Kurds will be meeting the Zapatistas who left Mexico a week ago and are sailing towards Europe, to bring their message of solidarity.
Five hundred years after Hernan Cortés and his men conquered Mexico, indigenous Zapatistas are making the return journey across the Atlantic to “invade” Spain and protest against capitalist oppression.
Two men and five women set out a week ago from Isla Mujeres, in Mexico. As Subcomandante Galeano – former Zapatista spokesman once known as Subcomandante Marcos – said, the Zapatistas are travelling saying that “the invasion has started”, but in fact their mission is one of solidarity and rebellion rather than conquest.
“We’re following the route that they came from 500 years ago,” Subcomandante Moisés, another Zapatista leader, told Mexican media at the departure ceremony. “In this case, we’re following the route to sow life, not like 500 years ago. It’s completely the opposite.”
The group said that their rusty vessel, named La Montaña, would carry them to Europe on “an odyssey that has everything to do with defiance and nothing to do with a rebuke”.
The Zapatistas hope to arrive in the north-western Spanish city of Vigo around 13 August, which marks the 500th anniversary of the Spanish sacking of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, today’s Mexico City. This year Mexico is also celebrating the 200th anniversary of its independence from Spain.
The Zapatistas said that if they are “unable to enter the country, we will unfurl a banner reading ‘Wake up!’ But if we are able to disembark and embrace with words those who fight, resist and rebel there, then there will be parties, dancing, songs and cumbias … shaking the floors and distant skies.”
The Zapatistas will then carry out a tour across Europe to meet solidarity and other groups in order to share their thoughts on how best to tackle “the inequality that comes from the capitalist socio-economic system”.
The Kurds will meet the Zapatistas in Europe
The Kurds are one of the resisting people that the Zapatistas will embrace, meet and talk with in Europe. Although the Kurds are not European, they had to migrate to Europe due to the wars in various parts of Kurdistan for many years.
Today, the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the Kurdish Women's Movement's popular base in Europe, from the refugee camps on Lesbos island to the free media organization in Brussels, which has reached millions today, are showing a serious presence, political action and organization in almost every country where the Zapatistas will go.
The calendars, lands, styles, routes and destinies of the Zapatistas and Kurds may be different, but they have a lot in common in their history, form and purpose of struggle. The fact that two movements with such distant and different social realities have an anti-capitalist perspective of autonomy with very similar theoretical and practical implementations, and that they defend and realize this from a place that rejects power and the state is subject of many researches.
The chronicle and statements of the voyage can be read here