Wednesday, 24 December 2008

That time has arrived once again, only this time, for me, its back in Mexico and with an extra little, beautiful addition to the festivities.

Christmas away from home (is it still home when you don’t live there anymore?) is always a mixed bag of emotions. I honestly thought that when I began my own family it would be a bit easier, but to be honest it feels harder. I’m suddenly struck by childhood memories of crap movies, selection boxes, filled stockings and staying in my pyjamas till the middle of the day AND a wanting for my daughter to experience the same things. Even though at 7 months she’s more concerned with the teeth currently trying to break through her gums than anything to do with wintery, pagan celebrations, but on her behalf, its making me experience a form of melancholy, if not a bit of sadness.

Ho hum I suppose we all have our niggles to bear at this time of year. I admittedly spent many a year when I was at home moaning about the effort that needed to be made around the festive season, and wishing that one year I could just escape to a desert island and ignore it all. Perhaps now I’ve arrived on a theoretical desert island it doesn’t seem like such a good idea. What makes the pull of home so strong at this time of year? Pure social conditioning or human dependence on hazy memories? Ask me in January I suppose.

January the first marks the 15th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising here in Chiapas. An introduction of the EZLN to world, with their media savvy, charismatic spokesman, Mexico’s answer to Che Guevara, an outsider who looks good on a t-shirt and armed ranks of indigenous women, young people and men, fighting for a better, fairer future. News of their short lived yet very bloody take over of important strategic towns in Chiapas reached few ears outside of Latin America and global activist movements. But it defined a whole era in Chiapas, a new hope for indigenous people in Central America and amazing business opportunities for postcard and balaclava makers in the years following. But what effects are left 15yrs later; other than a booming tourist industry for young backpackers hoping for a taste of revolution without having to get dirty and a silent majority still hidden from the world stage and suffering severe poverty and discrimination. Bono and Sting are not to be found here, not a Chris Martin in sight.

Many young lives lost, unaccounted for and most definitely forgotten by many, other than their families. Is a revolution so small worth the loss? I would say a definite YES! Only the people doing the hard work can really measure success.

A rev-o-lu-tion, a new turning of the wheel, has to be better than standing still and doing nothing, whatever the consequences.

I try to start a household revolution everyday, although having no clear aim makes my wheels go backwards rather than forwards, or perhaps ending in a full circle (I promise no more motion related metaphors). Like the Zapatistas, I doubt the world will be any wiser of my intentions after 15yrs and I probably won’t sell as many t-shirts, (obviously a beard and smoking instrument is needed for icon popularity). But as I tap away at my own mini revolution I’ll always try and remember that other people are dying in the name of theirs and successful or not, that bit is important.

At this time of year it’s definitely better to have a family to miss, than to miss having a family.

Love, joy, happiness and most of all hugs to all….