Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 29th, 2014


Mexico’s Zapatista rebel leader resigns

Subcomandante Marcos flashes the "v" sign as he takes part in a march in Mexico City, May 1, 2006.
Subcomandante Marcos said he no longer spoke on behalf of the Zapatista rebels

The head of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, known as Subcomandante Marcos, has announced that he is leaving the group’s leadership.

In a statement, he said he no longer spoke on behalf of the movement.

He added he was stepping down because of “internal changes” within the 20-year-old, far-left guerrilla group, and denied rumours that he was unwell.

The group has been fighting for greater recognition of the rights of indigenous people in the state of Chiapas.

“I declare that the one known as Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos no longer exists,” Rafael Guillen Vicente, better known by his nom-de-guerre Subcomandante Marcos, said on a Zapatista website.

“The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) will no longer come from my voice,” he added.

Subcomandante Marcos wears his trademark ski mask and holds an assault rifle in Chiapas, August 20, 1997.
Subcomandante Marcos led an armed uprising in 1994

For some time there have been rumours that he was in ill health, but he rejected those out of hand, saying that such reports had been spread by the rebel army for their own benefit.


His announcement comes just a day after he was seen in public for the first time in many months, when the enigmatic masked rebel attended a memorial for another key Zapatista leader in Chiapas, one of the poorest regions of Mexico.

The BBC’s Will Grant in Mexico City says there appeared to be little outward sign that the rebel leader was about to retire from public life.

Subcomandante Marcos has reinvented himself in the past, launching himself as an alternative presidential candidate one year.

But it seems likely his time at the forefront of an organisation which once rocked the Mexican political establishment to its core has come to an end, our correspondent adds.

Subcomandante Marcos led an armed uprising in Chiapas on New Year’s Day 1994.

The rebellion sparked several days of sustained fighting with the federal government, leaving dozens of people dead.

A peace pact was later signed but the Zapatistas’ demands were never met and they created their own autonomous justice, health and education systems in several communities.

World  also posted this May 26, 2014

Subcomandante Marcos, an iconic revolutionary figure in Latin America and a symbol for anti-globalization movements, said he was stepping aside for younger leaders to take his place.

Circa News
CC BY-ND WikiCommons

“The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army [EZLN] will no longer come from my voice… Marcos no longer exists.” Subcommandante Marcos

Marcos posted a lengthy message May 25. He denied rumors that he was ill, as well as the government’s assertion that he is a former philosophy professor named Rafael Sebastian Guillen. He appeared in public days earlier for the first time in months, or possibly since 2009.

Chiapas, Mexico

January 1, 1994

The EZLN, known as the Zapatistas, launched on Jan. 1, 1994, the same day as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the group opposes.

It set off 12 days of clashes with the Mexican army that claimed at least 140 lives.

The government eventually signed a peace treaty with the group.

The Zapatistas have championed rights for indigenous populations, the poor, women, and farmers.

The Mexican government created laws to give more rights to indigenous people in 2001, but the group rejected it and set up autonomous justice, health, and education systems and sustainable farming in impoverished rural areas.

The impact of the departure of the mysterious Marcos on the Zapatistas is uncertain but likely minimal.

He has shunned the spotlight for years, and recently others have spoken on behalf of the group. The Zapatistas have also established links with like-minded groups around the world.

Iraqi novelist Ahmed Saadawi wins Arabic Booker 2014

Sayed Mahmoud in Abu Dhabi, posted this Apr. 29, 2014
Iraqi writer and novelist Ahmed Saadawi has won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) for his novel Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi

Iraqi winner receiving his prize from the head of the judging panel

The $50,000 prize was announced on Tuesday during the opening of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in the United Arab Emirates.

The shortlist, announced on 10 February, included Egypt’s Ahmed Mourad, Syria’s Khaled Khalifa, Iraqi authors Inaam Kashachi and Ahmed Saadawi and Moroccan authors Youssef Fadel and Abdel-Rahim Lahbibi.

All shortlisted finalists receive $10,000.

This year’s judges panel was headed by Saudi critic Saad A. Al-Bazei and included Ahmed Al-Faitouri, Libyan journalist, novelist and playwright; Zhor Gourram, Moroccan academic, critic and novelist; Abdullah Ibrahim, Iraqi academic and critic and Mehmet Hakki Suçin, a Turkish academic specializing in Arabic language instruction and the translation of Arabic literature into Turkish.

The IPAF is an annual literary prize supported by the Booker Prize Foundation in London and funded by TCA Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

The prize was launched in Abu Dhabi in April 2007 with the aim of atracting more international attention for high quality Arab fiction. 

Both the winners and finalists can look forward to increased book sales both within the Arab world and internationally through translation.

Although the prize is often referred to as the Arabic Booker, the two prizes are not connected.

The winner:

Ahmed Saadawi is an Iraqi novelist, poet and screenwriter.

He was born in 1973 in Baghdad, where he works as a documentary filmmaker. He is the author of a volume of poetry, Anniversary of Bad Songs (2000), and three novels, The Beautiful Country (2004), Indeed He Dreams or Plays or Dies (2008) and Frankenstein in Baghdad (2013).

He has won several prizes and in 2010 was selected for Beirut39 as one of the 39 best Arab authors below the age of 40.

Short Synopsis: Frankenstein in Baghdad

Hadi Al-Attag lives in the populous Al-Bataween district of Baghdad.

In the spring of 2005, he takes the body parts of those killed in explosions and sews them together to create a new body. When a displaced soul enters the body, a new being comes to life. Hadi call it “the-what’s-its-name“, while the authorities name it “Criminal X” and others refer to it as “Frankenstein”.

Frankenstein begins a campaign of revenge against those who killed the previous owners of its body parts. As well as following Frankenstein’s story, the novel follows a number of connected characters, such as General Surur Majid of the Department of Investigation, who is responsible for pursuing the mysterious criminal, and Mahmoud Al-Sawadi, a young journalist who gets the chance to interview Frankenstein. 

Frankenstein in Baghdad offers a panoramic view of a city where people live in fear of the unknown, are unable to act in solidarity and are haunted by the unknown identity of the criminal who targets them all.





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