Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 16, 2021

Zapatistas Listening Walk in the Unsubmissive Lands of Europe Below

The EZLN's Listening Walk in the Unsubmissive Lands of Europe Below

By Medios Libres or whatever they are called 

Published in Camino al Andar

August 15, 2021.

Those from above didn't believe them capable, but those from below gave it their best shot. "Vientos compas. ¡Qué chingonas son!", you can hear around in the continent formerly known as old Europe. In short, five hundred years of rough experiences of racism and resistance were summed up in listening to the seven "one hundred percent Zapatista" voices of the first Zapatista grassroots delegation to Europe. The maritime outpost of Squadron 421 is composed of Comandanta Carolina and Comandanta Ximena, Lupita, former local and regional youth coordinator, Yuli and Marijosé, former trainers of autonomous education promoters, and Bernal and Felipe, former members of the Good Government Councils. In the face of the European noises and ears, he gives us as an example his own way of walking, listening, in silence, when the sound of his word resurfaces, as announced on October 5, 2020 by the spokesperson Subcomandante Moisés, who will go to tell the people of Spain "that they did not conquer us. That we continue in resistance and rebellion" (Part Six: A Mountain on the High Seas, EZLN). 

Below and to the left, on the side of the heart in Abya Yala, we continue to hear the pain caused by the hatred of the poor and the structural racism of a Mexican nationalism faithful to patriarchal Eurocentric colonialism (read: The Mexican State and the memory of those from below). Five hundred years after the fall of the Mexica empire, while the National Indigenous Congress mobilized with dislocated actions, especially in Mexico City with the Anti-capitalist and Anti-patriarchal Metropolitan Coordination with the Indigenous Council of Government (read: "They did not conquer us!" Peoples burst into the vicinity of the commemoration of the fall of Tenochtitlán), in the unsubmissive lands of the Europes below, the Zapatista anthem was also sung and the slogans of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, from north to south and from east to west, that is to say from Scandinavia to the Iberian Peninsula and from the east of the continent to the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever the cost, several dislocated actions took place on this warm and historic summer afternoon.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, a large march with speeches in several languages took place in front of the Spanish embassy, with music and singing, before a conference and an evening concert by Cumbia Collective (see Mexico Gruppen International Forum). In front of the Spanish embassy in Brussels, Belgium, located in the area of the neoliberal European institutions, a banner was read: "Our mountains are moving. Our forces unite" (see Réseau d'accueil des zapatistes en Belgique). It was declared in French, Dutch and Spanish: "Comrades, we are waiting for you and we fight on our lands, with you! Welcome Zapatistas! Welcome the National Indigenous Congress and the Peoples' Front in Defense of Land and Water of Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala! Welcome the compañeras, compañeros and compañeras of Mexico!

In Germany, a powerful demonstration with more than a hundred participants marched through the streets of Berlin, "on this day of action 500 years of resistance - #NoNosConquistaron, with good humor, music and dancing and desmadre." The protests ended with a rally at the Humboldt Forum, where colonialism and extractivism were addressed (see Enough is enough Netz). In France, another protest action broke out on a bridge of the Seine River at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, with banners and a banner "No more Conquistador", in front of the Parisian Quai-Branly museum that intends to exhibit twenty tons of Olmec archeological pieces (note and video on Radio Zapatista).


In the European capitals as in countless corners of the resistance in Slumil K'ajxemk'op, they continue to demand free passage to Europe for the Zapatista Air Force (#PasoLibreZapatistas), initially composed of 177 people, among whom will travel six girls and boys from the group "Play and Mischief" (Comando Palomitas) and several groups of women and men from "Listen and Word" (La Extemporánea), "whose existence and memory covers the history of our struggle from the years prior to the uprising until the beginning of the Journey for Life." They will fly 36 militia women from a women's soccer team and the "coordinating group of the invasion" in charge of organizing the "Listen and Speak" groups in five European zones, in addition to attending to the "free and paid media", participating in round tables, conferences and public events; and evaluating "the development of the invasion" (La Extemporánea and a national initiative, EZLN).

Well, perhaps it is worth asking where and how Marijosé, Yuli, Ximena, Carolina, Lupita, Bernal and Felipe walked, navigated, marched, watched and listened to all the colors and tones of voice of the people who invited them to learn about their struggle and to build public opinion.

They walked asking questions, in the unsubmissive territories of southeastern Mexico "where the people command and the people obey". Undoubtedly, they crossed mountains, forests, milpas, pastures and bridges in the Lacandon jungle, the North and the Highlands of Chiapas, passing through the Zapatista Maritime-Terrestrial Training Center in the "Comandanta Ramona" seedbed of the Caracol of Morelia, as well as the new Caracol of Patria Nueva on April 24 and 25, 2021 (see "We are going to make the journey, history asks us to"). Then they were dismissed by the rituals of the support bases in Roberto Barrios' Caracol, just before crossing the devastated low jungles of the Yucatan peninsula that Juan de Grijalva's conquistadors had baptized Isla Rica, after laying down in Koson Lumil ("land of swallows", now Cozumel Island) on May 3, 1518, a place they had also renamed Santa Cruz de Puerta Latina.

They sailed, in an old sailing ship baptized "La Montaña", to corners of struggle and hope in Western Europe, now named Slumil K'ajxemk'op, "land that does not resign itself, that does not give up" (see The disembarkation of Squadron 421 in Vigo). And they did cross the Atlantic between May 2 and June 22, passing through ports in the south of the island of Cuba, that is to say, just where the ships of Hernán Cortés' conquistadors left five centuries ago, when they began their invasion in 1519 along the Totonaca coasts now known as Veracruz, before taking control of Tenochtitlán ("stone tuna", now Mexico City) on August 13, 1521, the place that served as the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. 


