Zack in Mexico
From: "Native American Student Union"
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
______________________ Translated by irlandesa
La Jornada Tuesday, October 27, 1999.
Marcos is a "Translator for the Oppressed: Zack de la Rocha"
Rage Against the Machine Concert Today They Will Perform for Zapatismo and UNAM Strikers
Arturo Cruz Bárcenas.
For the zapatista movement, in support of the UNAM student strikers, against laws that prevent communication between Mexico and the United States, as well as to jump around a good bit, the United States group, Rage Against the Machine, will be holding a concert today in the pavilion of the Sports Palace.
Informed about Mexico's political circumstances, this group - created in 1991 - does not hesitate to compare Subcomandante Marcos with the historic figure of Che Guevara, and they criticize the lack of information in the United States about the chiapaneco conflict.
To Spread the Word About the Conflict in Chiapas
The band, considered to be one of the most brilliant and original in the neighboring country to the north, have demonstrated their anti-fascism in memorable concerts, such as the one organized in 1995 in Brixton, England. They have performed in order to demand the release of Leonard Peltier and in order to collect funds for Mumia Abul-Jamal's relatives.
In an interview, Zack de la Rocha, vocalist for Rage, said that the chiapaneco problem is barely spoken of in "gabacho," so the band decided to spread it through music. He noted that Marcos represents, for him, as a public figure, "something important, someone who does not remain silent, with much resemblance to Che Guevara. Marcos is a kind of translator for all those groups who are oppressed. The Sup is aware of Rage's sympathy for the armed movement, and I think that the gabachos are, somehow, the ones who have trained the Army here, in Mexico, and who are manipulating the situation, encouraging the atrocities that are being committed."
In the midst of extreme security, with security guards in the halls of the Four Seasons Hotel - it was even necessary to wear a wristband to the interview - Zack said that the EZLN has made it quite clear that the central point of the chiapaneco problem has to do with land (the agrarian question). The zapatista organization demonstrated the interest that Wall Street and the IMF have in privatizing everything, as well as the efforts by the Clinton administration to "leave agrarian reform laws behind. The gringos don't want to recognize the democratic demands of the EZLN."
Concerning the UNAM strike, he said that today's concert will also be in solidarity with the striking students. "The problem of public education is important, and I don't like how international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, have manipulated the issue, nor what [Rector] Francisco Barnes is doing either. In the US, we have similar problems. For example, the universities are more and more being divided into public and private, and foreign students are beginning to be separated, especially Hispanics and African Americans. The strikers' demands are just, and we are here to support them."
He noted that music communicates on its own, and art is, by nature, political. "We're saying that music demonstrates the gabachos' indifference to international problems."
"Do you have any fear of touching on political matters in Mexico, given the prohibition against foreigners dealing with domestic political issues?
"We are aware of Article 33, but music transcends, and it has the virtue of crossing borders, military checkpoints or walls of conscience. What is important is to create a dialogue between gringos and Mexicans. Any law that silences should be criticized. We are here in order to continue with that questioning."
"If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the... present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child's feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!"
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