Photo of the Moment: Neil Young on 2009 Tour
During Neil Young's 2009 Chrome Dreams Tour, he sometimes wore a t-shirt that was often misidentified as a "Frank Zappa shirt".
In fact, the t-shirt was of Emilio Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary from the turn of the 19th-20th century.
Zapata -- a revolutionary, guerrilla, and champion of agrarianism -- is one of the most revered national heroes of Mexico. Along with Pancho Villa (a modern-day Robin Hood), Zapata was a freedom fighter for the oppressed peasants (the 99%).
Emiliano Zapata Salazar (August 8, 1879 – April 10, 1919) was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution. Followers of Zapata were known as Zapatistas.
Zapata was a practical revolutionary who sought the implementation of liberties and agrarian rights. He was a realist with the goal of achieving political and economic emancipation of the peasants in southern Mexico, and leading them out of severe poverty.
Zapata's trademark saying was, "Es mejor morir de pie, que continuar viviendo de rodillias." or "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
Zapata and his people lived by their own laws, and governed themselves without bureaucratic intervention, making it one of the most workable societies ever seen in Latin America. Agricultural output was increased, and land was treated as either communal or individual property according to the wishes of each village. Finally, after a decade of violence which cost the lives of roughly one in eight Mexicans, the struggle of the Morelos campesinos had led them to the modest and profound vision of democratic self-governance, as well as a civilized and efficient local economy.
"Si Zapata viviera con nosotros anduviera"
"If Zapata lived, he would walk with us."
The movement started by Zapata was a locally based revolt. Its purpose was to restore village rights to lands, forests, and waters. It favored a decentralized, self-ruling, communitarian democracy, inspired by shared traditions, a continuation of the oldest peasant values. Zapata’s army was unique in that he allowed women to join the ranks and serve as combatants.
"Zapata will continue to live as long as people believe that they have a right to their land and a right to govern themselves according to their deeply held beliefs and cultural values.
We must speak truth from our mouths; we must put our heart in our hands. Brothers and sisters, we want you to know who is behind us, who directs us, who walks in our feet, who dominates our heart, who rides in our words, who lives in our dead. "
Zapata vive, la lucha sigue, "Zapata lives; the struggle continues."
(Adapted from Emiliano Zapata - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Emiliano Zapata - indigenouspeople.net.)
So, how's that freedom thing working out for you in a new year?
A 99%'er @ Occupy Wall St.
There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.