, charity and the imposition of projects shall, of course, not be accepted.

 

Two. –  Only those persons, communities, cooperatives and producers and marketing associations which are registered in a Good Government Junta shall be recognized as zapatistas.  In that way, persons shall be prevented from passing as zapatistas who are not only not zapatistas, but are even anti-zapatista (such is the case with some organic coffee producers and marketing cooperatives).  Surpluses or bonuses from the marketing of products from zapatista cooperatives and societies shall be given to the Good Government Juntas in order to help those compañeros and compañeras who cannot market their products or who do not receive any kind of aid.

 

Three. –  It is not unusual for dishonest people to deceive national and international civil society, presenting themselves in cities as “zapatistas,” purportedly sent “on secret or special missions” to ask for money for sick people, projects, trips or things of that nature.  Sometimes they even go so far as to offer training in purported, and false, EZLN “safe houses” in Mexico City.  In the former case, intellectuals, artists and professional persons, and not a few local government officials, have been deceived.  In the latter, it has been young students who have been the victims of the lie.  The EZLN is emphasizing that it does not have any “safe house” in Mexico City, and it does not offer any training whatsoever.  These bad persons, according to our reports, are involved in banditry, and the money they receive, which they are supposedly requesting for the communities, is used for their own personal benefit.  The EZL:N has now begun an investigation in order to determine who is responsible for usurping their name and for swindling good and honest people.  Since it is difficult to contact the Comandancia General of the EZLN in order to confirm whether such and such a person is part of the EZLN or their support bases, and whether what they are saying is true or not, now they will just have to get in contact with the Good Government Juntas (the one in the region where the “swindler” says he is from), and in a matter of minutes they will be told if it is true or not, and whether or not he is a zapatista.  To this end, the Good Government Juntas will be issuing certifications and accreditations which should, however, still be corroborated.

 

These and other decisions will be taken by the Good Government Juntas (which are so called, I want to make clear, not because they are already “good,” but in order to clearly differentiate them from the “bad government”).

 

And so, “civil societies” will now know with whom they must reach agreement for projects, peace camps, visits, donations and etcetera.  Human rights defenders will now know to whom they should turn over the denuncias they receive and from whom they should expect a response.  The army and the police now know whom to attack (just bearing in mind that we, meaning the EZLN, have already gotten involved there).  The media which says what they’re paid to say now know whom to slander and/or ignore.  Honest media now know where they can go in order to request interviews or stories on the communities.  The federal government and its “commissioner” now know what they have to do to not exist.  And the Power of Money now knows who else they should fear.

 

…The noise and activity continue.  Someplace someone turns the radio dial and, suddenly, one can clearly hear:  “This is Radio Insurgente, Voice of those Without Voice, transmitting from somewhere in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,” and then a marimba sounds the unmistakable rhythms of “The horizon can now be seen.”  The compañeros and compañeras stop their work for a moment and begin exchanging comments in indigenous language.  Just for a moment.  Once again the celebration of work resumes.

 

It’s odd.  It has suddenly occurred to me that these men and women do not appear to be building a few houses.  It seems as if it is a new world which is being raised in the middle of all this bustle.  Perhaps not.  Maybe they are, in effect, just a few buildings, and it’s been nothing but the effect of shadow and light which the dawn is extending across the communities where the “caracoles” are being drawn, which made me think it was a new world that was being built.

 

I slip away to a corner of the dawn, and I light my pipe and uncertainty.  Then I hear myself, clearly, saying to myself:  “Perhaps not…but perhaps yes…”

 

(To Be Continued…)

 

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

 

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

 

Mexico,  July of 2003.

Leave a comment