27 December 2007

Zapatistas Need Solidarity Now: Berger

The Zapatista project is truly threatened and if it disappears, the consequences will be felt all over the world, warned John Berger while presenting his book, With Hope Between the Teeth (‘Con la esperanza entre los dientes’, a collection of poems which has been published in Spanish before English by La Jornada). “Don’t forget that the Zapatistas need the support of civil society now, immediately”.

He said the possible causes of the decline in civil society support were the position of Subcomandante Marcos and of the Zapatistas in general of not voting in the last elections and “there is a tendency to blame them almost as much as the fraud for the disastrous consequences of the elections”.

“The Zapatista position of not voting appears to me a rational decision; debatable but rational. The exaggerated tones with which they referred to Andrés Manuel López Obrador perhaps were an error. But political errors happen, it is a question of perspective towards them.

“Those small errors – because in this long sense of time were small but important – simply cannot serve to destroy the vision and the project of the Zapatistas which are relevant not only for Chiapas but also for the whole world.

“What they have achieved in Chiapas is like an archipelago which the passage of time could take towards a continent, a new continent of social justice and dignity. Arriving at the continent from the archipelago could take 10, 20 years or a century but we should have that kind of perspective.

“Paradoxically that long perspective of time means that now, at once, we have to mobilise in every possible sense to prevent that threat of extinction”.

Published in La Jornada, Mexico, on Dec 21, 2007 Link;

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