[News] EZLN Communique:A penguin in the Selva Lacandona, Pt 2, Jul 23

News@freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 26 11:59:03 EDT 2005



Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
************************************
Translated by irlandesa


A Penguin in the Selva Lacandona  II/II

(The zapatista is just a little house, perhaps the smallest, on a street
called "Mexico," in a barrio called "Latin America," in a city called the
"World.")


I was speaking to you about the critiques of the points made by the Sixth
Declaration of the Selva Lacandona concerning Mexico, Latin America and the
World.  Well, in response, allow me some questions:

Concerning there's no place for you in this world

What happens, for example, when, more than a decade ago, a little girl (let's
say between 4 and 6 years old), indigenous and Mexican, sees her father, her
brothers, her uncles, her cousins or her neighbors, taking up arms, a ton of
pozol and a number of tostadas and "going off to war?"  What happens when some
of them don't return?

What happens when that little girl grows up, and, instead of going for
firewood, she goes to school, and she learns to read and write with the 
history of
her people's struggle?

What happens when that girl reaches youth, after 12 years of seeing, hearing
and speaking with Mexicans, Basques, North Americans, Italians, Spaniards,
Catalans, French persons, Dutch, German, Swiss, British, Finnish, Danish,
Swedish, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Australian, Filipino, Korean, Argentinean,
Chilean, Canadian, Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican,
Dominican, Uruguayan, Brazilian, Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, Honduran, 
Bolivian and
etceteras, and learns of what their countries, their struggles, their worlds
are like?

What happens when she sees those men and women sharing deprivations, work,
anguish and joys with her community?

What happens with that girl-then-adolescent-then-young-woman after having
seen and heard "the civil societies" for 12 years, bringing not only projects,
but also histories and experiences from diverse parts of Mexico and the World?
What happens when she sees and listens to the electrical workers, working with
Italians and Mexicans in the installation of a turbine in order to provide a
community with light?  What happens when she meets with young university
students at the height of the 1999-2000 strike?  What happens when she 
discovers
that there are not just men and women in the world, but that there are many
paths and ways of attraction and love.  What happens when she sees young 
students
at the sit-in at Amador Herna'ndez?  What happens when she hears what
campesinos from other parts of Mexico have said?  What happens when they 
tell her of
Acteal and the displaced in Los Altos of Chiapas?  What happens when she learns
of the accords and advances of the peoples and organizations of the National
Indigenous Congress?  What happens when she finds out that the political
parties ignored the death of her people and decided to reject the San Andre's
Accords?  What happens when they recount to her that the PRD paramilitaries 
attacked
a zapatista march - peaceful and for the purpose of carrying water to other
indigenous - and left several compa~eros with bullet wounds on just April 10?
What happens when she sees federal soldiers passing by every day with their war
tanks, their artillery vehicles, their rifles pointing at her house?  What
happens when someone tells her that in a place called Ciudad Jua'rez, young 
women
like her are being kidnapped, raped and murdered, and the authorities are not
seeing that justice is done?

What happens when she listens to her brothers and sisters, to her parents, to
her relatives, talking about when they went to the March of the 1111 in 1997,
to the Consulta of 5000 in 1999, when they talk about what they saw and
heard, about the families who welcomed them, about what they are like as 
citizens,
how they also are fighting, how they won't give up either.

