Independent Media Reports from La Realidad
Sunday, May 25, 2014 (May 24th)
Reporting from La Realidad
Image: A girl, flirtatious, in a short skirt, purple blouse, long hair, observes the meticulous formation of hundreds of Zapatistas who are arriving to the plaza of La Realidad Caracol. Men, women, children in arms, and in front of them, a file of militants. The girl rests the weight of her body on one leg, hands on her hips, and smiles. Behind her, three insurgents look after the entrance to the construction of wood where, we suppose, the command is. Comandante Tacho, tireless, runs from one side to another, gives instructions, coordinates, resolves problems, omnipresent.
Under the sun of the Lacandon Jungle, the Zapatistas shine strong, dignified, organized. Subcomandante Marcos appears then on horseback, the beloved Sup Marcos who has inspired so many, with a black glove with bones painted in white on his left hand, armed with a machete on his back in place of the traditional AR-15 and wearing a blue shirt instead of brown. Then other horsemen appear, among them Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Comandante Tacho. All, militants, insurgents, and commanders, with the right eye covered, looking how it is seen from the left.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of support bases arrive here from various zones of Zapatista territory. Some 600 of us, solidary persons from Mexico and from the world, arrived here this morning after a long, troubled, and combative travesty in a caravan of pain and of rage. And in this moment, before the deployment of force and dignity, the tiredness is forgotten and hope reborn.
The subcomandantes come out and some minutes later the voice of Sup Marcos is heard: This is Radio Insurgente, broadcasting from the mountains of the Mexican southeast. He greets us, and passes the word to Subcomandante Moisés, who communicates to us the first results of the investigation on the attack which the Zapatistas suffered here and the murder of maestro Galeano: Those immediately responsible are already known. Justice will be done. There will be more reports later. He asks us not to fall into the provocations by the paramilitaries from La Realidad… let us use the rage against the system, not against those brethren sold-out and manipulated by the government. And then Sup Marcos informs us that there is internet. So here we are.
For now that is all. We will continue reporting.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Free Media Report from La Realidad (May 24th)
May 24th, 2014 Caracol I La Realidad, Chiapas.- A belt of insurgent militants dressed in green, with red bandanas around their necks and covered by balaclavas and formed in a line surrounded more than 2,200 Zapatista support bases who arrived from the five Caracoles to pay homage to compañero Galeano brutally murdered last May 2nd in this very Caracol, the first capital of civil and peaceful Zapatismo.
Everyone, keeping absolute silence in front of more than one thousand people, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, students of the Escuelita for Freedom, national and international civil society, and free media who came in Caravan from various parts of the country.
From a stage situated on one side of the basketball court the six placards are seen with words asking for justice for the murdered compañero. In one of them, a fragment from the communiqué, “The Pain and the Rage,” in which Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos insists that the pain and the rage are precisely “what now makes us lace up our boots again, put on our uniforms, holster up our pistols, and cover our faces.”
The Insurgents wear a black patch on the right eye, a pink bow on the side of the heart, and a black one, of mourning, on the right shoulder. All together complete the formation of a fence around their bases in the form of protection maybe insisting that the Army will never leave them.
Close to 12 o’clock to the sound of the song La Cigarra–by María Elena Walsh– Subcomandante Insurgent Marcos (SCI) appears on horseback also with a pirate eye patch on the right eye and smoking his characteristic pipe to meet minutes later with the General Command of the EZLN–Zapatista Army of National Liberation, also on horseback. They coordinate with a military salute to civil society and to the BAZ to later give withdrawal and break the files. Marcos says goodbye with a genuine salute, raising the middle finger of his left hand.
