Archive | July 27, 2014

The Guaraní Continue the Fight for their Land and Human Rights*

The Guaraní Continue the Fight for their Land and Human Rights*

By Eric Michael Kelley

On the morning of May 20, 2014, leaders of the Y’apo Avá-Guaraní community appeared before Judge Silvia Cuevas Ovelar as summoned. Meanwhile, over 300 heavily armed Paraguayan national police descended upon Y’apo, ruling in hand from the same judge in favor of Brazilian agribusiness Laguna S.A., ordering the relocation of residents and the destruction of their property. The community was razed while women and children fled to the forest. Police destroyed everything—houses, the religious center, all religious objects, even personal property—burning everything and leaving nothing but rubbish in their wake. The community was violently attacked again less than a month later on June 15 by more than 50 thugs, armed “private security guards” hired by the owner of Laguna S.A., Brazilian Manfred Peters, who was safely out of harm’s range in Brazil at the time.

Many were injured, including pregnant women, elders, and small children.   One young attacker was killed by friendly fire, though the thugs attempted to frame Avá-Guaraní as the initiators of the violence, claiming that it was their gunfire that resulted in the young man’s death. Evidence later revealed that the thugs inhumanely fired rubber bullets at close range into makeshift houses where people were huddled in fear and unarmed. The thugs also vandalized and torched their own truck to proffer as evidence of the “savagery” of the Avá-Guaraní.   Avá-Guaraní reported that one of the thugs said to the others,

“let’s kill these insects,” as they attacked.

Somewhere along the way, Laguna S.A. desecrated three marked Avá-Guaraní cemeteries, ploughing the land for soy and disinterring the bodies of community ancestors in the process. This story of desecration and violence is all too familiar for Indigenous and peasant communities in Paraguay and Brazil.

In July 2014, the Federation of Associations of Guaraní Communities of Eastern Paraguay, representing over 50% of Paraguayan Indigenous Peoples, submitted its annual report to the Parliament of Mercosur detailing 10 similar attacks on Indigenous communities since 2012, including the most recent events in Y’apo as well as that in Yva Poty in November 2012. Numerous additional cases might be cited of similarly affected peasant communities in the region, comprised mainly of monolingual Guaraní mestizos who try to distance themselves from their Indigenous ancestry to appear more modern in the eyes of the Paraguayan government.

The Guaraní Federation’s report also details the displacement in the 1970s of hundreds of Guaraní families by the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Paraná River separating Paraguay from Brazil, and by the creation of the Mbaracayú Reserve. The report details the legal violations involved in terms of national and international law, as well as the August 2013 National Indigenous Institute’s Resolution demanding compensation for Guaraní communities displaced by these projects. (These documents, along with photos and statements, including video of the July 9, 2014 testimony of Sister Raquel Peralta before the PARLASUR Commission of Citizenship and Human Rights, are accessible on the CONAPI-CEP website).

One violation of Paraguayan law is the fact that many of the large landholders are foreigners, especially Brazilians, though they are legally prohibited to own such land. More than 80% of the land in Paraguay is now held by 2% of the population, revealing the dishonesty of President Horacio Cartes’ “New Direction” policies to eliminate poverty and improve the Paraguayan economy. In reality, Cartes’ goal appears to be to eliminate the poor, rather than poverty. Indeed, Cartes has described Paraguay as a “beautiful and easy girl” to Brazilian investors, urging them to “feel at home, and use and abuse her.” Given Brazil’s historical treatment of its Indigenous people, particularly in terms of the largest group, the Guaraní, it’s no surprise that a culture of intimidation, violence, and erasure of Indigenous voices has shaped Brazilians’ interactions with Paraguayans.

The Guaraní are murdered more frequently than any Indigenous group in Brazil. According to Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) in Brazil, there were 319 murders of Guaraní-Kaiowá committed between 2003–2012. CIMI also reports that more than 500 Guaraní have committed suicide, and that Indigenous suicides are at a nearly 30-year high nationwide. CIMI states that President Rousseff’s administration has demarcated fewer Indigenous lands than any since the military dictatorship ended in 1985. The local media persist in portraying Guaraní as impediments to development. Many Guaraní leaders have been murdered, including Marcos Veron in 2007, Nísio Gomes in 2011, and film star Ambrósio Vilhava in 2013. Veron’s son committed suicide. Still, Guaraní leaders such as Damiana Cavanha, whose community was displaced decades ago and is living by a road in her ancestral land, continue their fight. Cavanha has recently lost eight community members to automobile accidents and five members of her family, the youngest of whom was four years old. Rousseff’s administration continues to ignore Cavanha’s pleas for improved traffic signs as the deaths continue to mount.

