There was an inspiring sight for indigenous and women's rights in the mountains of Chiapas this week, as more than 3,200 women from 49 countries reportedly gathered together for the second annual International Gathering of Women Who Struggle.
From the opening statement at the event:
As the Zapatistas that we are, we know that they will give us many examples of women who have advanced, triumphed, won prizes and high salaries—who have been successful, as they put it. We respond by talking about the women whom have been raped, disappeared, murdered. We point out that the rights they talk about above are won by a precious few women above. And we respond, we explain, we shout that what is lacking is the most basic and most important of rights for all women: the right to live. We’ve said it many times, compañera and sister, but we’ll repeat it again now:
Nobody is going to grant us our right to live and all the other rights we need and deserve. No man—good, bad, normal, or whatever—is going to grant these to us.
The capitalist system is not going to give them to us, regardless of the laws it passes and the promises it makes.
We will have to win our right to live, as well as all our other rights, always and everywhere. In other words, for women who struggle, there will be no rest.
The events at the gathering included community workshops on dealing with childhood abuse and forced immigration, as well as dance classes, embroidery workshops, and self-defense training.
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is an indigenous rebel group lead by women that has controlled a significant swath of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas for the last 25 years, fighting for an end to gender-based violence and capitalist exploitation.
Mexico's Zapatistas host "Women Who Fight" gathering [Isabel Mateos/CityNews 1130]
Zapatista women’s gathering begins [Ejido Morelia/Chiapas Support Committee]
A Spark of Hope: The Ongoing Lessons of the Zapatista Revolution 25 Years On [Hilary Klein / NACLA]
Image via Global Justice Now / Flickr