What happens when she sees, for example, Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Gonza'lez
Casanova, Adolfo Gilly, Alain Touraine, Neil Harvey, in mud up to their knees,
meeting together in a hut in La Realidad, talking about neoliberalism.  What
happens when she listens to Daniel Viglietti singing "A desalambrar" in a
community?  What happens when she sees the play, "Zorro el zapato" which 
the French
children from Tameratong presented on zapatista lands?  What happens when she
sees and hears Jose' Saramago talking, talking to her?  What happens when she
hears Oscar Cha'vez singing in Tzotzil?  What happens when she hears a Mapuche
indigenous recounting her experience of struggle and resistance in a country
called Chile?  What happens she goes to a meeting where someone who says he 
is a
"piquetero" recounts how they are organizing and resisting in a country called
Argentina?  What happens when she hears an indigenous from Colombia saying
that, in the midst of guerillas, paramilitaries, soldiers and US military
advisors, her compa~eros are trying to build themselves as the indigenous 
they are?
What happens when she hears the "citizen musicians" playing that very otherly
music called "rock" in a camp for the displaced?  What happens when she knows
that an Italian football team called Internazionale de Milan are financially
helping the wounded and displaced of Zinacanta'n?  What happens when she sees a
group of North American, German and British men and women arrive with
electronic appliances, and she listens to them talking about what they are 
doing in
their countries in order to do away with injustice, while teaching her to
assemble and use those appliances, and later she's in front of the microphone
saying:  "You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the voice of those without 
voice,
broadcasting from the mountains of the Mexican southeast, and we are going to
begin with a nice cumbia called 'La Suegra', and we're advising the health
workers that they should go to the Caracol to pick up the vaccine."  What 
happens
when she hears at the Good Government Junta that that Catalan came from very
far away to personally deliver what a solidarity committee put together for aid
for the resistance?  What happens when she sees a North American coming and
going with the coffee, honey and crafts (and the product of their sale), which
are made in the zapatista cooperatives, when she sees that they haven't
commanded any special attention despite the fact that they've been making 
them for
years without anyone paying them any notice?  What happens when she sees the
Greeks bringing money for school materials and then working along with the
zapatista indigenous in the construction?  What happens when she sees a 
frentista
arriving at the Caracol and delivering a bus full of medicines, medical
equipment, hospital beds and even uniforms and shoes for the health 
workers, while
other young people from the FZLN are dividing up in order to help in the
community clinics?  What happens when she sees the people from "Schools for 
Chiapas"
arriving, departing and leaving, in effect, a school, a school bus, pencils,
notebooks, chalkboards?  What happens when she sees Hindus, Koreans, Japanese,
Australians, Slovenes and Iranians arriving at the language school in Oventik
(which a "citizen" compa~ero has kept functioning under heroic circumstances)?
  What happens when she sees a person arriving in order to deliver a book to
the Security Committee with translations of the EZLN communique's in Arab or
Japanese or Kurd and the royalties from their sales?

What happens when, for example, a girl grows up and reaches youth in the
zapatista resistance over 12 years in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast?

I'm asking because, for example, there are two insurgentas doing sentry duty
here for the Red Alert in the EZLN headquarters.  They are, as the compas say,
"one hundred percent indigenous and one hundred percent Mexican."  One is 18
and the other 16.  Or, in other words, in 1994, the one was 6 and the other
was 4.  There are dozens like them in our mountain positions, hundreds in the
militias, thousands in organizational and community positions, tens of 
thousands
in the zapatista communities.  The immediate commander of the two doing
sentry duty is an insurgent lieutenant, indigenous, 22 years old, in other 
words,
10 years old in 1994.  The position is under the command of an insurgent
captain, also indigenous, who, as it should be, likes literature very much 
and is 24
years old, that is, 12 at the beginning of the uprising.  And there are men
and women all over these lands who passed from childhood to youth to maturity
in the zapatista resistance.

Then I ask:  What am I saying to you?  That the world is wide and far away?
That only what happens to us is important?  That what happens in other parts
of Mexico, of Latin America and of the world doesn't interest us, that we
shouldn't involve ourselves in the national or international, and that we 
should
shut ourselves away (and deceive ourselves), thinking that we can achieve, by
ourselves, what our relatives died for?  That we shouldn't pay any attention to
all the signs which are telling us that the only was we can survive is by
doing what we are going to do?  That we should refuse the listening and 
words of
those who have never denied us either one?  That we should respect and help
those same politicians who denied us a dignified resolution of the war?  That,
before coming out, we have to pass a test in order to see whether what we have
constructed here over the last 12 years of war is of sufficient merit?

We told you in the Sixth Declaration that new generations have entered into
the struggle.  And they are not only new, they also have other experiences,
other histories.  We did not tell you in the Sixth, but I'm telling you now:
they are better than us, the ones who started the EZLN and began the uprising.
They see further, their step is more firm, they are more open, they are better
prepared, they are more intelligent, more determined, more aware.

What the Sixth presents is not an "imported" product, written by a group of
wise men in a sterile laboratory and then introduced into a social group.  The
Sixth comes out of what we are now and of where we are.  That is why those
first parts appeared, because what we are proposing cannot be understood 
without
understanding what our experience and organization was before, that is, our
history.  And when I say "our history" I am not speaking just of the EZLN, I am
also including all those men and women of Mexico, of Latin America and of the
World who have been with us...even if we have not seen them and they are in
their worlds, their struggles, their experiences, their histories.

