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Our Word Is Our Weapon : Selected Writings
In this landmark book, Seven Stories Press presents a powerful collection of literary, philosophical, and political writings of the masked Zapatista spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. Introduced by Nobel Prize winner Jos Saramago, and illustrated with beautiful black and white photographs, Our Word Is Our Weapon crystallizes the passion of a rebel, the poetry of a movement, and the literary genius of indigenous Mexico. Marcos first captured world attention on January 1, 1994, when he and an indigenous guerrilla group calling themselves Zapatistas revolted against the Mexican government and seized key towns in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas. In the six years that have passed since their uprising, Marcos has altered the course of Mexican politics and emerged an international symbol of grassroots movement-building, rebellion, and democracy. The prolific stream of poetic political writings, tales, and traditional myths that Marcos has penned since January 1, 1994 fill more than four volumes. Our Word Is Our Weapon presents the best of these writings, many of which have never been published before in English.Throughout this remarkable book we hear the uncompromising voice of indigenous communities living in resistance, expressing through manifestos and myths the universal human urge for dignity, democracy, and liberation. It is the voice of a people refusing to be forgotten the voice of Mexico in transition, the voice of a people struggling for democracy by using their word as their only weapon.
In 1994, as a guerrilla group of indigenous people calling themselves "Zapatistas" rose up in armed rebellion in the poor Mexican state of Chiapas, the writings of their enigmatic spokesman, Marcos, began being published in various Mexican journals and newspapers. They have since been disseminated around the world via the Internet and by Cinco Puntos press in the U.S. This collection of Marcos's work clearly shows--no matter one's stance on his politics--why he has become an international phenomenon: he is a writer of rare ability. As a political analyst and propagandist, Marcos offers trenchant analyses of the plight of the native people of Mexico, their neglect by a corrupt national government and the exacerbation of their poverty and marginality, according to him, as "neoliberalism"--i.e., international finance--permeated that nation. But he moves easily to romantic realist musings on his life in the remote mountains of Chiapas and the path that led him to the role of rebel. Finally he becomes a fabulist, writing his own brief tales--at times achingly poetic, at other times laugh-out-loud funny--and retelling the ancient myths and legends from Mexico's Mayan past. Though the pieces here are, in the end, difficult to categorize, what connects them is Marcos's commitment to making the indigenous people visible, revealing the poverty of their lives and the richness of their traditions. He writes, "Being silent, our voice was passing away." Marcos has broken that silence in language as strong as dignity and as subtle as love. To read this collection is to discover that rare animal: an original voice.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Seven Stories Press
June 30, 2003
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