This was translated from a speech given recently by Sup. Marcos of the Zapatistas during the Digna Rabia (dignified rage) festival.

By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos - Mexico

Two days ago, the same day we discussed
violence, the ineffable Condoleezza Rice, a US
official, declared that what was happening in
Gaza was the Palestinians' fault, due to their violent nature.

The underground rivers that crisscross the world
can change their geography, but they sing the same song.

And the one we hear now is one of war and pain.

Not far from here, in a place called Gaza, in
Palestine, in the Middle East, right here next
to us, the Israeli government's heavily trained
and armed military continues its march of death and destruction.

The steps it has taken are those of a classic
military war of conquest: first an intense mass
bombing in order to destroy "strategic" military
points (that's how the military manuals put it)
and to "soften" the resistance's reinforcements;
next a fierce control over information:
everything that is heard and seen "in the
outside world," that is, outside the theater of
operations, must be selected with military
criteria; now intense artillery fire against the
enemy infantry to protect the advance of troop
to new positions; then there will be a siege to
weaken the enemy garrison; then the assault that
conquers the position and annihilates the enemy,
then the "cleaning out" of the probable "nests of resistance."

The military manual of modern war, with a few
variations and additions, is being followed
step-by-step by the invading military forces.

We don't know a lot about this, and there are
surely specialists in the so-called "conflict in
the Middle East," but from this corner we have something to say:

According to the news photos, the "strategic"
points destroyed by the Israeli government's air
force are houses, shacks, civilian buildings. We
haven't seen a single bunker, nor a barracks,
nor a military airport, nor cannons, amongst the
rubble. So--and please excuse our ignorance--we
think that either the planes' guns have bad aim,
or in Gaza such "strategic" military points don't exist.

We have never had the honor of visiting
Palestine, but we suppose that people, men,
women, children, and the elderly--not
soldiers--lived in those houses, shacks, and buildings.

We also haven't seen the resistance's reinforcements, just rubble.

We have seen, however, the futile efforts of the
information siege, and the world governments
trying to decide between ignoring or applauding
the invasion, and the UN, which has been useless
for quite some time, sending out tepid press releases..

But wait. It just occurred to us that perhaps to
the Israeli government those men, women,
children, and elderly people are enemy soldiers,
and as such, the shacks, houses, and buildings
that they inhabited are barracks that need to be destroyed..

So surely the hail of bullets that fell on Gaza
this morning were in order to protect the
Israeli infantry's advance from those men, women, children, and elderly people.

And the enemy garrison that they want to weaken
with the siege that is spread out all over Gaza
is the Palestinian population that lives there.
And the assault will seek to annihilate that
population. And whichever man, woman, child, or
elderly person that manages to escape or hide
from the predictably bloody assault will later
be "hunted" so that the cleansing is complete
and the commanders in charge of the operation
can report to their superiors: "We've completed the mission."

Again, pardon our ignorance, maybe what we're
saying is beside the point. And instead of
condemning the ongoing crime, being the
indigenous and warriors that we are, we should
be discussing and taking a position in the
discussion about if it's "Zionism" or
"anti-Semitism," or if Hamas' bombs started it.

Maybe our thinking is very simple, and we're
lacking the nuances and annotations that are
always so necessary in analyses, but to the
Zapatistas it looks like there's a professional
army murdering a defenseless population.

Who from below and to the left can remain silent?

Is it useful to say something? Do our cries stop
even one bomb? Does our word save the life of even one Palestinian?

We think that yes, it is useful. Maybe we don't
stop a bomb and our word won't turn into an
armored shield so that that 5.56 mm or 9 mm
caliber bullet with the letters "IMI" or
"Israeli Military Industry" etched into the base
of the cartridge won't hit the chest of a girl
or boy, but perhaps our word can manage to join
forces with others in Mexico and the world and
perhaps first it's heard as a murmur, then out
loud, and then a scream that they hear in Gaza.

We don't know about you, but we Zapatistas from
the EZLN, we know how important it is, in the
middle of destruction and death, to hear some words of encouragement.

I don't know how to explain it, but it turns out
that yes, words from afar might not stop a bomb,
but it's as if a crack were opened in the black
room of death and a tiny ray of light slips in.

As for everything else, what will happen will
happen. The Israeli government will declare that
it dealt a severe blow to terrorism, it will
hide the magnitude of the massacre from its
people, the large weapons manufacturers will
have obtained economic support to face the
crisis, and "the global public opinion," that
malleable entity that is always in fashion, will turn away.

But that's not all. The Palestinian people will
also resist and survive and continue struggling
and will continue to have sympathy from below for their cause.

And perhaps a boy or girl from Gaza will
survive, too. Perhaps they'll grow, and with
them, their nerve, indignation, and rage.
Perhaps they'll become soldiers or militiamen
for one of the groups that struggle in
Palestine. Perhaps they'll find themselves in
combat with Israel. Perhaps they'll do it firing
a gun. Perhaps sacrificing themselves with a
belt of dynamite around their waists.

And then, from up there above, they will write
about the Palestinians' violent nature and
they'll make declarations condemning that
violence and they'll get back to discussing if it's Zionism or anti-Semitism.

And no one will ask who planted that which is being harvested.

Published in Mexico Week in Review,
a publication of the CIS-DC Zapatistas.