After the withdrawal the voice of SCI Marcos is heard from the speakers situated on the sides of the stage. He introduces himself from Radio Insurgente and sends a special greeting to the “independent, autonomous, or however it is said” free media, to whom it is informed that in a while they will have internet and will be able to upload their material.” Then, the voice is passed to Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés who informs about the advance of the investigations. He mentions the women involved in the murder of compañero Galeano, “the one who macheted and the one who dragged the body.” Immediately afterwards it is requested to all the adherents to the Sixth Declaration present that they “remember that our struggle is civil and peaceful” and that it will not be provoked nor fall into provocations “in spite of the anger, the pain, and the rage.” SCI Moisés insisted on using the rage against the system and not against “those people wrong in the head and who do not think who only want to fulfill the order of the evil government.” He insisted that for some time now provocations and threats exist in this Caracol “if they provoke, well let them do it, we do not, we are fighters,” he added.
He finalized his intervention on Radio Insurgente warning: “they are listening to us and we want them to listen because before they never wanted to dialogue,” and made reference to those present as witnesses to these situations of these provocations.
SCI Marcos retook the microphone notifying that when the sun goes down it will proceed to the ceremony of homage to compañero Galeano and reminding the independent media to take advantage of the Internet connection to upload their materials “and notify their families that they arrived well.”
We are all awaiting the beginning.
We are all listening to the silence.
We are all observing what they observe.
We are all, all here.
United by the rage and the pain,
United by the desire for justice, the right to peace.
We are all for Galeano.
Here we are, here we remain, this we are.
One heart beating with force, love, dignity, and rage.
They are ever more.
We are ever more.
Those from before.
We are all here, with them, with us.
Authors: free, alternative, autonomous, or however it is called, media.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales
Monday, May 26, 2014
Report 2 from La Realidad (May 24th)
Brief Report from La Realidad
This afternoon, all the support bases and all the adherents to the Sixth Declaration got together in the plaza, to listen to the words of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee–General Command of the EZLN, in the voice of Comandante Tacho, and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés’s communiqué.
Among many other things, el Sup Moisés explained the links between the murderers of maestro Galeano–paramilitaries from the CIOAC-H–and the government of Chiapas. He notes that Florinda Santis, native of La Realidad and councilwoman for the PAN in Las Margaritas, obtains “project” funds from the government to provoke confrontations with the Zapatistas: He names the chain of relationships linked to the paramilitary attacks against the Zapatistas: Directors of the CIOAC, municipal government, governors, and ex-governors of the state of Chiapas. Sup Moisés also made mention of a number of recent harassments and armed attacks by the CIOAC against the Zapatistas, defining it clearly as a paramilitary organization and holding responsible the government of the state of Chiapas for the attacks.
Both Comandante Tacho and Subcomandante Moisés reiterated that what the Zapatistas seek is not revenge, but justice. “The revenge will be against the capitalist system,” they affirm.
After the act and the Zapatista hymn, all those in attendance visited the tomb of maestro Galeano, in a moving procession which leaves us with the pain and the rage and the conviction to continue struggling.
In the following days, the complete audios of the communiqués will be available on the pages of the free media present in La Realidad.
That is all for now, we will continue reporting.
From La Realidad.
Colectivo Radio Zapatista.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
“Hey, it’s very dark here, I need a little light.” Then he stopped talking and straightened the papers on the table. The lights went out. In the penumbra, illuminated just by the faint light of a video camera, he stood up. He walked a few steps toward the rear part of the stage, with a slow step, crossed the threshold. He began to go down the wood stairs.
And his figure slowly faded away into the darkness.
And he ceased to exist.
So the silence was heard charged with gratitude and so many other things from thousands of hands which applauded in unison, and the faces containing the tears, and the hearts repeating: Goodbye, Subcomandante. “One, two, three,” the voice of Comandante Tacho was heard talking on the radio. The lights were turned on once again. And Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, military leader and now also spokesperson of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation: “Compañeros, compañeras, we are going to listen to the voice of another compañero.”
From the speakers came the voice which until some minutes ago, since twenty years ago, belonged to Subcomandante Marcos, now coming to life anew, mocking death. “Have a good pre-dawn, compañeras and compañeros. My name is Galeano. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Is anyone else named Galeano?”