The zapatista struggle is a little hut, one more little house, perhaps the
most humble and simplest among those which are being raised, with identical or
greater hardships and efforts, in this street which is called "Mexico."  We who
reside in this little house identify with the band which peoples the entire
barrio of below which is called "Latin America," and we hope to contribute
something to making the great City which is called the "World" 
habitable.  If this
is bad, attribute it to all those men and women who, struggling in their
houses, barrios, cities - in their worlds - took a place among us.  Not 
above, not
below, but with us.

A Penguin in the Selva Lacandona

Alright, a promise is a promise.  At the beginning of this document I told
you I was going to tell you about the penguin that's here, in the mountains of
the Mexican Southeast, so here goes.

It took place in one of the insurgent barracks, a little more than a month
ago, just before the Red Alert.  I was on my way, heading towards the position
that was to be the headquarters of the Comandancia General of the EZLN.  I had
to pick the insurgentes and insurgentas up there, the ones who were going to
make up my unit during the Red Alert.  The commander of the barracks, a
Lieutenant Colonel Insurgente, was finishing up the dismantling of the camp 
and was
making arrangements for moving the impedimenta.  In order to lighten the burden
of the support bases who were providing supplies for the insurgent troops,
the soldiers in this unit had developed a few subsistence measures of their 
own:
  a vegetable garden and a farm.  They decided they would take as many of the
vegetables as they could, and the rest would be left to the hand of god.  As
for the chickens, hens and roosters, the alternative was to eat them or leave
them.  "Better we eat them than the federales," the men and women (most of them
young people under the age of 20) who were maintaining that position decided,
not without reason.  One by one, the animals ended up in the pot and, from
there to the soldiers' soup dishes.  There weren't very many animals either, so
in a few days the poultry population had been reduced to two or three
specimens.

When only one remained, on the precise day of departure, what happened
happened...

The last chicken began walking upright, perhaps trying to be mistaken for one
of us and to pass unnoticed with that posture.  I don't know much about
zoology, but it does not appear that the anatomical makeup of chickens is 
made for
walking upright, so, with the swaying produced by the effort of keeping itself
upright, the chicken was teetering back and forth, without being able to come
up with a precise course.  It was then that someone said "it looks like a
penguin."  The incident provoked laughter which resulted in sympathy.  The
chicken did, it's true, look like a penguin, it was only missing the white 
bib.  The
fact is that the jokes ended up preventing the "penguin" from meeting the
same fate as its compa~eros from the farm.

The hour of departure arrived, and, while checking to be sure nothing was
left, they realized that the "penguin" was still there, swaying from one 
side to
another, but not returning to its natural position.  "Let's take it," I said,
and everyone looked at me to see if I were joking or serious.  It was the
insurgenta To~ita who offered to take it.  It began raining, and she put it 
in her
lap, under the heavy plastic cape which To~ita wore to protect her weapon and
her rucksack from the water.  We began the march in the rain.

The penguin arrived at the EZLN Headquarters and quickly adapted to the
routines of the insurgent Red Alert.  It often joined (never losing the 
posture of
a penguin) the insurgents and insurgentas at cell time, the hour of political
study.  The theme during those days was the 13 zapatista demands, and the
compa~eros summed it up under the title "Why We Are Struggling."  Well, 
you're not
going to believe me, but when I went to the cell meeting, under the pretext
of looking for hot coffee, I saw that it was the penguin who was paying the
most attention.  And, also, from time to time, it would peck at someone who was
sleeping in the middle of the political talk, as if chiding him to pay
attention.

There are no other animals in the barracks...I mean except for the snakes,
the "chibo" tarantulas, two field rats, the crickets, ants, an indeterminate
(but very large) number of mosquitoes and a cojolito who came to sing, probably
because it felt called by the music - cumbias, rancheras, corridos, songs of
love, of spite - which emanated from the small radio which is used to hear the
morning news by Pascal Beltra'n on Antena Radio and then "Plaza Pu'blica" by
Miguel A'ngel Granados Chapa on Radio UNAM.

