Subcomandante Marcos (tr Dinah Livingstone), 'Zapatista Stories'

IssueMarch - June 2002
Review by Sarah Irving

This manages to be both an utterly charming book, and to convey a serious message. Skip the introduction its fine, but you can get the explanations of Zapatismo from a hundred other places. Maybe go back to it when you've read the stories. Which are marvellous.

Marcos is well-known for his writing, especially the eloquent communiqués which emerge periodically from the Lacandon jungle. These stories are a different breed whimsical, funny, literary. Don Durito de la Lacandon, a beetle knight errant who represents the self mockery of the soldier-intellectual Marcos, pontificates in a nevertheless educational fashion on the evils of militarism and neo-liberalism.

Old Antonio, Marcoss indigenous mentor, weaves tales of local life with the myths of the very human, fallible and amusing Mayan gods. And finally, a third section, the young Zapatista children, tells of the devastation wreaked by poverty and oppression on the lives of indigenous Mexicans, but uses literary devices like radio football commentary to give the tales a highly readable lightness of touch.

So, definitely a great volume for anyone seeking an accessible introduction to Zapatista history and ideas including kids. Or equally for those already knowledgeable on Zapatismo and looking for a fresh look at the subject.

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