EZLN builds rafts to go to Europe and ‘share their experience with self-government’
By: Isaín Mandujano
TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas (apro)
Members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) began to build and test their first ships for embarking on a trip to Europe in 2021. As predicted, the journey will not be easy, but they have plenty of “strength and lots of ovaries,” the rebel women say.
In a communiqué signed by Subcomandante Galeano, accompanied by various videos, he announces the preparations that members of the EZLN are making to undertake this mission.
From the Zapatista Maritime-Terrestrial Training Center in the Lacandón Jungle, “Sup Galeano,” as the EZLN’s spokesperson and political-military leader calls himself, gave the workshop “El Gómito Internacionalista” (The Internationalist Gummy).
In a first video, the indigenous people cut down several trees, built a raft and threw it into a mighty river. On board the raft, a masked man says that they are poor and that they don’t have boats, but they have those rafts, with which they intend to reach Europe.
“We are Zapatistas and we are rebels. We’re not afraid of dying in the water. We are disposed to live and arrive where we have to arrive. We want to participate with the brothers and sisters of other countries. It’s necessary to demonstrate and share our autonomy.”
He pointed out that it’s necessary to share experiences with others, teach them and learn from them, because it’s not only in this region of Mexico that there is misery and many deaths of women and children, it’s also in other countries; that’s why they have proposed throwing themselves into the sea in these rafts and playing with the waves.
With the raft they will go down a river that passes through San Quintín, then they will take the Lacantum River to go to Tenosique, from Tenosique to Tulum and then to Cancun, from where they will depart for Europe, he explained.
In another video, titled “we don’t stop because of ovaries,” a couple of girls approach a river and they ask a man on board a dugout canoe (cayuco) if they are ready for the trip, to which the interlocutor responds that that they are ready and that he is aware that this cayuco is made with wood that doesn’t sink.
He immediately hands them the paddle, and asks them to start practicing. The little girl evaluates that the cayuco turned out very well, but recognizes that it will not be easy, therefore, she says, all the compañeras will have to take turns rowing, and that what the Zapatista women exceed in is “strength and ovaries.”
In another video, they present the creation of the “Zapalancha,” a means of transportation with which they intend to travel to Europe, because many European compañeros and compañeras and those from other countries have already come to learn about the Zapatista struggle in Chiapas and now it’s their turn to undertake the journey to learn about other struggles and other forms of self-government, they pointed out.
Aboard ships, boats, rafts or canoes, men, women and even children will go to arrive in Europe and share their struggle with other rebel struggles. In an animated video they recreated the journey of the “Zapalancha” on the high seas and in another one they presented the crew: some 80 young Zapatista women who are preparing for the mission in the Zapatista Caracol of Morelia and a small yellow-headed parrot called Toti, who will lead the mutiny on board.
In the complete communiqué SupGaleano narrates a story about this crossing. With his metaphorical discourse, the Zapatista leader narrates a dialogue between Defensa Zapatista and Esperanza, a crew member on the trip to Europe.
Extract from the communiqué:
“All right, I’m going to explain something very important to you. But, don’t take notes, just keep it in your head. You might leave the notebook laying around anywhere, but you have to carry your head with you all the time.”
Defensa Zapatista paces back and forth, as she says the late SupMarcos did when he was explaining something very important. Esperanza is seated on a tree trunk and, anticipating, she has placed a plastic tarp over the damp wood, recently blooming with moss, mushrooms and dry twigs.
“You think we’re going to be able to see where the struggle will take us,” Defensa Zapatista blurts out pointing with her little hands to nowhere.
Esperanza is thinking about how to answer, but it’s clear that Defensa asked a rhetorical question, and wasn’t interested in an answer. She was asking a question that led to other questions. According to Defensa Zapatista, she was following the scientific method.
“The problem isn’t getting to the destination, but making a path. That is, if there’s no path, well one has to make it. That’s the only way,” she continued brandishing a machete. Who knows where she got that, I’m sure somebody somewhere is looking for it.
“So, the problem as such has changed and the first thing is the path, because if there’s no path to where you want to go, then that’s your main concern. So what are we going to do if there is no path to where we’re going?”
You can read the complete communiqué in English here.
El comunicado completo en español con videos: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2020/12/22/tercera-parte-la-mision/
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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee