No Time Like the Present

24 11 2022

… for a present. We have another Zapatista story to share with you, a whimsical reminder that history is not static. We all have a part, from time to time, in shaping it. For more than 20 years, Kopkind has nourished doers and dreamers—radical journalists, organizers, filmmakers, thinkers and creators allworking toward a more humane world. Please help us if you can. The Donate button is just above. And from our Sometimes family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

images: Beatriz Aurora

Forever and Never against Sometimes

September 12, 1998

Once upon a time, there were two times. One was called One Time and the other was called Another TimeOne Time and Another Time together made the Sometimes family, who lived and ate from time to time. The great dominant empires were Forever and Never, which, as you would imagine, loathed the Sometimes family. Forever and Never couldn’t stand the very existence of the Sometimes family. Forever could not allow One Time to live in its kingdom, because it would stop being Forever, since the existence of one time means there is no forever. Similarly, Never could not allow Another Time to appear another time in its kingdom, because Never cannot live with one time, much less so if that time is another time. But One Time and Another Time continued to bother Forever and Never time and time again. So it was until Forever left them in peace forever, and Never did not bother them ever again. After that, One Time and Another Time passed their time playing, all the time.

“What is it this time?” One Time would ask, and Another Time would reply, “Can’t you see?” And so, as you can see, they lived happily—from time to time and forever remained One Time and Another Time and never stopped being Sometimes

Tan tan.

Moral 1: Sometimes, it is very hard to distinguish between one time and another time.

Moral 2: You must never say forever (well, sometimes it’s okay).

Moral 3: The Forevers and Nevers are imposed from above, but below there appear, time and time again, “the troublemakers,” which sometimes is another name for “those who are different” or, at times, “rebels.” 

Moral No. 4: Never ever again will I write a story like this one, and I always do what I say (well, okay, sometimes I don’t).

Vale y salud, and sometimes Forever and Never come from below (below the belly, for instance).

This is excerpted from Zapatista Stories for Dreaming An-Other World (PM Press), a new translation of timeless tales written between 1992 and 2000 by Subcomandante Marcos, collected by solidaristas around the world, and brought to us now in English with commentaries by the Lightning Collective, among whose members is our dear friend, adviser and supporter Margaret Cerullo. A slim volume with sumptuous resonance, it makes a great present, too! (For a time, PM is offering a 50 percent discount on all titles involving indigenous resistance and stories, with the coupon code GIFT.) Below, a bit from the translators’ introduction:

In the spring of 2021, the Zapatistas launched … a five-continent expedition of learning and solidarity. Beginning with a sea voyage to Europe (reversing the voyage of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan in 1521), they visit[ed] collectives all over the European continent, returning the extraordinary solidarity that Europeans have shown them over the years, and revealing to many of us an-“other” Europe, below and to the left … The first small group arrived in Vigo, Basque Country, Spain, where Marijose, a trans woman, turning history upside down, proclaimed with characteristic Zapatista humor and seriousness:

‘In the name of the Zapatista women, children, men, elderly, and, of course, others, I declare that from now on this place, currently referred to as “Europe” by those who live here, be called: SLUMIL K ́AJXEMK ́OP, which means “Rebellious Land” or “Land which does not give in or give up.” And that is how it will be known by its own people and by others for as long as there is at least someone here who does not surrender, sell out, or give up.’

A final note about images: the detail above and the illustration at the top are part of what the artist, Beatriz Aurora, calls “painted stories.” Originally from Chile, Aurora went into exile in Spain in the 1970s, following the US-backed coup against Salvador Allende. After spending time in Nicaragua and El Salvador, she settled in Mexico. “Anyone who loves nature has to be a revolutionary,” she has said.



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