Well, I told you there weren't any other animals, so it would seem normal
that "penguin" would think that we were its kind and tend to behave as if 
it were
one more of us.  We hadn't realized how far it had gone until one afternoon
when it refused to eat in the corner it had been assigned, and it went over to
the wooden table.  Penguin made a racket, more chicken-like than penguin-like,
until we understood that it wanted to eat with us.  You should understand
that Penguin's new identity prevented the former chicken from flying the 
minimum
necessary for getting up on the bench, and so it was insurgenta Erika who
lifted it up and let it eat from her plate.

The insurgent captain in charge had told me that the chicken, I mean penguin,
did not like to be alone at night, perhaps because it feared that the possums
might confuse it with a chicken, and it protested until someone took it to
their tarp.  It wasn't very long before Erika and To~ita made it a white 
bib out
of fabric (they wanted to paint it [Penguin]with lime or house paint, but I
managed to dissuade them...I think), so that there would be no doubt that it
was a penguin, and no one would confuse it with a chicken.

You may be thinking that I am, or we are, delirious, but what I'm telling you
is true.  Meanwhile, Penguin has become part of the Comandancia General of
the Ezeta, and perhaps those of you who come to the preparatory meetings 
for the
"Other Campaign" might see it with your own eyes.  It could also be expected
that Penguin might be the mascot for the EZLN football team when it faces,
soon, the Milan Internazionale.  Someone might then perhaps take a picture 
for a
souvenir.  Perhaps, after a while and looking at the image, a girl or a boy
might ask:  "Mama, and who are those next to the Penguin?"  (sigh)

Do you know what?  It occurs to me now that we are like Penguin, trying very
hard to be erect and to make ourselves a place in Mexico, in Latin America, in
the World.  Just as the trip we are about to take is not in our anatomy, we
shall certainly go about swaying, unsteady and stupidly, provoking laughter and
jokes.  Although perhaps, also like Penguin, we might provoke some sympathy,
and someone might, generously, protect us and help us, walking with us, to do
what every man, woman or penguin should do, that is, to always try to be
better in the only way possible, by struggling.

Vale.  Salud and an embrace from Penguin (?)


 >From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico,  July of 2005

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Content-Type: text/html; charset"ISO-8859-1"
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Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
  ************************************
  Translated by irlandesa


  A Penguin in the Selva Lacandona  II/II

  (The zapatista is just a little house, perhaps the smallest, on a street 
called "Mexico," in a barrio called "Latin America," in a city called the 
"World.")


  I was speaking to you about the critiques of the points made by the Sixth 
Declaration of the Selva Lacandona concerning Mexico, Latin America and the 
World.  Well, in response, allow me some questions:

  Concerning there's no place for you in this world

  What happens, for example, when, more than a decade ago, a little girl 
(let's say between 4 and 6 years old), indigenous and Mexican, sees her 
father, her brothers, her uncles, her cousins or her neighbors, taking up 
arms, a ton of pozol and a number of tostadas and "going off to war?"  What 
happens when some of them don't return?

  What happens when that little girl grows up, and, instead of going for 
firewood, she goes to school, and she learns to read and write with the 
history of her people's struggle?

  What happens when that girl reaches youth, after 12 years of seeing, 
hearing and speaking with Mexicans, Basques, North Americans, Italians, 
Spaniards, Catalans, French persons, Dutch, German, Swiss, British, 
Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Australian, Filipino, 
Korean, Argentinean, Chilean, Canadian, Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian, 
Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Uruguayan, Brazilian, Cuban, Haitian, 
Nicaraguan, Honduran, Bolivian and etceteras, and learns of what their 
countries, their struggles, their worlds are like?

  What happens when she sees those men and women sharing deprivations, 
work, anguish and joys with her community?

  What happens with that girl-then-adolescent-then-young-woman after having 
seen and heard "the civil societies" for 12 years, bringing not only 
projects, but also histories and experiences from diverse parts of Mexico 
and the World?  What happens when she sees and listens to the electrical 
workers, working with Italians and Mexicans in the installation of a 
turbine in order to provide a community with light?  What happens when she 
meets with young university students at the height of the 1999-2000 
strike?  What happens when she discovers that there are not just men and 
women in the world, but that there are many paths and ways of attraction 
and love.  What happens when she sees young students at the sit-in at 
Amador Herna'ndez?  What happens when she hears what campesinos from other 
parts of Mexico have said?  What happens when they tell her of Acteal and 
the displaced in Los Altos of Chiapas?  What happens when she learns of the 
accords and advances of the peoples and organ!
  izations of the National Indigenous Congress?  What happens when she 
finds out that the political parties ignored the death of her people and 
decided to reject the San Andre's Accords?  What happens when they recount 
to her that the PRD paramilitaries attacked a zapatista march - peaceful 
and for the purpose of carrying water to other indigenous - and left 
several compa~eros with bullet wounds on just April 10?  What happens when 
she sees federal soldiers passing by every day with their war tanks, their 
artillery vehicles, their rifles pointing at her house?  What happens when 
someone tells her that in a place called Ciudad Jua'rez, young women like 
her are being kidnapped, raped and murdered, and the authorities are not 
seeing that justice is done?

