Published June 6th, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/r1asHj
Below is a photo of Chief Raoni – a relentless warrior against the destructive Belo Monte dam project in Brazil. He is weeping. Was Raoni crying in despair? The Conselho Indigenista Missionário contacted Raoni to ask this question. The response from Edson Santini, of the Instituto Raoni was one that tells a different story and inspires us, rather than reminding us that those of us living together on our finite Earth today are all victims of the hostile takeover of the world’s last remaining resources. Raoni’s response was that he was indeed crying, however, at a different occasion, and his tears shed were that of a custom; when they meet a kinsmen that they haven´t met with for a long time, they cry. Raoni also expressed that when he knew about the authorization by Dilma of the construction of Belo Monte he became very angry and, instead of crying he will fight with all of his forces to avoid this tragedy.
Below, in the black and white photo, is George Gillette, second from left, chairman of Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, and other tribal officials at the June 11th, 1948 signing of the Garrison Dam agreement. In creating the Garrison dam Indigenous lands were confiscated. 156,000 acres of land were flooded, including the tribe’s capital. More than 300 families and 1,700 residents which represented 80 percent of the membership at the time were forced to relocate, prompting the loss of an entire culture. Industrialization can only succeed when traditional communities are successfully destroyed.
The Belo Monte campaign, along with the photo from Garrison Dam, again tells us, unequivocally, that the final commodification of Earth’s remaining resources will not be stopped with petitions or letters. Not 600,000 letters. Not six million letters. We need to stop this madness and this will only be accomplished with mass resistance. Raoni, nor the other indigenous have given up this battle. Much to the contrary. Raoni will not cry – but fight ! Raoni and the Indigenous will not be “poor indigenous victims” but proud and conscious warriors. They will fight harder than before. Recognizing our movement has failed on all fronts – we must all now be planning and executing full-fledged resistance. Self-defence is not a crime.
Brazilian president Dilma approved the licence of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte, even after tens of thousands of letters and emails addressed to her and which were ignored as were the more than 600 000 signatures. That is, the death sentence of the peoples of Great Bend of the Xingu river is enacted. The water of a huge curve of the Xingu (Big Bend/ Volta Grande) will be re-routed, and the curve will be left without water. Two Indigenous territories are directly affected (Arara e Juruna da Volta Grande) as they will no longer have a river. The other Indigenous territory that will also see a direct impact is Kayapo Xicrin (Raoni is not Xicrin, he is Kayapo from another region). Xicrins river (Bacaja) will flow into the now “dry” Big Bend, and is therefore expected to have/hold less water. Kayapo Xicrin represents over a 1000 Indigenous peoples with 5 villages. Belo Monte will inundate at least 400,000 hectares of forest, effecting tens of thousands indigenous and local populations and destroying habitat valuable for many species – all to produce electricity at a high social, economic and environmental cost, which could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency. (For more on the struggles of the Indigenous peoples of the Alto Xingu Region, click here.
Today’s Indigenous peoples of Brazil and the world, as well as every man and woman alive today, have every right to rebel against and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that “you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object.” Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, we have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support the Indigenous peoples along with the next generation as they seize and exercise this right, for we have failed them.
“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather