Third Part: Deni
The late SupMarcos said that the reasons for the uprising could not be understood without first knowing the story of Paticha, the girl under 5 years old who died in his arms due to lack of a fever pill. I now tell you that you will not be able to understand what Insurgent Subcommander Moisés will later explain to you in detail if you do not know the history of Deni.
Dení is an indigenous girl, of Mayan blood and Mayan roots. She is the daughter of an “insurgenta” and an “insurgente” indigenous Zapatistas. When she was born, about 5 years ago, they gave her that name to honor the memory of a woman comrade who died many years ago.
The late SupGaleano met Dení when she was a Patz. In other words, a tamalito, because of how fat she was. In fact, that’s what the Sup called her: “Patz.” Now she is skinny, because she walks from one place to another. When the insurgents meet to do a job, Dení begins, according to her, to give them autonomous health classes. And she draws some doodles that, as she later explained, are health promoters. She says that female promoters are better because from time to time, men do not understand “as women that we are.” She firmly posits that, to be a health promoter, one has to know how to inject in a way that does not hurt. “Because, what if you need an injection and you don’t want to, because it hurts?”
Now we are in a meeting of the Zapatista leaders. Dení’s father and mother are not present, but the girl arrived following Tzotz and Pelusa, who are lying at the feet of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and, apparently, are paying attentiont to what is being said.
Someone is explaining:
“Deni is present here and she is, let’s say, the first generation. In 20 years, Dení will have a female offspring and she will name her “Denilita”, she would be the second generation. Denilita, 20 years later, is going to conceive a girl who will be called “Denilitilla”, she is the third generation. Denilitilla, now 20 years old, is going to have a girl who will be called “Denilititilla”, she would be the fourth generation. Denilititilla, when she turns 20, will give birth to a girl and will call her “Denilí”, the fifth generation. At 20 years old, Denilí is going to have a girl who will be called “Dení Etcétera”, she is the sixth generation. «Deni Etcetera, 20 years later, that is, in 120 years, will have a girl whose name we cannot see, because her birth date has already been removed from the calendar, but she is the seventh generation.»
Here Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés intervenes: “So we have to fight so that that girl, who is going to be born in 120 years, is free and is whatever she wants to be. So we are not fighting for that girl to be a Zapatista or a ‘partidista’ or whatever, but rather for her to be able to choose, when she has judgment, what her path is. And not only that she can decide freely, but also and, above all, that she takes responsibility for that decision. That is, take into account that all decisions, what we do and what we don’t do, have consequences. So, this is about that girl is able to grow up with all the elements to make a decision and to take responsibility for its consequences.
That is to say, that she doesn´t blame the system, the bad governments, her parents, her relatives, the men, her partner (whether male or female or whatever), the school, her friendships. Because that is freedom: being able to do something without pressure or obligation, but being responsible for what was done. In other words, knowing the consequences beforehand.”
SubMoy turns to look at the now deceased SupGaleano, as if to say “your turn.” The deceased who is not yet deceased (but who already knows that he will soon be), foresees that one day he will have to talk about this to strangers and begins:
“Will that Deni to the N Power no longer speak ill of the darned men? Yes, she is going to do it, as usual. But her arguments will not be that because they made fun of her, despised her, violented her, harassed her, raped her, beat her, disappeared her, murdered her, dismembered her. No, it’s going to be because of normal things and issues, like the darned man farting in the bed and stinking the blanket; or that he doesn’t hit the toilet bowl; or that he burps like a calf; or that he buys his favorite team’s shirt, puts on shorts, socks, and special soccer shoes, and then sits down to watch the games while stuffing himself with popcorn with lots of hot sauce; or that he takes great care in choosing the “outfit” that he will wear for decades: his favorite t-shirt, his favorite pants, and his favorite flip-flops; or because he doesn’t let go of the television control; or that he doesn’t tell her that he loves her, even though she knows that he loves her, but a little reminder is not bad from time to time.»
Among those listening, the women nod their heads affirmatively as if to say “well, yeah, as usual”; and the men smile nervously.
