rdom on Thu, 20 Apr 2000 14:31:35 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] MAMA STONE

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa


To the relatives of the politically disappeared.

"I dream in marble cloisters
where, in divine silence,
the heroes stand, at rest;
At night, by the light of the soul,
I speak with them:  by night!
They are in line: I pass
among the lines:  I kiss
the hands of stone:  the eyes
of stone open: the beards
of stone tremble: the stone swords
are brandished: they weep:
the sword shudders in the sheath!
Mute, I kiss their hands."

Jose' Marti'

April falls with stone hand over the Mexico of below.
Sun and shadows abound during the day, and at
night the moon negotiates a path mined with stars.
This country now walks the path of uncertainty,
that ravine, one of whose sides is threatened by
oblivion and forgetting.  On the other side,
memory is made mountain and stone.

The dawn is plucking petals from lost lights
when, in any city, in any house, in any room,
in front of any typewriter, a mother (the heart
of the flower of stone, hope) is writing a letter.
Curious, the dawn leans over her shoulder
and barely manages to steal a few lines:
"…and then you will imagine the sorrow
that grieves me so..", "...for us, the mothers,
who have lived as if with a dagger plunged
into our chest for so very long..."  The shadow
brings the bowl of the pipe to the candle and
lights the tobacco and the words which have
already taken over the hands and which are, now,


I did not know Jesu's Piedra Ibarra, or Ce'sar Germa'n
Yanez Munoz.  Not personally.  From other photographs
I can recognize them now in the poster, in front of me,
that shines a "EUREKA!" on the upper part.  In the
center, a group of men and women are carrying a
large banner that reads "PRESENTATION OF
is filled with photographs of men and women,
all young, all Mexicans.  Among the images, I
lightly mark with a pen that of Jesu's Piedra Ibarra
and that of Ce'sar Germa'n Yanez Munoz.

I examine the faces of those holding up the banner:
mostly women, and it can be seen from their faces
that they are forever mothers.  Are?  Forever?
They are, and they are forever, that is for certain.
The poster could be from 25 years ago, from 15,
from 5 years ago, from this very day.  It tells
me nothing other than the firmness of those
gazes, their determination, their hope.

The "White Brigade," the paramilitary group
with which the government operated the
dirty war against the Mexican guerrillas of
the 70's and 80's kidnapped Jesu's Piedra Ibarra
on April 18, 1975, 25 years ago.  Since then,
nothing has been learned of him.  The Mexican
Federal Army detained Ce'sar Germa'n Yanez Munoz
in February-March of 1974, 26 years ago.  Since then,
nothing has been learned of him.  Thirty years ago,
20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, right
now in Mexico political opponents are being

I did not know Jesu's Piedra Ibarra or
Ce'sar Germa'n Yanez Munoz, nor any of
the politically disappeared men and women.
Or, yes, I did know them.  They had other
faces and wore different bodies, but it
was their same gaze.  I knew them in
the streets and in the mountains.  I saw
them raising their fists, flags, weapons.
I saw them saying "NO!," shouting "NO!"
until they were left without voice in their
throats but still in their hearts.  I saw
them.  I knew them.  Then they were
confederates, compa~eros, brothers,
they were us.  I knew them.  I know
them.  Their feet and arms are other,
but their steps are the same, their
embraces are the same.  I know them.
I know us.  Those faces are ours.  Just
take a black tipped pen and paint a
ski-mask on the faces of those men and women.

Jesu's Piedra Ibarra, Ce'sar Germa'n Yanez Munoz.
I knew their mothers.  I knew Rosa, mother of
Ce'sar Germa'n, and, some time later, Rosario,
mother of Jesu's.  I knew Rosa and Rosario,
both mothers of fighters, both fighters,
both seekers.  Some years ago Rosa made
as if she had died and went to look
for Ce'sar Germa'n under the earth.
Rosario continues above, looking for
Jesu's.  Mamas of stone, Rosa and
Rosario look above and beneath the stones.
 They are looking for a disappeared, two,
three, dozens, hundreds...

