Stirring poem by the EZLN describing the meaning behind the Zapatista mask. A mask that negates and raises their indigenous identity into a universal subjectivity gathering all who have been excluded, forgotten, beaten, and despised. A short and beautiful text given below and as PDF.
This is who we are.
The Zapatista National Liberation Army.
The voice that arms itself to be heard.
The face that hides itself to be seen.
The name that hides itself to be named.
The red star who calls out to humanity and the world
to be heard, to be seen, to be named.
The tomorrow to be harvested in the past.
Behind our black mask,
Behind our armed voice,
Behind our unnameable name,
Behind us, who you see,
Behind us, we are you.
Behind we are the same simple and ordinary men and women,
who are repeated in all races,
painted in all colors,
speak in all languages,
and live in all places.
The same forgotten men and women.
The same excluded,
The same untolerated,
The same persecuted,
We are you.
Behind us, you are us.
Behind our masks is the face of all excluded women,
Of all the forgotten indigenous,
Of all the persecuted homosexuals,
Of all the despised youth,
Of all the beaten migrants,
Of all those imprisoned for their words and thoughts,
Of all the humiliated workers,
Of all those dead from neglect,
Of all the simple and ordinary men and women,
Who don’t count,
Who aren’t seen,
Who are nameless,
Who have no tomorrow.
Brothers and Sisters
You can see we are the rebellious mirror
that wants to be a pane of glass and break.
You can see we are who we are so we can stop
being who we are to become the you who we are.
General Command of the EZLN
Opening Ceremony of the First Intercontinental
Encuentro for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism
(Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, 2001c: 111-112)