Chiapas: Meeting “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth”

Forum “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth” (@SIPAZ)

On 16 and 17 March, in observation of the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), there was held the meeting “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth” at the Indigenous Center for Integral Traning (CIDECI-Unitierra) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Some 150 women and men attended the event, hailing from different social and civil organizations from several states of the country, including Chiapas, Guerrero, Chihuahua, and Mexico City. The common thread of the event was the subject of the construction of memory, a process that according to those who participated should be carried out in a collective fashion so as to counter the false versions of history propagated by the economic and political elite of the country. “The construction of memory helps us to understand our journey from the past, to locate our presen tasks, and to define as to where we would like to go in the future,” explained one participant.

On the first day were held several panels dealing with different questions: impunity and new forms of constructing justice (Communal Police of Guerrero and the Civil Society Las Bejas of Acteal, from the highlands of Chiapas); the defense of Mother Earth (ejidatar@sfrom Atenco, state of Mexico; ejidatar@s from San Sebastián Bachajón, Northern Zone of Chiapas); concrete experience in the work of historical memory (community of Masojá Shucjá, Northern Zone of Chiapas); defenders of the right to expression (Center for the Rights of Women, state of Chihuahua and members of the Coordination of Women in Resistance in Jotolá, Chiapas).

There was also read a communiqué by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, in which he greeted in the CDHFBC for its 22nd anniversary and manifested his indignation as regards the behavior of “some idiots” (government functionaries) with regard to the burial of Samuel Ruiz García in January. Moreover he expressed his concern for the integrity and life of human-rights defenders in Mexico as well as respect for the members of the CDHFBC, who despite the risks implied by their work, nonetheless continue: “You could have been others, but you chose to be that which now brings you together.”

The final pronouncement, signed by the organizations and movements present, stresses the importance of memory in light of the tasks handed down by the past so as to maintain hope for the future: “Memory helps us to remember, brings to the present the disappeared, those who have been murdered, imprisoned, exiled. We do not forget the dirty war, State terrorism, or the counter-insurgency war; nor do we forget who it is that is responsible for impunity. Regardless, also in our memory are those individuals, peoples, and organizations who never give up, and it is this memory that converts itself into hope for future generations.” The organizations that signed the pronouncement proposed the following, among other things: “In light of the generalized violence imposed by the State, let us generate movements for peace and against war, and let us expand and recognize the participation of women, children, youth, and the elderly in the decisions governing collective life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del encuentro “CON LA MEMORIA, LOS PUEBLOS CONSTRUIMOS JUSTICIA Y VERDAD” (17 March 2011)

Hermann Bellinghausen: “Empezó en Chiapas encuentro de activistas y defensores de derechos de todo el país” (17 March)

Palabras del EZLN a la XLI Asamblea Nacional de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles “ Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (March 2011)

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