The SubMoy knows that it is SupGaleano’s trick and that now he is going to start, in what he calls “gender solidarity”, to ill speak about women, so he interrupts him just when the now deceased is starting to say: “But the thing is that the women…»
“Well,” says SubMoy, “now we’re talking about a girl who’s going to be born in 120 years and we’re going to focus on that.” The one who senses that he will be dead sits down, regretting not having been able to present his brilliant thesis against women. The SubMoy continues:
“Then we have to think about that girl. To see far, pues. And, looking at what seems very far away, we need to see what we have to do for that girl to be free.
And this is important because the storm is already upon us. The same one we warned about almost 10 years ago. The first thing we see is that the destruction comes faster. What we thought would happen in 10 years is already here.
You have already explained it here. You have told us what you see in your Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Cho’ol, Tojolabal, Mame, Zoque, Quiché areas. You already know what is happening with Mother Earth because you live and work on it. You know that the weather is changing. “The climate”, as the citizens say. That it rains when it’s not the time for it, that it is dry when it’s not supposed to. And so. They know that sowings can no longer be decided like our previous ones did, because the calendar is crooked, changed, pues.
But not only. We also see that the animals’ behaviors have changed, they appear in areas that are not their custom and in seasons that are not their turn. Here and in the geographies of brother peoples, what they call “natural disasters” increase, but they are a consequence of what the dominant system, that is, capitalism, does and does not do. There is rain, as usual, but now it is fiercer and in places and seasons that are not the same as before. There are very terrible droughts. And now it happens that, in the same geography – for example here in Mexico -, on one side there are floods and on the other there is drought and they are left without water. There are strong winds, as if the wind became angry and said “ya basta” and wanted to knock everything down. There are earthquakes, volcanoes, plagues like never before. As if Mother Earth were saying that’s it, no more. As if humanity were a disease, a virus that must be taken outside, vomiting destruction.
But, in addition to seeing that Mother Earth is as if dissatisfied, as if protesting, there is the worst part: the monster, the Hydra, capitalism, which is like crazy stealing and destroying. He now wants to steal what he didn’t care about before and continues destroying the little that remains. Capitalism now produces misery and those who flee from it: migrants.
The COVID Pandemic, which is still ongoing, showed the inability of an entire system to give a real explanation and to take the necessary measures. While millions died, a few became richer. Other pandemics are already looming and the sciences give way to pseudo-sciences and quackery turned into political projects for government.
We also see what we call Disorganized Crime, which are the very same bad governments, from all political parties, that hide and fight over money. This Disorganized Crime is the main trafficker of drugs and people; the one who gets the majority of federal supports; the one who kidnaps, murders, disappears; the one who makes business with humanitarian aid; the one who extorts, threatens and collects “derecho de piso” with taxes that are used so that a candidate may say that now things are going to change, that now they are going to behave well.
We see brother indigenous peoples who, tired of scorn, mockery and lies, arm themselves to defend themselves or to attack the Caxlanes. And the citizens are getting scared, when it was them, with their shitty ways, who fueled that hatred that they now suffer and that no longer has control. Just as in the proud Jovel, they reap what they sow.
And we also see with sadness that they fight even among indigenous people of the same blood and language. They fight among themselves to get the miserable supports of bad governments. Or to take away from one another the little they have or that arrives. Instead of defending the land, they fight for alms.
We warned the citizens and the original brothers of all this almost 10 years ago. There will be those who paid attention, and there are many who did not even take us into account. As they saw and still see as if all that horror was very far away, in time and distance. As if they only saw what’s in front of them. They don’t see any further. Or they see, but they don’t care.
As we know, in all these past years, we have been preparing for this darkness. For 10 years we have been preparing for these days of pain and sorrow for those of us who are all the colors of the earth. 10 years self-critically reviewing what we do and what we don’t do, what we say and don’t say, what we think and look at. We have prepared ourselves despite betrayals, slander, lies, paramilitaries, information sieges, contempt, resentment and attacks from those who reproach us for not obeying them.
We did it in silence, without noise, calmly and serenely because we looked far away, as our previous ones taught us todo. And out there yelling at us to just look here, just a calendar and a geography. What they want to make us look at is very small. But as Zapatistas that we are, our gaze is the size of our heart, and our journey is not one day, one year, one six-year period. Our step is long and leaves a mark, even if we do not look at it now or ignore and despise our path.
We know well that it has not been easy. And now everything is worse, and anyway we must look at that girl in 120 years. In other words, we have to fight for someone we are not going to know. Neither us, nor her children, nor her children’s children, and so on. And we have to do it because it is our duty as Zapatistas that we are.
Many misfortunes are coming, wars, floods, droughts, diseases, and in the midst of collapse we have to look far away. If migrants now number in the thousands, soon they will be tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands. Fights and death will come between brothers, between parents and children, between neighbors, between races, between religions, between nationalities. The great buildings will burn and no one will be able to say why, or who, or for what. Although it seems like not anymore, but yes, it’s going to get worse.
But, just as when we work the land, before planting, we see the tortilla, the tamales, the pozol in our homes, so we have to see that girl now.
If we don’t look at that girl who is already with her mother, but in 120 years, then we won’t understand what we are doing. We are not going to be able to explain it to our own colleagues. And much less will be understood by people, organizations and sister people from other geographies.
We can now survive the storm as Zapatista communities that we are. But now it is not only about that, but about going through this and other storms that will come, it’s about surviving the night, and reaching that morning, 120 years from now, where a girl begins to learn that being free is also being responsible for that freedom.
For that, looking at that girl there in the distance, we are going to make the changes and adjustments that we have been discussing and agreeing on together in these years, and that we have already consulted with all the Zapatista peoples.
If someone thinks that we are going to receive a prize, or a statue, or a museum, or some golden letters in history, or payment, or gratitude; well, it’s time for him to look elsewhere. Because the only thing we are going to receive is that, when we are about to die, we will be able to say “I did my part” and know that it is not a lie.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés remained silent, as if waiting for someone to walk out. Nobody did. They continued discussing, contributing, planning. Lunch time arrived and they came to ask when they were going to stop to rest.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés answered: “After a while, within 120 years.”
I’m going to be honest with you, as usual. I, the captain, can dream of that moment when a girl is born without fear, that she is free and that she takes responsibility for what she does and what she does not do. I can also imagine it. I could even write a short story or a tale about it. But these women and men that I have in front of me and by my side, Zapatista indigenous people all of Mayan roots, my bosses, do not dream or imagine that girl. They see her, they look at her. And they know what they have to do so that that girl is born, walks, plays, learns and grows in another world… in 120 years.
Just as clearly as when they look at the mountain. There is something in their gaze, as if they were looking beyond time and space. They look at the tortilla, the tamales and the pozol on the table. And they know that it is not for them, but for a girl who is not even in the intention of those who will be her parents, because they have not been born. Neither them, nor their parents, nor their grandparents, nor their great-grandparents, nor their great-great-grandparents, and so on up to 7 generations. Seven generations that begin to count from this Dení, the First Generation Dení.
I tell you, we are going to achieve it. It’s just that it’s going to take a little time, but not much either.
Just a little over a century.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
Capitán Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, November 2023.
P.S.- Every bomb that falls in Gaza also falls in the capitals and major cities of the world, it’s just yhat they haven’t realized it yet. From the rubble the horror of tomorrow’s war will be born.
P.S. SEVERAL WARS BEFORE (the day before, almost 120 years ago):
– “Wouldn’t it be better to declare war frankly?
The professor answered simply: -Our Government undoubtedly wants others to declare it. The role of the victim is always the most pleasant and justifies all subsequent decisions, no matter how extreme they may seem. Over there we have people who live well and do not want war. It is convenient to make them believe that it is the enemies who impose it on us, so that they feel the need to defend themselves. Only superior spirits come to the conviction that great advances are only achieved with the sword, and that war, as our great Treitschke said, is the highest form of progress.” The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1916). by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (Spain 1867-1928).