In the case of Y’apo, not only was the same judge involved in summoning Guaraní leaders to appear, knowing that they would be unable to act on the community’s behalf during the police destruction described above, but she was also overturning her 2001 ruling against Laguna, S. A.. Another judge had also ruled in favor of Y’apo in 1997. Ethnographic accounts in the early 1900s locate Avá-Guaraní in Y’apo, documenting Avá-Guaraní historical accounts of Y’apo as the potentially dangerous source of the next great flood (Y’apo means “makes water”) unless Avá-Guaraní continue to repel inundations through responsible management of environmental resources.   Days after the police action, community members danced on the ashes of the community’s religious center appealing to divinity while armed police watched through their scopes from a safe distance.

The illegal assault by the thugs employed by Laguna, S.A., was brutal. Paraguayan due process was violated, 14 Avá-Guaraní were injured, including an elderly man who lost an eye, a pregnant woman who was beaten and subsequently miscarried, a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the chest, and a 12-year-old girl who has an inoperable rubber bullet lodged close to her heart and may lose her arm. Community members warily hope for justice, as members of Yva Poty still await compensation two years after the attack on their community. Additionally, Brazil boasts the highest rate of murders of environmentalists, including Sister Dorothy, tireless advocate of Indigenous peoples. Also notable are the continued efforts of Brazil and multinational corporations such as FIFA to censor Indigenous voices. The attack on Y’apo suspiciously commemorates the two year anniversary of the infamous tragedy in Curuguaty, in which 17 people were killed in a similar police dislocation of peasants.

Still, there is reason for optimism. Judge Carlos Goiburú Bado, who was responsible for the dislocation of Avá-Guaraní in Yva Poty in 2012, was suspended by the Paraguayan Supreme Court on July 8. While it is unclear why he was suspended, he was warned in June 2013 over his ruling in that case. Official demarcation and enforcement of relevant laws regarding indigenous lands undergirds all of this. At the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup, 13-year-old Guaraní boy, Jeguaká Mirim, held up a banner stating “Demarcation Now!” This was censored by FIFA, doubtless with the compliance of media and the Brazilian government. Nevertheless, with both ethics and law on their side, resilient Guaraní peoples continue to fight for their human rights in their ancestral lands despite the seemingly insurmountable odds.


Related Topics:

The Guarani: Reclaiming One’s Conditions of Life

Brazil: Video Statement on Protecting Forests, Stopping Dams and Plantations

Brazil Signing Away Our Amazonian Legacy

Brazil Ethnic Cleanses through the World Cup*

Bolivia, Paraguay and… Retrieving Our Backyard!


Ukrainian Soldiers Refuse to Kill their Own Flee to Russia*

Ukrainian Soldiers Refuse to Kill their Own Flee to Russia*

More than 40 Ukrainian soldiers have abandoned their military posts and crossed into Russian territory, stating that they refuse to fight against their own people, a Russian Federal Security Service spokesperson said.

At least 41 Ukrainian soldiers have made it to Russian territory after asking self-defense forces for help, the spokesperson from the Federal Security Service’s Rostov region border patrol unit, Vasily Malaev, told Itar-Tass.

“At around 20:30 Moscow time, 41 Ukrainian soldiers left their military bases and arrived at the Ukrainian border crossing checkpoint Izvarino. They appealed to the militia there for help to with cross into the Russian territory, in connection with the fact that they do not want to fight against their own people,” Malaev said.

Izvarino border crossing point in Lugansk Region, Ukraine (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

All of the soldiers were able to cross into Russia at the Donetsk checkpoint, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a Russian hospital near the Ukrainian border has been treating wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Some of them have expressed their unwillingness to fight for the Ukrainian army, blaming mobilization laws for forcing them to do so.

“I wouldn’t want to. We don’t know who we are fighting. I have no animosity towards Russians. I am not a nationalist, I am not Right Sector,” Ivan, a Ukrainian soldier, told RT.

