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 an Amazon Watch news release. Our comment: no news there.
Date: May 19, 2009
Source: Amazon Watch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2009
USA – Gregor MacLennan (415) 395-6734 gregor AT amazonwatch.org
PERU – Edson Rosales +511 99-787-6616, +511 265-5011 comunicaciones AT aidesep.org.pe
Oil Production Interrupted as Peru Sends in Army to Suppress Peaceful Indigenous Protests
Dozens Injured in Government Attacks on Protesters
Video footage, photos, interviews available upon request
LIMA, Peru, May 19, 2009— Yesterday, on the 40th day of sustained protests by Peru’s indigenous peoples, the state oil company Petroperu, announced it had shut down the country’s main oil pipeline. On Saturday, the Garcia Government authorized the intervention of the armed forces to crack down on peaceful protests that have swept the Amazon region.
The colonos blog has been following the plans and projects for commodity corridors – corredores – in South America unfolding under the IIRSA banner for several years now. IIRSA is a central element in the collaboration between Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Lula (Brasil), Chavez (Venezuela) and Evo Morales (Bolivia) and the rest of South American in the Great Plan to turn the entire continent into an industrial production site. Soon, as sad as it is, one of the key nodes in this network of destruction will be completed: the Interoceanic Highway, connecting the coast of Peru and the coast of Brasil:
The nightmarish prospect of a scarred Amazonian jungle reeking of diesel fumes from end to end, as heavy-laden trucks thunder by in round-the-clock convoys, is fast becoming a reality.
Since 2000, teams of road builders have been cutting a vicious swathe of destruction through vast stretches of rainforest in the Peruvian province of Madre de Dios. This is done in the name of “free trade” and neoliberal “development”.
Scheduled for completion in 2010, the Interoceanic Highway will link up with Brazil’s existing Amazonian road network. This will create a coast-to-coast trucking route for Brazilian-based agribusiness exporting soy and other primary products to China via Peru’s Pacific ports.
This is simply to draw your attention to a reportage by Joanne Silberner about a place that colonos have also had the great pleasure and privilege of visiting. It is called Parque de la Papa and their story is yet another (potential?) climate change disaster:
and a little excerpt:
Alejandro Argumedo is a plant scientist and social activist with Association Andes. Argumedo says climate change threatens not just farmers like Baca Huaman, but Peru’s whole native culture.
“Potato is not just food. Potato is also spirituality; it’s culture,” Argumedo says. “There are songs, dances, ceremonies. So this is a potato land … a culture of potato.”
Potatoes originated in Peru. They fed the Inca empire. There is a potato god.
Other staples grow here — corn and quinoa, for example. But potatoes have special cultural symbolism. They are as important as rice is in China.
“Potatoes are like living beings,” Argumedo says. “People treat them like that. They are members of the family for farmers.”