Zapatistas condemn Israel’s “war of extermination” against Palestinians

Subcomandante Marcos in La Realidad, Chiapas in 1999.

Cesar Bojorquez Flickr

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) this weekend condemned Israel’s “war of extermination” against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

At the First Exchange of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico with the Zapatista Peoples meeting in Chiapas, Comandante Tacho expressed solidarity between indigenous liberation movements in Mexico and Palestine, saying of the Palestinian people, the Zapatistas “embrace them today as we have before, as we always do.”

Tacho gave the statement on behalf of the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee - General Command of the EZLN. The introductory statement included a rededication of Zapatista solidarity with Palestinians.

Comandante Tacho’s words were couched in a broader statement about indigenous liberation that, even when not referring to Palestine directly, are pertinent and insightful. The message follows a message of solidarity in the late spring from a group of Palestinian activists condemning Mexican government-backed attacks in Chiapas.

Below is an excerpt of Comandante Tacho’s message, but I recommend reading the full message in Spanish or English.

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress.

We come to share our suffering and pain caused by the Neoliberal system.

But not only this.

We also come to share valuable knowledge, our experiences in struggle and organization, and our goals and challenges.

We do so in the face of the neoliberal capitalist invaders that have done us so much damage.

These invaders were not satisfied with the theft and looting carried out by the conquistadors in 1492.

Those conquistadors encountered the resistance of the peoples, tribes, and indigenous nations of these lands of this country called Mexico.

They killed those who opposed subordination to the Spanish monarchy.

These wicked invading tormentors stained their hands with indigenous blood and stole the richness cared for by our oldest ancestors.

They persecuted the Indian peoples of Mexico and all of Latin America with the goal of eliminating the indigenous peoples completely and banishing their existence.

They did not achieve this. That we are here now is proof.

However, communication from the communities of our ancestors was lost; the relations of these communities were lost.

But the wisdom and intelligence of our oldest grandparents was hidden from the Spanish invasion.

And with that the indigenous peoples remade their existence.

We grew, forgotten by the powerful, for 500 years in all of the corners of our Mexican homeland.

We as originary peoples were ignored, deceived, forgotten, exploited, and enslaved in their dominion for more than 500 years.

And now, through the rise of the neoliberal powers, the machine of destruction appears once again to disappear our peoples.

They have made it bigger and more modern, supported by laws and bad governments, in order to invade us once again.

It has a new plan of dispossession, dispossessing us of our mother earth using the machinery of the power of money, looting the riches that mother earth has held and kept safe for millions of years.

With this machine comes the death and destruction of our peoples and our mother earth.

When we say these two words so well known by our peoples—these words of death and destruction—our heart and our gaze goes to the PALESTINIAN people. We hear and read what they say about “the conflict in Gaza,” as if there were two equal forces confronting each other, and as if saying “conflict” would hide the death and destruction such that death would not kill and destruction would not destroy.

But as the indigenous people that we are, we know that what is happening there is not a “conflict” but a MASSACRE, that the government of Israel is carrying out a war of extermination upon the PALESTINIAN people. Everything else is just words to try to hide reality.

But we also know, as the indigenous people that we are, that the PALESTINIAN people will resist and will rise again, that they will once again begin to walk and that they will known then that, although we are far away on the map, the Zapatista peoples embrace them today as we have before, as we always do, with our collective heart.

And here on our map, the power of money’s machine of war of is without a brain, without memory, wicked, like a savage animal unleashed against our indigenous peoples of Mexico.

They do not care about the destruction and death of our entire peoples, tribes, and nations.

We as the indigenous peoples of Mexico are not protected by laws and by bad governments.

Our hope lies only in ourselves.

No one is going to come save us; absolutely no one will fight for us.

Not political parties, nor politicians, nor laws; there is nothing there for us.

Compañeras and compañeros. The political parties, laws, and bad governments have demonstrated this clearly.

On the same date, Cuyo Films and Pablo A. Tonatiuh Álvarez Reyes released a video titled “Mexican Youth Express a Message of Solidarity to the Palestinian People.” In it, they read a 2009 statement from Subcomandante Marcos on the December 2008-January 2009 Operation Cast Lead attack on the Gaza Strip.

The youth read the statement in Arabic with subtitles in Spanish, English, Portguese and French.