  What happens when she listens to her brothers and sisters, to her 
parents, to her relatives, talking about when they went to the March of the 
1111 in 1997, to the Consulta of 5000 in 1999, when they talk about what 
they saw and heard, about the families who welcomed them, about what they 
are like as citizens, how they also are fighting, how they won't give up 
either.

  What happens when she sees, for example, Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Gonza'lez 
Casanova, Adolfo Gilly, Alain Touraine, Neil Harvey, in mud up to their 
knees, meeting together in a hut in La Realidad, talking about 
neoliberalism.  What happens when she listens to Daniel Viglietti singing 
"A desalambrar" in a community?  What happens when she sees the play, 
"Zorro el zapato" which the French children from Tameratong presented on 
zapatista lands?  What happens when she sees and hears Jose' Saramago 
talking, talking to her?  What happens when she hears Oscar Cha'vez singing 
in Tzotzil?  What happens when she hears a Mapuche indigenous recounting 
her experience of struggle and resistance in a country called Chile?  What 
happens she goes to a meeting where someone who says he is a "piquetero" 
recounts how they are organizing and resisting in a country called 
Argentina?  What happens when she hears an indigenous from Colombia saying 
that, in the midst of guerillas, paramilitaries, sold!
  iers and US military advisors, her compa~eros are trying to build 
themselves as the indigenous they are?  What happens when she hears the 
"citizen musicians" playing that very otherly music called "rock" in a camp 
for the displaced?  What happens when she knows that an Italian football 
team called Internazionale de Milan are financially helping the wounded and 
displaced of Zinacanta'n?  What happens when she sees a group of North 
American, German and British men and women arrive with electronic 
appliances, and she listens to them talking about what they are doing in 
their countries in order to do away with injustice, while teaching her to 
assemble and use those appliances, and later she's in front of the 
microphone saying:  "You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the voice of 
those without voice, broadcasting from the mountains of the Mexican 
southeast, and we are going to begin with a nice cumbia called 'La Suegra', 
and we're advising the health workers that they should go!
   to the Caracol to pick up the vaccine."  What happens when she hears

at the Good Government Junta that that Catalan came from very far away to 
personally deliver what a solidarity committee put together for aid for the 
resistance?  What happens when she sees a North American coming and going 
with the coffee, honey and crafts (and the product of their sale), which 
are made in the zapatista cooperatives, when she sees that they haven't 
commanded any special attention despite the fact that they've been making 
them for years without anyone paying them any notice?  What happens when 
she sees the Greeks bringing money for school materials and then working 
along with the zapatista indigenous in the construction?  What happens when 
she sees a frentista arriving at the Caracol and delivering a bus full of 
medicines, medical equipment, hospital beds and even uniforms and shoes for 
the health workers, while other young people from the FZLN are dividing up 
in order to help in the community clinics?  What happens when she sees the 
people from "Schools for!
   Chiapas" arriving, departing and leaving, in effect, a school, a school 
bus, pencils, notebooks, chalkboards?  What happens when she sees Hindus, 
Koreans, Japanese, Australians, Slovenes and Iranians arriving at the 
language school in Oventik (which a "citizen" compa~ero has kept 
functioning under heroic circumstances)?  What happens when she sees a 
person arriving in order to deliver a book to the Security Committee with 
translations of the EZLN communique's in Arab or Japanese or Kurd and the 
royalties from their sales?

  What happens when, for example, a girl grows up and reaches youth in the 
zapatista resistance over 12 years in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast?

