Mexico, April 12, 2003.
To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples of the world:
Brothers and sisters:
Throughout the world, mobilizations are being held today in repudiation of the war by the United States and Great Britain against the people of Iraq.
We would like, then, to begin our words with greetings to all of those human beings who are, throughout the world and in other parts of Mexico, demonstrating in order to say "No" to the war by the powerful.
Up there, where money is God and master, they are celebrating a victory which is nothing but a scam painted with Arab blood, which is, we should not forget, human blood, even though the big media monopolies would like to convince us otherwise.
Up there, the lord of fear is rubbing his hands together, he thinks that now he will be able to reign without anyone defying him. He thinks that the main objective of this war, the globalization of fear and of submission, has been met.
Up there, the Cyclops of power is happy because his gaze is met by blood, by the blood of the other, of the different.
If the power of money thinks that he has defeated humanity it is because he is looking only at himself and his tiny clones who are swarming abut the United Nations and in the different governments of the world, including the Mexican government.
Now, when the fall of Baghdad is being feted, the governments of the world who were initially opposed to the war are now showing their faces as they negotiate among themselves for how the loot is to be distributed.
Because war is business, and post-war is business.
No businessmen wish to be left out of the business, and they are hoping for even a few crumbs from the feast which the United States government is planning on a people who are being presented in the media as defeated and conquered.
But the powers are wrong. They are always wrong.
Its current war has not globalized fear, it has not globalized subjection, except among the political class.
No, what this war has internationalized is indignation, rejection, protest, the "No."
If the current United States government is to be recognized for anything, it is that it achieved in a few weeks what took Hitler years: awakening the condemnation of millions of human beings on the entire planet.
And so it is not only the "No" to the war which is gathering us together.
We are also demonstrating in order to let the governments of the world know that we are not afraid, and that we are not defeated.
In place of fear and defeat, it is indignation which today clothes all the colors and languages, which walks in all sizes and which stirs in the hearts of men, women, old ones, young people and children.
Nonetheless, we should know that the current feast of death and destruction is not provoking only condemnation and indignation.
The fundamentalism which this war is carrying forward, using the Christian God as alibi, will only give birth to other fundamentalisms.
In the logic of the powers' genetic code, terror is a Siamese twin with two heads, but one same path: that of destruction.
Tomorrow's chaos will be the result of the "new world order" which is being carried, in these terrible and shameful days, by those "intelligent" missiles which are falling in the Middle East.
There is no more fitting image of the "new world order" than that which shows the looting and chaos in those cities which have been "liberated" by US and British troops.
"Liberated," that is how the powerful describe the cities whose geography today is one of dead civilians and destroyed buildings.
Because it cannot be forgotten that the argument which accompanied God in this war was that of "liberty."
It has been made quite clear, however, that the liberty which is being offered by the powers, and those who serve them, is that of choosing between selling ourselves and surrendering, or dying.
"You are free," the powerful and their governments tell us. "You can choose between the garrote or the carrot."
And the Mexican political class makes haste to provide us with an example, dressed up as "sensitivity" and "prudence."
The registered political parties (because it cannot be forgotten that there are political organizations which are not engaged in the government's dirty games) choose the carrot.
It does not matter to them that the carrot is made of plastic, like those bones which are given to dogs in order to entertain them and so they can sharpen their teeth in order to chew "strangers" better.
Today, in the "new world order" which has been inaugurated with the war in Iraq, the "strangers" are all the men, women, young people, children and old ones who will not surrender.
And those human beings who will not surrender - it would be good if they listened quite carefully in Washington - are still in the majority.
Over the last few years, they have told us that referring to this zeal for conquest and destruction, which drives the powerful, as "imperialism" or "empire" is merely "outdated Marxism," "sixties nostalgia," "pre-modern arguments."
Nonetheless, without it mattering much what name they put on it, money has made all the rebel struggles which oppose them quite current.
Because it so happens that they can change the names, and the words can try or not to conceal what they name, but the irrefutable and brutal fact is that there is a small group of the powerful who want to conquer the entire world and to put it at their service.
