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Indybay Feature

Feb Show

by Relatos Zapatista
New show from Relatos Zapatista. Tribute to life and work of John Ross who was a independent journalist and also Don Samuel Ruiz who was a priest that work closely with Zapatista Communities within Chiapas.
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Today’s show is a difficult one. This past month—actually, within the course of a single week—Zapatistas, Other Campaign adherents and sympathizers around the world lost two extraordinary compañeros. John Ross, who passed away on January 17, was an author, poet, journalist, and activist who left his home in New York in 1957, following the Beat Trail to Mexico City. John wrote extensively about the Zapatista struggle and Mexican politics, dividing his time mostly between Mexico City and San Francisco. John personifies the kind of physical and mental migrations we hope to make in the best of worlds in our own attempts to define and practice a solidarity that goes beyond its conventional, privileged form. It moves beyond the global as something that’s always “over there,” to a way of imagining a politics that actively resists and undoes borders, creating community and encounter in all that we do.

Exactly a week after John passed away, we lost another beloved compañero, the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Samuel Ruíz. Known as “Tatic,” or “father” in Tzotzil, Bishop Ruiz was a longtime supporter of the Zapatistas’ struggle for justice and dignity, articulating a radical liberation theology from within, and often at odds with, the Catholic Church. Bishop Ruiz was chosen to act as mediator between the Zapatistas and the government in the Cathedral Dialogues of 1994, and came to be a trusted advocate for poor and indigenous communities in Mexico. As the communique signed by Subcomandante Marcos and Teniente Coronel Moises states, he walked “beside the oppressed, the dispossessed, the repressed, the despised.”

Of course, John Ross and Samuel Ruiz are not the only compañeros who have died in the recent past. They were just especially well known people who played important and visible roles in the struggle from below and to the left. In remembering John Ross and Samuel Ruiz, we also remember the hundreds who, in their struggles for dignified life, have been murdered by the state and its agents in Mexico and the United States: people like Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, murdered by government-sponsored paramilitaries on while traveling in an aid caravan to San Juan Copala, Oaxaca last April; Derrick Jones, murdered by Oakland Police as he was leaving his barbershop last November; and Rahim Brown who was murdered January 22nd in a car by Oakland Unified School District Police . Others receive even less attention, like Martin Cotton II, murdered at the hands of police and prison guards in northern California, or the countless migrants killed as they attempt to cross the militarized border that divides the global north from the global south. Finally, we’re broadcasting in the wake of wave of massive street protests in North Africa and the Middle East, including more than a hundred protesters who have been killed in the past week by the Egyptian police, and more than one thousand who have been jailed. Solidaridad con los manifestantes de egipto! Abajo al mal gobierno!

We’ve titled this show “In memoriam,” or “in memory of.” But we say this not in the sense that we should be remembering someone who’s gone, someone whose presence has disappeared or evaporated. Memory is living. Just as the ghost of Emiliano Zapata walks and speaks with Zapatista insurgents today, so too will these ghosts continue to inspire us, challenge us, and walk with us in our struggle for justice and dignity, as we fight to create a world where many worlds fit.
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