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DAmato Humanities 9 February 2014 Example Essay Qualities of the Zapatistas For centuries, the indigenous people of Mexico have been discriminated against. For example, in poverty-stricken Chiapas, there is only one doctor for each one thousand people, while rich Mexicans have some of the best health care in the world. Racism against the indigenous also affects even daily details of life, such as how in the 1990s indigenous people were not allowed to even walk on the sidewalk in the city of San Cristobal. Because of these and other injustices, the indigenous people of Chiapas gathered together to fight for better lives.

In 1994, an armed group rose up against the Mexican government. This force is called the Ejercitio Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN), which in English means the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, or the Zapatistas. These Zapatistas used force but a minimum of violence to take over six towns. In the twenty years since their first uprising, the Zapatistas have used negotiation, shaping their image, internet and international support, and providing their own government to improve their lives. However, one of the most important reasons that the Zapatistas have succeeded is because of the personal qualities they hold. A close investigation of three of the Zapatista leaders, Comandante Ramona, Major Ana Maria and Subcomandante Marcos, shows that their courage, cooperation, persuasive speaking, and true listening skills are at the core of the Zapatistas success.

Courage is an essential part of why Comandante Ramona, Major Ana and Subcomandante Marcos were able to gain power for their people. In the 1994 uprising, Ramona led a thousand soldiers in the takeover of the city of San Cristobal; Major Ana and Subcomandate Marcos were also part of the attack. This is a frightening situation for anyone, as the Mexican army has murdered people for much smaller protests than this, such as the 1968 massacre of student protests in Mexico City. Additionally, women face a great deal of discrimination in Chiapas; men are

taught that they are superior to women and in many cases legally have more rights. Thus, it would take an extra amount of courage for Ramona to lead a thousand soldiers, most of them men, because she would know that it was going against their upbringing to be following orders from a woman. Without the courage of these individuals, it would not have been possible for this initial attack to work, which was essential to the rise of power of the group. (2nd Body Paragraph on Cooperation)

(3rd Body Paragraph on Persuasive Speaking)

(Optional 4th Body Paragraph on Real Listening)

In conclusion, the Zapatista movement was possible because of the personal qualities of its people. Courage, cooperation, persuasive speaking, and real listening were the secret ingredients that made their work a success. These findings are helpful to everyone who would like to gain power in any environment, such as within a school. If students wanted to gain power to make a change in how their school was run, they would also need these qualities. For example, consider if students want to convince their school to end the school day 30 minutes earlier. Persuasive speaking would be an essential starting point, as they would need to convince students and staff of the importance of their situation. Knowing how to really listen and how to cooperative would also be essential, as a large movement of people needs to consider the ideas of many people, not just the leaders, in order to keep people interested in being involved. Finally, courage would be needed to negotiate with adults who hold a great deal of power, such as the principal. Taking cues from the Zapatista movement can help current US youth know how to gain power in their lives.