Seeking refuge in Europe, to breathe and to reflect, the long, light evenings and the friendliness of the forest (that is the absence of the eternal threat of creatures out to get you) have besieged our imaginations.
The loved ones, the long-time friendships and the new friends are the medium of reflection – telling stories, observing reactions and thinking about it all at a distance ….we get high on our own anecdotal supply with a little help from our friends.
Meanwhile life goes on in Ecuador and one need only to visit Ecuador Rising to witness the latest Presidential stunts, Rafael Correa is on the case to turn Ecuador into a modern, oil-refining country – and more power to the army, yet again, more power to the army. Power to the people he says, gives it to the army and to the elites that will manage the new era of the Ecuadorian oil industry. In the current political climate the tactical, perhaps even strategical, questions concerning faithfulness to “any socialistic enterprise” become ever more prominent or immanent. As the winds of change are forcefully blown by corporate media, faithful to their own happy bunny Capitalism, survival of the fittest with the best lawyers, we might creep to the cross, thinking that these are the times where we must all stick together in the struggle. I agree; but stick together with whom and with what struggle?
In the social-democratic political practice, such as in some workers’ unions, lies a compromise and thereby a legitimisation and cementation of the dominant paradigm. Some of the laws obtained in this manner, of course, can be used to defend the poor and weak (see E.P. Thompson’s postscript to “Whigs & Hunters” for a sensible version of the rule of law) and the different ones (the idiots and the ragamuffins) in some cases. But there are for good reasons a need to stick with the outsiders – the struggle that we’re fighting is the struggle with and for those who are outside of the law – the customs and the social forms that are not offensive, yet illegal. From where tomorrow’s culture and sub-sequently laws come from. Permaculture is faced with planning laws, potheads with class b arguments; hackers are up against private property power in the forms of copyright, trademarks, and patents, supported by as much financial and marketing muscle as can be mustered.
So we must keep mobilising, relentlessly. This is not the time to say “Oh, we were too hard on Correa, let’s back up the guy and his, more or less, noble attempts“, it is rather the time to say “hate to say i told you so“, not in a righteous tone, no moralising and no imposition, just the eternal sigh and cry for freedom: keeping the dream alive is all that matters!
Anyway, what is what they call real politics?
The choice in South America, perhaps, probably even, being nothing other than a mirror image of the way of the world at large, seems to be between oil, oil and destruction of the rain forest(s) and thereby the potential livelihoods of the indigenous peoples of those forests, or, bio-fuel, bio-fuel and an even more rapid destruction of the Amazon and the rest of the Latin American virgin forests. Soon the all of the forests of the world will be fucked – no more arboreal virginity. Is that my socialist project? No thank you.
After having read and written about the fate of the Napo River in the course of the Latin American integration that Chavez, Correa, Morales et al. have wet dreams of, journeying down these waters was amazing – mind-blowing.
We travelled with Fidel Andy, shaman (yachak) and President of Ashin, to “The 3rd International Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Healing Plants and Navigational Tools“, which took place in Iquitos, Peru, July 7th – 14th, 2007 (where we ran a series of ayahuasca ceremonies; about which more later). We were all mesmerized – what beauty! As noted before, with no forest, there’ll be no shamans as we know them; another matter to which we shall return in due course. Back to the river of Napo.
It no longer makes sense for me that the rio in Rio Napo refers to the same thing as the term river when we speak of European rivers. Completely different creatures altogether. Big bubbly and moving things with thousands of islands always in formation and in all kinds of sizes that are being washed away from time to time. An organ and a habitat for an almost infinite array of beings. Not to belittle non-Amazonian rivers, but to see things for what they are: different. The ocean is not a puddle and a stream is not a strait. Amazonian rivers don’t just go from A to B and lend themselves easily to prediction. Like a child, like a witch or a wizard…
Meeting the Napo River is preliminarily captured in this little gallery, –extractions of a huge photo collection from a journey of a thousand miles through the Napo-Ucayali corridor. It is made with F-Spot, which is becoming more and more of a serious tool. I like its new features (new to me!?), such as “File“, and “Export..” to, for instance, “folder…“, then “a stand-alone web gallery” (where you can define various parameters, such as resize to x pixels and auto-rotate) and it looks ok, methinks. Once you handle an image collection with tagging on top of a database it becomes very easy to create a variety of “galleries” for CD or web or other presentation. Useful; very.
So I better spice up this entry with some shots from Amazonian river life.