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photo by ANGRY PLANET
DISCUSSION PAPER PRESENTED BY THE EZLN DELEGATION ON THE SUBJECT OF THEIR RESISTANCE.
Listen the Comandante Dalia (EZLN) during the Opening Ceremony of The 2nd Encounter - (400Kb Real Audio zipped)
Companions in struggle:
We are the support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and we will participate in the Second Gathering for Humanity and against Neoliberalism by telling you the story of a village that has lived in exile for over two years.
It is the village of Guadalupe Tepeyac, it is our village and it lives in the mountains, and from the mountains we resist, we organise and we continue our struggle.
We made contact with the organisation of the EZLN many years ago.
One person in the village already knew of the EZLN's existence and it was he who first put us in touch with the comrades in the mountains, ie the guerrillas.
There they explained the struggle to us and asked us to keep it secret, because everything was underground. We promised that we would.
As a support base our community co-operated with the EZLN in the form of a commission that brought food to the comrades who were preparing to take up arms.
We also helped with beans, salt, sugar and pinol. The women prepared tortillas and also brought them soap.
We formed a commission to move the Zapatista troops from one place to another and we kept their secret until the declaration of war on January 1st, 1994.
During the conflicts that followed, our work as a support base was to bring them as much food as possible, so that our Zapatista soldiers could eat.
In our village we waited for the government's offensive, but we didn't know either what day or what hour it would come.
After that, civil society stopped the Federal soldiers and dialogue began, but later the government betrayed us and on February 9th 1995 they launched their military offensive on our community.
Trucks full of federal soldiers arrived, as well as helicopters and tanks. The soldiers came into houses, destroyed everything and then left.
All of this happened in our village and in many other Zapatista villages.
It was then that we went to the mountain.
We went to the mountain because our village was occupied and we did not want to live with people from the government, because they harass us and rape our family. We do not want them to destroy our work in the fields with tanks and guns, and for them to just say: "Sorry, but we have to get through..."
And for them to decide over our lives and our dignity. We do not want this.
That is why we had to retreat from our village and to found a new village in the Lacandon jungle.
Now we live in a place which has been borrowed for the duration of the resistance struggle, but we must tell you, our friends, that resistance is not easy.
One must suffer for dignity.
Right now we have no medicine, and not enough food. There is no land to work and to improve our harvest.
But we know that resistance means forcing the supreme government to fulfill its promise.
We want no more of their lies. We are tired of hearing lies in our country, in Mexico. We want to force the government to take its army out of our communities, which it invaded.
That is why we indigenous are ready to go on resisting through thick and thin, and even to give our lives for the sake of those who will come after us and those who are already with us in this world.
Resistance for us means not surrendering or accepting anything from the government.
We the Zapatista support bases will go on resisting as long as is necessary.
We want to tell you that our resistance is not easy.
We have to resolve many difficult problems, but we have to be organised and to conquer the patience and hope in our hearts.
As companions in the struggle for harmony in our world, we say that it is necessary to put up with heat, thirst and tiredness, like a farmer who puts up with everything because he has faith in his work in the fields.
We the Zapatista support base do not despair, but neither do we give in.
We know that one day we are going to win.
But we do not resist passively.
While we resist we organise. We are already in self-governing local councils and we have our own municipal councils who we ourselves elect and give this work to.
We are not waiting for the government to resolve our problems. What we did was to reject their authorities and elect our own people.
This is what all the Zapatista villages and regions did.
Or in other words, we resisted and organised.
Now we have our own people who are responsible for the municipal council, for justice, finances and for all of our government.
We have had our own authorities for more than two years now and we are learning how to govern ourselves.
Our authorities are civil and not military and although it is hard work we are learning that what is good is never easy.
We say to you that for our villages it is very important to belong to the EZLN.
We are quite sure what the struggle of everybody in our country is about, we know that the government deceives us and exploits us while they become richer and we indigenous become poorer, more dead, more imprisoned, more naked, more hungry, more excluded, more marginalised.
For us belonging to the EZLN is a big thing because we learn to resist, because we get to know more about political struggle and because we learn how to defend our people.
And that is why, companions in struggle from all over the world who are here today, we urge you to resist in your communities, to speak out and to continue fighting.
We know that it is not easy to resist, that one suffers, but it is better than resignation and being divided among ourselves.
That is what we have to say to you, companions in struggle from all the world.
Compaņera Dalia and Compaņera Felipe, EZLN support bases.