Thousands of men and women responded together: “My name is Galeano!” “We all are Galeano!”
“It follows that that’s why they told me that when I was reborn, I would do it in collective. So be it then. Have a good trip. Take care. Care for us. From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.”
Exactly one hour ago, when the then Subcomandante Marcos began to speak, we heard these words:
I would like to ask the compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas of the Sixth Declaration who come from other places, especially the free media compañeros, for their patience, tolerance, and comprehension for what I am going to say, because these will be my last words in public before ceasing to exist.
We were almost one thousand women and men, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from many parts of Mexico and from other geographies, who after long travesties came to La Realidad to attend the homage organized by the EZLN in honour of compañero José Luís Solís López, maestro Galeano, murdered with inconceivable cruelty on May 2nd in a paramilitary attack executed by members of the supposedly peasant organization CIOAC-H, members of the Green Party and the PAN in that community, and orchestrated from the core of the Chiapas government. There were almost three thousand Zapatista support bases who, with impressive organization, went from the five zones of widespread Zapatista territory. We arrived, all of us, charged with the pain and the rage and seeking, with the grammar of wrath and the calligraphy of dignity, the precise expression of true justice.
But what form would that justice take? How to conjugate justice without its verbal form (in Spanish: “ajusticiar,” to execute) acquiring the tonalities of revenge? It is clear that the juridical systems of our “democracies” have nothing to do with justice, nor are they concerned about it in the least. And it is more than clear that, in Mexico as in many other places, said juridical systems are at the service of abuse and plunder. But then, what is justice?
Over the course of that memorable May 24th, Subcomandante Moisés announced that the Zapatista investigation had already identified the material authors of the crime. He also detailed the ties between the leadership of the CIOAC-H and the various levels of state and federal government. And he also affirmed that justice would be done, but he asked us not to direct our dignified and justifiable rage against those who, in their blindness and avarice, turn into murderers at the service of the powers of capital. It is necessary to direct that rage against the system, he said.
In the crossroads of questions, the last words of Subcomandante Marcos before ceasing to exist tried to illuminate that indecisive space between the light and the shade. In 1994, he said, the Zapatistas rose up exercising the right to the legitimate violence of those from below in the face of the violence from above. “But in the first stammers that were our words we warned that our dilemma was not between negotiating or fighting, but between dying or living.” In a way that, the first combats behind, instead of strengthening the guerrilla army, the Zapatistas dedicated themselves to life, constructing education, health, dignity, justice, hope, autonomy, and a government of the people which leads by obeying. And in all this, resisting the violence of above without arms, with the body, head held high and saying: “we the dead from forever are here, dying again, but now to live.”
In the path, something fundamental was changing inside the EZLN, relays which for many people passed unnoticed:
That of class: from the enlightened middle-class origin, to the indigenous peasant.
That of race: from the mestizo leadership to the truly indigenous leadership.
And the most important: the relay of thought: from revolutionary vanguardism to lead by obeying; from the taking of Power from Above to the creation of power from below; from professional politics to everyday politics; from the leaders, to the peoples; from the marginalization of gender, to the direct participation of women; from mocking the other, to the celebration of difference.
In this path, who was Marcos? There is something which does not cease to surprise those of us to whom the Zapatista walk has taught how to see the world in another way: the fact that, for the great majority of people, outside of the Zapatista communities, the EZLN is only Marcos; the inability of the majority of people to see the indigenous.
Just a few days later [after the uprising], with the blood of our fallen still fresh in the city streets, we realized that those from outside did not see us.
Accustomed looking at the indigenous from above, they did not raise their view to look at us.
Accustomed to seeing us humiliated, their heart did not understand our dignified rebellion.
Their look had stopped on the only mestizo who they saw with a balaclava, that is to say, they did not look.
