Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The End of the World - NOT

Tonina on a clear day with the Zapatista
sign at the entrance. The Zapatistas took over
in 2011 and have been running the park ever since.
On Dec 21st the world was supposed to end, according to many book writers hoping to sell their prophetic ideas before proven wrong. Oh, sorry, that was according to the Mayan Calendar, which every sane Mayan knew was just a roll-over just  like Jan 1, 2000. Ah, but the 2000 roll-over was supposed to be significant too, the economic world was going to collapse,  computers couldn't handle "00" as a year date if I recall correctly. And in spring 2011 the bible also predicted a very specific date, according to Harold Camping. He had a whole bunch of fundamentalist Christians buying into his prophecy. When it didn't happen, he claimed a mistake and revised it to sometime in October of 2011. Yet, we are still here.

Doesn't the Bible say something about not believing in false prophets? How many times does someone have to be wrong before they are considered a false prophet?

My German friend Arnulfo wanted to celebrate the roll-over with the Mayans. Palenque was getting swamped with foreigners arriving with prophetic books in hand, so he went to Tonina instead. He stayed at one of the little cabanas nearby and asked around on the 20th if there would be any celebrations or rituals. He was assured that everything had been postponed until Christmas day, nothing would be happening the next day. Disappointed, he arose very early on the 21st to take sunrise photos of the ruins, but the day was horrible. A massive storm was dousing the ruins..........AND the thousands of local Mayan/Zapatistas who were gathered outside. They wore black masks and caps that cover all but their eyes.

He chatted with some women who told him they would be marching to Ocosingo for a huge demonstration. Knowing he could be arrested and deported for participating in the demonstration, he rode instead on one of several buses that followed later.

Ocosingo was taken over by as many as 6000 people on Dec. 21st. It startled the government, which in the last two decades has built numerous military bases near every one of the cities the Zapatistas took over in 1994. During that year battles raged and people died. The Zapatistas held San Cristobal, Ocosingo, Comitan and others for several weeks before the government could amass enough troops to kick them out. Hence all the new bases.

For Arnulfo, it was a fortuitous thing that he was in the right place at the right time. Many more people are now on the side of the Zapatistas. Their numbers have increased because the pressure the Zapatistas bring to bear on the national government appears to be working. Taking their queue from Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi, they have adopted an entirely peaceful and revealing approach. Every time soldiers appear, some of the villagers grab video cameras to film what the soldiers do. The people quickly don their masks so they cannot be individually identified and later arrested, then they block all access to their villages or demonstrations with their bodies and the bodies of their children. It's been a long time since the government has dared to open fire on anyone, and a few years since they hired local (government) supporters to do their killing for them.  (See the previous post Down With Revenge for that horrible story.)

I am expecting many more road blockades and town closures due to the fact that the new government of Mexico is the PRI party, known for its negative attitudes towards native people. And the government was taken off guard, not because they weren't able to respond quickly but because the  numbers were shocking. Arnulfo said there were estimates of more than 60,000 people demonstrating in all the cities on Dec 21st. The new governor of Chiapas and the President of San Cristobal have both made conciliatory speeches lately. Unfortunately, the Mayans have heard those speeches before.

The native people are moving into an advancing time-frame, a time of increased conflict which will result in increased change as well. The United States went through these upheavals in the 1960s and 70s. Mexico has been heaving for a while, it will continue. And Arnulfo will be there to watch.

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