Participation of the Sixth Commission at ConSciences for Humanity, December 27, 2017. SupGaleano: “It depends…”
December 27, 2017.
Good day, good afternoon, good evening, good morning…
Whether you are here in CIDECI or listening from another time and geography, we would like to thank you for attending this second edition of “ConSciences for Humanity”, the central theme of which is “The Sciences Confront the Wall.”
My name is SupGaleano and my presentation will not be about science, art, or politics, nor am I going to tell a story.
Rather, I would like to discuss a crime and its possible analyses or explanations.
And not just any crime: one that throws calendars into disarray and redefines time, fusing the criminal and the victim with the scene of the crime.
A crime…a crime in progress? A crime already committed? One about to be committed? Who is the victim? Who is the criminal? And where is the scene of the crime?
Perhaps some might agree with me that crime is now part of everyday life in Mexico and in many parts of the world: from gender-based crimes or femicides to homophobic and racist violence, violations of labor rights, ideologically motivated crimes, religious violence, violence based on the victims’ age or appearance, profit-driven crime, crimes of omission, crimes committed because of the color of someone’s skin, and so on.
In sum, this is a territory bathed in blood, so much so that the victims are nameless, reduced to numbers, statistical indices and filler stories in the mainstream media (even when those killed are journalists themselves…).
These many smaller crimes feed off a much larger one.
The aberration is so enormous that the victims’ relatives must fight not for the life of their deceased loved one, but to prevent their dying in our memory as well as in the flesh.
Without going too far afield, in Mexico it can already be said that someone “died a natural death” when he or she was the victim of violence.
Each of our daily activities, every step we take, each instant of our everyday lives is now plagued by uncertainty… Will I make it alive to work, to school, to tomorrow? Will they find my body? Will it be in one piece? Will they say I brought it upon myself and blame me for my death? Will my loved ones have to struggle to find me, to remember me? My family, my friends, those who knew me and those who did not, will they give any thought to my death? Will they dedicate a tear, a “tweet”, a whisper to my absence? And then? Will they move on? Will they keep silent about it? How will they react when it is said not that a woman was murdered, but that a woman simply “died”? What will they say when the tabloids give sordid descriptions of my clothes, the scene, and the time of day or night? Will my death be deemed horrible enough for officials to declare a “gender alert”? Will my murderer (asesino)d—yes, in the masculine—be punished? Who will explain what about this crime that I suffered for being a woman? Yes: a teenage girl, a young girl, an adult woman, a mature woman, an elderly woman; pretty, ugly, thin, fat, tall, short; always a woman.
Why didn’t anybody warn me that being born a woman in this day and age in any geography reduces my life expectancy, and that every damn minute I’m going to have to fight? Not just to be valued and respected for my merits, great or small; to be paid fairly for my work; to have access to education, jobs, and relationships; to be happy or sad however I might drag myself or walk or run through life: no, it turns out that I also have to fight to not be killed, not once, twice or three times, but a hundred or a thousand times?
Because the man who kills me kills me, the person who ignores my death kills me, and so does the person who “complicates the picture” of my death, who “dresses it up”, who sullies it with slander (saying “she dressed provocatively,” “she was drinking,” “she was in a bar,” “she was out at night,” “she was alone”), hiding that my real transgression was living. Living, that’s it: my age, creed, color, political position, ideas, dreams and nightmares had nothing to do with it. My murderer didn’t decide to kill me because of whether I voted or abstained; it wasn’t because I voted Red or Green or Blue or Brown or Yellow or independent; and it wasn’t because maybe I wasn’t even registered to vote. Nor was age the motivating factor: I am a girl, a teenager, an adult, middle-aged, a woman elder. He killed me because I am a woman.
That’s where we are today. We accept this explanation for murders of women, femicides, gender crimes: it’s because she was a woman, she brought it upon herself, and let the hunt continue. Because silence is complicity, and complicity is a celebration of the crime. It’s just a check mark in a different box: from crime to normality. A toast, to this, the system in which history has culminated, in which humanity reaches its maximum development, where progress and well-being can be enjoyed by all who work to better themselves.