Our bosses told us then:
“They only see how small they are, let’s make someone as small as them, so they may see him and for him they may see us.”
Like so a complex manoeuver of distraction began, a terrible and marvellous magic trick, a malicious play of the indigenous heart that we are, the indigenous knowledge challenged modernity in one of its bastions: the media.
The construction then began of the character called “Marcos.”
The character served to make known a movement which struggled and struggles for life. But it served, also, as a “distracter,” in a way that, while those from above and the mass media focused on constructing and destroying the character, the Zapatistas continued their walk in the construction of life.
In that walk Zapatismo always sought the other, through the pathways which seek life not only for the indigenous Zapatista communities. And in that search, they failed time and time again: “Who we found or who wanted to lead us or wanted us to lead them.”
It was like this until the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the boldest and most Zapatista of the initiatives that we have launched up to now. With the Sixth Declaration at last we have found those who look at us facing forward and greet us and embrace us, and like so are greeted and embraced. With the Sixth Declaration at last we found you. Finally, someone who understood that we did not seek pastors to guide us, nor herds to lead to the promised land. Neither masters nor slaves. Neither bosses nor headless masses.
But it remained to be seen if it was possible for you to look at and listen to what, being, we are. On the inside, the advance of the peoples has been impressive. Then came the course, “Freedom according to the Zapatistas.” In 3 rounds, we realized that there now was a generation that could look at us facing forward, that could listen to us and speak to us without awaiting guidance or leadership, nor profess submission or followership.
Marcos, the character, was no longer necessary.
And so we return to that question of justice. Of the pain and the rage, of the grammar of wrath and the calligraphy of dignity. Because the General Command and the military leadership of the EZLN came to La Realidad with that pain and that rage, with that cry for justice. But, as Subcomandante Marcos well said, there are other pains and other rages in so many other geographies:
Right now, in other corners of Mexico and the world, a man, a woman, an other, a boy, a girl, an elder, a memory, is beaten in cold blood, surrounded by a system made a voracious crime, is clubbed, macheted, shot, finished off, dragged among taunts, abandoned, recovered, and their body veiled, their life buried.
And as if it were not enough, “the greatest mockery” is the pantomime of “justice” which never threatens nor punishes nor harms the power which buries and tramples life. In the face of this, what do we say to our dead? Is the impotent whisper of pain and rage sufficient? “Our whispers,” said Marcos, “are not only to lament the fall of our unjust dead. They are to like so be able to listen to other pains, make other rages ours, and continue like so on the complicated, long, and torturous path of making from all that a howl which is transformed into a libratory struggle.”
Small justice appears a bit like revenge. Small justice is that which hands out impunity, well upon punishing one, it absolves others. The justice that we want, for which we struggle, does not finish with finding the murderers of compa Galeano and seeing that they receive their punishment (it will be so, may no one be deceived). The patient and adamant search seeks the truth, not the relief of resignation. Great justice has to do with the buried compañero Galeano. Because we ask ourselves not what to do with his death, but what we must do with his life.
From early that day, the General Command of the EZLN said that they had arrived to dig up maestro Galeano. But for Galeano to live, said Marcos, it is necessary for another to die.
And better for it to be someone who per se never has existed, and for that impertinent one which is death to remain satisfied, in the place of Galeano we put another name so that Galeano may live and death may carry not a life, but only a name, some letters emptied of all meaning, without their own history, lifeless.
So we have decided that today Marcos ceases to exist.
When the voice of the now Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano ceased to be heard and the applauses were dying out in that indecisive space between the light and the shade, under the drizzle of that pre-dawn morning in Zapatista reality, we were overrun by a silence impregnated by the certainty that something “terrible and marvellous” had just happened. Something which we still did not understand, which perhaps would take days, months, years, our whole life, to understand. Something that would be, for us, those who had the fortune to witness, the perpetual source of search and the conviction to never falter.
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales.
Dorset Chiapas Solidarity