And there are also other, small groups of the powerful who want to do the same thing.
The banners which cover any of them are not important, because their common standard is still money.
But, if the war of the powerful is worldwide, rebellion is worldwide as well.
Today's mobilizations are against the war of the powerful, whatever it is called.
It does not matter whether their name is George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jose' Mari'a Aznar, Vicente Fox...excuse me, the presidential couple, Diego Ferna'ndez de Cevallos, Jesu's Ortega or Manual Bartlett.
It does not matter whether the standard is that of the Republican party, or the Democratic, Labor, Conservative, PRI, PAN, PRD or those Mexican pygmies who, as someone said, also began when they were small.
Today the Mexican political class is trying to capitalize on the feeling of repudiation which this war has provoked, but they are careful not to name the person who perpetrated it. That is why they do not want to demonstrate in front of the US embassy, so that they will not lose their tourist visas and so that they will not offend those who really rule Mexican lands.
Mexican politicians are feigning dismay over the war in the Middle East because, simply and solely, they are aware of its almost unanimous rejection by the Mexican populace.
And we owe the "almost" to Mexican businessmen and commentators on some radio and television stations, whose only lament is that the war took so long to simulate victory.
A dirty and despicable calculation was what inspired the Mexican political class' position on this war.
As they watched the Mexican people become increasingly disenchanted with their corruption and crimes, the political parties went to great lengths to protest the war, although they remained mute when it came to referring to the one who is ordering it.
Now the presidential couple says that they are disillusioned, because the US government did not understand that the haggling for their support was only driven by wanting to regain a few points in their popularity indices.
The PRI did what it knows how to do quite well: above, they said "who knows," and below they applauded a method which vindicated their long history of authoritarianism, the same one which had kept them in power for more than 70 years. And the same one which threw them out of it.
The PAN had a serious identity crisis, because the rumor was flying among their leaders that, if they were to explicitly condemn the United States government, they could be accused of betraying the patria.
The PRD made an effort which is worthy of mention. If they continue like this, they could aspire to a Nobel prize in bio-genetic alchemy, because they will manage to become a clone which combines the PRI and the PAN.
The pygmies, without an exact place, insisted on running from one side to the other, trying to be seen.
Today the Mexican political class is purportedly demonstrating against the war, but, among themselves, they say that they could not waste this day, needing to get on with the election campaigns.
Perhaps they think that we have no memory and that they can deceive us.
When the Mexican political class united against the recognition of indigenous rights and culture, it not only ensured the continuation of the war against the Indian peoples of Mexico.
It also built a wall which separates it from the citizens of this country.
Behind that wall, the politicians share intrigues, salaries, benefits, corruption and cover-ups.
Only every so often, during each election period, do they peek over the top of the wall in order to tell us that we can choose, from among all the clones, whom we want to represent us and rule us.
Some might ask why we did not join in the mobilization which was called by the senators, arguing that we should leave our differences behind.
In the first place, because we cannot allow ourselves to be accomplices to the cover-up of those who are waging war in Mexico and feigning horror at the war in another part of the world.
In the second place, because we know that the senators asked to veto the participation of students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, of members of the Francisco Villa Popular Front, of campesinos from San Salvador Atenco, and of all of those who seem "dirty, ugly and bad" to them.
The senators said that they would refuse to march if these brothers and sisters did so. And so the first intention to break up a march, which could have been unified, came from there.
They told us that we were dirty and ugly, but the ski-masks covered up the ugliness and feigned dirtiness. They told us that we were bad. They used the word "accursed" in its place. We don't know if "accursed" is better or worse than "bad."
And so the dirty, the ugly, the bad ones of Mexican society are at this march, and we, the men, women, children, young people and old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation are with them.
I am sending you, through my words, greetings of respect and admiration from the "accursed" ones of the EZLN.
Brothers and sisters:
We would like to express our appreciation to those political and social organizations which, along with us, called for this march.
We would also like to express our gratitude and best wishes to all those persons sans political and social organization who have come.