That’s the capitalist system all right, a system in which murders of women are part of daily life and daily death, and terror takes on its gender identity.
Or maybe not. Might everything depend on who explains my death? Or perhaps it doesn’t matter now? Maybe it doesn’t deserve any explanation at all? Is my death like a grey rain that slows down traffic, causing a nuisance to annoyed drivers who will arrive at the next murder like they arrive late to the next traffic light? Darn! Red again, dead again, murdered again, late again.
The late SupMarcos used to say that indigenous people had to die by the thousands for anyone to take notice of them. If just a few of them died, that was normal. If it was a few dozen, people would say “It’s part of their barbaric nature,” or “It’s a symptom of their cultural backwardness,” or “The government should pay its ‘historical debt’ to the most vulnerable.” If it was a few hundred, you’d hear “Oh, those terrible natural disasters—poor things!” And if a few thousand indigenous people died, then someone would finally ask, “What’s going on? Why?”
So in this case we have to ask ourselves: How many women have to be murdered for us to ask ourselves what is going on and why? Who is responsible for the crime? Who is the victim? What’s the motive?
Or are we seriously going to wait for the next scandal to break on social media? Where in times past people might have given charity or a little money to a cause, now people can only muster up a tweet, or a thread if they must?
Not too long ago, on that perennial source of wisdom, tolerance, and concern for others that is Twitter, a male user responded to a woman who was condemning the murder of another woman as a femicide. The male user in question said to her, in essence, “It’s not a femicide because that woman wasn’t a feminist, she was just a woman.” He went on, “You feminazis don’t respect other women, you want to push your hatefulness on everyone.” I imagine that the reply the man received was something like “You are unable to view these tweets because you have been blocked because the [female] user is allergic to stupidity.”
A gender crime. We could try to put forth an explanation, a hypothesis. We could, for example, ask the murderer why he committed the crime.
I can tell you ahead of time that the explanations will be many, but always the same. The man’s unconfessable motive will always be “Because I could, and others [men and women] will come along to provide the reason, the motive for what I did.”
And he would be right, although it does all depend…
A few days ago, the news agency Apro reported that “As he deplored the femicides in the country [Mexico], Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez made reference to a supposed experiment conducted in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, in which a plain-clothes police officer driving a luxury car ‘seduced’ women in order to drive them to the municipal government office, where he reprimanded them for their behavior, saying ‘you women hop in the car with just anyone, that’s why you get killed.’”
In an interview with Channel 44 after attending a presentation at the Mexican Employers’ Association, Íñiguez, who is also the Bishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, said today that the alarming increase in femicides across the country is due to “women’s imprudence.” “On women’s part, there is a quite a bit of imprudence. They’ll go out with any man who’s well-dressed; they get involved in things they shouldn’t,” said Íñiguez immediately before referencing the supposed experiment in Ciudad Juárez.
As you can see, the murderers are not even mentioned in this account. The guilty party is the woman and her “natural” imprudence.
I know, I know, you’re asking yourselves what this whole tangent about femicides is about if we’re here to talk about the sciences and the wall.
In my defense, I would argue that I am describing a part of the wall. And the first thing you’d notice on it is a long graffiti tag that covers the five continents, scrawled in the dark-red blood of the women victims of violence, reading “GUILTY.”
Of course, it depends. There are those who only see great scientific and technological advances, the haughty urban centers, the golden lights reflected in the skyscrapers.
And here we are, selfish and irresponsible, saying that we are staring straight at a crime. The biggest, most profound, wide-spread and terrible crime in the history of humanity. A crime-cum-system.
I said in the beginning that I wasn’t going to talk about science, art, or politics, nor would I tell a story. I said specifically that I was going to talk about a crime. So it’s on you if you keep listening, reading, or clicking refresh because the livestream is down and the computer, tablet or phone screen is frozen on that word that could well summarize the explanation that the system gives for the murders of women: “GUILTY.”
As the transmission starts up again, I turn to look “above” to see and hear if anyone is talking about those crimes. Nothing. Perhaps my connection is bad and in reality they are talking about it and people are proposing plans, strategies and tactics to put an end to that nightmare.
