Note from Marcos

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Posted by rdom on January 23, 1998 at 12:47:48:


January, 1998

Planet Earth

Brothers and Sisters:

A little late, but the news about the mobilizations in Mexico and the
world managed to reach us all the way here. According to a count that
you sent us, from December 22, 1997 until January 13, 1998,
mobilizations took place in 130 cities of 27 countries in the 5
continents. Especially, on January 12 of this year, many actions of
different size took place in our country and in different places of the
planet with an identical demand: Stop the war of extermination, punish
those responsible for the Acteal massacre, and enforce the application
of the San Andres' Agreements.

If this answer gets to you with some delay, the same is not true of our
attitude. That same day, January the 12th, in spite of the pain with
which we received the news of the murder of our "compa~era" Guadalupe
Lopez Mendez, the strong echo of your mobilization in Mexico's capital,
in different cities of the country, and in the five continents, did
reach us, and it was confirmed to us that we were right in withstanding,
resisting, and avoiding the provocations wich, today, like yesterday,
wear the olive green uniform.

They tell me that there was a little bit of everything during the
mobilizations, and I am not only talking about the fact that there were
men, women, children, and elderly people, but about the fact that there
were dances, songs, poetry, marches, graffitti, shouts and a lot of
indignation. I also say that there was a little bit of everything
because there were Indigenous people, women, young people, housewives,
students, feminists, homosexuals, worker's unions, farmers, workers,
solidarity committees, intellectuals, artists, undocumented ("sans
papier"), etc., which includes everything. In other words, people,
people with and without a name. People of the kind who say !Ya Basta!,
Enough is Enough!, and write the history which has value, and counts.
People who speaks to us, people we listen to, people we are now writing
to. People like you, like us.

Their shouts reach far, they were heard far and loud, even though they
did not reach those in power. Up there they only hear the noise of
money, and (the voice of) their advisors who, openly or in a veiled way,
cry out for our extermination.

But we did listen. That is why we are endorsing the bull fighter's
vocation and here we are, making passes with our capes at artillery
armed helicopters, bomber airpalnes, war tanks and hunting dogs
(trained, so they say, to detect vanilla scented tobacco; that's why I
am now giving maple scented tobacco a try.)

Our interlocutor is not the Mexican government. That one, as we said,
no longer listens. You are our interlocutors, the thousands and
thousands of people who, in Mexico and the world want and look for the
end of a system of oppression which is nothing but a war against

The thousands and thousands who, opposing the war in Chiapas, oppose
death in Mexico, and the rest of the world; who demand the enforcement
of the San Andres's Agreements because they exact a new type of
inclusive politics aimed at the poorest; those who demand
demilitarization and exact justice instead of bullets and soldiers.As
for you, our hope grows and makes us better because we have known how to
listen. And, Old Antonio used to say, the ones who know how to listen
grow and manage to obtain that their journey continues throughout time,
reaches far and multiplies in many and different other journeys.

>From the mountains' summit, where we are perched, one can see very far.
Over there, for example, we are able to see that a flag fluttering in
the wind as if it were the future. The flag looks very tall and many
are those who hold it up. "It's democracy" one says. "It's freedom"
another (woman) ventures to say. "It's justice", a third person
affirms. Perhaps, I think. Perhaps all three things.

Or perhaps it is dignity, that stubborn way of life and walk that in you
and us turns into an addiction.

Around here, things are more difficult every time. It's evident that
the new "Coordinator for the dialog", Mr. Emilio Rabasa, once again
carries out the role of bait or decoy that Esteban Moctezuma B.(A.K.A.
Guajardo) played yesterday, in 1995. While he talks about a "solution
to the conflict" (Did you notice that no longer does any one in the
government speaks of a "peaceful solution to the conflict"?), the
soldiers polish operational details , complete information, detail plans
and troup distribution.

>From the government we only expect a new attack. "The definitive
solution", say the Power scribes.

>From you, we expect the same thing: an opportunity to live and struggle
to become better.

Now, in the midst of these hours of anguish and uncertainty, we are more
than sure that we shall triumph, that the Indian peoples will be
recognized and included while their difference is respected, that
democracy, liberty, and justice will be shared by all. Maybe we will
not then have the best of all possible worlds, but we shall have the
opportunity to build it.

