Words of the EZLN
February 24, 2001 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
Translation to English for publication by NAP
Courtesy of Irlandesa
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa
Compañeros and Compañeras Support Bases,
EZLN Militant and Insurgents:
Brothers from National and International Civil Society:
Through my voice speaks the voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Our oldest of our old recount that the most first of these lands saw that the “dzules,” the powerful, had come to teach us fear, they had come to make the flowers wither, and, so that the flower of the powerful might live, they despoiled and bled ours.
Our most ancient say that the life of the powerful has grown withered, that the hearts of its flowers are dead, that they stretched it all to the breaking point, that they harm and swill the flowers of others.
Our first who came before us recount and tell that the first flower of this soil took the color of the earth so that it would not die, so that the small might resist and guard the seed in their heart, so that, with heart like earth, another world would be born.
Not the most first world, not the world the powerful withered.
Another world. A new one. A good one.
“Dignity” is the name of that first flower, and many steps must be taken in order for the seed to find the heart of everyone and, in the great land of all colors, for that world which everyone calls “tomorrow” to finally be born.
Today it is dignity which is taking up, through our hands, this flag.
Up until now there has been no place in it for us, those who are the color of the earth.
Up until now we have waited for the others, who take shelter under it, to accept that the history which waves it is ours as well.
We, indigenous Mexicans, are indigenous and we are Mexicans.
But the gentleman who speaks much and hears little, the one who governs, offers us lies and not a flag.
Ours is the march of indigenous dignity.
The march of those of us who are the color of the earth and the march of all of those who are all the colors of the heart of the earth.
Seven years ago indigenous dignity asked this flag for a place within it.
Then the color of the earth which we are spoke with fire.
The Dzul, the powerful, whose color is of money which makes the earth reek, responded with lies and fire.
But then we saw other voices and heard other colors.
These others did not strike at the day, nor did they affront the night, their throats were not twisted, nor slack their mouths which spoke the word.
Brothers are those whose colors unite us.
With them, with the brother colors, walks today the color of the earth.
It walks with dignity, and with dignity it seeks its place within the flag.
The powerful have their government, but their kings are false.
Their throats are twisted, and slack is the mouth of the one who commands and orders.
There is no truth in the words of the dzules, of the powerful.
Today we are walking so this Mexican flag will know that it is ours, and instead they offer us the cloth of pain and misery.
Today we are walking for a good government, and they offer us discord.
Today we are walking for justice, and they offer us charity.
Today we are walking for liberty, and they offer us the slavery of debts.
Today we are walking for the end of death, and they offer us a peace of deafening lies.
Today we are marching for life.
Today we are marching for justice.
Today we are marching for liberty.
Today we are marching for democracy.
Today we are marching for this flag.
We are not alone in raising our voice in order to open the ears of the gentleman of much talking and little listening, the one who governs.
There are many voices walking so that the one who reigns will be silent and listen.
All the steps are needed, all the voices necessary.
With everyone, this is what we want: a place in this flag.
These steps of ours have name, the voice we speak has word: this is the march of indigenous dignity, the march of the color of the earth.
Compañeros and Compañeras of the EZLN:
For seven years we have resisted attacks of all kinds. They have attacked us with bombs and bullets, with torture and jail, with lies and slander, with contempt and forgetting. But we are here.
We are rebel dignity.
We are the forgotten heart of the Patria.
We are the most first memory.
We are the dark blood which illuminates our history in the mountains.
We are those who struggle and live and die.
We are those who say: “For everyone everything, for us nothing.”
We are zapatistas, the most small of these lands.
We salute the peoples who command and care for us. We salute their wise wisdom and their intelligence.
We salute our insurgent combatants, who are, today, keeping vigil in the mountain so that no bad will come to those of us who are, today, momentary light.
We salute all the zapatistas who today are speaking through our voice and walking in our steps.
We salute the zapatistas, the most small of these lands.
