The spirit of Don Quixote in the Zapatista revolution
Krogh, Julie Anne
In 1605, Miguel Saavedra de Cervantes published the literary masterpiece Don Quixote that has impacted the literary, political, and social world. Cervantes created the crazy knight-errant Don Quixote and his humble peasant sidekick Sancho Panza in order to criticize the popular tales of chivalry ofthe time. Additionally, Cervantes effectively commented on the social, economic, and political condition of 1i h century Spain. While many of his observations are negative criticisms, the character Don Quixote encourages the reader as a living example of hope in the ability of an individual to shape his own reality. On January 1, 1994, the Ejercito Zapatista Nacional de Liberaci6n (EZLN) seized San Crist6bal de Las Casas of the Mexican region Chiapas and declared war on the Mexican Army demanding rights such as liberty, land, democracy, health, and education for indigenous people. While the EZLN has roots in indigenous traditions and Marxist ideologies, the hope of Don Quixote that people truly do possess the ability to change their condition permeates the Zapatista movement. The writings of the most prominent EZLN leader, Subcomandante Marcos, help to reveal the influence that Don Quixote has had on the Zapatistas and their mission.