The quantity and quality of the water in the river Xingu has decreased. Without water the trees died, and no longer produced the fruits that fed the fish. Without food the fish are gone. The hunt has moved away. History repeating itself like a copy of a copy, as one kind of progress crushes a unique culture in the entire planet, causing the destruction of nature, and the extinction of human diversity.
As each community breaks down, a way of life is lost. Traditions, rituals, languages, knowledge of the forest, all disappears. And their misery increases as loggers and land grabbers invade their lands, gold miners pollute the river, and civilization introduces new diseases. According to the North American researcher and Nobel Prize winner Philip Fearnside, the Belo Monte Dam delivers only 40% of the promised energy.
Brazil has other energy options, but hydroelectric plants have a strong lobby because its production involves more money than what would be used to invest in the dominant elements available: water, sun, and forest.
The Xipaya are a group of indigenous people who, since the 17th century, have defended their territories from invaders. Juma Xipaya, the first indigenous chief woman in the Mid-Xingu, is sure that all this was planned, and it was executed in order to create dependent indigenous people, that felt coerced all the time, and ended up as city beggars.
She became an element of struggle and resistance, and for that she left her village and went to Medical University. “Miguel, it has to be quick because I have to present a paper in today’s class.” By the time I left the interview my thoughts were caught up in a whirl. In 2017, Brazil was the country that killed the most environmental activists in the world. In 2019, it ranked fourth. I sat for a few minutes looking at the Xingu River that flows through Altamira.
In January 2020 there was a 74% increase in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, compared to the same month in 2019. At the end of the day, what are we all losing by letting indigenous people acquiring an Occidental way of life?
As the Anthropocene progresses, it is becoming obvious that the greatest of all extinctions is that of the human race itself. We are turning progressively more redundant. And one day when we are all the same, we will have nothing better to do than to break all the mirrors in the world and celebrate our monotony. But until that day comes, we ought to stand up and help Juma defend the largest tropical forest in the world. I mean, how long will we allow the killing of those who protect such beauty?Print