What right do they have to make us fight? I was mobilized, I received wounds to my hands and now I have to go and fight again with cardboard equipment. They reuse old ammunition and make money off us. The country is falling apart, but for them everything is fine,” he added.

Another soldier questioned the purpose of the military offensive, adding that it is not even clear who the enemy is.

It is all so confusing, who is fighting who and how and what for isn’t clear. Who are these separatists? What do they look like? We don’t know,” Ukrainian soldier Sergey said.

Two other Ukrainian soldiers – major and senior warrant officers – were also among those who fled to Russia and said they intend to apply for Russian citizenship, according to Malaev.

Ukrainian soldiers claim that high-ranking officers rarely come to the frontline, and when they do they try to leave as soon as possible – preferably before dark – RT’s Roman Kosarev reported from Donetsk.

“Millions of dollars have already been spent by Kiev on its punitive action against those they call terrorists. While the country’s leadership ordered yet another mobilization round of its citizens into active armed forces…morale of the soldiers on the ground and the collapsing parliament could become a barrier for their operation target,” Kosarev added.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovnaya Rada, approved this week a presidential decree authorizing the limited mobilization of army reserves and material, which will be used to reinforce units fighting in the east of the country. This was part of the Ukrainian president’s peace plan, which involves a unilateral ceasefire by government forces in eastern Ukraine.

On Friday, mothers and wives of Ukrainian soldiers sent to fight in eastern Ukraine kneeled during a demonstration, asking President Petro Poroshenko to end the military offensive.


Related Topics:

Forced Organ Harvesting in the Ukraine*

18 US Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day.

Veterans and GIs Organize Against War and Maltreatment

Without Shame!

The Misled Foreign Fighters in Iraq*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

They never expected this, our global elected and unelected leaders. After a period of being on track with their eugenics, and social engineering programs, and witnessing their success in dumbing down a majority of the populations, they have found themselves forced by global mass protests to break the silence over the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. As each day into this holocaust called Protective Edge, the dumbed down masses to their own suffering declare the truth of Palestine written out of history books. Not a person, but a people is the world’s sacrificial lamb. They have awakened the much under-estimated human spirit, our very humanity which has been in grave danger…

Jabaila Refugee camp, July 12 2014

Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, Mads Gilbert, Swee Ang, on behalf of 24 signatories The Lancet:

We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.

On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.

This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.

A relative of two-year old Palestinian Salma Radea who was killed by shrapnel from an Israeli tank shell in the north of the Gaza Strip holds her body in the street outside the morgue of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia on July 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP – Marco Longari)

The blockade on Gaza has tightened further since last year and this has worsened the toll on Gaza’s population. In Gaza, people suffer from hunger, thirst, pollution, shortage of medicines, electricity, and any means to get an income, not only by being bombed and shelled. Power crisis, gasoline shortage, water and food scarcity, sewage outflow and ever decreasing resources are disasters caused directly and indirectly by the siege.1

People in Gaza are resisting this aggression because they want a better and normal life and, even while crying in sorrow, pain, and terror, they reject a temporary truce that does not provide a real chance for a better future. A voice under the attacks in Gaza is that of Um Al Ramlawi who speaks for all in Gaza: “They are killing us all anyway – either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose – we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”2

Gaza has been blockaded by sea and land since 2006. Any individual of Gaza, including fishermen venturing beyond 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, face being shot by the Israeli Navy. No one from Gaza can leave from the only two checkpoints, Erez or Rafah, without special permission from the Israelis and the Egyptians, which is hard to come by for many, if not impossible.

People in Gaza are unable to go abroad to study, work, visit families, or do business. Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialised treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited.3 Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade.3 They have run out now. Likewise, Gaza is unable to export its produce. Agriculture has been severely impaired by the imposition of a buffer zone, and agricultural products cannot be exported due to the blockade. 80% of Gaza’s population is dependent on food rations from the UN.

Much of Gaza’s buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, 2008 – 09, and building materials have been blockaded so that schools, homes, and institutions cannot be properly rebuilt. Factories destroyed by bombardment have rarely been rebuilt adding unemployment to destitution.

