CHIAPAS: Death and Resurrection-Transforming Violence
April 20, 2000
CHIAPAS: Death and Resurrection--Transforming the Violence Strangling
On Saturday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. members of CPT Mexico and members of
the Abejas community, in anticipation of the resurrection, will transform
the military camp that borders the indigenous community of Xoyep,
municipality of Chenalho. Members of both organizations, joined by other
groups, plan to inscribe the word PAZ (peace) with white stones on the
helicopter pad, located on the South Eastern corner of the base. They will
also leave banners and other symbols calling for peace.
These actions will culminate a 35-day presence of fasting and prayer by
members of these two organizations. This public witness confronts the
structural violence being waged against the indigenous of Chiapas with the
theme of" Lent: Return to God's Path."
Easter is a time of transformation, of rebirth, and of hope. These actions
point to resurrection, to the end of violence in Chiapas, and to the hope
that peace with justice will come. Presently there are more than 10,000
displaced people in Chenalho county because of the low-intensity conflict
being waged in Chiapas.
During the last five weeks, members of both organizations have urged
soldiers to imagine a way of life outside of the army. It is hoped that the
individual soldiers realize how they are part of this system of violence
that has contributed to the conflict in Chiapas, and resulted in so much
suffering, displacement, and loss of life.
There are over 4000 Abejas Indigenous members in Chenalho
county. As Catholics and protestants, they have made a commitment to
justice using non-violent means. Nearly half of the members have been
displaced from their homes by paramilitary violence.
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an organization of pacifists with offices in
the United States and Canada. Members are committed to using non-violent
methods to reduce violence in situations of conflict.