As the transmission reconnects, we hear the words of the poet Juan Bañuelos. It’s just the eco of the sound of his voice, because it’s from 10 years ago, on the occasion of the homage that he received at the Gathering of Poets of the Latin World in 2007. There is no celebration of the prize in his voice. There is instead a slight tremor of pain, indignation, and rage. He says:
“What I’m getting at concretely is this: on December 22, 1997, 45 indigenous people were massacred in the community of Acteal, which is in the municipality of San Pedro Chenalhó in the state of Chiapas. It was the bloodiest of the many attacks they have suffered: women, children and men were viciously murdered by paramilitary groups. The government wanted to explain it away by saying that the violence was rooted in ‘intertribal fighting.’ It’s no coincidence, either, that the majority of the dead were women and that the rape perpetrated by the paramilitary groups was meant to sow terror in the communities and attack their autonomous projects.
As of and at the very founding of the indigenous group Las Abejas (The Bees) in December 1992, the response was gang rape against the wives of its founders, one of whom was seven months pregnant. The massacre in Acteal was an attempt to destroy a symbol of resistance: ‘kill the seed,’ was the rallying cry of the paramilitaries on that December 22, to stop the “indians” from multiplying. The murders in Acteal were not the result of crazed violence nor of intertribal or personal vengeance. The fact that the facts have not been investigated and the culprits have not been identified ten years after the fact is the responsibility only of the groups in state power and of the Mexican presidents we’ve had. Nothing has been resolved.”
I imagine that the pause he takes here may be to clear his throat, or perhaps to try to control his rage:
“The day following December 22, 1997, I was sent to Acteal as a member of the Conai (National Commission of Intermediation for Peace) to investigate what had happened. The experience was terrifying: we found the bloodied clothes of women and children stuck in the branches of bushes, and in a cave where they had tried to hide. Some of the survivors gave their testimony, telling details of how some women were massacred by opening their bellies (four were pregnant) and extracting their babies, with such viciousness that it synthesizes an extermination policy.
Micaela, an 11-year-old girl, was very afraid. She told us about how starting early that day she had been with her mother, praying and playing with her little brothers and sisters so they wouldn’t cry. There were many women in the chapel. At 11am the shooting began, the children started to cry, the men and women began to run, and some others were struck down right there and then. A bullet pierced Micaela’s mother’s back. They found her because of the screaming of the two boys, who were later killed. Micaela was saved because they thought she was dead. She was very afraid and went to hide by the banks of the creek. There she saw how the paramilitaries returned with machetes; they laughed and joked, undressing the dead women and cutting off their breasts. They stuck a stick between one woman’s legs. They opened the bellies of the pregnant women to take out their babies and toy with them, tossing them from one machete to another. Then they left, screaming their heads off. Micaela’s uncle Antonio took her by the hand to look for her cousins or people they knew who might be alive among the dead. She continued, ‘We rescued two little kids who were by their dead mothers’ side; the boy’s leg was destroyed, and the girl had her skull broken open and she writhed, trying to keep her grip on life. After the genocide, many people couldn’t fight the sadness: Marcela and Juana have lost their senses, they do not speak any more, they only emit monosyllables between the sounds of the military helicopters flying over the community.”
Juan Bañuelos apologizes. He knows that his words must sound anachronistic for some in the audience (then and now):
“I hope the audience will forgive me for the fact that, in this celebration of words with poets from many different countries, I have had to address the frightening massacre in Acteal 10 years ago, which still has had no resolution, but I was born in Chiapas and I was a member of the ex-Conai and I can’t remain silent.
Some will say I’m radical for demanding profound change in my country, but I would answer them with the thinking of José Martí, that great poet of the Americas: “Radical is exactly that: that which goes to the root. Don’t call anyone ‘radical’ who doesn’t look at things at their deepest level. Don’t call anyone a man who doesn’t aid the safety and happiness of other men,” because we must agree that “our homeland is all of humanityi.” For the same reason, and as a result of this, I place this homage to myself in the background: I transform it and transfer it to the memory of those massacred in Acteal.”
