Seventeenth part: Never Again…

Tercios Compas and El Capitan.

Memory is not only the sustenance of dignified rage, it is also the root of the tree of dignity and rebellion. In the case of the indigenous peoples, it is a root that sinks into centuries of darkness, and that, with the peoples of the world, says and is saying: “never again .”

Those at the top look at the past with the same nostalgia with which mature humans see photos of their birth and childhood.

Those below look at the past with rage. As if every humiliation, every wound, every affront, every mockery, every death were part of a present wound that must be healed.

Those at the top thus choose their heroes, and they start and distribute the story where they are the culmination of the whole. They disguise as “justice” what is nothing more than alms.

Those below see history as a single page that has not yet been finished writing, and there are no heroes, only a constant rewriting where the hand that draws scribbles changes, but not the collective heart that dictates horrors and errors, and, of course, accounts receivable.

The Zapatista peoples, when they look to the past, look and speak to their dead. They ask them to question the present – with themselves included. And this is how they look into the future.

This is how the Zapatista communities fight and live, who have not read Walter Benjamin. And I think they don’t need it…


Young Zapatista men and women practicing a play that describes, not a distant past, but something that was everyday just about 40 years ago in Chiapas. In other parts of Mexico and the World, it is the present… and perhaps the future. When Zapatismo says that it is against the patriarchal system, it does not do so because of fashion, novelty or a matter of political correctness. He does it by memory. And, dear friends and enemies, few things are as subversive as memory… and dignity.

Preparatory rehearsal for the celebration of 30 years since the beginning of the war against oblivion. Images courtesy of Tercios Compas, copyleft December 2023. Music by León Gieco “La Memoria”, voices by León Gieco and Víctor Heredia. Embracing all of Latin America, the one that is written and lived with lowercase letters, the one from below, the sister despite borders and neoliberal and progressive governments.

Mexico, December 2023. 40, 30, 20, 10, 2, 1 year, one month later.

Original text and translation published on Enlace Zapatista.

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