Images and stories of the Zocalo on the day of January 12, 1998, reach
us down here. Both tell us of the rage and indignation of everyone
demanding justice, of the incredulity before the PGR's versions of the
Acteal massacre, of Mr. Zedillo's loss of prestige. It was, without any
doubt, one of the largest, and most moving marches in our country's
history. There was greatness in its motivation: peace with dignity and
justice. And great are also the rage and the inconformity, the
disagreement of all, great was the desire not to remain impassive in
front of an unjust death.

Regarding the mobilizations in 27 other countries of the world, the
Mexican government, and that criminal organization called PRI, are
rather annoyed at the "internationalization" of the conflict that these
mobilizations mean. It seems that, what they called spitefully "an
Internet War", has given them headaches in embassies and consulates.
Takeovers, mobilizations in central squares and streets, and thousands
of letters demanding peace and justice, keep the Mexican government
sleepless and, unexplainably, provoke in its midst sudden bursts of
"nationalism" and of rejection of any "foreign interference" besides,
"of course", that of the great financial capital. The mobilizations
which, demanding peace, democracy, liberty and justice, take place on
the 5 continents are, for the Mexican government, nothing more than
"isolated and small attempts at intervention in the internal affairs of
the country". Because for the Mexican government, the extermination of
Indigenous people which it is carrying out is an "internal issue". Will
they keep on thinking in those terms after the European Parliament's

But we agree with you that the struggle for peace and for humanity is
intercontinental. Because, as that great and misunderstood
internationalist that Old Antonio was used to say: Life without the
others who are different is vain and it is a condemnation to immobility.
What does this have to do with the intercontinental struggle for
humanity and against neoliberalism? Well, in order to explain it to you
well, I have to tell you...
At dawn again, under the threatening airplane the sea tries to read a
poetry book with the meager help of a tiny candle stump. I scribble a
letter for someone I don't know personally, who perhaps speaks another
language, has a different culture, is probably from another country, is
of a different color, and for sure has a different history. The plane
goes by and I stop, a little in order to listen, and a lot to give
myself time to solve the problem of writing a letter to "the others" who
are different. At that moment, from the highland's mist and unnoticed
by the sea, Old Antonio arrives at my side and, giving me some little
taps on the shoulder, he lights his cigarrette and...


"The oldest of the elders who settled in theses lands told, that the
greatest gods, those who gave birth to the world, did not all think the
same way. That is to say, they did not all have the same thoughts, but
each one of them "felt" his own thoughts and, among themselves, they
listened to each other, and respected each other. The oldest among the
old say that that's the way it was, because if it hadn't been so, the
world would never have been born, because the first gods would have
spent all their time fighting, since the thoughts they felt were
different. The oldest of the old say that that's why the world came out
with many shapes and colors, as many as the thoughts the greatest gods,
and the first among them had. Seven were the greatest gods, and seven
were the thoughts each one of them had, and seven times seven are the
shapes and colors with which they dressed the world. Old Antonio tells
me that he asked the oldest of the old how the first gods were able to
come to an agreement and talk to each other since the thoughts they felt
were so different. The oldest of the old responded to him, Old Antonio
tells me, that there was a meeting of the seven gods together with the
seven different thoughts each one had, and that at that assembly they
came to an agreement.

Old Antonio says that the oldest of the old said that that assembly of
the first gods, those who gave birth to the world, was a long time
before yesterday, that it was precisely during the time when there
wasn't yet time. And they said that during that assembly each one of
the first gods said his peace and they all said: "My thought that I feel
is different from that of the others". And then the gods kept quiet,
because they realized that when each one of them said "the others", they
were talking about "others" different. After they remained quiet for a
while, the first gods realized that they already had a first agreement
and that was that there were "others" and that those "others" were
different from the one who was. So that the first agreement the very
first gods had was to recognize the difference and accept the existence
of the other. And what else could they do anyway since they were all
gods, all first, and they had to accept this because there wasn't one
who was more or less than the others, except that they were different,
and that is how they had to walk.

