In La Realidad [Reality], Planet Earth
Compañera, compañeroa, compañero:
Good evening, afternoon, or morning, whichever it may be in your geography, time, and way of being.
Good very early morning.
I would like to ask the compañeras, compañeros and compañeroas of the Sixth who came from other places, especially the compañeros from the independent media, for your patience, tolerance, and understanding for what I am about to say, because these will be the final words that I speak in public before I cease to exist.
I am speaking to you and to those who listen to and look at us through you.
Perhaps at the start, or as these words unfold, the sensation will grow in your heart that something is out of place, that something doesn’t quite fit, as if you were missing one or various pieces that would help make sense of the puzzle that is about to be revealed to you. As if indeed what is missing is still pending.
Maybe later – days, weeks, months, years or decades later – what we are about to say will be understood.
My compañeras and compañeros at all levels of the EZLN do not worry me, because this is indeed our way here: to walk and to struggle, always knowing that what is missing is yet to come.
What’s more, and without meaning to offend anyone, the intelligence of the Zapatista compas is way above average.
In addition, it pleases and fills us with pride that this collective decision will be made known in front ofcompañeras, compañeros and compañeroas, both of the EZLN and of the Sixth.
And how wonderful that it will be through the free, alternative, and independent media that this archipelago of pain, rage, and dignified struggle – what we call “the Sixth” – will hear what I am about to say, wherever they may be.
If anyone else is interested in knowing what happened today, they will have to go to the independent media to find out.
So, here we go. Welcome to the Zapatista reality (La Realidad).
I. A difficult decision.
When we erupted and interrupted in 1994 with blood and fire, it was not the beginning of war for us as Zapatistas.
The war from above, with its death and destruction, its dispossession and humiliation, its exploitation and the silence it imposed on the defeated, we had been enduring for centuries.
What began for us in 1994 is one of many moments of war by those below against those above, against their world.
This war of resistance is fought day in and day out in the streets of any corner of the five continents, in their countrysides and in their mountains.
It was and is ours, as it is of many from below, a war for humanity and against neoliberalism.
Against death, we demand life.
Against silence, we demand the word and respect.
Against oblivion, memory.
Against humiliation and contempt, dignity.
Against oppression, rebellion.
Against slavery, freedom.
Against imposition, democracy.
Against crime, justice.
Who with the least bit of humanity in their veins would or could question these demands?
And many listened to us then.
The war we waged gave us the privilege of arriving to attentive and generous ears and hearts in geographies near and far.
Even lacking what was then lacking, and as of yet missing what is yet to come, we managed to attain the other’s gaze, their ear, and their heart.
It was then that we saw the need to respond to a critical question.
In the gloomy calculations on the eve of war there hadn’t been any possibility of posing any question whatsoever. And so this question brought us to others:
Should we prepare those who come after us for the path of death?
Should we develop more and better soldiers?
Invest our efforts in improving our battered war machine?
Simulate dialogues and a disposition toward peace while preparing new attacks?
Kill or die as the only destiny?
Or should we reconstruct the path of life, that which those from above had broken and continue breaking?
The path that belongs not only to indigenous people, but to workers, students, teachers, youth, peasants, along with all of those differences that are celebrated above and persecuted and punished below.
Should we have adorned with our blood the path that others have charted to Power, or should we have turned our heart and gaze toward who we are, toward those who are what we are – that is, the indigenous people, guardians of the earth and of memory?
Nobody listened then, but in the first babblings that were our words we made note that our dilemma was not between negotiating and fighting, but between dying and living.
Whoever noticed then that this early dilemma was not an individual one would have perhaps better understood what has occurred in the Zapatista reality over the last 20 years.
But I was telling you that we came across this question and this dilemma.
And we chose.
Read the entire communique here.