I am here returning our Committee chiefs to you.
That is exactly the order which you gave us.
They are returning a bit pleased, because we carried out the work with which you entrusted us.
You entrusted me with the mission of taking them and taking care of them.
In order to be able to carry this out, you told me to ask for help from other indigenous and non-indigenous brothers and sisters, mostly Mexicans, and some from other countries.
They cared for us the entire time. They did not leave us alone for one single moment, and they gave us everything we needed, and they also gave us what we did not need.
They gave us shelter and food.
They covered us when we were cold, and they refreshed us when we were hot.
They gave us drink when we thirsty, and when we were hungry they gave us food.
When we encountered deaf ears, they uncovered the ears of the powerful with their strength, and when our words seemed small, they lifted them up, and the zapatista word shone very brightly, your word companero, compa~era.
They are these people we call civil society who took us and treated us well. And so I am telling you quite clearly, compa~ero, compa~era, that it was not I, it was these men and women from civil society, who did all the work, and they did it very well, and they did not receive any payment for that work. They did it because their hearts are very large and generous.
Some of these persons are present here, but not all of them. There are many more who are not here in body, but they were, and are, always, in their hearts.
That is why I am asking you, companero, companera, for us to salute all the persons who took us and treated us well.
We also have to say that the media workers walked with us from one side to the other, and our word almost always arrived exactly as it is, without traps or deception. Only a few twisted our words, but their tongues are already twisted. But the great majority of the press did indeed say exactly what was happening and what we were saying, and what others were saying, and all of that was also important so that we could go and return well.
Then, companero, companera, I am asking you for us to salute the honest press, and that our salute may serve for them to know that we, the zapatistas, recognize their work, and we hope that their spaces will always be open for those of us who are beneath everything.
Companero, companera, the greatest part of this work with which you entrusted us was for us to be able to be next to our brothers and sisters from the National Indigenous Congress. They helped us greatly with their wisdom and their firmness. The Indian peoples of all of Mexico joined in our struggle.
37 days we walked. 6000 kilometers. In that journey we passed through 13 states of the Mexican Republic, and we then entered into the land which grows upwards, Mexico City. And so we passed through Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Quere'taro, Guanajuato, Michoaca'n, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Guerrero and the Federal District.
In the journey we held 77 public events where we took 7 times 7 your word so that it could be heard.
The brother, the sister, who carries blood dark like ours for 4 times 7 gave us their word which walked in ours: 7 ceremonial staffs we carried on February 25, with 28 ceremonial staffs we entered Mexico City.
In the House of the Purepecha we met with other brothers and sisters. We met with 44 Indian peoples there, and we follow our path together now.
And so are named the brothers and sisters who, like us, have the color we are of the earth:
Tenek. Tlahuica. Tlapaneco. Tojolabal. Totonaco. Triqui. Tzeltal. Tzotzil. Wixaritari. Yaqui. Zapoteco. Zoque. Maya. Kumiai. Mayo. Mazahua. Mazateco. Mixe. Amuzgo. Cora. Cuicateco. Chinanteco. Chocholteco. Chol. Pericuri. Guaycuri. Cochimi. Chontal. Guariji'o. Huasteco. Huave. Kikapu'. Kukapa'. Mame. Matlatzinca. Mixteco. Nahuatl. ~ah~u. O'Odham. Pame. Popoluca. Purepecha. Rara'muri.
We have now returned. You gave us the order to carry the name of zapatistas with dignity, and with dignity we carried it.
To the arrogant, we were defiant, and with the humble we were humble.
We poked fun at the one who offered us jail and death.
The one who offered us listening and true word received our respect.
You told us to carry upwards the demand for the recognition of our rights and culture, and that we did. Now the wind and the times augur well for that pain, which is all which we are, to begin to end.
Much remains, companero, companera, but there is less now.
Now you will never again lower your head in front of the one who wishes to humiliate you.
Now our color will no longer be a source of shame.
Now there will no longer be mockery of our culture.
Now to say "Indian" will be to say "dignified."
Now the one who looks at you will have to look at straight ahead at you, never again downwards.
Now the place we have wanted, needed and deserved is in the hearts of everyone.
But it remains for the law to recognize that place.
In order to achieve that we now have the support of millions of Mexicans and of thousands from other countries.
The one who makes the laws will have to listen to those millions and, along with them, will have to open the door to dialogue, to peace.
This we did, companeros, companeras. I am now bringing you the news that your strength is greater because it has known to be wise and generous. Your name is now a reason to be respected, and many have learned the lesson of dignified resistance which you have given.
As far as we can see, today war is a little further away, and peace with justice and dignity is a bit more near.
Today, dialogue is closer, and confrontation more distant.
That is why we are calling on all of those for whom Chiapas is the ground and sky of their lives, to be responsible, and to not cause these first steps to be lost once again in confrontation, division, lies, deception or forgetting.
Peace has not arrived, that is true, but it could arrive. And it is that possibility which me must care for.
In the next few days we will be preparing a good report of all that took place on this journey we have made. You will see it, and you will tell us then if our steps were good or bad, and you will also decide what steps are to follow and how and when and where.
I am returning the ceremonial staff to you, companero, companera. We will await your orders.
I want you to know that serving you has been the greatest honor which we, the insurgents, have ever had. We shall continue doing so.
We, your guerreros and guerreras, have received another lesson over these last few days from you, and which we shall know how to learn: your patient wisdom.
Companero, companera, murcie'lago men and women:
Chiapas will no longer be the word for misfortune, poverty, crime, impotence, impunity, shamelessness.
Chiapas is now, for millions, the word for dignity.
Chiapas has been, is, and will be, the cry of...
Now, once again,
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, April of 2001.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa