“Football is the continuation of politics by other means.”
Don Durito de La Lacandona (“DD”, for legal purposes).

November 2023

I.- Eve of the Journey for Life – Europe chapter.

A football challenge has been received from a European women’s team that resists and fights.

SupGaleano has appointed himself “technical director” of the “Ixchel – Ramona” team, made up of militiawomen. As it should be, the Sup has studied the rival team. He gathers the compañeras who will make the trip. Analyzes in detail the skills and characteristics of each of the players. He goes to Subcommander Moisés and gives his diagnosis: “they are going to tear us into pieces.” SubMoy looks at it with a “so?” face, as if taking it for granted. But the now deceased has not finished: “But I have a secret plan, as Dení says. With that we will revolutionize football and redefine it in its essence: the game.”

Subcommander Insurgent Moisés, coordinator of the tour, is quite busy with the preparation courses, birth certificates, passports and the design of the route to follow, so he leaves SupGaleano to proceed “at his discretion.” The future deceased smiles and says: “Discretion is my second last name” (don’t ask me what his first last name was because it would take several pages to explain it to you).

The deceased in the making begins the preparation of the women’s team. But, for his strategy to be successful, he needs the support of the fearsome, terrible and terrifying “Popcorn Commando”, which, at that moment, is trying to open a hole in the training ship in which the so-called “Squadron 421” was prepared. Disillusioned because, before finishing the work below the waterline, the ship had been transformed into an imposing two-engine plane, they went to consult with SupGaleano what they could do to set the aircraft on fire. The Sup convinced them that it was not advisable to burn it, that it was better to wait until it was in full flight to shoot it down from within. The beloved Amado and Chinto objected: if the plane falls, Commando Palomitas will also fall. The Sup responded that it was not the time to dwell on trifles. Furthermore, the Command was required for a higher task, than sabotaging an air trip that did not even complete the payment for the tickets, not to mention the lack of passports, and that the majority of the so-called “Division Aerotransportada La Extemporánea” was getting dizzy in the truck.

When the Popcorn Commando, the Sup, Tzotz, Tragón and Pelusa met in the ultra-secret bunker that is in the Puy platform of the Tzotz Choj area, they proceeded to refine the details of what, from then on, would be known worldwide as the “Brilliant and Excellent Plan to Defeat a Rival Better Prepared, Trained and Equipped than Us” (BEPDRMPEEN, for its acronym in Spanish), subtitle “And that they have better technique and control of the ball.”

The top secret meeting continued its normal course. That is to say, Chuy took away Lupita’s chamoy lollypop, Verónica gave Chuy a slap and, as if it were the Supreme Government, she kept Chuy’s lollypop, Lupita’s and her own. El Chinto and the beloved Amado insisted that their bicycles had broken down “just like that” and that the Monarch had to fix them. Pelusa, Tragón and Tzotz looked at the table looking for cookies, and Sup gave a master class on “How to win a soccer game with everything against you.”

The apparent chaos subsided when the Sup took out, from who knows where, a box of “Choki The Devil’s Cookie”, and only then – after 5 packages had been dispatched – the missions were distributed, the schedule was made, and they stuffed themselves with the sixth package “in honor of the future fallen men.” “And women,” Chuy felt obliged to add, only to receive from Verónica another zap model “gender equality does not apply in misfortune.” Lupita approved the action with the chamoy lollypop that Sup gave her so she wouldn’t continue crying.

The “three times T” Popcorn Command, the Sup and the canine wing of the command then went to the hotbed and, with the militia members gathered, the new “passive-aggressive” scheme was explained and practiced, which, as it should be, had in a leading role the aforementioned Command.

Following the old and proven Zapatista rule of “Do not play with the enemy’s rules”, the Sup developed a kind of mixture of rugby, with nineteenth-century dramaturgy, with some Anime, with cinema very much like Hollywood corner with Cannes, with Monet’s impressionism, a pinch of Allan Poe crossed with Conan Doyle, something of Cervantes’ epic, the brevity of Joyce, the perspective of Buñuel, a pinch of Brecht mixed with Beckett, the seasoning of some tacos al pastor, a very reduced cumbia, Anita Tijoux and Shadia Mansour breaking borders -free Palestine-, and, well, I didn’t take note of everything, but the only thing missing was the ball.

The strategy in question had 3 phases:

The first was that Verónica grabbed a Zapatista doll and headed determinedly towards the opposing goal, she stood in front of the enemy goalkeeper and spoke to her in Cho’ol. The goalkeeper, of course, world not understand anything, but there stood Lupita and Esperanza Zapatista who would translate with signs that the girl was giving her the doll. And Esperanza, as her name indicates, offered to take a photo with the girl and the doll. For the photo, they should tell the goaly to put the ball down, because Verónica wanted her to hug her. At the moment this happened, Esperanza kicked the ball “into the back of the net” and the entire team shouted “Goal!” It was practiced countless times with success. The only thing that could not be achieved was for Verónica not to take the doll from the goalkeeper and run away.

