"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shadows of Tender Fury

This is the first collection of letters and communiqués by Subcomandante Marcos, that mysterious masked spokesperson of the Zapatista Rebellion. These communiqués were published first in La Jornada, the Mexican daily newspaper. The communiqués are meant to educate the masses to the plight of the indigeous people Chiapas.

The book contains the first four declarations of the Lancandon Jungle and the credo of the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista Liberacion Nacional) or the Zapatista National Liberation Army. I feel that the first paragraph from the First Declaration, written in January of 1994, gives a great feel for what the book contains and says it all in a nutshell.

From the First Declaration of the Lancandon Jungle
The EZLN’s Declaration of War:


We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, then during the War of Independence against Spain led by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed by North American imperialism, then to promulgate our constitution and expel the French empire from our soil, and later the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz denied us the just application of the Reform laws and the people rebelled and leaders like Villa and Zapata emerged, poor men just like us. We have been denied the most elemental preparation so they can use us as cannon fodder and pillage the wealth of our country. They don't care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are we able to freely and democratically elect our political representatives, nor is there independence from foreigners, nor is there peace nor justice for ourselves and our children.

But today, we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

This book is even more pertinent and necessary now in 2005 then in 1994. We have become jaded and less informed about the struggle in Mexico. How many people realize that still the Zapatistas fight on? With the war in Iraq, the tsunami in Thailand and other world events in the past few years, we are forgetting the struggles in Mexico, so close to home. These are our people, this is our fight. Read Marco’s books, all of them but start with this one. If you’ve read it, read it again. Refresh your memory and get out there and help in the fight.

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