Emiliano Zapata’s Eyes
One hundred and two years after his death, Emiliano Zapata’s eyes stare out at me from a mural on a wall in Oaxaca de Juarez. Paint flakes away from paint, plaster separates from adobe, but Zapata’s eyes do not waver.
Zapata himself did not waver in his lifelong struggle to bring land and liberty to Mexico’s peasants. For his forty years of devotion to justice, Zapata was jailed, conscripted, betrayed and, finally, one hundred and two years ago, assassinated.
What have I done?
I’ve lived five years longer than Zapata. I’ve signed petitions, I’ve worn t-shirts, I’ve made a few token donations. I’ve walked down a cobblestone street in Oaxaca de Juarez and snapped a picture.
Many times since that day I’ve looked at the small screen of my iPhone, at the picture I took of the mural of Emiliano Zapata on a wall in Oaxaca de Juarez. Paint flakes away from paint, plaster separates from adobe, and time after time I have been unable to meet Emiliano Zapata’s eyes.
Jim Latham lives and writes in Oaxaca. His stories have appeared in The Drabble, 50-Word Stories, Rue Scribe, Spillwords, and elsewhere. His flash fiction collection, Noon in Florida, is available on Amazon. Twitter: @jimlatham15
7/23/2022 11:46:12 am
I've come back a couple of times to read this, it really hits hard and true. We sign petitions, wear a t-shirt, and even vote, either thinking we are doing our part, or feeling like salmon trying to swim upstream. In either case, I wouldn't be able to look into those eyes either.
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