Contributions of the Zapatistas to International Communications

Never More a Mexico Without Us!

      The Zapatistas have paved the way for a new type of multi-faceted journalism. This type of journalism requires multiple interpretations of a singular event, thus eliminating the representor/represented dialogue involved in media hegemony. It also provides an inter-active space for the media audience, allowing it to hold discussions, post reactions and delve into further research of the topic. Zapatista man with his son The limitations of traditional linear media representation thus vanish, and the "Walls of Silence" begin to shake and crumble. The Internet could re-define what we mean by "global news," as the silenced and oppressed come to tell "our story," as did the Zapatistas as they cried triumphantly "Jamas un Mexico sin nosotros!" ("Never again a Mexico without us!")(Poynton, 65)."
      Journalist Regis Debray has followed the Zapatista movement and has had many personal interviews with Subcomandante Marcos . Debray speaks of "Sup" Marcos as the media "interface" in what the author describes as a modern "war of images." According to Debray, Marcos' insights into mass media allowed him to cleverly manipulate the international media through the e-mailing of his Communiques :
      " And the 'Sup' uses publicity not as an aim, but as a means. For him, media action is Clausewitz's war applied to newspapers: the political extended by other means. He has dealt some blows to the establishment, which returns them in full measure. As is natural (Debray, 129)."

Fair Media Representation of Minorities: An Urgent Call

      Today's struggle for fair representation faced by many of the world's marganilized and forgotten peoples is in no way a new one. However, the right to self-expression comes at a time when these communities are under risk of environmental and cultural destruction. As a result, those who have acquired skills as journalists, filmmakers and narrators have new pathways through the Internet in terms of research and production. As we saw with the case of the Zapatistas , the true news story is often not the one that will make the front page news. Despite the negative portrayal of the Zapatistas by the mainstream news media, despite their being labeled as "terrorists," "communists" and "professionals of violence(Debray, 103)." they gained such a high degree of international support for their rebellion that the Mexican government was forced to compromise. The Zapatistas did not set out to overthrow the Mexican government, nor did they wish to impose any radical political ideology other than a democracy that is all-inclusive. What the Zapatistas aimed for, and what, to a great extent, they gained through the revitalizing language of the e-mailed Communiques was a global "wake up call" in recognition of all those "without faces, the ones without voices (Katzenberger, i)." Below is an excerpt of a Communique sent into Cyber Space by the Zapatistas in the first days of the rebellion:
      It is the word which is the bridge to cross to the other. Silence is what the powerful offer our       pain in order to make us small. When we are silenced we remain very much alone. Speaking       heals the pain. Speaking we accompany one another.The powerful uses the word to impose       his empire of silence.We use the silence to listen to one another, to touch one another, to know       one another (Ruggiero, 8-9)."

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