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Subcomandante Marcos

by Luka Lesson

The sun barely rose on New Years’ day 1994 in San Cristobal. 

But when it did - it looked just like the head of a shovel peeking over the ridge.

And the night before, the crescent moon looked exactly like the head of a pick that a farmer had just placed upon the stars.

That night, a battalion of peasants called the Zapatistas, in bandanas and pistolas were marching in through Las Chiapas with a declaration of war.

People were drunk and still slow-dancing with the year before when they arrived, and by the time they took over, the streets were littered with just missed kisses and spilt memories.

Subcomandante Marcos was with them, always dressed in fatigues, face in a balaclava, eyes that could cut concrete and a pipe dripping from his lips.

He called himself subcomandante – the sub- commander - for a reason, because his leaders were the people. And together they were powerful, and from that night onwards the government would try anything to stop them.

Things got bloody, quickly – but along with murder and violence - the media was the greatest weapon that the government had. And in a Catholic and homophobic Mexico they decided to start a rumour that no self-respecting revolutionary could ever recover from – they started to spread the headline that:

"Subcomandante Marcos Is Gay"

They called him a faggot, a sexual pervert, a pendejo – and he responded, without hesitation and as every rebel should - with a poem:

Yes, Marcos is gay.
 

Marcos is gay in San Francisco, Black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, anarquista en España, Palestino en Israel, a Jew in Nazi Germany, Indigenous in the streets of San Cristobal, a whistle blower stuck in the Department of Defense, a feminist in any political party, a communist in the cold war, a pacifist in Bosnia, Mapuche en los Andes, an artist without a gallery or portfolio, a housewife at home on a Saturday night, a sexist in the feminist movement, a woman riding the subway by herself at 10pm, un campesino sin tierra - a peasant without land, an unemployed worker, a doctor without plasma, a dissident in neoliberalism, a writer without books or readers, and yes, a Zapatista in southeast Mexico. 

This is... Marcos.

And in this neoliberal state we call the lucky country there is something that we can all learn from Marcos.

As domestic violence victims with no local services, as Aboriginal sports starts throwing imaginary spear, as a Chinese worker in Ballarat during the Gold Rush, a farmer without crops, the Indigenous people he stole the farmland from, a London street kid forced onto a boat in 1788, a Muslim family trying to build a Mosque on the Gold Coast, a feminist in any political party, a lonely spoken word poet at a pompous writers’ festival, an asylum seeker being used as a chess piece for successive governments again, and again, and a gay couple who have been in love and engaged for
a decade but are just waiting for one simple law to change.

And yes, if Marcos is gay, then so am I.

And so should we all be... 

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