As our ancestors resisted wars of conquest and of extermination, we have resisted the wars of forgetting.
Our resistance has not ended, but now it is not alone. The hearts of millions in Mexico and on the five continents are now accompanying us.
Our steps go along with them now.
With them we shall go to the capital of the nation which raises itself on our back and despises us.
Compañeros and Compañeras:
Señor Vicente Fox wishes to give name to these steps which we are walking today.
“It is the march of peace,” he says, and he keeps our brothers imprisoned for the worst crime in the modern world: dignity.
“It is the march of peace,” he says, and he maintains his army occupying the homes in Guadalupe Tepeyac, while hundreds of Guadalupe children, women, old ones and men remain in the mountains, resisting with dignity.
“It is the march of peace,” he says, and he plans to convert out history into merchandise.
“It is the march of peace,” he says, and those close to him add in a low voice: “of lies.”
That is what he says. But our steps speak other words, and they are true: This is the march of indigenous dignity, the march of the color of the earth.
Brothers and Sisters:
Today, February 24, 2001, Mexican Flag Day, we, the zapatistas, are beginning this march, the march of indigenous dignity, the march of the color of the earth.
Our steps are not alone.
With us go the steps of all the Indian peoples and the steps of all the men, women, children and old ones in the world who know that all the colors of the earth have place in the world.
We, the Mexican indigenous, have painted this flag.
With our blood, we put the red which adorns it.
With our work, we harvested the fruit which paints it green.
With our nobility, we painted white its center.
With our history, we put the eagle devouring the serpent so that Mexico would name the pain and hope we are.
We made this flag, and, nonetheless, we have no place in it.
Today we are asking those above who are power and government:
Who is the one who denies us the right that this flag might finally be ours?
Who is the one who flaunts forgetting, ignoring that, as we are the color of the earth, we gave color and shield to this our flag?
For almost two hundred years this land has walked, calling itself nation and Patria and home and history.
For almost two hundred years it has been harvesting our blood and pain, our misery, so that Mexico can be Patria and not disgrace.
For almost two hundred years we have been, and are, outside the house which we built from below, which we liberated, which we who are the color of the earth lived and died.
Ya basta! says — and says again — the most first voice, we indigenous who are the color of the earth.
We want a place.
We need a place.
We, who are the color of the earth, deserve a place.
A dignified place in order to be what we are, the color of the earth.
No longer the corner of forgetting.
No longer the object of contempt.
No longer a source of disgust.
No longer the dark hand which receives charity and cleanses consciences.
No longer the embarrassment of color.
No longer the shame of language.
No longer sentenced to humiliation or death.
That is why this is the march of indigenous dignity, the march of the color of the earth.
And this march begins today, when the moon is new, so that the earth may finally harvest justice for those who are the color of the earth.
And today begins a march which is not only ours, but that of all of those who are the color of the earth.
The most great and most first tremor begins today, the memory of that which made us nation, which gave us liberty and gave us greatness.
The march of indigenous dignity begins today, the march of the color of the earth.
With those who are the color of the earth, other distant colors are paying attention to what is beginning today:
The possibility that the other can be so without shame.
That the different might be equal in dignity and in hope.
That the world might finally be the place for all and not the private property of those who have the color and filth of money.
A world with the color of humanity.
Brothers and Sisters:
Those who are the government are laboring today to make this march the march of the lying peace.
Those who govern are not alone in their lies.
Along with them are the steps of those who want our steps dead and the color of the earth forever dead.
Along with them are those who will not allow any other color in the world which is not the color of money and its misery.
He who is the government yells and flails much, his breath smells of lies, and he wants us to take the fear he teaches as our own.
He wants to do us harm and to suck our strength.
But it will be in vain.
Along with all the colors, the flower we are of the color of the earth, will have a tomorrow, because it will have a flag.
With it, and because of it, we, the Indian peoples, will, at last, have…
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee —
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, February 24, 2001, Flag Day.