FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Zapatista March

by TIM RUSSO

Only the resonating echo of rain pattering down on the cobblestone streets of Chiapas’ colonial cities sounded as tourists from around the globe awaiting the end of the world in the center of the Mayan Civilization were surprised by the silent marches of more than 40,000 masked Mayan Zapatistas who descended on their apocalyptic misinterpretations of the Mayan 13 Ba´ktun.

A faint sound of a baby’s cry would occasionally emerge from a bundle beneath a plastic tarp on the back of a masked Zapatista in the endless lines of Mayan rebels who quietly held formation in the rain. They marched four file booted and bare-footed into the same cities they surprised on a cold new year’s eve night 19 years ago, shouting their first YA BASTA!

Yesterday’s weapon, differing from the 1994 armed indigenous uprising, was the Zapatista silence, their moral authority, the echo of a unified and deafening silence that shouted YA BASTA! once again. A silence that in their massive presence in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Palenque shouted without a word that the a new Mayan era has begun and the Zapatistas are present. A silence that was meant to remind Mexico’s recently inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto and his PRI party that the root causes of the Zapatista struggle are as prevalent today as they were 19 years ago: lack of health care, education, housing, land, food, indigenous rights, women’s rights, gay rights, dignity, and justice. A silence that reminded the returning PRI that there is a Mexico profundo, a Mexico jodido, a Mexico con hambre, and a Mexico dispuesto a luchar and in struggle. The Zapatistas and the EZLN need not say a word today, their actions and silence said enough. Aqui estamos!

As early as 4 a.m. the Mayan indigenous, Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques, and Mames began their mobilizations from their five cultural centers of resistance, known as Caracoles, emerging from the Lacandon jungle, the Chiapas Canyon lands, and the rain soaked highlands. They quietly moved along the mountainous, fog-bearing roads towards the same cities (plus Palenque) that they descended upon when these ill-equipped ragtag rebels launched their armed uprising on January 1st 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went in to effect.

Yesterday’s marches by the Zapatista National Liberation Army comprised of Mexico’s Mayan indigenous peoples was the first mobilization since their May 7, 2011 march demanding an end to the widespread violence and impunity in Mexico. That march echoed Poet Javier Sicilia’s movement for justice demanding the end to PANista President Felipe Calderon’s US-backed War on Drugs that has claimed up to 80,000 lives over the last six years. Calderon, who departs Mexico leaving a bloodstained country, will follow his predecessor Ernesto Zedillo’s footsteps to a safe haven in US academia, entering Harvard and moving to Cambridge, a town ironically that has one of the world´s lowest per capita murder rates, contrary to a Mexico ranking in the world’s top 10 country’s with major violent death tolls. Today’s Zapatista march, explains award winning Mexican Journalist Jose Gil Olmos, marks a symbolic moment being December 21st  on the Gregorian calendar and 13 Ba´ktun, or the end of the 144,000 day Mayan long calendar, silently saying that this is beginning of a new calendar, a new era and the Zapatistas are present:

“The mere presence of the Zapatistas here today just as the new government of Enrique Peña Nieto is getting started and the return of the PRI is a message in and of itself that the EZLN exists and is here, that the EZLN is a social and political force and they are reminding the PRI that things are not good, That the voice of the voiceless and the faceless are saying listen up! There is a forgotten Mexico here, a Mexico that is starving and disparate and the march, a silent march is an emblematic message in and of itself.”

There were no visible Zapatista Commanders in the marches, no words spoken, no chants could be heard, nor banners seen. Only two flags accompanied the thousands of Mayan rebels, a Zapatista five pointed red star on black and the Mexican flag. The same scenario could be seen in each of the five cities that the Zapatistas descended upon despite the unusual rains for the beginning of the Chiapas dry season. The Zapatistas arrived, marched on the city centers, built make-shift stages on top of cars and marched thousands of Zapatistas four by four, fists in the air, over the stages in front of their flags. Then, as quickly and quietly as they arrived, the Zapatistas disappeared into the fog and rain that camouflaged their arrival.

Late in the day a one-page communiqué signed by Zapatista rebel leader Sub-Comandante Marcos, El Sup, began to go viral on the internet. The communiqué simply read the following:

Did You Hear?

That is the sound of your world falling apart.

It is the sound of our resurgence.
The day that was the day, was night.
And night will be the day that will be the day.
Democracy!
Liberty!

Justice!

Tim Russo is a long time media activist, photographer and journalist. Russo has covered Mexico and Latin America for over twenty years.  He is on the Board of Directors of Free Speech Radio News www.fsrn.org, regularly contributes to KGNU in Boulder, Colorado and is active with the Red Mesoamericana de Radios Comunitarias, Indígenas y Garifunas.

This article originally appeared in UpsideDownWorld.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail