A group of Palestinian activists, writers and educators issued a statement last week condemning a lethal attack on a Zapatista community in Chiapas, southern Mexico.
The paramilitary attack on the village of La Realidad left one teacher dead, an autonomous school and clinic destroyed and fifteen Zapatista activists wounded, the statement says.
Sent to The Electronic Intifada, the statement draws an explicit parallel between Palestinian and Mexican indigenous struggles: “we understand that our brothers and sisters in Chiapas are struggling against a Nakba in a fight not just for themselves, but for all of humanity.”
The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, which began when Zionist militias expelled some 750,000 Palestinians from their land.
Chiapas state is home to the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a mostly indigenous Maya liberation movement that has enjoyed global grassroots support since it rose up against the Mexican government in 1994.
The movement became iconic within the global anti-capitalist movement of the late 1990s, with the masked image of spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos smoking his pipe becoming famous the world over.
As Jimmy Johnson and Linda Quiquivix reported for The Electronic Intifada last year, the Mexican state and Israel have worked together on security coordination at the level of police, prisons and technology. Mexico has also bought Israeli weaponry.
Israeli personnel were sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.”
The statement characterizes the attack as “only the latest orchestration by the Mexican government at the service of neoliberalism, continuing the further theft of Mexico and the final expulsion of the country’s indigenous people from their land.”
It draws parallels to the European colonization of the Americas with the European Zionist colonization of Palestine, stating: “the world that began to be built on October 12, 1492 is the one that made possible May 15, 1948, and it has all been catastrophic for humanity.”
The Zapatistas are “a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism” and so “we call on all dignified Palestinian organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals in struggle to denounce these attacks against the Zapatistas as an attack on us all.”
The statement concludes by quoting words of solidarity that Subcomandante Marcos issued in 2009 during Israel’s brutal “Cast Lead” massacre in the Gaza Strip, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead. FOR FULL STATEMENT