The Story of the Noise and the Silence [Full Communiqué]


February 14th, 1997.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Salud y saludos (believe me that, among so many planes, helicopters, and tanks, some are missing). Here is, attached, a letter to remember the deceit of one year ago (in tune with the cacophony) and the betrayal of two years ago. In spite of the one and of the other, we are here…still.
There it does not appear that it is going well for them, here the only partidos [English: games or political parties] that exist are head ones (due to the rocks flying from Beto’s slingshot) and there are only precandidates for getting sick. I take advantage of the opportunity to greet the Ecuadorian people. Hopefully someone taught the Mexican rulers to sing.
Maybe like this…

Vale. Cheers and remember that that flag, which ye celebrate the 24th of this month, is also ours.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, February 1997.

P.S. WHICH ASKS (CONCERNING THE HYSTERICAL SCREAMS OF ME-ME NECESSARY IN THE STATE OF HIDALGO).- The “we will not claim political interests of false redeemers” idea, is it a self-criticism? The talk about the “fragmentation of the Mexican Nation,” does it refer to what is ordered in Dublin and is obeyed in Los Pinos? The talk about how “we cannot nor shall we accept that for the sake of the indigenous cause demagogic positions and illegitimate aspirations for political power be fomented,” does it mean that the PRI will modify its electoral strategy? And, lastly, were the new bandanas which they gave to all those “bussed in” red? (I am saying, it is that that’s how we save up…) (Remember Salinas and the “bussed in” inaugurating the Hospital of Guadalupe Tepeyac?)

P.S. WHICH UPDATES A TALE FROM 174 YEARS AGO.- “Once there was a parakeet who did not know how to say any word except this one ‘victory.’ Well yes, Sir, days coming and days going, in one which our poor parakeet on its post was very careless, it caught the eye of a sparrowhawk and it took the parakeet through those airs of God. Seeing itself as a sad green between claws, it began to complain, but it did not utter any word other than that which it knew from memory. With each bite that the sparrowhawk took, the parakeet shouted ‘victory;’ it broke off another, ‘victory;’ it ripped off a foot, ‘victory;’ it plucked off a wing, ‘victory;’ and in this way it was torn up always singing ‘victory.’ The story goes until here.” (The Victory of the Parakeet. El Pensador Mexicano. José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi. October 11th, 1823).

Now, substitute “victory” for “democracy,” “independence,” or “justice.” In the role of the parakeet put the government official of your choice.
The end.

P.S. FOR THE LOCAL ACCOMPLICES.- Speaking of anniversaries and lies, Mr. Ruiz Ferro completes two years of usurping the Chiapanecan government. In exchange for them not putting him in Almoloya, said Ferro issues editorials and press releases while he lets the military govern. In Ecuador they expel the pretenders and hypocrites, in Chiapas they make them interim governors…

P.S. WHERE WHAT IS SAID IS SAID.- It rained a lot. The sea slept off the fatigue that love gifts and, in the little tape recorder, Mercedes Sosa unraveled the one that goes “Thanks to life which has given me so much…” It was before dawn and the plane had already purred death over the dark mountains of the Mexican southeast. I remembered Neftalí Reyes, the self-titled “Pablo Neruda,” in the one that goes “…may the hour arrive at its time in the pure instant,/ and may the people fill the empty streets/ with their fresh and firm dimensions./ Here is my tenderness for then./ Ye knowest it. I have no other flag.” The war clock read “February 14th, 1997.” 10 years before, in 1987, it rained the same. There was no sea, nor tape recorder, nor plane, but the pre-dawn prowled the post of our guerilla encampment. Viejo Antonio stayed to chat. With the afternoon and with a sack of tortilla chips he arrived. In the encampment kitchen there was no one left, aside from us two. The pipe and the handmade cigarette competed with the smoke that came from the embers in the stove. But it was not possible to converse without shouting. It appeared that there was silence, but the rain broke all corners of the night and there was not even the smallest intact piece. There was a rain noise over the roof of trees with which the mountain bundled itself up, and there was another rain noise on the ground. Double was the rain noise from below, there was the one which the trees filtered from above and the one which hurt the ground per se. In the middle there was another noise, that of the plastic roofs talking the February rain in the jungle. Noise above, below, in the middle. Not the smallest corner for the word. Maybe that is why it surprised me to hear clearly Viejo Antonio’s voice which, without letting go from his lips the umpteenth cigarette made with a roller, told me…


“There was a time in the times in which time was not kept track of. In that time the greatest gods, those who birthed the world, were walking as the first gods walk per se, that is dancing. In that time there was a great deal of noise, everywhere voices and screams were heard. A great deal of noise and nothing was understood. And it is that the noise which existed was not for understanding anything, but rather was noise for not understanding anything. The first gods first believed that the noise was music and dance, and quickly took their partners and began to dance like this,” and Viejo Antonio gets up and tries a dance step that consists of balancing himself on one foot first and then on the other. “But it turns out that the noise was not music nor was it dance, but was noise, and it was not possible to dance and be happy. And so the greatest gods stopped to listen with attention to know what that noise which was heard meant, but nothing could be understood at all, because, well, the noise was noise. And since the noise could not be danced to, well then the first gods, those who birthed the world, could no longer walk because the first gods walked dancing, and so they stopped and without walking were very sad because very walkers were these gods, the greatest, the first ones.

And some of the gods tried to walk, that is dance with that noise, but it was not possible and they lost the step and the path and ran into one another and fell and tripped over trees and rocks and these gods hurt themselves very much,” Viejo Antonio stops to relight the cigarette which the rain and the noise had put out. After the fire comes the smoke, after the smoke comes the word:

“Then the gods searched for a silence to orient themselves again, but they did not find silence anywhere, to know where the silence had gone and with good reason because much was the noise that there was. And the greatest gods became desperate because they did not find the silence to find the path, and so they came to agreement in an assembly of gods and fought a great deal for the assembly that they made because much was the racket that there was, and finally they agreed that each one would search for a silence to find the path and they became contented from the agreement that they made but it was not very noticeable because there was a great deal of noise. And then each god began to search for a silence to find and they began to search to the side and nothing, and above and nothing, and below and nothing, and since there no longer was anywhere to search for a silence well they began to search inside of themselves and they began to look inside, and there they searched for a silence and there they found it, and there they found themselves and there they found again their path the greatest gods, those who birthed the world, the first ones.”

Viejo Antonio became silent, the rain as well. The silence lasted briefly, the crickets quickly arrived to finish breaking the last bits of that February night ten years ago.

The mountain was already awakening when Viejo Antonio said goodbye with a “I already came.” I remained smoking some little pieces of silence which the pre-dawn forgot in the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Vale de nogada. Cheers and may the noise help to find the silence, may the silence help to find the path, and may the path help to find us…

El Sup sneezing from the “demagogical positions and illegitimate aspirations for political power” which take place on a wet ceiba tree.

English translation copyright © 2014 by Henry Gales. All rights reserved.

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