“Brother! My voice has weakened and I can barely be heard. It is no longer the cry of the warrior, it is the groan of a child. I lost my voice crying for the desolation and the wounds of my people. What you see spread out around me are the graves of my ancestors, and in the winds passing through the old pines, we hear the laments of their fallen spirits. Their ashes rest here and we have stayed here to protect them. Brother! Our heart is a wound… My people are dispersed, they have disappeared. When I cry out, I hear my voice lose itself in the deep forest, but no voice calls back – all around me is silence. That is why I say little. I can say nothing more…”
“Soon the sun will rise and will no longer see us here, and the dust and our bones will mix on the plains. As in a vision, I see the flame of the bonfires of the great councils die, and the ashes grow white and cold. I no longer see the spirals of smoke rise from our tents. I don’t hear the songs of the women as they prepare the food. The antelope are gone, the lands of the buffalo are empty. Only the howl of the coyote is heard now. The white man’s medicine is stronger than ours. His iron horse now runs on the paths of the buffalo. The whispering spirit (telephone) speaks to us now. We are like birds with broken wings. My heart is frozen. My eyes extinguish.”
It is impossible to feel the pain of the natives after reading these two passages. The first is from a Choctaw chief, and the second from a Sioux chief. Both were uttered during the time of extermination by the invaders against the Native Americans, and as I said, it is impossible to truly absorb the sorrow that fell on them at that moment, not only as a tribe, or as individuals, but also as an essential part of their environment that had lived in it since the beginning of time. The following Mexica song reinforces this idea:
“We lived all of this. Only a net full of holes was our inheritance. Our houses are in ruins. Worms swarm through the streets and plazas. The water has turned red. Brains are splattered on the walls. With shields she was surrounded. With shields she was protected. But they can never protect our solitude. To aid, to protect our destiny. A price was put on the elder, the warrior, the wise man. Our body was worth only a moss cake. With arms our solitude is sustained. With shields it is guarded. But our essence can no longer be upheld. The man sings, his song is a lament. His face looks to the ground. His mouth is covered by his hands. Only with the swarm of pain. But with shield he was protected. And his solitude can no longer be sustained. There goes Cuautemokzin. He goes before the Malinche. He takes his arms and battle insignia. He lays them on the ground. He expresses his breath to the Malinche. He gives over his nation, we no longer have a future. We have been forgotten. He wasn’t even protected by the shields. Only a net full of holes is our inheritance.”
The Song of Iknocuicatl is one of the last laments written by the Mexica poets after the fall of the Great Tenochtitlan to the Spanish in the 16th century. Cuautemokzin, better known as “Cuahutémoc”, was the last tlatoani of the nation. He was elected by the council of the elders to surrender to the Malinches, better known as Malintzin (the indigenous traitor) and Hernan Cortez.
The story that took place before this song is also curious. For oral tradition states that when Cuautemokzin presented himself to Cortez, the tlatoani challenged the Spaniard to a one-on-one duel to the death (axcan kema, tehuatl, nehuatl!) as a last resort.
This is because the Mexica culture was used to leaders of rival bands dueling to determine to which side belonged the victory. Cortez at that point refused to fight and ordered his soldiers to bind the tlatoani. From that moment forward Cortez becomes an unworthy character in Cuautemokzin’s eyes, and refuses to even look at him. In his imprisonment, the Mexica leader was submitted to terrible tortures next to one of his allies in order to determine the location of more gold. Both of their feet were burned, and Cuautemokzin’s ally complained and looked upon his companion in pain pleading that he tell the Spanish where the gold was. Cuautemokzin made no gesture, he was stoic without crying out, saying to his tortured companion: “Perhaps I am on a bed of flowers?”
Cuautemokzin belonged to a warrior elite that was taught from childhood that no matter what happens in war, they should never complain or show the smallest sign of weakness before everyone else. The warrior rejoices in victories, in the deaths and wounds of the enemy, and he faces his defeats with valor. He knows how to stop and accept his fate of death or imprisonment. The fate or choice that we ourselves have made, those of us who are confronting civilization, is the same.
Up until now we have been made happy by the wounds that we have caused. We have rejoiced in the lives that we have taken. We conspire to be more lethal and dangerous. We smile at each blow struck by brother clans far from our territory. We mock those who seek to jail or kill us. But in the life of the warrior, the moment comes to lament a loss in solitude; the pain comes that afflicts the heart. And sometimes, maybe, it is the pain the generates hate which compels us to wage War. What I am certain of is that we will struggle like our ancestors, just as the Teochichimecas did when they threw themselves against the Spanish from the heights of Nochixtlan Rock, just as the Mexicas did when they put the invaders to flight in the badly named, “Noche Triste.” Just as the savage Sioux struggled when they ambushed the Europeans at Little Big Horn, and perhaps, only after this, the inevitable ending arrives. Let us prepare ourselves…
I cannot end the brief editorial for the last issue of Regresión Magazine*, without citing the words of Black Hawk, chief of the Sauks and Fox:
“The spirit of our fathers spoke to say to us that we should correct our errors or die. We all speak before the bonfire of the council The weather was warm and agreeable. We let our war cries be heard and we unburied the war ax. Our knives were sharpened and the heart of Black Hawk grew in his chest as he led his warriors into battle. He was satisfied for having carried out his duty. He can go happily into the spirit world. His father will find him there and praise him.”
*Yes, the cycle of Regresión Magazine has ended (in a manner of degrees). Seeing the growth of the tendency, being participants in the expansion of ITS, and seeing new projects, editorial as well as illegal, being consolidated, we have decided to cease our activity at this magazine. We will let the winters pass to then return to this another time with a new issue. We have said what needed to be said. Forward with the WAR!