Subcomandante Marcos announces his disappearance

"We think it is necessary for one of us to die so that Galeano may live. So we decided that Marcos should die today," said the military chief and Zapatista spokesman.


Photos of the homage: Free, alternative, autonomous media or however you say it

Photos of the homage: Free, alternative, autonomous media or however you say it

At 2:08 am today, Subcomandante Marcos announced that from that from that moment he ceases to exist. At a press conference with the free media who were attending the homage to Galeano, the Zapatista killed in the Zapatista community of La Realidad, the military leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), said, "If you allow me to define Marcos, the personality, I would say without hesitation that it was a motley one.”

After more than 20 years at the head of the political-military organization that took up arms on the first of January 1994, Marcos announced his replacement. He said that after the courses of the Zapatista Escuelita which took place last year and at the beginning of this, "We realised that there was now a generation that would look us in the eyes and that was capable of listening to us and talking to us without expecting leadership or guidance – without aiming to submit or follow.” Then, he said, “The personality of Marcos was no longer necessary. The next stage of the Zapatista struggle was ready."

In the emblematic community of La Realidad, where, on May 2nd, a paramilitary group of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos – Historical (CIOAC-H), murdered the Zapatista support base Galeano, Subcomandante Marcos appeared in the early hours of the morning before the representatives of the free media, accompanied by six comandantes and comandantas of the CCRI and Subcomandante Moisés, who he announced last December as his replacement in command.

“According to our convictions and our practice, rebellion does not need leaders or personalities, messiahs or saviours. To fight, you only need a sense of shame, a certain amount of dignity, and a lot of organisation. The rest either serves the collective or doesn’t serve at all," Marcos said.

With a black patch with a picture of a pirate skull covering his right eye, the hitherto Zapatista spokesman recalled the morning of January 1994, when “an army of giants – or indigenous rebels – shook the world with their steps when they descended on the towns and cities [of Chiapas]. A few days later, with the blood of our fallen still in the streets, we realised that those on the outside didn’t see us. Used to looking down on the indigenous, they didn’t look up to see us; used to seeing us humiliated, their hearts didn’t understand our dignified rebellion. Instead, they focussed on the only mixed-race person they could see wearing a balaclava. Our chiefs then said ‘they only see things on their own level, small as they are. Let’s put someone on their level so that they can see him and, through him, they can see us.’”

That was the birth of Marcos, the result of “a complex manoeuver of distraction: a terrible and marvellous magic trick; a mischievous move of the indigenous heart that we are; indigenous wisdom challenged modernity in one of its strongholds – the media.”

The note about the press conference, signed by the “free, alternative, autonomous media or however you say it,” released in various alternative communication portals such as Radio Pozol, Promedios and Reporting on Resistances, recreates an atmosphere of applause and vivas to the EZLN after the announcement from the Comandancia.


Subcomandante Marcos: Raul Ortega

The figure of Subcomandante Marcos has gone around the world since the early hours of January 1994. The image of an armed man with red cheeks and an R-15, wearing a brown and black uniform covered by a chuj (vest) made from wool from Los Altos of Chiapas, his face covered with a balaclava and smoking a pipe, was on the front page of the most influential newspapers on the planet. In the days and weeks afterwards his comunicados leaked out, charged with irony and humour, defiant and irreverent. Some white sheets of paper, written on a typewriter, were literally snatched up by the national and international press. Twenty years and more than four months later, Marcos announced the end of this stage.

“It is hard to believe that, twenty years later, that “nothing for us” phrase turned out not just to be a good slogan for signs and songs, but a reality – La Realidad,” Marcos said. He added, “If being consistent is failure, then inconsistency is the path to success – the route to power. But we don’t want to go there. It doesn’t interest us. Within these parameters, we prefer to fail rather than win.”

“We think,” he said, “that it is necessary that one of us dies so that Galeano may live. So we have decided that, today, Marcos should die.”

“At 2:10 AM, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos left the stage forever, the lights were turned off, and a wave of applause followed from among the crowd of adherents of the Sixth followed by an even bigger wave of applause from the Zapatista support bases, militants and insurgents,” they reported from La Realidad.

True to his ironic style and to his traditional postscripts, the character of Marcos ended with: “PS 1 – Game Over. 2 – Checkmate. 3 – Touché. 4 – Mhhh, is hell like this? 5 – You mean without the motley I can now go around naked? 6 – It’s very dark here, I need a little light…”

This piece is followed by Marcos’ letter of farewell “From the Light to the Shadow”, a full translation of which should be available soon.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity


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