The dues of indigenous resistance

“Give me back my future, and we’ll pact the armistice,” say the indigenous people, according to the Guinean writer Zamora Loboch. They say this to us, the heirs of those who invaded and conquered their lands. In the middle of the 19th Century, Europeans tried to mask 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 they denominated as “open paths to trade.” Like the interests that give life to the WTO, which seek to open markets for its 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 in order that they don’t lose their identity. “Take care of the indigenous people, let them not 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 us. Why don’t they release elephants and crocodiles by the hundreds into the Bois de Boulogne, in Central Park, or in 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 of resistance through the means that they had at hand? Two years ago, the Ijuw people kidnapped 165 workers of the Shell Company in Nigeria, which has devastated the environment. Sometimes these groups are labeled as criminal bands but, if they triumph, history will recognize them as heroes.

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

José Carlos Gª Fajardo

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 04/12/2004