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Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (4)

Machine gun


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Darij and Ana)

Chiapas.

“You like me a bit, don’t you?” Modesta asks with a little smile. Celso laughs loudly. “I am very sure I don't like you a bit.” “Well, then you should teach me to shoot with that machine gun.” “It's not that simple,” Celso answers, startled, “you have to know exactly what to do when it jams, and you have to learn to aim carefully, in order to actually hit these cabróns (bastards). But, okay, we will practice, we will start this afternoon.” “You are a darling,” Modesta says, flushing, and then, with tears in her eyes, “I want to destroy them all, who have killed my dear brother so cruelly.”

Modesta and Celso belong to a group of rebels, which formed spontaneously after an uprising in a monteria, a jungle camp for cutting mahogany trees. The Indian debt slaves who worked there were treated so brutishly for many years that at one point it was enough. They slaughtered all bosses and guards with their machetes. After that, they went to the inhabited areas to raid all the fincas (big farms) and distribute the land among the poor Indian farm labourers. Everywhere you could hear “Tierra y libertad”, land and freedom.
A reaction from the government was bound to come. The rurales (the ruthless rural police) were sent against the rebels. These defended themselves fiercely and many were killed on both sides. Candido, the brother of Modesta, was captured and brutally killed.


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Darij and Ana)

Chiapas.

The rebels succeeded in obtaining a machine gun during the fight. Celso explains, “Look, Modesta, don't shoot around at random, that's wasting ammunition. First you aim, and then you shoot.” At the end of the afternoon Modesta shoots a mango out of a tree fifty steps away with only one shot. She is a well-motivated student.

_______________________

Source
The novel The General from the Jungle (part 6 of the Jungle Novels, or the Caoba cycle, 1939) of the German writer Ben Traven tells the thrilling story of the revolt of Indian peasants in Mexico.



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