The indigenous duty to resistance

“Give me back my future, and we’ll sign the armistice,” the indigenous people commonly say, according to the Guinean writer Zamora Loboch. They say it to us, the heirs of those who invaded and conquered their lands. In the middle of the 19th Century, Europeans tried to disguise their conquests in the name of the Three C’s: Civilization, Christianity and Commerce. History proves that the reason for every conquest is economic, or what conquerors denominated as “open paths to trade.” Like the interests that today encourage the World Trade Organization’s interests, which seek to open markets for their products, sinking the native ones and plundering the raw materials that they need. That’s what they call “Helping the Third World”.

We celebrate folkloric parties with the indigenous for them not to lose their identity. “Take care of the indigenous people, don’t let them lose their folklore, chop down trees, or pollute the environment.” The civilizations of the North, which have wiped out forests, contaminated rivers and turned coasts into sewers, impose how the indigenous should preserve their habitat, converting it into Natural Parks for them. Why don’t they release elephants and crocodiles by the hundreds into the Bois de Boulogne, Central Park, or Casa de Campo? In Africa, people are forced to have elephants devour the crops because the natural equilibrium has been broken.
The indigenous in Brazil celebrate the anniversaries of their discovery by the Portuguese with protest, just like other people of the continent reduced by the Spaniards and exterminated by the English when they descended from May Flower, like Moses after crossing the Red Sea. Instead of Philistines there were Sioux, Comanches and Arapahoes. It didn’t matter, they had to be exterminated. That genocide awaits its trial because those crimes don’t expire. Press agencies sometimes inform about kidnapped tourists in Third World countries.

The Indian Chief Roni, of the Caipós ethnic group, kept fifteen tourists as hostages until the Brazilian government guaranteed them the zone of recognized land in 1991. What would’ve happened if they hadn’t exerted their due to resistance through the means that they had at hand? Some years ago, the Ijuw people kidnapped 165 workers of the Shell Company in Nigeria, which has devastated the environment. Sometimes these groups are labelled as criminal bands but, if they prevail, history recognizes them as heroes.

Indigenous people who are subjugated by invaders have the duty to rebel themselves through the means available in order for them to preserve their identity. It seems like only that way they will attain the dialogue to recover their future.

 

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 13/12/2005