After this first agreement came the discussion, because it is one thing
to recognize that there are others who are different and a very
different thing is to respect them. So that they spent quite a while
talking and discussing as to how one was different from the others, and
they didn't mind spending a lot of time in that discussion because there
was no time yet. Afterwards they all kept quiet, and each one of them
spoke about his difference and every other of the gods who were
listening realized that by listening and learning about the difference
of the other, he could understand better what in him was different.
Then they became very happy and started to dance and they danced a long
time but they didn't care because at that time time did not exist.
After the dance the gods came out with the agreement that it is a good
thing that there exist others who are different, and that one must
listen to them in order to know oneself. And after that agreement they
went to sleep because they were very tired after having danced so much.
They were not tired of talking because these first gods, those who gave
birth to the world, happened to be very good at talking, and they were
only beginning to learn how to listen."

I didn't notice at what time Old Antonio left. The sea is already
asleep, and there only remains a shapeless wax spot of the little candle
stump. Above, the sky is beginning to dilute its blackness into the
morning light...

That's the story Old Antonio told me when I was trying to write this
letter to you. And I think that the most importatnt thing we have to
tell you is that, that we are listening to you, that we recognize you,
that we repect you.

It might seem little at a distance, but you can see that recognizing the
other, respecting him and listening to him, produces things as
enormously transcendental as a dance.

So that, in order to recognize each other, respect each other, and
listen to each other, and in response to the January 12, 1998 written
public invitation where we are asked to visit Europe in order to talk
and listen to the world, we tell you, as soon as we stop making
bullfighting passes at our ennemies (which is nothing but a more
complicated way of dancing), we will study the possibility that one or
several of our compa~eros and compa~eras travel to Europe, or wherever,
in order to recognize, respect, and listen.

Concerning the fact an Observation Commission from the World's Civil
Society will make a trip to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast on a
nearby date, in order to observe human rights violations, we can tell
you that the Rebel Indigenous Communities welcome the Observation
Commission initiative and vouch to respect their work. We also take
this opportunity to respectfully salute the work of the independent
Mexican organizations, human rights defenders, who have spared no effort
or dedication in order to care for the needs of the Indigenous
communities, in spite of the government's spitefulness, which grew to
the point of harrassment on many occasions.

And since we are talking about the actions in Mexico, the capital's
Zocalo not only dazzled us, it also brought us a certainty and a hope:
the certainty that in this country the people are infinitely better than
those who claim to govern them, and the hope that all those people will
conquer what, up until now, has been kept from them, that is to say, the
right to live with democracy, liberty, and justice. That will mean
leaving in peace.

Well, that's all for now. Always remember that it is an honor to see
you grow and multiply. And that is also something which makes us grow
and broaden up.

Vale. Salud and, after the promissed flower, comes the promissed dance
(I hope).

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionnary Committee-General Command
of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Insurgent Subcommander Marcos

Mexico, January, 1998

mobilizations of January 12 were not enough. The Power that be has
walled up its ears with thick bales of money and arrogance, and is going
ahead with its war. It is going to be necessary to walk more, shout
more, mobilize more. On the other hand, according to what is being said
you will again say your Enough is Enough! !Ya Basta! next January 24.
Good luck with that and what may follow.

governemnt shows it is understanding what is happening: For the
Secretary of the Interior ("Gobernacion") Chiapas is, once more, a
problem concerning 4 municipalities (counties); and for the PGR the
Acteal slaughter is, now, the product of the perverse vengeance of a
diabolical and resentful old man who had the means, the time and the
ways to arm 60 paramilitary men with AK-47 and R-15, trained them in
commando techniques and planned with tactical precision an operation
that, it is certain, he learned in his readings about the war of
extermination in Guatemala? Vietnam? Kurdistan?

P.D. THAT SUPPOSES.- It is possible that the "Procuraduria General de
la Republica" (PGR) [Attorney General's Office] is not making fun of all
of us, and that, when it says that one of the motives of the Acteal
massacre would be personal vengeance, it is referring to Mr. Ernesto
Zedillo Ponce de Leon and to his fierceness and bitterness against the
rebelious Indigenous communities of Chiapas. I am only saying, its a
supposition (supository/play on words).

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