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September 15, 2004

Far Afield with the Zapatistas

IMG_0316_a_320.jpg Praying Mantis

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The other night, a dear and close personal relative, while dinner-table-advising John Kerry about how he might deal with the Smear Machine , told this story about the
Zapatista leader, Subcomandante Marcos .

When Marcos was "accused" of being homosexual, he sent one of his masked guerillas out of the jungle with a proclamation in which he admitted everything.

"Marcos is a black in South Africa, a gay in Saint Francisco, an anarchist in Spain, an Indian in Mexico, a pacifist in Bosnia, a Palestinian in Israel, a Communist after the end of the Cold War, one single woman in one night of every Saturday in metropoli Mexican, one student poor devil, a dissident in the market economy, an artist without gallery and, naturally, one Zapatista in Southeastern Mexico. [note: the translation gets a little baffling here] Marcos is all takes advantage of to it to you, neglects to it to you, the overwhelmed minorities that resist and say: Enough!"
(You can tell that the Subcomandante has been hanging out with the literati.)

The over-dessert advice to John Kerry was admit everything, and then reframe it, as in, "Yes my third wound was superficial, but I know what it feels like to be hit by a bullet in a war, do you?

Actually, I don't think this tactic would work, given the Smear Machine's proclivity to take quotations out of context.

As I was looking for this quote, I discovered that the Zapatistias have a website of their own named "The Human Bean" -- not very ferocious for a radical group. Maybe the Spanish translation is more intimidating. Here's an excerpt:

"Question #4, Kerry: People often talk about the struggle in Chiapas as if it were just a local struggle between indigenous peoples and the Mexican government in regard to poverty. What is this struggle really about and are there other protagonists involved besides the Mexican Government?

Marcos: Well, lately the protaganism is global. It's not about a national problem. The effect of the neoliberalism and the process of globalization is that it erases the borders for money and erases the borders for the problems. With this I mean to say that the fundamental problem that is in the Zapatista rebellion is not just an indigenous problem but also the problem of the excluded in this gigantic genocide that the big money and great financial powers of this world are doing that decides to exclude a part of the population at any cost, even at the cost of human lives. And this is repeated in Europe, in the United States, in Canada, in all the countries of Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, in Oceania; in all five continents there is this process of annihilation to shut out social groups and to concentrate on nothing more than the criteria of economic devaluation or productive devaluation, in this case, the power of purchase. The body of the Zapatista rebellious movement is a body fundamentally indigenous. We are speaking of a civil population that is 100% indigenous with four principal ethnic groups of Mexico; the ethnic Chol, the ethnic Tzeltal, the ethnic Tzotzil, and the ethnic Tojolabal, Mayan peoples of the Southeast of Mexico. And 99% of the regular combatant forces, the insurgents that we are, are indigenous and a small part of us are Mestizos. That is the body of the Zapatista rebellion but the heart has to do with the problem of human dignity on the international level. It has to do with the problem of putting value back into one's word and giving feeling to the question of humanity. We insist that whatever defense of humanity now is a struggle against neoliberalism as it was before against fascism in the middle of this, the 20th century that is about to end. We can say it that way, that the body of the Zapatista rebellion is indigenous and the heart of it's rebellion is the dignity of all the "excluded" in the world that encounter power."

They certainly have a point, and they're the canaries . Haven't I just been complaining about this?

Photo note: It's not often one catches a praying mantis , showing it's true colors - in this case, on a seedum blossom. When you see it, shoot. You are left on your own to understand the connection of this photo to this entry -- suffice it to say that it is loose.

Posted by Dakota at September 15, 2004 06:23 AM