Juan Bañuelos, a poet to the end, then reads a poem by the poetess Xuaka´ Utz´utz´Ni´, entitled “So the army won’t come”:
Listen, sacred lighting,
Listen, sacred mountain,
Listen, sacred thunder,
Listen, sacred cave:
We’ve come to awaken your consciousness.
We’ve come to awaken your heart,
So you’ll fire your rifle,
So you’ll fire your cannon,
So you’ll close the path for those men.
Even if they come at night.
Even if they come at dawn.
Even if they come with weapons.
Let them not be able to hurt us.
Let them not be able to torture us.
Let them not be able to rape us
in our houses, in our homes.
Father of the Huitepec mountain, mother of the Huitepec mountain,
Father of the white cave, mother of the white cave,
Father of the San Cristóbal mountain, mother of the San Cristóbal mountain:
Let them not enter your lands, great protector.
Let their rifles go cold, let their pistols go cold.
Kajval, accept this bouquet of flowers.
Accept this offering of leaves, accept this offering of smoke,
Sacred father of Chaklajún, sacred mother of Chaklajún.
Juan Bañuelos finishes his intervention by saying:
“We demand summary justice for the northamerican ex-president Zedillo and his accomplices.”
Do they applaud him or not? We don’t know. The recording ends abruptly at the word “accomplices.” In a gathering of poets, an artist of the word decided to talk about a crime, and instead of giving thanks for the homage, he demanded truth and justice. Juan Bañuelos doesn’t know it, because a natural death left him speechless a few moons ago, but the material and intellectual authors of that crime walk free with the complicity, then and now, of the Mexican Social Encounter Party [Partido Encuentro Social].
As of a few hours ago, one of the intellectual authors of that crime is now dead: General Mario Renán Castillo Fernández has died, in peace and “with the spiritual assistance of the church of the holy mother.”
And when I say Acteal, you could now also say, adjusting your calendar, “Chalchihuitán,” or “Chenhaló.” Plus the variable of the dispute between the red PRI and the green PRI over the governorship of Chiapas. They provide the candidates, and their indigenous militants provide the displaced and the dead.
I said earlier that no one is talking about crimes against women. Well, it depends which way you direct your gaze and your ears. Because there’s a woman named Guadalupe who they call “Lupita.” She was only 10 years old when the massacre at Acteal took place, and she lived through that horror, though her closest loved ones did not survive. Now Lupita is a councilwoman with the Indigenous Governing Council and, together with the spokeswoman of that council, Marichuy, she is traveling the country and telling that story.
Lupita talks with other women. Some are like her, others are not. She talks to many women and not only does she tell them, “See yourself in this story because it’s already your story, too.” She also says, “Organize yourself, resist, don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in. Don’t wait until terror enters your house, your street, your school, your workplace.”
Neither Lupita nor the spokeswoman walk alone. Other councilwomen, indigenous like them, women like them, workers like them, poor like them, mothers like them, wives like them, daughters like them, grandmothers like them, sisters like them, organized like them, rebellious like them, travel and talk in other places about this crime called “Mexico.”
There are no luxuries for them; no private jets, nor media reporters assigned to the story. Some say they’re collecting signatures so that the spokeswoman Marichuy can be an independent candidate for President of the Republic. I don’t know if they’re collecting signatures. They say they are collecting pain, rage, and indignation, and that there’s no cybernetic application to collect all that; neither high-, medium- nor low-end devices support that many terabytes. They only have their ears and their hearts. Their words are invariably the same: “organization,” “resistance,” “rebellion.”
They don’t say it, but they get it across: “Don’t pity me, I’m not asking you for charity, all I’m saying is: see yourself when you look at me, and when you listen to me, listen to yourself.”
So I ask you all, those of you who are in attendance, listening, reading, or watching: Does the Indigenous Governing Council deserve the opportunity to visit more places, to talk with more people, to hear about more pain, and instead of offering promises, government programs and cabinets, denounce a crime, share their explanation of it and make an invitation to wipe out the criminal? Not to situate the criminal, not to explain his nuances, not to dress him up, recycle him, forgive him or forget him. No: to wipe him out, destroy him, disappear him.
