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January 12, 2005

Zapatista Radio

Now if you want some real radio rebellion, check this out from our favorite reporter, Deepa Fernandes:

Radio Insurgente

Mexico's Zapatistas have been broadcasting their popular radio show for the past 21 years; now, a new website is allowing them to archive the history they're recording.

It's dark – the kind of profound darkness that a lack of electricity ensures in a mountainous jungle region.

A dull pulse carries through the night of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas like an old woman's heartbeat. It's 4 a.m., and one can hear what has been a regular soundtrack at this hour for hundreds of years: a steady pounding as creased and callused brown hands massage dough for the day's tortillas.

And for the past year, Chiapas has greeted 4 a.m. with another soundtrack.

Fade in crackle, which quickly disappears, replaced by a clear and youthful female voice: "Muy Buenos Dias."/"A very good morning."

The voice is that of an insurgent fighter with the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), perhaps one of the world's quietest and most powerful rebel armies. The world knows them as the Zapatistas. "Estás escuchando Radio Insurgente, la voz de los sin voz."/"You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the Voice of the Voiceless."

The voice is being relayed to nearby Zapatista autonomous communities from a makeshift and very clandestine radio studio. The Zapatistas have built egg carton-lined studios, erected transmitters and trained themselves to operate a radio station. Hundreds of years of media voicelessness ended in August 2003 with daily, 16-hour broadcasts. "...voz oficial del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional..."

Posted by jsmooth995 at January 12, 2005 5:45 PM

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