Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Zapatista womin gathering:Loud and clear,the struggle will be long and difficult

luna | 02.01.2008 08:07 | Gender | Social Struggles | Zapatista

"We tell you so you are clear about it:The struggle will be long and difficult" Traduccion

Impressions from the second day of the gathering amongst zapatista indygenous women and women from the world.

Translation of original article

author Lv

The silent steps of the compañeras zapatistas enter, in good order, to the left of Hope Towards a New Dawn's hall. the 30th of decembre, second day of the first Meeting of the zapatista women with women of the world.

During the day there where interventions on the advances in women's work from the Caracoles of La Realidad and Oventik. The collective cooperatives of women artisans, autonomous education, women's health, the participation in the struggle while at the same tiem being mothers, the difficulties it involves, to take on community responsability roles in their villages and regions, as well as difficulties inside the women themselves as towards their family, social and in the organisational contexts. all the issues are being peeled to reveal the concrete jobs, the goals and difficulties big and small that are being overcome.

Towards the other side of the hall are the ' women from mexico and from the world ' who arrived with their stories and their struggles, pains and joys, and to observe, to share or to express, thru the questions put to the desk, their doubts and differences.

To get to know these ' women of the world's ' stories you need to get down from the stage to bench level, seek them out in the breaks, ask and listen. To comprehend the history that the zapatista women are telling too, you need to leave the stage, following the silent steps of the compas when they leave, all together, to the spot where they perhaps take off their balaclava, and probably share their experience and struggles of each area, each village, each family, each heart and body made of woman.

If we walked in the opposite direction, we could leave thru the hall's back door, the little one, the one which reaches the place/spot where the sun sets and the moon shoots up. about there are the little tents of the zapatista families who made it to the gathering and where, as opposed to what says in the central area, the men ain't cooking too much but it is the compañeras who recline over the ovens on the floor, and just about reach out to look towards the little door and thru the gaps between the wooden planks that make up the walls to see what is happening inside.... all while they carry their children in their backs. This is what is going on, it happens so, if and when we'd take a walk arround, as although many men are these days doing "other jobs" in the kitchens and the gathering's cleaning, it seems this just lasts for a few metres and that beyond, each person is who he/she really is and the battlefield, one of the zapatista compañeras battlefields, appears clearly and it can NEVER be simplified to a kitchen, a babyboy being loaded on the little shoulders of a small girl, nor reduced to the soaping and rubbing of clothes in the frozen river.

From the hights of the communities' reality you can better measure the dimensions of the struggle of the indigenous women zapatistas. The women who arrive at the doors and wall slits of the gathering to listen to their peers talk in a tongue they can't understand ( the castillian ) , they are real; the posters which can be found in each corner remind us that during these days the men will not be able to speak or represent or translate, but they can clean and cook. They are also real. As are too the women who climb the stage to tell that they fought their partners/compañeros because " some men don't allow us to participate, then we realised that we have to take our rights with our own hands, because they are ours as we are human beings " ( Women Commander member of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committe ).
Everything is part of one same reality, of an efford to change all that which is harder to change.

When the elder women tell how their lives were like when they were children, in estate's plantations where many indygenous families used to work as half slaves, we can understand what this voyage has been, the stretch travelled by zapatista women in such a brief time lapse, the short space of little more than 20 years, during which the grandchildren are now saying " as a girl i now have the freedom to dance, i can play i have a right to recieve the autonomous education " some women say that " the men are very hard to change, because they are male chauvinists, because the landowners and the spaniards educated them to despise women ".

The support among the women themselves is the catalyst that allows this process, and which explains the stregth and the understanding with which the zapatistas speak of other women's experience who struggle too and who also suffer, like the indygenous women they got to know when they travelled with the other campaign in the north of mexico, the workers in the maquiladoras, the political prisoners, all of them women in which they see themselves reflected and understood in this internal and external struggle, inside their own organisations and in the reality they are living.

Inside the tension between the public space and the private and with much efford, the dinamics that allow women to continue changing their image of themselves, are talking place from the empowerment of many of them through their skillsharing, the communal jobs, and the strong collective responsabilities, and changing the image that the men have of them so that one day, perhaps not so far away, you don't have to ask for permission to your husband to take on a job in The organisation, and that no one says that the woman that leaves the house without her husband is because she's gone looking for another man.




Server Appeal Radio Page Video Page Indymedia Cinema Offline Newsheet