The Nakba in Chiapas: Words from afar in the black room of death


This is the picture at the entrance of the Palestinian Consulate in Mexico. It features Emiliano Zapata and Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni. The arabic is translated to: Long live Zapata – hero of the Mexican revolution – 1915 Long live Abd al Kader al Husseini – hero of the Palestinian revolution – 1948

Originally Posted on Electronic Intifada: Palestinian activists condemn lethal attack on “Zapatista brothers and sisters”


“The Nakba in Chiapas: Words from afar in the black room of death”


Not far from here
in a place called Gaza
in Palestine, in the Middle East
right here next to us,
the Israeli government’s
heavily trained and armed military
continues its march
of death and destruction.

– Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Chiapas, Mexico


May 15, 2014


To the family of Compañero Galeano
To all the wounded
To the Junta de Buen Gobierno in La Realidad
To the Juntas de Buen Gobierno
To the Sixth
To Palestinians in Palestine and the shatat


Over the past several days, we have been hearing the news coming out of Chiapas, Mexico, and our hearts are heavy. It reports on a recent paramilitary attack against our indigenous Zapatista brothers and sisters on May 2nd in the community of La Realidad. The attack left their autonomous school and clinic destroyed, fifteen Zapatista compañeros wounded, and Galeano, a teacher in the Zapatistas’ Little School, brutally murdered.


We understand that this was not a confrontation between two armed groups, but an attack by armed paramilitaries against unarmed Zapatista civilians. We also understand that the attack was 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 once and for all. The Zapatistas are a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism, and those ruling from above know it.


The tactic has become one of the Mexican government’s favorite over the past twenty years: arm, fund, and organize paramilitary groups whose members come from other indigenous communities in Chiapas to then fabricate the lie that these are intra-community conflicts. The mainstream media then doesn’t have to work too hard in its manipulations. In this case, the paramilitary group the government sent in to attack our Zapatista brothers and sisters goes by the name of CIOAC-Histórica, and it was assisted by the Green Ecological Party (PVE) and the National Action Party (PAN) – two political bodies in Mexico currently helping manage the further plunder and destruction of the country.


So in listening to the news coming out of Chiapas, what we understand above all, is that while the names may change, the death and destruction remains the same.


“The underground rivers that crisscross the world can change their geography, but they sing the same song.”

Neoliberalism, colonialism, occupation…


We did not have the honor of knowing Compañero Galeano, but we think that maybe we did not need to. We are hearing that he lived for us, and that he fell while fighting for us. What else is left to know? Galeano was our brother, our father, our friend… Galeano was our teacher.


What Galeano taught is what Zapatista men, women, youth, and elderly teach every day: That 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. This is a world that requires the annihilation of those of us who refuse to live by its designs, and the only way for us to win this fight, the Zapatistas teach us, is by creating the world anew and together. The world anew, as they say, “where many worlds fit.”


So today, on this May 15, on this 66th year of our catastrophe, of our “Nakba” as we call it in Arabic, 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. And so we stand with them in dignified rage, reflecting on how the crime against us in Palestine is one that many more around the world continue to experience 500 years on.


We gather our voices today in strong condemnation of the murder of Compañero Galeano, the attack on La Realidad, and all aggressions against our Zapatista brothers and sisters in Chiapas. And 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.  While we know that our words cannot bring back Galeano’s body, and that they may not heal the wounds of the injured, what we do know, what we can in fact say is true, is what Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos once took the time to say to us:

words from afar
might not stop a bomb
but it is as if a crack
were opened
in the black room of death
and a tiny ray of light
slips in


From Palestine and the shatat, from below and to the left:


  • Palestinian alumni of the Little School’s first grade course, “Freedom according to the Zapatistas”
  • Palestinian Youth Movement – U.S. Branch


  • Amal Eqeiq
  • Shadi Rohana
  • Ahmad Nimer
  • Salma AbuAyyash
  • Hazem AlNamla
  • Hazem Jamjoum
  • Ahmad Lahham
  • Faris Giacaman-Taraki
  • Yara Kayyali Abbas
  • Nada Elia
  • Remi Kanazi
  • Murad Odeh
  • Boikutt
  • Randa Wahbe
  • Wassim
  • Thayer Hastings
  • Isshaq AlBarbary
  • Mezna Qato
  • Natasha Aruri
  • Dena Qaddumi
  • Budour Hassan
  • Shireen Akram-Boshar
  • Linah Alsaafin
  • Vivien Sansour
  • Nura Alkhalili
  • Deema Alsaafin
  • Omar Jabary Salamanca
  • Annemarie Jacir
  • Will Youmans
  • Raya Ziada
  • Alaa Hijaz
  • Lucy Garbett
  • Hala Turjman

3 thoughts on “The Nakba in Chiapas: Words from afar in the black room of death

  1. Pingback: Slideshow: Lxs Zapatistas no están solxs! (The Zapatistas Are Not Alone!) | bayareaintifada

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