rdom on Thu, 20 Apr 2000 18:12:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> 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, writing: 


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
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


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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