For What Must We Beg Your Forgiveness?—Subcomandante Marcos (R.I.P.)


For what must we beg your forgiveness?
Beg your forgiveness for what?
For not dying of hunger?
For not keeping our poverty hushed?
For not humbly accepting the gigantic
historical burden of disdain and neglect?
For not obeying the Penal Code of Chiapas,
the most absurd and repressive in living memory?
For showing the rest of the country and the whole world
that human dignity lives on and is found in
its most impoverished inhabitants?
For having conscientiously prepared ourselves
before we began?
For having carried rifles into battle instead of bows and arrows?
For having learned how to fight before doing so?
For each one of us being Mexican?
For being mostly indigenous?
For calling on the entire Mexican public to fight, in every way
possible, for what belongs to them?
For struggling for freedom, democracy and justice?
For not following the pre-established norms of guerrilla warfare?
For not giving in?
For not selling out?
For not betraying ourselves?

Who must seek forgiveness and who can grant it?
Those who, for years and years, sat themselves down
at a full table to gorge while, sitting at our table
was Death, so everyday, so ours, that we ended
up not fearing him?
Those who filled our sacks and souls with statements
and promises?
The dead, our dead, so deathly dead from “natural” death,
from measles, whooping cough, dengue, cholera, typhoid,
glandular fever, tetanus, pneumonia, malaria and other
gastrointestinal and pulmonary niceties?
Our dead, so mostly dead, so democratically dead from sorrow
and pity, because nobody did a thing, because all the dead,
our dead, departed, just like that, without anyone
keeping track, without anyone uttering that “¡YA BASTA!”
that would give those dead back a meaning that was never
sought for them, our dead, the same old dead who are dying
now, this time in order to live?
Those who denied our people the right and ability to govern
and govern ourselves?
Those who refuse to respect our customs, our colour and our language?
Those who treat us like foreigners in our own land demanding that we
show documents and obedience to an authority whose
existence and validity we do not recognise?
Those who tortured us, oppressed us, murdered us and disappeared us
for the serious “crime” of wanting a piece of land, not a big piece,
not a small piece, just a piece of land that could yield something
with which to fill our bellies?

Who must seek forgiveness and who can grant it?
The President of the Republic? The state secretaries? The senators?
The members of parliament? The governors? The mayors?
The police? The federal army? The fat cats of finance,
industry, commerce and land? The political parties?
The intellectuals? The media? The students? The teachers?
The colonists? The workers? The peasants? The idigenous?
The dead who died a worthless death?
Who must seek forgiveness and who can grant it?

Translated by DB