Maria Linda: As a girl, I have the right to do everything I want. My mother and father don’t deny me any activities. My parents teach me. They have given me the right to go out, to sing, to dance and go to parties when I need to have fun. I thank the communities for not continuing to forget about the girls. My reality is not like it was in the past. These rights will be my best weapon to defend myself.
Companions, support bases of the Zapatista Nacional Liberation Army (EZLN), brothers and sisters from the national and international civil society. Good afternoon to all. I am from San Rafael.
I will turn nine on January 4th, 2008. I want to tell you about my life. I study in an autonomous Zapatista school because I have rights. My parents respect my right to dance, to sing, to have fun. In my autonomous school, sometimes we don’t have school supplies and we don’t ask the government because we are part of the resistance. My father works in his fields and sells his harvest so that we have money to buy my school supplies. We are Zapatistas and we don’t take crumbs from the government. I am very proud to be a Zapatista; we won’t be discouraged because we are used to resisting.
Before 1994, we Zapatista mothers started to educate our children and explain to them how to organize to fight the bad government. Little by little we started doing collective work such as growing herbs, raising animals and going to meetings and teaching our children respect, teaching them about security, that if there are outsiders, we taught them no to tell them anything about our organization, because we were still living clandestinely We taught them to respect each other, and they grew up, and from 18 years of age, they entered into the militia, and some participated in the insurgency. Before the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), we didn’t have this education. We didn’t know that we could fight a just fight for the well-being of our children. We dedicated ourselves to working in our homes and in the homes of the landowners. Our children were raised like animals. We didn’t know what to teach to our children, we were subject to and manipulated by the landowners.
On January 1, 1994 we Zapatista mother’s demonstrated our courage. We were able to face down the government despite their good military equipment. As Zapatista mother’s we had the valor to stay in our homes while our husbands and sons went to war. We have lived through the war, the violence, the torture, the soldiers coming in tanks, warplanes bombing us. Even with all of this, we were not afraid. We are still here. We understand that the government doesn’t want to listen to us, but we are educating our children. Since 1994, they have grown up and they work in the organization, they support us with the activities of the villages. There are young people working in the autonomous government, in military and civilian work, and the education of our children is different to what it was.
They are learning revolutionary ideas working collectively. They know why during the celebrations of November 17 and January 1 we sing the National and Zapatista anthem, and to the national and Zapatista flag. They ask who Che and Zapata are because they see their pictures on the walls. And if it was the same before for their mothers and fathers. And we teach them.
We explain to our children that we must ignore the threats of the bad government, and that resistance will lead us to a better future.