  I'm asking because, for example, there are two insurgentas doing sentry 
duty here for the Red Alert in the EZLN headquarters.  They are, as the 
compas say, "one hundred percent indigenous and one hundred percent 
Mexican."  One is 18 and the other 16.  Or, in other words, in 1994, the 
one was 6 and the other was 4.  There are dozens like them in our mountain 
positions, hundreds in the militias, thousands in organizational and 
community positions, tens of thousands in the zapatista communities.  The 
immediate commander of the two doing sentry duty is an insurgent 
lieutenant, indigenous, 22 years old, in other words, 10 years old in 
1994.  The position is under the command of an insurgent captain, also 
indigenous, who, as it should be, likes literature very much and is 24 
years old, that is, 12 at the beginning of the uprising.  And there are men 
and women all over these lands who passed from childhood to youth to 
maturity in the zapatista resistance.

  Then I ask:  What am I saying to you?  That the world is wide and far 
away?  That only what happens to us is important?  That what happens in 
other parts of Mexico, of Latin America and of the world doesn't interest 
us, that we shouldn't involve ourselves in the national or international, 
and that we should shut ourselves away (and deceive ourselves), thinking 
that we can achieve, by ourselves, what our relatives died for?  That we 
shouldn't pay any attention to all the signs which are telling us that the 
only was we can survive is by doing what we are going to do?  That we 
should refuse the listening and words of those who have never denied us 
either one?  That we should respect and help those same politicians who 
denied us a dignified resolution of the war?  That, before coming out, we 
have to pass a test in order to see whether what we have constructed here 
over the last 12 years of war is of sufficient merit?

  We told you in the Sixth Declaration that new generations have entered 
into the struggle.  And they are not only new, they also have other 
experiences, other histories.  We did not tell you in the Sixth, but I'm 
telling you now:  they are better than us, the ones who started the EZLN 
and began the uprising.  They see further, their step is more firm, they 
are more open, they are better prepared, they are more intelligent, more 
determined, more aware.

  What the Sixth presents is not an "imported" product, written by a group 
of wise men in a sterile laboratory and then introduced into a social 
group.  The Sixth comes out of what we are now and of where we are.  That 
is why those first parts appeared, because what we are proposing cannot be 
understood without understanding what our experience and organization was 
before, that is, our history.  And when I say "our history" I am not 
speaking just of the EZLN, I am also including all those men and women of 
Mexico, of Latin America and of the World who have been with us...even if 
we have not seen them and they are in their worlds, their struggles, their 
experiences, their histories.

  The zapatista struggle is a little hut, one more little house, perhaps 
the most humble and simplest among those which are being raised, with 
identical or greater hardships and efforts, in this street which is called 
"Mexico."  We who reside in this little house identify with the band which 
peoples the entire barrio of below which is called "Latin America," and we 
hope to contribute something to making the great City which is called the 
"World" habitable.  If this is bad, attribute it to all those men and women 
who, struggling in their houses, barrios, cities - in their worlds - took a 
place among us.  Not above, not below, but with us.

  A Penguin in the Selva Lacandona

  Alright, a promise is a promise.  At the beginning of this document I 
told you I was going to tell you about the penguin that's here, in the 
mountains of the Mexican Southeast, so here goes.

  It took place in one of the insurgent barracks, a little more than a 
month ago, just before the Red Alert.  I was on my way, heading towards the 
position that was to be the headquarters of the Comandancia General of the 
EZLN.  I had to pick the insurgentes and insurgentas up there, the ones who 
were going to make up my unit during the Red Alert.  The commander of the 
barracks, a Lieutenant Colonel Insurgente, was finishing up the dismantling 
of the camp and was making arrangements for moving the impedimenta.  In 
order to lighten the burden of the support bases who were providing 
supplies for the insurgent troops, the soldiers in this unit had developed 
a few subsistence measures of their own:  a vegetable garden and a 
farm.  They decided they would take as many of the vegetables as they 
could, and the rest would be left to the hand of god.  As for the chickens, 
hens and roosters, the alternative was to eat them or leave them.  "Better 
we eat them than the federales," the me!
  n and women (most of them young people under the age of 20) who were 
maintaining that position decided, not without reason.  One by one, the 
animals ended up in the pot and, from there to the soldiers' soup 
dishes.  There weren't very many animals either, so in a few days the 
poultry population had been reduced to two or three specimens.

  When only one remained, on the precise day of departure, what happened 
happened...

