Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marco Cuevas-Hewitt, Imaginotopia, Planet Earth

Zapatista Dreaming

I have continued reading through all of my old journals, re-living past memories, and gaining new insight into how I've become the "me" I am today. There's just one more thing I wanted to share here from my old journals. It's a speech I transcribed of a Zapatista community leader who was welcoming a solidarity group that I was a part of, during my visit to southern Mexico in 2002. He focusses for one reason or another on the educational aspect of the Zapatista movement. Really great stuff! Anyway, here it is: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Welcome comrade brothers and sisters. We are happy because we know that we exist in your hearts. Our fight is not just for us, but for everyone. We want to be an example for our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world; To overcome oppression with education. In Aguascaliente, you can do anything: You can dance and you can dream. It is a cultural centre. We offer you the pure air of nature, the cold nights, and the hot sun. My internationalist brothers and sisters, you have come from far. History does not forget anything. You are visiting places where the people fight. We can share our words, and languages, and experiences with you. Today we tell you, Aguascalientes is yours. There is always a place for you here. We thank you for your company and we hope you can take our word to all the kids and adults back in your countries. It is our obligation to transform society. We need to end the oppression, marginalisation, and injustice of humanity against humanity... for us Zapatistas, it is as if we didn't exist. Our women were not considered part of Mexican society and they were excluded from history. We want to create an alternative education to create a new world. We know that in any fight, education is important to our formation and to construct new worlds. The new worlds are in each of us. When we speak of revolution and of our fight, we are speaking of the need to create one world in which the many worlds of humanity can all fit. We need to save humanity, even as its ship is sinking... and to protect our natural resources. We want to create a new society where there are no poor people and no rich people. We don't believe in taking power, like in previous revolutions. It's a new way of thinking. And we want liberation not just for Indians, but for the workers, and for everyone. And we don't want the wealth of the rich. They are lost, and poor in spirit and in their vision of the world... They are slaves. We need new ways of educating ourselves, and it needs to be a collective effort: the peasants, the indigenous, the students, the workers, the housewives... We have an obligation to educate each other. We Zapatistas are not here to educate you. We are all here to educate each other in communion. We need to transform the world. And all the internationalists from every country need to have in their mind that we need to transform our individual realities as well as our collective realities, for the emancipation of all humanity - to bring us back to being human. We are trying to raise up something new that we had lost; living it and learning it in practice. That is important. Not always do we know how to go about constructing such a society, but we do know that it is necessary. We need to search for our common humanity - of all cultures, languages, colours. We are constructing new trails and paths and new lights for our people and all people. With you, we are creating history, and we speak in truth. And here you are now, with us in solidarity. This place is for all of us - Zapatistas, foreigners, everyone... and for future generations. We need to build our consciousness. We need to dream, and build solidarity. What is happening with humanity? If there's no democracy in the world, let's create democracy between all of us. We also need to remember history... We know that we indigenous were the first ones here. Do not believe the history that the pedagogues tell us of Latin America. We know our identity. We have roots. The Mayans were and are a great people, but so much has been taken away from us. We are immersed in a culture of capitalist thinking... and perhaps it's better not to exist than to exist and not do anything. With our word, we have the obligation of continuing our fight and supporting each other... Our leaders and presidents have just met in Monterrey. We too can organise and meet and talk about how to create new systems of living. And don't believe what these powerful men say about us. We are against terrorism - especially the everyday terror of the rich against the disadvantaged. We are not terrorists. Terrorists kill civilians, children, women... but we are constructing something that is for everyone. We give you our simple word to take back to your countries. The more we construct solidarity with each other, the stronger we feel. If it wasn't for that, Zapatismo wouldn't exist. We need to fight, and we do not care about the media... All we need to do is to continue to fight. Zapatismo will continue, in our education, in our work, and in the ecology... Zapatismo dreams of creating universities of the people, for the people, and completely autonomous... We know that our kids of today will be the teachers and leaders of the future, with new programs and plans for the good of all... Do not leave us alone. Do not let the government destroy our schools. Thank you for your support my internationalist brothers and sisters. Education to us is not just having an eraser, a ruler, a pencil... it is to hear, to listen, to see... We need to learn to educate ourselves in the field and in practice, not just with theory. The word "consciousness" [conciencia] is grand and means so much. And "comrade" [companero] is an even bigger word, beyond capability of being defined. In our revolution, the most important aspect is comradeship [la camaderia]. We Zapatistas will be with you, and we ask that you also will always be with us, in our fight for a new world. We thank you... And amongst all of us here, none of us need permission from anybody to construct something that already belongs to us. Thank you for being here and reaching this beautiful moment with us."

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