The answer to that question, as we already know, depends on who, where, and how.
I’ve spoken in part about the crime. Because, as I said at the beginning, I’m not going to talk about science, art, or politics, nor am I going to tell a story. However, by speaking about the crime I am speaking also about the explanations that are offered for it. And the explanation for that daily horror varies. It depends on who gives account of it, and from where.
Faithful to its nature, the PRI of Acteal renewed its criminal persistence in this presidential term. It is not satisfied with rampant corruption, administrative inefficiency, diplomatic laziness, and frivolity as a style of governing.
No, the PRI always needs a frightful crime that keeps it within the parameters that give it identity, color, vocation and purpose.
And, as in Acteal, the same pens that filed the murder of unarmed women, children, and men under “intertribal conflict,” created the “drug trafficker showdown” thesis for Ayotzinapa.
What a curious definition of “showdown” that circulates in the legal and public opinion courts of Power: one of the parties is armed and the other defenseless, but the event is called a “showdown.”
In the government’s schema, an exhausted attorney general [Jesús Murillo Karam] declared that the missing students were burned and that was that, and let us pray that it doesn’t happen again.
Back then, in the time of the so-called “historical truth”ii, a group of scientists demonstrated that that explanation was impossible. But the supreme government insisted on its schema, validated by the mainstream media.
The forced disappearance of the young students from the Ayotzinapa Teacher’s College (Escuela Normal) in the state of Guerrero continues to be attributed to rival narcotrafficker gangs. And around that explanation, an understanding of reality is constructed.
The PRI-cum-government insists, with chilling cynicism, that everything that reveals the PRI for what is it—a mercenary with a cabinet graduated from foreign universities—is attributable to Satan in one way or another: organized crime in cahoots with a group of perverse scientists.
The tricolor government thus confesses, with bulletproof stupidity, that it isn’t responsible for anything because the government is, in essence, organized crime.
But as in Acteal, in Ayotzinapa there were people who refused to resign themselves, who wouldn’t give up, who wouldn’t sell out, who wouldn’t give in, and, with eternal struggling, persist in the demand for truth and justice.
I think there’s a thing in neurobiology called “phantom limb syndrome.” Don’t pay any attention to me, you should ask someone who knows about neuroscience, but I think it consists of perceiving sensations as if a limb that has been amputated were still connected to the body. That is, a person’s hand is gone, or their arm or leg or eye, but they still “feel” that it’s there.
Maybe, and this is just a guess, when we say “The State did it [Fue el Estado],” “Failed State” or “Narco State,” we are referring to that absence. And what we’re looking at and complaining about is none other than the “phantom limb syndrome.” The National State has been amputated in this phase of capitalism and what we perceive is the eco of its absence. There’s no State anymore: what there is is a band of criminals backed up by an armed group that uses the National Security Law to protect itself, so that pain and rage are never absent on the everyday kitchen tables of Mexico.
A few days ago, Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto made a declaration something along the lines of that 2017 was a good year for Mexico. Upon hearing him say this, one asks oneself if someone hasn’t amputated not only his sense of shame and decency, but also his brain, and whether he isn’t displaying phantom limb syndrome: he doesn’t have a brain anymore, but he acts as if he does.
“It all depends on your point of view,” say Power’s thousand tongues, “There is no knowable reality, only multiple realities that depend on different schemas.”
So I have to ask them:
If a crime has occurred, does its explanation depend on one’s point of view, or can we analyze it with the support of the sciences?
Thank you for listening and watching, and thank you, above all, for your unpopular scientific practice.
From the CIDECI-UniTierra, Chiapas.
Mexico, December 2017.
FROM THE NOTEBOOK OF THE CAT-DOG:
In a classroom in a Zapatista community, the education promoter asks the girl who calls herself Defensa Zapatista whether she has done her homework.
The Cat-Dog’s tail can just barely be seen poking out of the girl’s backpack, where he is surely snuggled up against the morning cold.
