This is a trailer for the Movie I've been working on with Russell Morse & Ryan Furtado. Editing props to CLiff Parker for this one!
Hope we can one day finish this, in any event, here's the trailer.
Marcos on the Border:
The Tohono O'odham tribe has always had it rough. The territory of their reservation is literally cut in half by the imaginary we call the American/Mexican border.
Since the militarization of the border, use of force against immigrants has surged. The injustices the immigrants face are also the problem of the Tohono O'odham tribe (who've been here since two thousand B.C.).
Juxtapozed between three nations They speak three languages (English, Spanish, and O'odham). Their features, unmistakably American.
In the fall of '07, the O'odham hosted delegations from Indigenous Nations from Canada to Colombia.
Also in the midst of the group was the EZLN, and their leader, Subcomandante Marcos.
In this trailer, listen to the Sub's assessment of the problem and what people can do to help.
Marcos and the Border
BY: Russell Morse
It’s a crisp night in the Sonoran desert of northern Mexico and Subcomandante Marcos is onstage, twisting a piece of paper in his hands and calmly addressing a crowd of eager attendees. The 200 or so people gathered to hear him speak are hanging on his words, looking for some encouragement, some inspiration. His eyes--the only part of him that is visible from behind his iconic mask--are animated as he talks. At one point, he lifts his head and tells the crowd, “Our war is against being forgotten”.
He then unrolls the paper in his hand and reveals a map of the territories in northern Sonora and southern Arizona—the border region. The map is dotted with several hundred small red points, which he explains are markers for the bodies of dead migrants who have been discovered in this region. He lifts his head again to speak.
“This is what these governments have done: changed our lands into places of death. This struggle is a struggle between land and death. When we say we are fighting for land, we are fighting for life.”
There is silence. Off in the distance, a train rumbles past. A dog barks. The people gathered here tonight know all too well what he is talking about.
It’s a the final night of a three day meeting between Native American groups of the central border region and the leaders of the New Zapatista movement in Mexico. The meeting was in large part, the last ditch effort of members of the Tohono Oodham tribe of southern Arizona and northern Mexico against encroachment of their sovereignty by drug smugglers, human traffickers and the US Border Patrol.
The spike in drug and human traffic in their territory has brought with it aggression and intimidation by those who profit from these illegal enterprises. Oodham people have been threatened, intimidated and fired upon by drug traffickers.
What is most tragic and traumatic for the oodham people is the death of migrants on their land. Oodham territory is harsh, sparse desert and every year, tribal members find dozens of dead migrants on their sacred land.
In addition, the increased presence of Border Patrol has led to a number of civil rights violations, wherein native people are accused of being undocumented immigrants and subjected to an assortment of abuses.
As a result of these challenges, Oodham elders looked for support to combat the encroachment of their land and the violation of their sovereignty. Most recently, tribal members reached out to the EZLN, or new Zapatista movement in Mexico, headed by Subcomandate Marcos.
The meeting place they chose is an eco-tourism site called Rancho del Penasco outside of the Sonoran city of Magdalena. It is easy to miss off of the highway, but on the days of the meeting, there is a group of cars crowding the gate and some more parked in a ravine across the way. These are the unassuming vehicles of the Mexican Federales, who do not pass the gate, but want the EZLN to know that they’re there, watching.
Just inside the gate, there is a security checkpoint, where tribal members make sure they keep out any one who might not be welcome. One man on security detail walks up to a car, eating a stick of salami with a huge knife and tells the occupants of the vehicle, ““the feds don’t mess around down here. They’ll shoot you. They could rush this place in the middle of the night.”
Inside the compound, the energy is decidedly more pleasant. Women are cooking large pots of rice and beans in an outdoor kitchen and people are gathered to eat, talking and laughing. The site is nestled in a gorgeous desert valley, with hawks circling overhead and a horizon dotted with cacti.
As soon as lunch is over, various tribal and community leaders take the stage and offer welcoming remarks. Later in the afternoon after much anticipation, Marcos gets onstage and offers his opening words. Among them, an amusing and apt phrase “Our mission is simple: Save the world.”
As he walks offstage, he is quickly surrounded by admirers. Some are women crying, reaching their hands to touch his hand. Others are men who want to ask him for some advice. It takes Marcos nearly half an hour to walk 100 feet, as he graciously shakes hands, poses for pictures and signs personal mementos that people have brought.
Over the next two days, people gather in a tin-roofed barn outfitted with microphones to share the issues of their respective communities. Their grievances are many and dire: No health care, no hospitals, harassment by police, unfair imprisonment, mistreatment of land (pollution), no government representation or recognition, land taken away. Overwhelmingly, though, a theme emerges: the border is destroying their communities. The days of testimonials are long and, at times, difficult to sit through. Men and women cry on the microphone, people hang their heads while nodding.
During this time, Marcos himself does not appear. He is in a safe house, guarded by his comrades, meeting individually with representatives of thse communities to hear their stories.
While Marcos is meeting with people, we have a chance to speak with him and ask him what he and the EZLN can offer to the indigenous people of the sonoran region. He is very deliberate in his answer. “Nosotros lo que queremos es que se den a conocer. No queremos que se repita las historia que tuvimos que recorrer nosotroes, que tuvimos que tomar armas apara hacernos ver y para hacernos ecuchar.
Que es necesario construir los puentes y los canales para que nos vean, para que conozcan nuestros dolores, para que conozcan las injusticias que padezemos, y como estamos tratando de levenatarnos como pueblos indios.”
He saves some words specifically for the crisis of the border region as well. “Nosotros--- el EZLN con los lideres de los pueblos---lo que queremos es que los mismos pueblos indios que estan en la linea fronteriza, puedan espressar esto y que la gente de todo el mundo pueda conocer delante de las propias victimas por su voz lo que esta ocuriendo para que esto se detenga.”
Outside in the barn, the daily testimonies are drenched in misery, pain, failures and frustration. But on the final night, all of that is forgotten for a moment and the dancing starts. All the community members gather under an enormous silk parachute for singing, dancing and drumming, working themselves into an almost euphoric frenzy.
At this time, Marcos has come back out to watch the performances and offer some final words. He swats moths from around his head and pauses before he speaks. He shows the map illustrating the deaths of migrants. He tells the people what he’s learned from his individual meetings. And he closes by saying, “We were here, looking for something that unites us and we discovered that what unites us is pain. We will soon discover that what unites us also is life.”