Despite the difficult conditions, the people of Gaza and their political leaders have recently moved to resolve their conflicts “without arms and harm” through the process of reconciliation between factions, their leadership renouncing titles and positions, so that a unity government can be formed abolishing the divisive factional politics operating since 2007. This reconciliation, although accepted by many in the international community, was rejected by Israel. The present Israeli attacks stop this chance of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank and single out a part of the Palestinian society by destroying the lives of people of Gaza. Under the pretext of eliminating terrorism, Israel is trying to destroy the growing Palestinian unity. Among other lies, it is stated that civilians in Gaza are hostages of Hamas whereas the truth is that the Gaza Strip is sealed by the Israelis and Egyptians.

Gaza has been bombed continuously for the past 14 days followed now by invasion on land by tanks and thousands of Israeli troops. More than 60 000 civilians from Northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes. These internally displaced people have nowhere to go since Central and Southern Gaza are also subjected to heavy artillery bombardment. The whole of Gaza is under attack. The only shelters in Gaza are the schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), uncertain shelters already targeted during Cast Lead, killing many.

13th day of Operation Protective Edge

According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70 – this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.

Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.4, 5 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.

We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s wellbeing.

Israel’s behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.

This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped.

Additionally, should the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.

As we write, other massacres and threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys are reported.6 We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machines. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1·8 million people in Gaza.

We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre.

For the Open Letter to Israel Academics see


Related Topics:

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Demonstrators Take to the Streets against the Massacres in Gaza

Egyptian Ceasefire Initiative a U.S.- Blair Plot!*

A Zionist General’s Son Speaks Out!*

“Massive Attack” on Israel at Longitude Festival in Dublin*

Intelligence Agents amidst UAE ‘Aid Convoy’ to Gaza*

Sacred Activism and the Lighting of the Third Fire*

Deir Yassin, the Beginning of the Palestinian Holocaust. 1948*

North Cyprus Declares Three Days Mourning for Gaza*

Israel’s ‘Blood Diamonds’ Financing War Crimes in Gaza*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

US Congress: Bill to Outlaw Muslim Brotherhood*

Evolution: God’s Game

Evolution: God’s Game

A documentary that takes Deistic approach on defining evolution as just one of the tools in the God’s repository. As if most of the people failed to understand Darwin’s message and there is nothing in “On the Origins of Species” that denies the supernatural. In the mid-19th century, science and religion were quite intermingled. The uncomfortable notion, that we share common ancestor with the modern African apes brought in a deep emotional reaction in the society of the day, not surprisingly.

At a time when people believed the Earth was about 6000 years old instead of 5 billion, the evolutionary proposal called for a sudden revision of too many beliefs. Some religious concepts were forced to change, to evolve.

As a result, the first week described in the book of Genesis necessarily came to be understood as a poetic description and not factual events of what actually took place over millions of weeks. This small intellectual move was actually a giant step for the thinkers of 1859. In fact, the theory of evolution continues to be unacceptable within several belief systems, especially in so-called creationist thought. Perhaps from the perspective of these people, the mechanism proposed by Darwin is understood as a tool for rendering the existence of God unnecessary.

Through genetics, scientific reality has shown that we share not only common ancestor with gorillas and chimpanzees. Mammals and birds come from reptiles, which along with amphibians, come from fish. And so forth, continuing back in time, we come to the single-cell organism. We are the direct descendants of one of these cells, the father of all humanity, the most primitive version of Adam.

After thousands of years of civilization and 150 years of digesting Darwin’s ideas, we shouldn’t be afraid to question ourselves. No faith should feel attacked when scientific answers are being sought. After all, we are Homo quaerens, the being who wonders about everything. And more than anyone else, religious individuals should accept that we were created like that, that is, very, very curious.

Related Topics:

The Ramadhan Reminder: Taking Time Out With God

Arguing God from Being?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Think About You?‏

Finding God in a Particle!

Deep Thinking

From the Symbolic Ascension to the Ascension of Our Lives

Meditation Does More for You Than Keep You Calm!

God-consciousness After Ramadhan

The Signs of God’s Existence

Nature Helps Our Brain to Connect

Who or What Gave You Life?

Beyond DNA and Our Dangerous Limited Minds*

The Paradox of our Times

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Connecting Our Inner and Outer Worlds

An Ancient Take on the Crucifixion

Jesus not Allowed in School*

The Inner Technology of Islam

Heavenly Signs: May 13 a Wake-up Call from the Creator

Heavenly Signs: The Ultimatum of May!

Indoctrination in Common Core Texts