  The last chicken began walking upright, perhaps trying to be mistaken for 
one of us and to pass unnoticed with that posture.  I don't know much about 
zoology, but it does not appear that the anatomical makeup of chickens is 
made for walking upright, so, with the swaying produced by the effort of 
keeping itself upright, the chicken was teetering back and forth, without 
being able to come up with a precise course.  It was then that someone said 
"it looks like a penguin."  The incident provoked laughter which resulted 
in sympathy.  The chicken did, it's true, look like a penguin, it was only 
missing the white bib.  The fact is that the jokes ended up preventing the 
"penguin" from meeting the same fate as its compa~eros from the farm.

  The hour of departure arrived, and, while checking to be sure nothing was 
left, they realized that the "penguin" was still there, swaying from one 
side to another, but not returning to its natural position.  "Let's take 
it," I said, and everyone looked at me to see if I were joking or 
serious.  It was the insurgenta To~ita who offered to take it.  It began 
raining, and she put it in her lap, under the heavy plastic cape which 
To~ita wore to protect her weapon and her rucksack from the water.  We 
began the march in the rain.

  The penguin arrived at the EZLN Headquarters and quickly adapted to the 
routines of the insurgent Red Alert.  It often joined (never losing the 
posture of a penguin) the insurgents and insurgentas at cell time, the hour 
of political study.  The theme during those days was the 13 zapatista 
demands, and the compa~eros summed it up under the title "Why We Are 
Struggling."  Well, you're not going to believe me, but when I went to the 
cell meeting, under the pretext of looking for hot coffee, I saw that it 
was the penguin who was paying the most attention.  And, also, from time to 
time, it would peck at someone who was sleeping in the middle of the 
political talk, as if chiding him to pay attention.

  There are no other animals in the barracks...I mean except for the 
snakes, the "chibo" tarantulas, two field rats, the crickets, ants, an 
indeterminate (but very large) number of mosquitoes and a cojolito who came 
to sing, probably because it felt called by the music - cumbias, rancheras, 
corridos, songs of love, of spite - which emanated from the small radio 
which is used to hear the morning news by Pascal Beltra'n on Antena Radio 
and then "Plaza Pu'blica" by Miguel A'ngel Granados Chapa on Radio UNAM.

  Well, I told you there weren't any other animals, so it would seem normal 
that "penguin" would think that we were its kind and tend to behave as if 
it were one more of us.  We hadn't realized how far it had gone until one 
afternoon when it refused to eat in the corner it had been assigned, and it 
went over to the wooden table.  Penguin made a racket, more chicken-like 
than penguin-like, until we understood that it wanted to eat with us.  You 
should understand that Penguin's new identity prevented the former chicken 
from flying the minimum necessary for getting up on the bench, and so it 
was insurgenta Erika who lifted it up and let it eat from her plate.

  The insurgent captain in charge had told me that the chicken, I mean 
penguin, did not like to be alone at night, perhaps because it feared that 
the possums might confuse it with a chicken, and it protested until someone 
took it to their tarp.  It wasn't very long before Erika and To~ita made it 
a white bib out of fabric (they wanted to paint it [Penguin]with lime or 
house paint, but I managed to dissuade them...I think), so that there would 
be no doubt that it was a penguin, and no one would confuse it with a chicken.

  You may be thinking that I am, or we are, delirious, but what I'm telling 
you is true.  Meanwhile, Penguin has become part of the Comandancia General 
of the Ezeta, and perhaps those of you who come to the preparatory meetings 
for the "Other Campaign" might see it with your own eyes.  It could also be 
expected that Penguin might be the mascot for the EZLN football team when 
it faces, soon, the Milan Internazionale.  Someone might then perhaps take 
a picture for a souvenir.  Perhaps, after a while and looking at the image, 
a girl or a boy might ask:  "Mama, and who are those next to the 
Penguin?"  (sigh)

  Do you know what?  It occurs to me now that we are like Penguin, trying 
very hard to be erect and to make ourselves a place in Mexico, in Latin 
America, in the World.  Just as the trip we are about to take is not in our 
anatomy, we shall certainly go about swaying, unsteady and stupidly, 
provoking laughter and jokes.  Although perhaps, also like Penguin, we 
might provoke some sympathy, and someone might, generously, protect us and 
help us, walking with us, to do what every man, woman or penguin should do, 
that is, to always try to be better in the only way possible, by struggling.

  Vale.  Salud and an embrace from Penguin (?)


  From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

  Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

  Mexico,  July of 2005



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