A press release by Survival International:
“An article implying Peruvian Indians should be bombed with napalm has been named by human rights organisation Survival International as the ‘most racist article’ published in the last year by the mainstream media.
The article was published in the Peruvian national newspaper Correo. It calls indigenous people ‘savages’, ‘Palaeolithic’ and ‘primitive’; says that their languages have no more than eighty words; and declares that, in the protests that have recently engulfed much of Peru’s Amazon, they were manipulated by ‘communist excrement’.
‘For those of you who still think of these ‘ethnic groups’ as ‘good’, ‘naïve’ and ‘pure’, I will remind you that it was these same people who perfected the art of shrinking the heads of their enemies and wearing them on the belts holding up their loincloths. If the ‘natives’ didn’t shrink the heads of the policemen they killed (in the recent protests) and eat their remains, it was only because there wasn’t time.’
The article also attacks three indigenous congresswomen, ridiculing their names and referring to them as the ‘three starlets in the parliamentary sewers’. Its response to the indigenous protests against the exploitation of natural resources on their land is: ‘Get f****d, loincloths and all’. The penultimate sentence is: ‘I don’t know what keeps the president from providing the air force with all the napalm necessary.’
The ‘most racist article of the year’ award is part of Survival’s ‘Stamp it Out’ campaign which aims to challenge racist descriptions of indigenous peoples in the world’s media. The winner receives a certificate inscribed with a quotation from Lakota Sioux author Luther Standing Bear: ‘All the years of calling the Indian a savage has never made him one.’
Stamp it Out is supported by eminent journalists such as the BBC’s World Affairs correspondent John Simpson, George Monbiot, John Vidal, and best-selling authors Tim Butcher and Simon Garfield.
Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This article makes depressing reading for anyone who thinks newspapers should educate and inform their readers. We hope the publicity this award receives will make the paper think twice before printing such offensive rubbish again.’
For more information and images please contact Miriam Ross:
(+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (+44) (0)7504543367
Today the world’s media carry the story of the Peruvian Congress having suspended the destructive decrees that caused a non-violent, yet forceful uprising by indigenous peoples organising to defend the Amazon from the oil and gas industry. It is not a victory – merely one less defeat! The forest continues to be destroyed. Drilling, pumping, spilling roads building and Christian conquest of hearts, souls and minds through concerted violence, repression, manipulation, false promises (“Jesus will buy you a fridge and a car”) and disrespect for the inhabitants of what was once the world’s largest (rain) forest, but which is now better described as a region threatened by destruction, deforestation, desertification, in brief, death. However, at least, for now the attempt to accelerate further the destruction has been pushed back, but not stopped. The struggle continues…..
Congress temporarily suspended two decrees issued by President Alan García that had helped set off recent protests by indigenous groups fearful of large oil and logging investments in the Peruvian Amazon. The decrees would open vast jungle areas to investment and allow companies to bypass indigenous communities to get permits for projects. The protests resulted in repression by security forces and apparent reprisals by Indians last week that left dozens dead.
See also: Top name brands implicated in Amazon destruction, New Greenpeace report shows how the cattle industry in Brazil is feeding demand for raw resources and “Slaughtering the Amazon”
colonos is reproducing here a text by Ben Powless on rabble.ca, including the “INTERNATIONAL DENUCIATION of President Alan García Pérez of Peru and his admistration” by the COORDINATING BODY OF ANDEAN INDIGENOUS ORGANZIACIONES – CAOI.
We have received various notices from people in the Amazon reporting about 10 – 40 indigenous protesters having been shot dead.
50 days of protest and one massacre in the Peruvian Amazon
I’m writing this right now from Peru after having taken part in a 5 day Indigenous Peoples Summit held in Puno, Peru in the high Andes. Read the rest of this entry »
Bad news, but as expected the Camisea liquid natural gas project in the Peruvian Amazon was approved by the IFC yesterday. See press reports below and a link to the letter sent by NGOs prior to the IFC board’s approval. Please use this in any press work or meetings with your country representatives.
Peru’s gas exporting project gets World Bank loan
Link to letter
Amazon Watch campaign page
BWP article on Camisea, December 2007
If you want to do voluntary work in the Amazon, working with indigenous peoples, whether you’re interested in biodiversity, medicinal plants, shamanism, music, planting trees or (authoring) teaching (material), – as long as you’re committed to social change on a grassroots level for at least a period of three months Colonos through its many connections in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon region can help you create an independent volunteer programme. No fees, no institution, no nonsense….
Although the funders of the International Institute for Environment and Development clearly are of the higher echelons of the established society they promote community rights over, essentially, intellectual property rights (a distracting debate around traditional knowledge being protected by private property rights based systems – obviously utter nonsense) in order to “protect” indigenous ways of being and living; which is a good thing – since there are other ways to live than the liberal-conservative order of things.
This page gives a good introduction that concludes:
“We are therefore focusing our research and policy work on the concept of ‘Collective Bio-Cultural Heritage’. This concept, initially developed by ANDES, Peru, recognises the interlinked nature of traditional knowledge, biodiversity, landscapes, culture and customary laws.”
Private property rights cannot save communities – community rights (with added self-determination and autonomy) can (hopefully) save communities, it can’t be that difficult to see, init?!?
The foto shows a gathering above 4000m for a ritual (Febr. 07) to solidify the bonds between the communities in the Parque de la Papa, Pisaq, Cusco, Peru – an amazing place and project where theory and practive of public policy making, autonomy and self-legislation come together. They have 1016 species of potatoes growing there!