Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keep Truth Alive

Subcomandante Marcos, of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation ( EZLN ) in Chiapas, Mexico, sent greetings and thoughts on communication to the Free Media Conference in New York City on 31.jan.1997. Here is the trancription of Marcos' words followed by their Spanish language English subtitled video.

We're in the mountains of Southeast Mexico, in the Lancandon Jungle of Chiapas and we want to use this medium with the help of the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico to send a greeting to the Free Media Conference that is taking place in New York where there are brothers and sisters of independent communication media from the US and Canada.

At the Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism we said: A global decomposition is taking place. We call it the Fourth World Was: neoliberalism's globalization attempt to eliminate that multitude of people who are not useful to the powerful, the groups called "minorities" in the mathematics of power, but who happen to be the majority population in the world.

We find ourselves in a world system willing to sacrifice millions of humans. The giant communication media: the monster of television, satellites, magazines, and newspapers seem determined to present a virtual world, created in the image of what the globalization process requires. In this sense, the world of contemporary news is a world that exists for the VIP's - the very important people. The everyday lives of the major movie stars and big politicians, if they get married, if they divorce, if they eat, if they take their clothes off...

But common people only appear for moment when they kill someone or when they die. For the communication giants and the neoliberal powers, the others, the excluded, only exist when they’re dead, or when they are in jail or in court. But sooner or later this virtual world clashes with the real world. And this is actually happening. This clash produces rebellion and war throughout the entire world, or what's left of the world to even have a war.

We have a choice: we can have a cynical attitude about the media to say that nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communications, and computer systems that invade our minds with "world news" but with a perspective of the powerful, of how they think the world should look.

We could say "well, that's the way it is" and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: We can say that the media giant is a total lie. We can ignore it and go about our lives. But there is a third option that is neither conformity nor skepticism: that is to construct a different way - to show the world what is really happening, to become interested in the truth of what happens to the people who inhabit this world.

The work of independent media is to tell the history of social struggle in the world, and here in North America, the United States, Canada and Mexico, independent media has been able to open spaces even within the mass media monopolies: to force them to acknowledge news of other social movements.

The problem is not only to know what is occurring in the world but to understand it and to derive lessons from it - just as if we were studying history - a history not of the past, but of what is happening now in whatever part of the world. This is the way to learn who we are, what it is we want, who we can be and what we can do. Independent media doesn't have to answer to the monopolies. Its life and its purpose is to let the truth be known. This is more and more important in the globalization process. This truth becomes a knot of resistance against the lie.

It is our only possibility to save the truth, to maintain it, and distribute it, little by little, just as the books were saved in "Fahrenheit 451" - in which a group of people dedicated themselves to memorize books, to save them from being destroyed, so that the ideas would not be lost. This same way, independent media tries to save history: the present history - saving it and trying to share it so it will not disappear.

The best way is to distribute it to other places, to not be limited to onc country, to one region, to one city or social group. It is necessary for independent voices to exchange information and to broaden the channels to resist the spreading lies of the monopolies. The truth that we build in our groups. our cities, our regions, our countries, will reach full potential if we join with other truths and realize that what is occurring in other parts of the world also is part of human history.

In August 1996, we called for the creation of a network of independent media, a network of information. We mean a network to resist the power of the lie that sells us this war that we call the "Fourth World War". We need this network not only for our social movements, but in this project of life, of humanity, a humanity that has a right to critical and truthful information.

We greet all of you, recognizing the work you have done so that the struggle of indigenous people is known, and that other struggles are know, so that the events of this world are seen in a critical form. We hope your meeting is a success and that it results in concrete plans for this network, these exchanges, this mutual support that should exist between cultural workers and independent media.

We hope that one day we can personally attend your meetings, or perhaps that one day you could have your conference in our land so we can listen to your words and you can hear ours in person. For now, well, we take advantage of the help of the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico to use this video to send a greeting.

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