Tears in the Rainforest, Colltalers
A desperate appeal was issued on behalf of the Waiãpi, an indigenous community of Amapá, Brazil. Miners have invaded their land over the weekend and killed two of its chiefs. Jawaruwa Waiãpi blamed President Bolsonaro and promised to retaliate.
‘We know what’s happening and what needs to be done.’ Excerpt from the scientists-penned Letter to the Future at a memorial to Okjökull, a.k.a. Ok, Iceland’s first glacier lost to climate change. Yes, it’s heartbreaking and others may follow it soon if we allow it.
Such an eloquent call for urgent action was in sharp contrast to the U.S. president’s viciously racist attack on Elijah Cummings, a black Representative from Maryland. It was vile, just as his previous public insults directed at The Squad. A new low? Hardly.
Fact is, while campaigning for reelection, Trump is casting the darkest, most intolerant and retrograde forces of society, so more is to be expected. At each new slur, slightly more deleterious than the one before, his racism is being normalized. If we allow it.
For too large a swath of Americans haven’t yet realized what’s coming up, with each new frightening rally of his. The roar of hate chanting and idolatry towards him is the glue that sustains his presidency. Sadly, many in his constituency – which is by far the one that depends the most on the welfare system – will soon pay the price for their support. But we won’t say, ‘I told you so.’
As for news from the border trenches, here’s a quick housekeeping tip: there must be constant reminders that the horror show is still on and each new horrifying development is worth noticing. Every American must be fully aware that what’s being done
at the border on their behalf is not just illegal, from an international law standpoint, but also qualifies as crimes against humanity.
To flag what’s happening also prevents its banalization; if people pay attention, tragedy doesn’t sink to the bottom of coverage. As Trump hammers falsehoods by the hour, his lies must be exposed by the minute. The media won’t denounce him? We will.
Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, 16, died in May, alone, at the toilet of an immigration detention cell. He was the fifth child to die after being taken into U.S. custody since December. A similar fate could’ve befallen Francisco Erwin Galicia, 18, who was detained for 23 days, with no family contact, lawyer, toilet, shower or bed available. He’s survived and now is suing the U.S.
The difference between the two is that Carlos Gregorio was an asylum-seeker from Guatemala, a country ravaged by American foreign policy, while Francisco is a U.S. citizen from Texas. Both fell into the same black hole of current immigration rules, with its ‘disgusting rat and rodent-infested’ prison-like facilities, ridden with lawlessness, violence, and disrespect to human dignity.
They will get no help whatsoever from the U.S. Supreme Court: rather than refusing to be part of this infamy, it actually allowed the administration to divert funds, not to save children, prevent deaths, or improve border conditions, but to fund a stupid wall.
Unfortunately, such coordinated brutality also inspires other tyrants around the world. Take Brazil’s junior despot, for instance. Since his campaign, President Bolsonaro has openly favored miners and loggers to break the law and get their business to the Amazon. After all, he despises indigenous communities almost as much as poor people of color, sexual minorities, and so on.
As a result, the forest has been losing an area equivalent to three American football fields per minute. It’s already lost over 1,300 square miles since he took office in January, a 39% increase over the same period last year, according to Brazil’s own agency tracking deforestation. Despite criticism, Bolsonaro’s simply doubled down: ‘the Amazon is not yours,’ he said last week.
Since Brazilian officials have arrived in Amapá, there’s been no reports of violence. But tensions throughout the entire forest are high, there’s no law enforcement, and long fought-for native Brazilian lands will continue to attract the landowners’ greed.
For now, let’s skip commenting on Boris Johnson, the second-half of the Swindler Twins, – guess who’s the other? – newly minted as the U.K. Prime Minister. He, who helped Brexit wreck England for years to come, is now in charge of fixing it, his intent all along. But, like his blond bro from another furrow, he has no clue of course. To our dear Brits, here’s all our solidarity.
Let’s also not waste time with the drop-in-a-bucket penalty the Federal Trade Commission imposed on Facebook. Or the Mueller testimony, a.k.a. Fiasco Vol. 2, which if anything, only confirmed our worst suspicions about well, FB: Russians and anyone can use it at will and in ways that are even more effectively than hacking. Or that hacking is even mentioned in this case. Enough.
Let’s instead celebrate and support battered Puerto Rico. Boricuas have taken a beating but fought back a hurricane of neglect from Washington and ousted their corrupt governor. Now possibilities are wide open even for, who knows? Statehood.
‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.’ Roy Batty’s expiration speech in Blade Runner. But to Rutger Hauer, who I’ve briefly met in 1987, ‘time to die‘ came July 19, making us very sad indeed. R.I.P., Vriend. WC