They marched asking, after entering within the walls of a fortress Europe through the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, reaching the Iberian Peninsula in Vigo, and then in Merida, Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, with extreme vigilance in sanitary precautions. They multiplied gestures and words of thanks in Mayan languages and Spanish for the lodging, food and accompaniment of their hosts from the Europe below and to the left, who invited them to cross the Pyrenees to the Occitan city of Toulouse in the southwest of France, and to twin with the struggles of the Parisian region, attending in Montreuil a long protest march of the tireless movement Without Papers on July 24, 2021 (video Without Papers and Zapatistas).

They watched and listened, silently asking questions. Photographing and recording with their cell phones, they made a record of what they observed, remembering perhaps the words of the late Subcomandante Marcos addressed to the National Indigenous Congress (Nothing will be given to us, EZLN) on March 3, 2001: "Forget the borders if the word is sister to the other. Be wary of those who talk a lot and listen attentively to those who are silent. Thus the Walking listening of five sailors of Squadron 421 was represented by a long silence in Brittany, near Nantes, France, after receiving the flotilla of women and dissidents on the Loire River on July 27, 2021 (video and free media note in Pozol) and, above all, in the Ambazada of the Zone to Defend Notre-Dame-des-Landes that resisted the megaproject of an international airport, when Yuli, Ximena, Carolina, Lupita and Marijosé participated in the Meeting of women, trans, inter and non-binary people of the other Europe, a few days before the 2021 edition of the Rassemblement Intergalactique (ZAD NDDL Info).

Walking, sailing, marching, watching and listening, what did the seven voices of the maritime delegation ask us? Listening leads us to an invitation to join struggles, to learn from the experiences of large and small movements. 

The sixth chapter of the audiovisual series of Medios Libres takes up the voice of Yuli in the Plaza de Colón in Madrid, Spain. Yuli turned 38 years old last May at sea, that is, she was only six months old when the EZLN was founded in a place near her home community of Tojolabal in the Lacandon Jungle, near the border with Guatemala. Her husband being from a Tseltal village, "so they love each other, fight and love each other again in Castilla" (Squadron 421 (the maritime delegation), EZLN). Yuli is the mother of a girl and a boy, coordinator of a local collective and educator in a locality in the Ocosingo canyons where the recovered lands are cultivated with dignity by Mayan peasant families known as autonomous.

In Yuli's voice, "our commitment to life is global. It does not recognize borders, languages, colors, races, ideologies, religions, sexes, ages, sizes, flags" (Barely 500 years, EZLN, August 13, 2021, read her full speech below). Immediately, the voice of Marijosé warned that "this is one of the few times that we will speak in an act where a few speak and many listen". In the same tone of voice she concluded: "And, when one day someone asks you 'what did the Zapatistas come for', together we will be able to answer, without shame for you and without shame for us, 'they came to learn'. Five hundred years later, the Zapatista communities came to listen to us".

In the voice of Yuli (Barely 500 years later, EZLN):

As Zapatista communities that we are, we see signs.

But perhaps we are mistaken as the peoples that we are.

You see they say that we are ignorant, backward, conservative, opponents of progress, pre-modern, barbaric, uncivilized, untimely and inconvenient.

Perhaps this is so.

Maybe we are backward because as women or others, we can go out for a walk without fear of being attacked, raped, dismembered, disappeared.

Perhaps we are against progress because we oppose megaprojects that destroy nature and destroy us as peoples, and that inherit death for the generations that follow.

Perhaps we are against modernity because we oppose a train, a highway, a dam, a thermoelectric plant, a shopping mall, an airport, a mine, a toxic material deposit, the destruction of a forest, the contamination of rivers and lagoons, the cult of fossil fuels.

Maybe we are backward because we honor the earth instead of money.

Maybe we are barbarians because we grow our own food. Because we work to live and not to earn pay.

Perhaps we are inconvenient and inconvenient because we govern ourselves as the people we are. Because we consider the work of government as one more of the community jobs that we will have to fulfill.

Maybe we are rebels because we do not sell out, because we do not surrender, because we do not give in.

Maybe we are all that they say about us.


But we see something, we hear something, we know something is happening and will happen.

And that is why we are on this journey. Because we think and we know that we are not the only ones who struggle, that we are not the only ones who see what is happening and what is going to happen.

Our corner of the world is a small geography of struggle for life.

We are looking for other corners and we want to learn from them.

That is why we have come here, not to bring you reproaches, insults, claims, collections for unpaid debts.

Although it is fashionable and although anyone would say that yes, we are right in those claims or that we do not know what we should do and they, the bad governments, will do it for us.

And that it is fashionable for those bad governments to hide behind cardboard nationalisms.

And that, under the banner of nationalism, we cover ourselves and those who oppress us, who persecute us, who murder us, who divide us and confront us.

No. That is not what we are here for.

Behind nationalisms are hidden not only differences, but also and above all crimes. Under the same nationalism are sheltered the violent male and the assaulted woman, the heterosexual intolerance and the persecuted otherness, the predatory civilization and the annihilated native people, the exploiting capital and the subjugated workers, the rich and the poor.

The national flags hide more than they show, much more.

Because we think so, it is because our commitment to life is worldwide. It does not recognize borders, languages, colors, races, ideologies, religions, sexes, ages, sizes, flags.

That is why ours is a Journey for Life.


- Communiqués of the EZLN and videos of Enlace Zapatista

- European website in twelve languages: Zapatista Journey

- Social networks Medios Libres Chiapas

- Anartist Channel European Coordination for the "Journey for Life", Vimeo Channel ¡Compas Arriba! and YouTube Channel Tejemedixs

- News on Camino Al Andar

Translated with (free version)Translated with (free version)

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