Archive | March 30, 2011

Teachers Being Jailed in Honduras

Teachers Being Jailed in Honduras

From: Honduras Solidarity Network

 

Urgent Appeal: Day of Action for Honduras – March 30th

  • “One Teacher Dead – Twenty teachers jailed for “sedition” and ‘illicit protests’. Teachers threatened with mass firings for their national strike against the repression and attacks.”
  • “Journalists attacked by police – Cameraman in hospital after police deliberately fire tear gas bomb at his face”
  • “Massive use of tear gas and beatings send teachers, students, and bystanders, including small children to the hospital”

This is the news from Honduras after a week of protests against the Lobo regime’s human rights violations, attacks against the unions, and plans to privatize education and public services. The army and police have forcibly occupied the National University and repeatedly assaulted the offices of the teachers’ unions. Peaceful protest marches have been violently attacked; many hundreds of tear gas bombs have been fired; one teacher has been killed in the protests, and many persons detained.  At the same time the harassment and paramilitary threats against the peasant and indigenous communities in the countryside continue unchecked and with total impunity.

U.S. Government spends millions to support repression

While almost every day Human Rights organizations issue urgent alerts for Honduras, the U.S. government
 is moving forward with its plans to “normalize” Honduras’ position in the international community and is trying to get Honduras reinstated in the Organization of American States (OAS); it was expelled after the military coup in June 2009. Furthermore, the U.S. has scheduled millions of dollars in aid to the illegitimate regime of Porfirio Lobo: $1.7 million dollars in direct aid to the military and an estimated $4.6 million in aid to the police and other security forces.

Since Lobo took power in January 2010, through elections that were not recognized by most international human rights groups and observers organizations such as the Carter Centre, there have been as many as 36 political murders, according to the Centre for Constitutional Rights, these murders include teachers, peasants, members of anti-coup resistance groups and 8 journalists.

Join us on March 30th – SAY NO!

–        To the repression and human rights violations.

–        To U.S. military, economic and political aide to Honduras.

–        Stand in solidarity with the March 30th civic strike called by the resistance organizations, unions, and student groups in Honduras.

* Call and email:

Congressional Representatives and Senators (202-224-3121)

Department of State (Honduras Desk: 202-647-3482 202-647)

http://www.state.gov/

 

The White House (202-456-1111)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Tell them of your concern for the human rights crises in Honduras and your demand to cut off aid to the Lobo regime and end efforts to reinstate Honduras in the OAS.

 

And SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION – Tell the Obama Administration, Congress, the U.N. and the media you demand an end to the repression in Honduras and that the recognition of the Porfirio Lobo government to be withdrawn…

Contact:

  • Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice, 202-544-9355, 202-544-9355

 

  • Vicki Cervantes, La Voz de los de Abajo   312-259-5042, 312-259-5042

 

Related Topic:

Silencing American Trade Unions

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The Banquet of the Spirits Come to an End

The Banquet of the Spirits Come to an End

By Hwaa Irfan

‘Yãkwa’ they call it… we might not agree with it – believe it to be the superstitions of a primitive peoples, despite never having heard of it, it is the belief and the practice of a people, who also we might not heard of. We might be so busy with our questionable lives, but they the Enawene Nawe tribe of Brazil made a decision about theirs, and unlike us were happier until our world touched theirs bringing about a silent (to us) and a slow death of all that they understand to be.

For the Enawene Nawe of the Juruena River, all life is connected both the living and the dead, the Seen and the Unseen, and who are we to argue otherwise. In that understanding, they strive to do what we do not do to live in harmony with their world instead of dominating and destroying it. Referred to as the “moral economy of intimacy” by British anthropologist, Joanna Overing, this relationship with their environment prevents what is so prolific in the globalized world, abuse of power referred to as the “symbolic economy of alterity” by Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. This world view continues to be attacked albeit at a slower rate than at the inception of the colonialistic Doctrine of Discovery. In recent times, attack on their lifestyle and culture began with cattle ranchers cutting down their forest for cattle pasture, threatening the Enawene Nawe if they insisted on building their wooden fish dams in their own terrain. The Enawene Nawe’s fate has been sealed by the recent decision by the Brazilian government to build an unbelievable 80 dams across the Juruena River.  This would not only destroy many indigenous cultures, but would also upset the nature of balance losing much of nature’s medicinal apothecary. Some of those dams are funded by Grupo André Maggi a multinational company one of the world’s largest soya producers.

