Letter from Nacho del Valle: Digging Trenches!

How can we ever express our gratitude when there just aren’t enough words. And the emotion that whirls in our throats, our heads, our hearts, unnerves us and keeps churning, seeking an exit like a trapped bird beating its wings against the bars of its cage. And the words stick in our throats. That’s how I feel because you’re here brothers, sisters, all of you.

Because you drank from my chalice of bitterness, grief, rage along with me, and made my fear, my anger, my impotence yours. It’s not my intention to praise you or to move you with empty words. I’d reproach myself and you wouldn’t accept it.

Putting one’s conscience above mean interests devoid of solidarity principles is inconceivable for those who have let themselves be dragged down by greed and personal abundance, denying their brothers and sisters, denying their people. They’ve put a price on their dignity.

They’ve forgotten their roots, thereby denying a decent, dignified future to their offspring. They’ve become the puppets of those who repress us, those who pursue us, those who jail us, those who massacre us, those who hand over our homeland to the foreign interests that are the cause of our rebellion. And they condition what rightfully and legitimately belongs to us ––a life of freedom and dignity, the right to health, education, jobs, tranquility, and land, things that all human beings deserve, just as our ancestors said when they gave their blood for the people 500…200…100 years ago.

What are we going to celebrate? What do we have to remember? What do we need to reflect on? The abuses are still being replicated and there’s no lack of puppets who’ve fallen to new levels of servile, immoral shamelessness. They’ve put a price on everything, even the blood and the dreams of our ancestors.

[Placing conscience above mean interests] is inconceivable for those who never experience the absence of bread at their table.

It’s inconceivable for those who have forgotten that our origins give us our identity –what we are today and what we’ll continue to be ––living by principles of unity as a great family; shaping the mornings of each new day without forgetting our yesterdays, even the hardships and shortages; longing for a new day with more light for our children, for our sisters and brothers, for everyone; always sharing our sorrows, our joys, our bread, our willpower.

These are principles passed down to us by our grandparents that we carry on in our blood, that emerge from our skin, from the voices of each child, each woman, each young person, each old person, each brother, each sister, all of us together. Our present has been forged from heavy blows, from blood, from grief and rage, and even so, we hold hope in our hearts and we still keep on smiling when everything goes wrong.

We’re made of pounded metal forged in fire that doesn’t break apart or tarnish; on the contrary, it shines more brightly.

It holds an active reflection, a date with our past, an inner journey to light the lamp that guides our way.

It’s the reflection of ourselves as the owners of time, which enables us to design new futures without borders for those who want to share their bread, for those whose hands grow fruit for everyone, and for those who hold love in their hearts for others.

In this slice of life that’s ours to share, we’ve learned…

-that resisting isn’t the same thing as conforming, that withstanding hardships is not the same as resigning ourselves, that faith doesn’t fall from the sky, that hope isn’t brought in by the swallows;

-that we have to resist by struggling; that we withstand hardships so we won’t fall down, but instead will be able to take the next step;

-that hope is built through actions, and that by joining our hands, hearts, and songs, we can make the sun come up;

-that we’ve never been alone, that we need to come together again as brothers and sisters;-that we don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to be free;

-that what belongs to the people must be defended with a fight to the death, that it can’t be bartered, that defending it is our obligation, and that every sacrifice is an honor;

-that when we raise our voices to be heard, it’s not to arouse the pity of those at the top, but to awaken our brothers and sisters, and

-that the root of all social inconformity is the seizure of the labor of the people by those who institute the most perverse forms of control and subjugation.

Injustice is offered to our people in all shapes and sizes ––small, medium, large, and if necessary, extra-large. Which do you prefer? All are easily affordable, depending on how combative you are.

And if your pocket is empty and your hunger is unbearable, and if you speak out or join up with others to shout louder or demand justice, the system has the time-tested antidote ready in all kinds of packaging –threats, clubbing, teargas, punitive prisons, persecution, life sentences and other innovations carefully administered to the people with just the right dosage of repression and death.

We’ve learned that no sacrifice is in vain when adversity is resisted in relentless struggle, but that indifference and a lack of consciousness of our reality blurs our vision and complicates things, deterring the struggle against our natural enemy, our common enemy, the one that tricks us with alcohol and circus used as make-up for its perverse face.

On this journey, women have shown us their true place, the one they’ve always held with their tremendous force ––women who engender hope deep within, who embellish our dreams with a kiss, who weave us an overcoat of caresses and take us by the hand to inaugurate our own destiny, who know our childhood secrets and lovingly hold even the smallest memories in their hearts, who never disown us before anyone, who become fierce beasts if they see we’re in danger, who break the silence to shout “Enough is enough!”

Daughters, sisters, compañeras, mothers, who give their all without asking anything in return, who become flowers to adorn our universe, who become eternal stars with a light that never goes out, who give birth to luminous dawns, and who light up the world with a wink of the eye! To you, sisters, our eternal gratitude.

To all of you who have welcomed us, to all of you who have written to us, to the fathers and mothers of children who’ve been massacred, pursued, jailed, threatened, I am deeply saddened by the pain and suffering you’ve been through and are still going through. It is hard for me to express my feelings in the face of such adversity. I know that words don’t heal your wounds, but I feel obliged to send you my humble greetings and a warm embrace of respect and admiration.

To all my brothers and sisters who have worked so hard for our freedom, I send you greetings and my heartfelt desires for your well-being and revolutionary convictions.

To the comrades in the camp outside the Molino de Flores prison at Texcoco, all our affection.

Here, there and everywhere, the struggle will go on! Zapata lives! The struggle continues!

To all our brothers who have already gotten out of prison, I offer you a moment of applause and our commitment to keep up the struggle!

Héctor, Felipe and Ignacio.

Neither time nor distance keeps us apart!

It’s our obligation to dig our battle trenches right where we are!

Long live the struggles of all oppressed peoples!

Long live the struggle of SME!

“Join in the march to the beat of the drum. Listen to the people speak through my voice. Join in the march to the beat of the drum, march to the beat of the revolution!”


January 22, 2010