Zapatistas: “to be heard, we march in silence”

by Leonidas Oikonomakis on December 21, 2012

Post image for Zapatistas: “to be heard, we march in silence”

As the Maya calendar ends, a new cycle of struggle begins with thousands of Zapatistas peacefully and silently occupying town squares across Chiapas.

The Zapatistas are back! Flowing like the water of the river that beats the sword. And while some were anticipating the Christmas holidays forex currency and trading through forex brokers where you get to trade on currency, some others the end of the Maya calendar, and others still the new Communiqué from the Comandancia General of the EZLN that was announced back in November, the main cities of Chiapas woke up today with memories of 1994.

New Age freaks around the world may have been gearing up for the end of the world, but it appears that some Mayas had a very different opinion on the matter. They preferred to send us another message: that of the new world they have been building in silence for two decades now.

Since the early hours of the 21st of December 2012, thousands of Zapatistas from the Bases of Support of the EZLN — their faces covered with the legendary Zapatista pasamontañas and paliacates around their necks — started marching in silence, in perfect formation, entering the cities of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Comitan, and Altamirano, and occupying their central squares.

Those were the same squares, in the same cities, they had occupied during the Zapatista uprising on the 1st of January 1994. This time, though, they marched peacefully and in silence, under the heavy rain of the Chiapaneco December and the praise of the citizens of the cities. After a silent march through the towns, the Zapatistas headed back to their communities, equally silent as they appeared.

This is the most impressive Zapatista mobilization since May 2011, when — together with the Movement for Peace, Justice, and Dignity of the poet Javier Sicilia — they gathered more than 30.000 people in the central square of San Cristóbal de las Casas in a manifestation against the “War on Drugs” of Felipe Calderon that has already cost Mexico more than 70.000 deaths.

Right now we are expecting the Communiqué of the Comandancia General of the EZLN, but what is certain is that today’s impressive silent mobilization is the Zapatistas’ response to the increasing repression their communities have been facing from the government and its paramilitaries over the past years, in combination with the return of PRI — the party against which the EZLN initially mobilized in 1994 — to government.

It is also a message to the world: that the Zapatistas are still here, in silence and with patience, like the water of the river that beats the sword…

P.S. “The Story of the Sword” is an ancient parable that demonstrates how the indigenous peoples of Mexico can finally defeat the European invader. “The tree”, says Subcomandante Marcos when narrating the story, “tried to fight the sword, but was defeated. The stone likewise.” But not the water. “It follows its own road, it wraps itself around the sword and, without doing anything, it arrives at the river that will carry it to the great water where the greatest of gods cure themselves of thirst, those gods that birthed the world, the first ones.”

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Shooglenifty December 22, 2012 at 02:49

Victory to the Zapatista’s
Victory to the I.R.A


Peter C December 29, 2012 at 14:27

The IRA fight for nothing but money and power. You don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about if you think the Irish are oppressed to the same level as the indigenous Americanos.


Sonny cheeba January 4, 2013 at 01:13

It ain’t a competition last time I checked but if I you insist.
The Irish occupied since the 12 th century by the English. Forced to migrate over centuries due to lack of access to the benefits of development and the nations resources, the famine is just one manafactured event created by the English. After “independence” an elite aligned with the British state continues to rule as shown by their subservience to the IMF, ECB and British banks during the recent financial crisis.
In the North denied access to opportunity by the unionist state in the north & physically occupied by the British army created the environment for the modern IRA/Sinn Fein to reemerge. While money and power may attract some and probably paid for the weapons it used against the British state the Provo movement is now largely decommissioned and behind the political process.
Yeah us Irish are white and European and can move to more stable parts of the world for better opportunities, in turn weakening true leftist movements in Ireland and strengthening the conservative state, but are oppression and exploitation has been just as strong and still continues in different ways.
Solidarity with all the oppressed people’s of the world.


Benjamín Lajo Cosido December 22, 2012 at 03:20

¡Amalga de ojos que son bocas!
De Luceros de Día y de la Noche!
Vuestro discurso lleva la Voz de la Tierra,
por eso son insondables.

Como las olas del mar, sois fuga y libertad.
Nunca seréis esa orilla de breve transcurrir
como ríos que se apagan.

Nunca os podrán mordaza los que no escuchan
otra voz que la de su egoísmo de maldita violencia.
Vuestra Luz y vuestra Sombra se enfrentan a las tinieblas
de indiferente silencio, de injusticia demencial.

Con el Viento de Zapata y los ojos de Durruti.
Con la Revolución a cuestas, dentro del humilde Atillo.
La Riqueza que tenéis ni se mide, ni se cuenta, ni pesa.
La Dignidad es el oxígeno de los cautivos y libres.


ronone December 22, 2012 at 04:02

Today in Canada there is a National day of protest against the Conservative Government, a new bill called C45 has all but taken away environmental protection laws and allows multinational resource extraction companies to encroach on the Indigionous peoples sovereign territory. I am asking everyone to go to my FB page and share the links in support of the Idlenomore movement – we are growing in number and the rallies are happening now. Please share the links and ask friends to do the same – In unity we stand. Thank you.


HENRY GUZMAN VILLALOBOS December 22, 2012 at 17:46




Bobbie December 24, 2012 at 21:38

The struggle of the Zapatistas inspires struggles all around the world since decades. Especially in these times of economic genocide in Europe and everywhere, we need to refer to the “father” of direct action and take lessons from him…


Anarcho Mo December 27, 2012 at 23:04

with the name of my self as a member if the Libertarian Socialism Movement here in Egypt , I in solidarity with The Zapatista’s . All The Authority in The people’s Hand .


Gabriel January 7, 2013 at 17:31



Agnes Portalewska January 16, 2013 at 20:24

I am the communications manager for Cultural Survival. We are looking for a high resolution image of the Zapatista mobilization in 12.21.12 to print in our magazine (Cultural Survival Quarterly). Could you give us permission to use and send us one of your images :
Please let us know how to credit.
Thank you.


Tamara Van Der Putten January 17, 2013 at 00:26

Dear Agnes, ROAR doesn’t own the copyright for these images.


Rodger Nation March 5, 2013 at 01:27

Is there a EZLN chapter/group in North Texas that I could contact?


Arosha May 27, 2013 at 06:46

we are studying you


Nicole Lebrasseur January 28, 2014 at 22:51


All Peoples in all Countries need to remove “Final Decision Making Authority out of the hands of all levels of Governance” and place it back into the hands of the “PEOPLE”.


Henry Guzman Villalobos February 20, 2015 at 18:39

Native Americans of North America Mexico, need help to get their land and rights back. The Mexican Government needs to do the right thing for the Indigenous Nations! The land belongs to the Native Americans of Mexico and not to the Mexican Government!!!!

We Native Americans of the U.S.A., support our native sisters and brother in North America Mexico. We are the same race and we are ONE PEOPLE!!!!

Henry Guzman Villalobos(Aztec Yaqui Native American) Freelance International Writer & Researcher of International Law, Human Rights Law, Federal Law, American Indian Law of the Americas, Elder Law, and much more….U.S.A., 2/20/2015


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