The ‘Yãkwa’ rites represents for the Enawene Nawe the balance between them and nature, a balance which allows them to carry out the most basic of human needs, the right to eat. Given the continuous ridiculous level at which food prices continue to soar around the world today, many can recognize their anxiety at being able to eat. The ‘Yãkwa’ is not a one day/night ritual, but a seven month long ritual which pulls the community together in a collective approach to survival, an approach one hastens to add is so badly needed in the world in which we live. To the Enawene Nawe they live midst a bounty, a bounty of the natural world where everything grows without effort, and that effort must be respected. The human world is imperfect and thus subject to external threats both Seen and Unseen. From the world of the Unseen, humans battle for survival, and as such the means, i.e. food to survive.

The Last Rites

Ironically, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture had recognized the ‘Yãkwa’ as an intrinsic part of Brazilian culture – a heritage, but like President Obama’s ‘recognition’ of the indigenous peoples of North America, ‘recognition’ is just that. For the first time, the Enawene Nawe found themselves placed in a position whereby they could not practice the ‘Yãkwa’ rites because there were hardly any fish in the river. The same again happened last year in 2010 as a result of the dam building, as the Enawene Nawe faced a life threatening food shortage to the extent the construction company had to buy three kilos of farmed fish, not a lot so that the Enawene Nawe could eat.

January 2011 represents for them given the intent of the Brazilian government the last chance to practice this annual rite.

Like Hagrid’s 3-headed dog in Harry Potter, a flute is used to tame the ‘wild beast’, for they, the Enawene Nawe, have special flutes for ‘Yãkwa’, which are played over seven months to tame the lower spirits of nature that to them influence food production. By playing these flutes, they bring about a balance in the relation between them the Enawene Nawe, and the lower spirits of nature, and in so doing to be able to harvest from the river, and in return grow foods for the spirits of nature.

From January to June a process ensues which commences with the planting of corn and ends with the planting of manioc. Canoes will be built, fishing traps are made, and fishing expeditions will take place – this represents the first part of  ‘Yãkwa’.

In the second part (which lasts two months), the men will leave for the smaller waterways where they will build small dams to catch and roast fish. When the men return to the village, a small drama is carried out enacting a battle between humans and the Unseen forces. Then for four months, there is much exchange of food along with chants, and dances using  9 sets of ‘Yãkwa’ flutes. The Unseen has been tamed when the planting ends, ending the cycle of ‘Yãkwa’.

Will the Enawene Nawe be allowed to complete their 2011 rite of ‘Yãkwa’?

By preventing a people from being self sufficient in their natural resources, one is increasing poverty in the region,  dependence on the government for survival, increasing the number of people requiring food, housing employment, and welfare support, and instability due to compromise of general well-being, and the problems that arise from that. This is an added responsibility on a government that may care or not care for a people who ask little, and need little of which they can provide for themselves. All of this for a perception of the future built on dams, which will cause more instability than the dams can provide in real terms.

Write a letter to the Brazilian government

Sources:

“Brazil: Amazon Tribe’s Unique Fishing Ritual Could Be Their Last.” http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/enawenenawe/ritualsandfishing

Wright, R. “Arawakan Flute Cults of Lowland South America: The Domestication of Predation and the Production of Agentivity.” http://www.robinmwright.com/Ch.2.%2013.0%20ArawakanFluteCults(Wright)%2002-01-09-1secondrevisionsrw.doc

Related Topics:

Brazil Signing Away Our Amazonian Legacy

The Earth Keepers