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HomeTechnologyOpinion - Marcelo Leite: Yanomami genocide is a collective work in Brazil

Opinion – Marcelo Leite: Yanomami genocide is a collective work in Brazil


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Half a dozen Yanomami girls line up for food in Toototobi (RR), with another six hundred relatives gathered at the Hutukara association assembly. They are something like 10 or 12 years old, bodies pressed together in an almost hug, some with cheeks and noses pierced by toothpicks.

They are lean, limbs long and slender, but no ribs are visible under the skin—”slender” would be a better description. Finished portrait of beauty, health and natural affection. They are waiting for the distribution of 110 kg of rice and 20 kg of beans prepared each day in the kitchen run with an iron hand by Davi Kopenawa.

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The report in this Sheet, in November 2010, culminated in the realization of a wish: to meet the people immortalized in the photos of Claudia Andujar and in the book “O Círculo dos Fogos”, by Jacques Lizot. A week of immersion in Yanomami politics debated in five languages ​​by delegations from various villages, including Venezuela.

The memory of the lined up girls contrasts completely with the photos by Lalo de Almeida showing emaciated Yanomami children in the newspaper’s Thursday (26th) edition. How sad: the statistic of 52% of girls and boys of the ethnic group under 5 years of age suffering from malnutrition came to life in repulsive snapshots.

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Images strong enough, it is hoped, to shut up those who, in front of the screen 3,000 km away, idly object to the term “genocide” and the respective criminal classification. As if that were the most important question.

The wave of revolt over the situation had risen on January 20, when the magazine Sumaúma revealed that 570 Yanomami curumins had died from preventable causes in the four years of Bolsonaro. The photos that accompanied the report, apparently taken with cell phones, were already beyond shocking.

The immediate parallel, for those who lived through the 20th century, was in the portraits of starving children in Biafra, in the late 1960s. Or the Jewish concentration camps in World War II. The horror, the horror.

The following day, the Ministry of Health declared a public health emergency in the area. President Lula went to Roraima to witness the tragedy. A spurt of news coverage surged to show what was a chronic reality.

The infamy only grew with the reaction of the genocidal phalanx in charge of half the country until last December. They would not be Brazilian Yanomamis, but Venezuelans, alleged victims of Maduro – said those who always acted for the extinction of some and others, in favor of mining or withholding and diverting medicines.

Bolsonaro and caterva represent only the paroxysm of the dominant nature in Brazil. It is not by chance that the first conviction for genocide, here, took place in the trial of another killing of Yanomami, that of Haximu, which took place in 1993.

The underrated Itamar Franco was then president. Ironically, the Yanomami Indigenous Land (almost 97,000 km²) had been approved in 1992 by none other than the famous Fernando Collor.

The health of the Yanomamis continued with ups and downs under Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula, Dilma and Temer, until it ended in the Bolsonarist hecatomb. In the captain’s four years, informs the Sumaúma report, the deaths of his children increased by 29%, to 570 (and he must be held responsible for this crime).

This means that, in the quadrennium prior to Bolsonaro, some 442 curumins died in the lands harassed by the polluting mining. A corrosive onslaught that the Brazilian State never managed to control, at most harass with media operations.

The genocide started much earlier. It’s our thing.

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