The second variation consisted of the Zapatista goalkeeper receiving the ball, placing it under her sports shirt, as if she were pregnant, and beginning to walk as if pregnant. The entire Zapatista team came to help her and take her to medical services. Of course, since they were in foreign territory, the teammates made a mistake and went to face the enemy goal, where, miraculously, the Zapatista goalkeeper dropped the ball that, barely rolling, went beyond the enemy line and gave birth to a Goal that, Messi and Cristiano, forget about it. Meanwhile, the TTT Popcorn Commando surrounded the sister responsible for the board and “exhorted” her to accept the goal achieved “with the sacrifice of the Zapatista compañera and her pichito (baby) ball.”

The third variation implied a risk for the protagonist, since she had to fake fainting. It was practiced only once in the semillero (training camp)because the terrain there is gravel (stone and sand), and it was expected that there would be grass in the enemy field. The compañera had to faint in the middle of the field. Subcommander Moisés, alarmed, would run to see his companion and, with him, the entire Zapatista bench would run. All the compañeras cried out, in their respective mother tongues, for medical service. As expected, the enemy would have no medical service, so a stretcher would be prepared in advance. The referee would like to call the paramedics, but SubMoisés would allege practices and customs of the native peoples, so the Zapatistas themselves lift the fainted woman and place her on the stretcher. Confused by the pain and sorrow of seeing their sister fall in combat, the militia members would not succeed in heading to the bench carrying the stretcher, so they would end up reaching the enemy goal. At that moment, the first gods, those who made the world, would do their work and the injured compa would wake up without the need for any male toad, commoner or royalty, to kiss her, and she would find the ball at her feet, just on the goal line and with a kick she would seal the fate. It was to be expected that, animated by the joy of seeing their companion safe, the militiawomen would shout “Goal!” By that time, the Popcorn Commando would already be at the foot of the scoreboard to ensure that life was celebrated.

I don’t really remember the fourth – I know I said there were 3, but weren’t the three musketeers actually 4? -, although it was similar in wit, creativity and mischief to the other three.

According to what the militiawomen told me upon their return, in the territories they call “Italy” and “Spanish State”, the enemy sisters quickly understood what the matter was about and began to play with the same style. I don’t know whether FIFA could classify it as football but, judging by the photos and videos they showed me, it was a party. Result: there was no winner or loser… and Verónica returned with the doll that, presumably, belonged to the now deceased SupGaleano. No, she didn’t give it back.

And that was the message for geographies around the world: do not play by your enemy’s rules, create your own rules,” SupGaleano declared to me before his last sigh.


II.- How many Cypriots can fit in a soccer game?

This was told to me by Subcommander Insurgent Moisés, when he told me details and anecdotes from the so-called “Europe chapter” of the Journey for Life. What I tell below is what I managed to rescue from the narration, full of admiration and respect, of Subcommander Moisés.

“There is a geography called Cyprus. Well, it’s broken, that is, in pieces. There are Cypriots, there are Greek Cypriots and there are Turkish Cypriots and I don’t remember how many more people have the last name Cypriot. The capitalists divided that land, cut it into pieces. And they also cut up their people, their language, their history, their culture. And it turns out that, although it is a small island, all the money wants it and, as they do, they divide it, but each party wants the other’s share. In other words, in the midst of the powerful and their wars, the people remain.

Well, then there is a soccer team in that geography called Cyprus. They have good players and they are professionals. So their job is to play soccer. So they are losing several games and they meet among themselves to analyze and they say that they are losing because the games’ strategy is wrong. They go and tell the owner of the team, that is, the boss, that they are losing because of that, that they already thought of a better strategy and that way they will win more games.

The boss, that is, the owner of the team, looks at them with contempt and tells them: “you win or lose as it suits me. Sometimes it suits me that you lose and that’s how it will continue.”

The players know how to play very well, but they also have a good heart. So, as they say, they rebel. Resistance and rebellion are said, but in their language. And they send the owner of the team, that is, the boss, to hell. Then they make their own soccer team. And they organize themselves and make a stadium. That land is divided, so, in the middle, they say “no man’s land”, they make their stadium there and then they invite anyone who wants to play and practice. The other groups and collectives that fight, support them and are well organized. It doesn’t matter if you are Cypriot, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot or Cypriot I don’t know what. There is no charge, it is voluntary what each person wants to give. So, as they say, the pay is not what matters. So, from time to time they have their matches and there are no divisions of nationalities, no religions, no flags, there is only football. And it’s like a party.

In other words, as they say, those brothers broke those boundaries that the bosses and owners put in place.

“So they kind of made their Caracol. They have a football Caracol! I told them let’s see when we can have a soccer game there in their land or here in no man’s land,” says Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson for the Zapatista communities, chief of the EZLN, and coordinator of the Journey for Life.


Ok. Cheers and that the games, like the rides, are not a competition but rather excuses to coexist among different people.

I attest.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

The Captain
Mexico, November 2023. 40, 30, 20, 10, 2 years later.

Music: “Somos Sur,” performed by Ana Tijoux and Shadia Mansour.
Images of the soccer match between the Ixchel-Ramona team and the Italian opposing sisters taken in the geography they call Rome, Italy, in November 2021. Images of the mobilization of the Zapatista peoples against the wars in 2022. Tercios Compas. Copyleft November 2023

Original text and translation published by Enlace Zapatista. Reposted here.

Want to receive our weekly blog digest in your inbox?

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top