Defensa Zapatista stands up and says:
“Teacher, that depends.”
“What do you mean, ‘it depends?’ I don’t understand,” says the teacher, almost like a reflex.
Defensa Zapatista lets loose a sigh of resignation, thinking to herself, “No way around it, I have to give the teacher her political class again.”
“Yes, for example,” says the girl while she looks out of the corner of her eye at the shadow of the ceiba tree which indicates the time that class gets out, “you know how there’s a compañera who’s name is doctora and whose surmane is Margarita.”
“Surname,” says the teacher with futility in an attempted correction, “we say surname.”
“Yes, that,” replies Defensa Zapatista who’s in no mood for trivialities. “Anyway, her name is doctor, but there are a lot of people called doctora, or doctor, depending. For example, there’s Doc, who one time SupMoy asked him if he knew about medicine and Doc said no, and then SubMoy squinted like this, how he squints when he gets mad. And SupMoy said to him ‘So you’re not a doctor.’ And then Doc turned to SupGaleano as if hoping for support, but SupGaleano just kept smoking his pipe, which is to say he played dumb. And so then I explained to SupMoy that he’s Doc but that he’s missing the surmane, which is to say that he’s Doc Raymundo, that is, he doesn’t know how to administer medicine, but he says ‘Cheer up!’ every now and then even when the situation is really sad; even if they gave him a shot you’d see that he’d still say ‘Cheer up.’
So anyway, one day I visited Doctora Margarita, though her surmane isn’t always “Margarita” because sometimes it’s “Margara”, depending on whether she gives you a pill, syrup or a shot.
So one day they took me to the doctora to get a check-up, that’s what my mom said. So I’m there, and I see that on the table she’s got the criminal weapon as they say, that is, a couple of shots, and the thought pops into my head that I’ve got to give the doctora her political class so she understands about the struggle.
So I told the doctora that we have to support each other as the women we are and that we shouldn’t do wrong among women. And the doctora just put on this face like she understood, but I saw clearly in her eyes that she didn’t understand at all. And I told her that shots can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending. For example, they’re a bad thing if you give a shot to a little girl, because, I mean, do you think I’m going to be able to kick a soccer ball if my leg hurts because they gave me a shot? No, right?
But for example shots are a good thing if you give them to Pedrito, that little bastard who’s always making fun of me and saying that we women don’t know about soccer and that we’re ‘endebles.’
I have no idea what ‘endebles’ is but just like that I could tell that Pedrito isn’t respecting us like the women we are and right there I gave him a smack upside the head so he wouldn’t go around talking smack.
So then the doctora wanted to do all this political yammering about how shots are good for you, but I told her it depends. And I told her that we have to support each other like the women we are and say no to shots for little girls, only for the boys, and if they cry well then just give them a reason, smack them upside the head so they can cry over that instead of the good that the shots are doing them. I explained to the doctora that little girls should only get pills and syrup, but only if the syrup isn’t bitter. If it’s bitter then it should have ‘Only for boys’ on the label.
The doctora just laughed, that is, I don’t think she understood the political class I gave her because then she told my moms I had to get the vaccination for I don’t know what. Do you think the women’s struggle is going to advance if the doctora doesn’t understand? But anyway they gave me a shot, and it hurt a lot and I was limping for a long time, but I didn’t cry…okay, I cried a little bit, but it was because I got so mad that our struggle needs more political education. And I didn’t go to soccer practice that day, so if it turns out later that the team didn’t come together fast enough, well then there you have it, it’s her fault for not understanding politics.
From there I went to talk to that guy whose name is ‘Sherlock’ and whose surmane is ‘Holmes’ (note: in Tzeltal, ‘hol-mes’ means the head of a broom and it’s a plant that’s used to make a broom and sweep houses), which is kind of a weird last name, but I think it’s because he’s got a broom head anyway. Anyway, this Holmes has a companion whose name is Doctor and whose surmane is Waj-tson, that is, tortilla hair, and the poor thing’s face always looks like he doesn’t understand and right away you can tell he doesn’t like the Cat-Dog because he looks the other way. Well, anyway, I’ll tell you the rest of that one later, teacher, otherwise I’ll get off track with this political explanation.
