Zapata Lives in Our Dead

To the people of Mexico:
To the people and governments of the world:
To the national and international press:
Brothers and Sisters:

The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army addresses you to speak its word.

In these moments, tens of thousands of men, women, children and old people, Indigenous Mexicans all of them, are meeting on hundreds of ejidos, ranches, and communities of the Mexican countryside. Our hands also reach the heart of asphalt. Together with these people, we are united in front of a tri-color flag, in whose center there is the image of an eagle devouring a serpent. We are united by our shared misery, by the collective oblivion into which we were relocated 501 years ago, by the useless death that we suffer from, by our lack of faces, by having our names stripped from us, by wagering our life and death on an unknown future. Together with all these people, we are brought together by a collective desire in front of this flag: to change, once and for all, this sky and soil, which is now oppressed. To do this, we, the nameless and the faceless, the self-called "professionals in hope," the most mortal of all "transgressors of injustice," those of us who are mountains, those who walk in the night, those who are without voice in the palaces, who are the foreigners in their own land, who are eternally dying, who are the dispossessed of history, who are without a country and without a tomorrow, those of the tender fury, those of the unmasked truth, those of the long night of disdain, those men and women of truth... The smallest... The best... We must open again the door of your filial heart that you can receive our words.

We must speak truth from our mouths; we must put our heart in our hands. Brothers and sisters, we want you to know who is behind us, who directs us, who walks in our feet, who dominates our heart, who rides in our words, who lives in our dead.

We want you to know the truth, brothers and sisters, and it is like this:

From the very beginning of that long night in which we died, according to our most ancient grandparents, there was someone who collected our pain and our oblivion. There was a man who, his words coming from far away, came to our mountain and spoke with the language of the true men and women. His walk was, and was not, of these lands. In the mouths of our dead, in the voice of the wise elders, his words walked towards our heart. There were, and still are, brothers and sisters, those who are and are not the seed of this soil, who came to the mountain, dying, to live again, brother and sisters. Those who lived lived by his heart dying from this walk, his own but foreign, when he made his house in the mountain of the nighttime roof. His name was and is of many things appointed. His tender word waits and walks in our pain. He is, and is not, of these lands: Vota'n Zapata, guardian and heart of the people.

Vota'n Zapata, light from afar, came and was born here in our land. Vota'n Zapata, the appointed name again, always among our people. Vota'n Zapata, timid fire who lived 501 years in our death. Vota'n Zapata, name that changes, faceless man, tender light that gives us shelter. Coming, Vota'n Zapata came. Death was always with us. Dying, hope died. Coming, came Vota'n Zapata. Name without name, Vota'n Zapata watched in Miguel, walked in Jose' Mari'a, was Vincente, was named in Benito, flew in a bird, mounted in Emiliano, shouted in Francisco, visited Pedro. Dying, he lived, named without name, in our land. Name without name, living, came Vota'n Zapata to our land. Speaking, his word fell into our mouths. Coming, he is. Vota'n Zapata, guardian and heart of the people.

He is and is not all in us... He is underway... Vota'n Zapata, guardian and heart of the mountain... Us... Vota'n, guardian and heart of the people. He is one and many. None and all. Living, he comes. Vota'n Zapata, guardian and heart of the people.

This is the truth, brothers and sisters. You should know it. He will never die again in our life, and in our death he lives now and forever. Vota'n, guardian and heart of the people. Without name he is named, face without face, all and none, one and many, living dead. Vota'n, guardian and heart of the people. Tapacamino bird, always in front of us. Nothing walks behind us. Vota'n, guardian and heart of the people.

He took a name in our existence without name. He took the face of those without faces. He is the sky in the mountains. Vota'n Guardian and heart of the people. And in our unnameable, faceless path, he took a name in us: Zapatista National Liberation Army.

With this new name, the nameless are named. With this flag gagging our faces, all of us have faces again. With this name, the unnameable is named: Vota'n Zapata, guardian and heart of the people.

The Zapatista National Liberation Army. Tender Fury that is armed. An unnameable name. Unjust peace is transformed into war. Death that is born. Anguish made into hope. Pain cries. Quiet shout. Our own present for an unknown future. Everything for everyone, nothing for us. The unnamed, us, the always dead. Us, foolish dignity, forgotten corner of our country. Us, Zapatista National Liberation Army. Us, black and red flag beneath the tri-color eagle. Us, the red star finally in our sky, never the only star, but one more, the smallest. Us, only a look and a voice. Us, Zapatista National Liberation Army. Us, Vota'n, guardian and heart of the people.

This is the truth brothers and sisters. This is where we come from. This is where we are going. Living, he comes. Dying, death lives. Vota'n Zapata, father and mother, brother and sister, son and daughter, large and small, us, we are coming...

Receive our truth with a dancing heart. Zapata lives, for now and forever, in these lands.

Greetings, fellow Mexicans!
Greetings, campesinos of this country!
Greetings, Indigenous people of all countries!
Greetings, Zapatista combatants!
Zapata, living he comes!
Dying, he lives!
Viva Zapata!
Democracy!
Freedom!
Justice!
The revolution continues!!

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The Zapotecs   Thunder Over Mexico   The Story of the Questions   Emiliano Zapata     

Indigenous Peoples' Literature


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