Perhaps we may be few, and we may not have much weight on the corrupt scales of the damnable words and damnable images at the service of the politicians. But they know quite well what 100 patriots can do for this land.
Perhaps there will be more than 100 at this march. Then, instead of laughing, they should be worried.
And we should be happy.
To the political and social organizations which are participating in this march today, and in others which are being held in other parts of Mexico, we say to you that the EZLN is not trying to dominate and standardize rebellion in Mexico.
We understand quite well that rebellion has many colors and many paths.
To all these organizations, we offer them a mirror. If they respect us, they will receive respect.
They have been telling us for some time that fragmentation of the social movement is lethal for the transformation of society.
Those who say that are doing so because they are trying to be the ones to head and to dominate the movement. Most of the time in order to go and deliver it for a few coins or, arguing unfavorable circumstances and conditions, to replace mobilization with scams and high-level agreements.
We do not know whether the plurality and diversity of political and social organizations can achieve a transformation which is possible, which we need and deserve.
But we do know that dominance, even if it is dressed up as "program unity," has not achieved it, and it has, on the other hand, spread skepticism and disillusionment.
The oft-mentioned unity of the left, according to the zapatistas, cannot be built with one single criterion, with a structure which merely harbors the mutual piracy of militants and activists, cannibalism between political proposals, an open contest to see who is more radical in their words and the hidden contest to see who can sell themselves for the best price.
Attempts at unity, built with a zeal for dominance, have only ended up in splits, division and futile rivalries.
Unity is possible if plurality and diversity are respected.
It is possible if, with that respect for the base, a common agenda for discussion is built, not one of accords.
From this discussion, a new proposal could arise, in which we could all be recognized, without abandoning what we are, and without abandoning our positions and thoughts.
Our idea is not one single organization, but a movement with many organizations, with one basic accord, resistance, and with a common flag, that of rebellion.
The powerful and their choirboys of dead letters declared September 11 as the watershed of modern history. They even said that this current war is a product of that day.
Now we see that perhaps it is this war which could mark the new century.
This depends on the attitude which with which we address it.
Brothers and sisters:
Perhaps some of you have noticed that we are now making special mention of the young people, naming them in particular among the men, women, children and old ones.
And now we are sending a special greeting to the young people, men and women, of Mexico.
Almost simultaneously with the fall of the first bombs on Iraqi territory, young people, primarily high school and college students, began mobilizations. It was not their numbers which were important, but the "no" which they raised.
We zapatistas recognize and salute the sensitivity of Mexican youth, whatever their name which gives them identity and community.
Through one of those caprices of radio wave, a broadcast from Mexico City reached the mountains of the Mexican southeast. It came from one of those stations which talk about their ratings most of the time. The acting announcer was receiving a note from a reporter who was covering one of the many mobilizations against the war in Iraq, in front of the US embassy.
The announcer had barely finished the report when he immediately began lavishing all kinds of disparaging insults on the demonstrators. "They're vandals, anarchists, criminals," he commented. And then he stammered, because it appeared that his vocabulary of synonyms was quite limited. After stuttering, he said: "They're young people," as if that were the greatest insult and the worst name which could be given to anyone.
"They're young people," he said with disgust, with contempt, wanting Lo'pez Obrador's riot police to give them a lesson because they weren't letting the great magnates who have their offices in Paseo de la Reforma work in peace. As if he were asking the police to force them to stop being young people.
Hopefully they will never stop being young people. Hopefully they understand that sometimes calendars are just a disguise for capitulation, and, aside from birthday parties, age is not worth it.
Brothers and sisters:
To the young people, to the women, to the children, to the old ones, to all the colors with which humanity is illuminated, we say to you that we have the right to choose.
Choosing: that is what liberty is. But we must build our choices, because the ones they are presenting us with today have been conceived with power as father and avarice as mother.
We can choose a better world, a fairer one, a better one, but we must fight to build it with justice and dignity, which are the two feet with which peace can walk and defeat the war.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
************************************ Translated by irlandesa [La Jornada April 13, 2003]