So, teacher, if you’re asking if I did the homework, the question isn’t well-formed because, as I already explained, it depends. For example, ‘Sup’ is a first name, but it’s missing the surmane.
If the surmane is Moy, well then we’re screwed because SupMoy doesn’t help and he says I have to listen to my mom.
But for example if the surmane is ‘Galeano,’ then it’s different because SupGaleano does help with resistance and rebellion, and he lets the Cat-Dog sleep on his computer and he lets us eat the honey buns that he steals from the cooperative.
Of course SupGaleano says he doesn’t steal them, he says be borrows them, but I know he doesn’t bring them back. How could he if we already ate them along with the Cat-Dog? (The Cat-Dog wags his tail.)
So I asked SupGaleano if he’s ever gotten a shot and he said more or less that you can’t say bad words like that in the comandancia headquarters.
That is, I understood “shots” to be a bad word for SupGaleano, but the doctora Margarita says it’s not a bad word. So there you can see clearly that whether shot is a bad word depends on whether they’re injecting you or Pedrito—that bastard tried to accuse me of hitting him upside the head and said that it was gender violence. Can you believe he said that? I explained to my mom that I only defended myself after Pedrito insulted me, that is to say, I laid down some gender equality. And my mom…how can I put it…she doesn’t quite understand our struggle as the women we are and she punished me with not being allowed to go to soccer practice. I told her it would be her fault if the team didn’t come together, but she was unimpressed and said I had to do my homework.
So I left to do my homework and I brought my notebook, and then, would you believe it, the Cat-Dog, present here, laid down on my notebook and gosh, do you think I’m going to be able to move the Cat-Dog if he already laid down for a nap? No way. If you even get close he growls in that way that says “if you move me, you’ll die.” So I thought, I don’t want to die, I’m still a little girl and I’ve got to grow up. And SupGaleano had told me once that it’s no good to die, it’s very boring to be dead, it’s like if time just stopped.
One day SupGaleano was watching videos of some people, you couldn’t see very well who they were, but they were explaining that they were struggling for their way of being to be respected. I asked Sup if they were women or men, and he said, “It depends.” That is, the point, depending, is that you can’t just go by what you see or hear: you have to take many things into account and you have to listen, said the Sup. Because, for example, when people look at me, they think I’m just a girl, that I’m not thinking about anything. But as soon as they ask me, the first thing I tell them is that my first name is Defensa and my surmane is Zapatista, and that I have quite a lot of opinions. That is to say, it depends.”
Throughout the girl’s whole speech, the education promoter has looked utterly resigned. But she breathes a sigh of relief when she sees that Pedrito, seated in the front, has raised his hand and is waving it insistently.
The teacher makes use of the girl’s stopping for a breath, and says:
“Yes Pedrito? Let’s see what you have to say.”
Pedrito gets up and alleges:
“I don’t think Defensa Zapatista understood what I was trying to say, because when someone says endeble, it depends on the context…”
The girl gave Pedrito a glare that said “You’re going to pay, wise guy.”
The teacher had already resigned herself to listening to one of Pedrito’s eruptions of wisdom when the school bell rang.
All the students ran out, with Defensa Zapatista in front.
Once outside, the girl pulled the Cat-Dog out of her bag and whispered in its ear, “I think we made it.”
Then she saw the education promoter talking with her mother and added, “Well, that depends.”
She went off running in search of the back-up soccer ball that SupGaleano kept for her in headquarters in exchange for no one finding out about the case of the disappeared honey buns, which was already being investigated, apparently without any leads, by Elías Contreras, investigation commission of the EZLN.
At the beginning of my intervention, I said I wasn’t going to talk about politics, science, or art, nor was I going to tell a story.
Did I lie? Well, that depends…
Thanks very much.
i Patria es humanidad is a poem by Cuban poet José Martí.
ii “Verdad histórica,” phrase used by Murillo Karam to push the story that the students had been burned at a trash dump site.