Letter to the Kurdish Women’s Movement-Komalên Jinên Kurdistan (KJK)
San Cristóbal de las Casas, CIDECI–UNITIERRA,
Chiapas, Mexico, October 2017
To the Kurdish Women’s Movement-Komalên Jinên Kurdistan (KJK),
Compañeras and sisters:
As indigenous women delegates of the originary peoples of Mexico, councilwomen and spokeswoman of the Indigenous Governing Council, members of the following indigenous peoples: amuzgo, tojolabal, ñahñu/ñatho, nahua, wixárika, tzeltal, maya, tohono odham, totonaco, binniza, tzotzil, guarijio, kumiai, chol, purépecha, mayo, rarámuri, tepehuano, me´phaa, popoluca, zoque, cochimi, coca, cora, yaqui, mam, mazahua, tenek, chinanteco, na savi, cuicateco, mixe, triqui, ikoots, chichimeca and mazateco, present here at the assembly of the National Indigenous Congress, a space which has united the originary peoples of Mexico for the last 21 years, we send you warm greetings and thanks with all our hearts for the letter you sent us this past month of June. With it we send the embrace and revolutionary solidarity that you showed us, the indigenous women and peoples of the National Indigenous Congress.
We read your letter in many of our community assemblies. We shared it with many compañeras and compañeros and we want you to know that learning about your dignified struggle and your solidarity has strengthened us and given us the opportunity to see ourselves in you. While geographically we are very far apart, we are so close in terms of our ideals and liberatory practices. Together with you, we say that in this war against humanity, we women of the originary peoples are raising our voice and organizing ourselves and walking toward the liberation of our peoples and of ourselves, we women who are half of humanity.
We recognize and value your struggle because the struggle of any woman, in any part of the world, at any point in history, who fights, resists, and proposes new paths for life in the face of this patriarchal capitalist monster that oppresses us is a dignified struggle with which we should join forces. We firmly believe in recuperating the importance of standing up as women in our communities, not to fight others among us, but to organize ourselves with our brothers and our peoples.
This patriarchal capitalist system of death puts us women in last place, the most uncomfortable, forgotten, and repressed place, something that not only harms us, but our brothers in our communities as well. And if the community is suffering, things will only be worse for us women.
In Mexico, we the women of the National Indigenous Congress suffer a triple oppression for being women, indigenous, and poor. That’s why we say that we are the most downtrodden and for this reason it is we, united together with all women and men of Mexico and the world, who can spark the end of this system that torments us and the beginning of a new one, rooted in our ancestral cultures and oriented towards a future of justice, peace and freedom in community.
We live in a world in which individual existence triumphs and extreme privatization threatens our territories; a world in which our thoughts are colonized and we are sold ideas about unachievable lives. Little by little this system has advanced, permeating us, robbing us of our identity as communities and peoples. But we indigenous women and men of Mexico united in the National Indigenous Congress say, “Enough!” Enough of our voices not being taken into account, enough of being expected to go back into the shadows after the awakening led by our Zapatista compañeras and compañeros more than 20 years ago. Today we say that this is the time of the flourishing of the peoples and the dignity of women, who once again are giving voice to our struggles and will continue to do so. Faced with this onslaught from the capitalist system that wants to exterminate us, we indigenous women say that we will not allow it. We are going to struggle and we are going to organize ourselves in resistance and rebellion. We are going to stand up to this system that wants to disappear us and we will continue to insist that we will not allow it.
Your people and our peoples share the same history. Ever since the war of conquest that the Spanish crown waged in our lands, our peoples have resisted just as yours has, to survive as peoples, nations or tribes with our territories, our languages, our traditional dress, our cultures, and our own governments. That is why we say that our peoples have been struggling for over 500 years against the bad governments that seek to exterminate us.
We want to tell you that hearing your words and getting to know your struggle has allowed us to understand that the problems we face are reflected in other geographies; it is very clear that this system of death that dominates the world has pummeled all the individuals, organizations and peoples who refuse to go along with it. Reading your letter it is also clear, through your example and encouragement, that it is only by joining together the anticapitalist and antipatriarchal struggles of the whole world, your struggle and ours and that of thousands upon thousands of women and men, that of workers, that of labor unions, and that of young people and originary peoples, that only by organizing and articulating our struggles will we be able to defeat our common enemy, that thousand-headed hydra of the capitalist, patriarchal, racist and colonial system.
The Zapatista compañeras and compañeros have long been sounding the alarm that the storm is approaching, and we believe that it is already here. We live in a country where foreign capital and organized crime reign supreme. Though in a different way than you, we too are living through war on a daily basis with tens of thousands of people killed—in particular femicides and murders of activists, politically committed journalists, and human rights defenders—, tens of thousands disappeared, and thousands held as political prisoners. We face the dispossession of our territories, the exploitation and enslavement of our brothers and sisters, and the destruction of our mother earth. Faced with this scenario, and as we have been invited to do without fail for the last 20 years by our Zapatista brothers and sisters, we believe that the best way to defend ourselves and go on the offensive is with organization from below, with the women and men of the indigenous peoples, of the peoples of the countryside and the city who have awakened, who have put aside fear and apathy, who rebel, who organize ourselves and act in community, building the spaces of a non-capitalist and non-patriarchal society.
We say that this is the hour of our peoples and of us women; it is time to take advantage of this electoral juncture of 2018, but to go far beyond it. Following the example of our Zapatista brothers and sisters, your example, and others, it is time for us to bring a resurgence from below of the autonomous organizational processes and autonomous governments that obey the people organized in communities, like the Indigenous Governing Council, which articulates our struggles towards the construction of a world in which many worlds fit, in which all worlds are respected, in which we are allowed to be what we are and what we want to be without exploitation or any discrimination whatsoever, and in which women are respected, valued and included in order to build, together with our compañeros, relations of freedom and harmonious coexistence amongst men and women, amongst our peoples and with our mother earth.
With the living memory of our sisters and brothers who gave up their lives in the building of our dreams and who still accompany us, we salute you, embrace you and thank you, sisters of the people of the mountains, distant in geography and close in our hearts, who we know are living, organizing, struggling and dying for the liberation of all women and all the peoples of the world.
Long live the originary peoples of the world!
Long live solidarity among peoples!
Long live the dignified freedom struggle of the Kurdish women!
Never again a Mexico without us women!
Never again a World without us women!
The Councilwomen and Spokeswoman of the Indigenous Governing Council/National Indigenous Congress