Yes, there are hundreds of politically
disappeared in Mexico.  What were
these and other men and women guilty
of to deserve from their enemies, we
are not now saying life and liberty,
but neither jail nor grave?  At times
a photograph is the only material
thing remaining of them.  But in the
mothers' hands of stone, that photograph
is made flag.  And the flags are
made to wave in the heavens.
And the heavens is where they are
raised by men and women who know
that memory is not a date that marks
the beginning of an absence, but rather
a tree which, planted yesterday, rises up

Of what material can the homage be made
to those anonymous heroes who have
no other corner than the memory of
those who share their blood and their
ideals?  Of stone, but not of just
any stone.  Perhaps of the stone of
memory that their mothers were
and are.  Because there are mothers
that are stone, stone of refuge, of strength,
of home, of wall that sustains the
word "JUSTICE" in their hearts.

The mothers of the disappeared are
of stone.  What can those ladies fear
who have confronted so much, who
have struggled so much?  Not absence,
because they have carried that for
many years.  Not pain, because they
live with that each and every day.
Not exhaustion, because they have
traveled all paths time and again.
No, the only thing the ladies fear is the
silence with which oblivion, forgetting
and amnesia covers itself, staining history.

The ladies have no weapon against
that fear other than memory.  But where
is memory safeguarded when a frenzied
cynicism reigns in the world of politics?
Where can those little pieces of history
take refuge, which now appear to be
only photographs, and which were men
and women with faces, names, ideals?
Why does the left of today seem to be
so overwhelmed by the present and
to forget its absent ones?  How
many of those fallen in the long night
of the dirty war in Mexico are
nothing other than stepping stones in
the rise of the left as alternative politics?
How many of those that we are owe
much to those who are not here?

Is it over?  Has the nightmare that was
called the "White Brigade" ended now?
What is the government body now
called that is in charge of disappearing
those who are opposed to the system?
Mexico:  Has it done better with political
disappearances since it has been "modern"?
Can one speak of justice while political
disappearances exist?

Those who are relatives (through blood,
through ideas, through both) of the politically
disappeared:  do they have company today
in their anguish, in their pain, in the absences?
Where are the hands and shoulders for them?
Where is the ear for their rebellion?  What
dictionary contains their determined search
that will banish forever the words "irremediable",
"irretrievable", "impossible", "oblivion", "resignation",
"conformity", "surrender"?  The politically
disappeared:  where are their executioners?

Those who disappeared them appear at the
old and beleaguered house of the current
politics in Mexico. They see that no one is
turning around, that no eye is even turning
to the forgotten chest of those who have
fought so that there may no longer be a
below to which one's gaze might fall.  The
executioners congratulate themselves then,
they have been successful, they raise their cups
and toast with blood the death of memory.

This country is called Mexico, and it is the year 2000.
The century and millenium are ending, and the belief
continues that silence makes things disappear:  if we
do not speak of prisoners and the politically disappeared,
they will then be erased from our present and from our past.

But it is not so.  With silence not only will our history
vanish, but, most certainly, the nightmare will be
repeated, and other mothers will be made of stone,
and they will travel to all corners, above and
below, saying, shouting, demanding justice.

The executioners are celebrating their
impunity (and their impunity is not just
they have no punishment, it is also that the
disappeared continue to be disappeared),
but also the silence.

Nonetheless, not everyone forgets.

Because, further below, where the roots
of the Patria take life from subterranean rivers,
the defeat of the executioners is brewing.

The images that memory raises in this
heart from below are of stone, and those
men and women who, barely touching the
strong skin of history, are rising up and
speaking, have some part of stone.  And
there is also a bit of stone in that modest
school which, in the midst of the zapatista
Realidad, where the name shines like
a flag:  "Jesu's Piedra Ibarra School."


The shadow crumples the written pages
and sets fire to them with the same light
with which he relights his pipe.  He takes
another clean page and,
with concise tenderness, writes:

"April 18, 2000.

Mama Stone:

I do not know about the others,
But we do not forget.

With affection,
Your zapatista daughters and sons.

PS:  Best wishes to all the ladies"

Below, the dawn continues its hot embrace,
while the sea arranges the breezes of her hair.
Above the moon, partial, reminds us that
nothing will be complete if memory is missing.
And "memory" is how justice is called here.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico,  April of 2000.

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