Prohibited thinking?

Guadalupe Vázquez Luna (“Lupita”).

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

Guadalupe Vázquez Luna is a hurricane with a woman’s body. Small, with the face of a girl despite her 30 years, her voice has an immeasurable power. She is not ready to shut up and says so. Although she apologizes when speaking Spanish, which is her second language (the first is Tzotzil), her Spanish is impeccable.

“Lupita” was barely 10 years old when paramilitaries murdered her parents, five brothers, her grandmother and her uncle. On December 22, 1997 they were praying for peace in the Acteal chapel when PRIístas armed and protected by the police arrived shooting. They massacred 45 innocent people. She still hears the crying, the moaning of the men, of the women, of the babies and children that were there.

Guadalupe’s life was saved by a miracle. In the midst of the shooting, with her mother already dead, her father took her out of the hiding place where she was being sheltered and shouted at her to get out of there. She ran among the coffee fields down the mountain.

Since then, she has not stopped living in resistance, calling things by their name, and fighting against oblivion and for justice. Walking she has realized the la importance of persevering.

No one is going to listen to quiet women, she says. No one is going to read the thinking, she said at the round table discussion “Looks, listens and words: prohibited thinking?” that is being held at the Cideci-UniTierra, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, convoked by the EZLN. Therefore she does not keep quiet.

Guadalupe Vázquez Luna is a councilor on the Indigenous Government Council (CIG, its initials in Spanish) of Chiapas. In her talk at the roundtable she did not leave a head nodding. With an admirable eloquence, like a modern cantor, she narrated how she experienced the epic journey to organize the CIG and register María de Jesús Patricio on the electoral ballot as a candidate to the Presidency. Now –she said– the indigenous raised their regard. They will no longer see us as tourism.

“Prohibited thinking?” began on April 15 and will conclude on April 25. It brought together more than 50 artists, indigenous leaders, human rights defenders, filmmakers, thinkers and journalists with the Zapatista commanders, to share looks, listens and words. Old compañeros on the rebels’ route, like Gilberto López y Rivas, Alicia Castellanos and Magdalena Gómez participate, and a multitude of new voices, like Daniela Rea, Mardonio Carballo and Emilio Lezama. Together they evaluated what Subcomandante Galeano characterized as “the Marichuy effect,” took the pulse of the current conjuncture and took heart deciphering the Mexico and the world that follows the July 1 elections.

The deacon of these seedbeds, Pablo González Casanova, reflected on Zapatismo as a universal revolutionary project and was thankful for having experienced it. The EZLN then named him Comandante Pablo Contreras of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee and paying their respects to him.

The lawyer Carlos González also participated in the meeting, a key figure in the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) ever since its foundation in October 1996. The Congress –he said– grew in this past year, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, and is better. It is present in states like Tlaxcala and Quintana Roo, which it had never before reached. Last May, at the beginning of the CIG, 38 council members participated; today there are 160.

Prohibited thinking gives light to pain, in the words of the specialist in human rights Jacobo Dayan, a pain that, according to the psychoanalyst Mauricio González, is in the air. Fleeing from the market of victimization, the gathering transpired as a monumental flight. Stories about the “deafening noise of the blood” of Ayotzinapa, the bottomless pit of forced disappearances, dispossession and the new dirty war, alternated with stories of the formidable experience championed in Zapatista territory by 10,000 women from 48 countries during the International Gathering of Women that Struggle, held last March 8 to 10, or with the reflections –like those of the philosopher and specialist in impunity Irene Tello– about narration as a way of subverting and moving through the violence that we experience.

I come –Dayan explained– “from Syrian grandparents, from Aleppo; I come from a place that no longer exists, from nowhere.” Submerged in the circumstances of the horror of Mexico, he narrated how there are zones in the country in which tens of thousands of bone remains are buried, he related the stories of extermination operated by the Mexican State in places like Piedras Negras and remembered the death flights in Veracruz. We are outraged at the corruption –he said–, but we don’t say hardly anything in the face of a nation converted into an immense cemetery.

Faithful to the counterpoint, the event traced the cartography of grievances and their scenery, at the same time that he vindicated the challenge –according to the psychologist Ximena Antillón– of mending the words that have been emptied or denatured of their meaning by the power to allow them to understand again. He traced what the novelist and articulator of social convergences Juan Villoro characterized as an entire country transformed into a Necropolis, contrasted with the vision of the writer Cristina Rivera-Garza of writing as a political act, work process and an intrinsic part of communality.

In this polyphony, the note was the contrast. On the one hand, the journalist Marcela Turati explained how journalistic work about the truth of the victims ha been converted into a painful commission of the truth in real time, in which one must elect what’s strategic. On the other hand, the other professional of the press Javier Risco, with a fine irony, drew the horror of national politics and the politicians, starting with the interviews that he has done.

The diversity of voices that were heard at “Prohibited thinking?” were traversed by the combination of the Marichuy effect and the experience of Zapatismo as an event in some moment of their biography. We’re talking about an experience that has nothing to do with joining another candidate, organizing a new religious cult or forming another political party, but rather –as the example of Lupita Vázquez shows– with listening to the other and celebrating life.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


One Comment on “Prohibited thinking?

  1. Pingback: CSC Events | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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