• Warriors & Rebels

    • This Mexican hero promoted insurgence with a force so colossal that the spirit continues to move crowds nowadays.

    Emiliano Zapata: rebelling in the name of dignity / 

    Following the motto “The Land belongs to those who work it with their own hands”, Emiliano Zapata embodied the feelings of an entire country, last century’s Mexican, at a time when most were being dispossessed. Zapata grew up seeing how landowners took the peasants’ best lands, supported by the authorities. After 400 years of being conquered by the Spanish, and having spilt blood during the fight for independence, there was still a debt to be settled: an immense clamour for justice.   

    For Emiliano, as his acquaintances knew him, it was necessary to tear the very roots of the Porfirio Diaz social, economic and political system —dictator who headed the government for over 30 years— because the people were still “fucked”. To put an end to the hegemony of landowners, landlords and chieftains, a “second independence” was necessary, this time getting rid of the privileged that had deprived men of the sacred rights bestowed on them by nature, due to their “refined and disastrous selfishness”, their land.

    The judge, the sole hope for the weak also worked for the scoundrel. Emiliano Zapata believed that if the peasants owned their lands, they would use them to practice their freedom and their own destiny. The pre-Columbian people of Mexico had had a cosmogony closely tied to the earth, and this made their struggle all the mother legitimate.

    Zapata was from Anenecuilco, Morelos, in central Mexico, where he buried, as if they were a treasure, the titles, maps, declarations, and entire notebooks from lawsuits and trials of the lands that belonged to them and that had been stolen. He was their keeper.

    Unlike the other Mexican revolutionary fighters, Zapata fought for the disenfranchised without any political ambitions or thirst for power. He was brave and a warrior. And he refused a political negotiation at all times, because his petitions where those of the people: basic demands to practice an existential level of dignity —any type of negotiation was an attack against that.

    He remained congruent and committed, almost always expressing an intelligent stronghold. That his life could only end through treason was predictable, however not with the idea he represents.  Even to this day, almost in every demonstration in Mexico, and in other countries we can hear the echo “Zapata lives!” his demands also remain. And in this sense, his struggle confirms that genuine rebellion is driven by legitimate courage, the kind that only blooms from the heart.

    “Zapata is not part of the past, but of the future. Because we look back but dream forwards. The feet of those dispossessed that the Zapatista leader fought for, are still in the clay of history, but his mind senses a luminous future.” (Héctor Gil Rodriguez)

    Also in Sphere: Zumbi, Quilombo dos Palmares and the freedom to say Yes or No to Reality and History

    Tagged: Emiliano Zapata, Warriors & Rebels, Agents of Change, inspiration