Yellow-green Brazil – it is a colorless country

Carlos Zilio, PRATO, 1971, industrial ink on porcelain, ø 24cm


We feel all the pain in the world, but today we are deeply hurt by the pain of the 500 children killed by the bad faith that brought their death.

Many people say what they feel. So, some people say that a month there is a feeling that several years have passed. It would be years of relief for the defenestration of fascism in command of the State, and even if its effects are long-lasting in the fruition of society.

On the other hand, since the historic January 8, 2023 (thus it will be immortalized in the history of the Republic), sinister waves have darkened dreams and hopes that we can live in tranquility more quickly: tranquility, that is to say with more dignity.

It was with this regret that the country was stunned by yet another series of acts of veritable programmed genocide: more than 500 Yanomami children, due to starvation, would have met an extremely premature death. Without help, without protection, without the slightest care, they were zealously, methodically, abandoned by public authorities who should, on the contrary, have committed obvious and necessary public policies.

Many others wonder if they are crimes against humanity!? For many others, of course, this is a mere rhetorical question. If the public agent (or politician) knows that a person will die, if nothing is done (dishonesty, crime of omission), what about 500? And children, much more fragile, exposed to all the harm that modern capitalist society can bring them – it is not evident that the omission, on this scale, reveals a real political project of indigenous extermination. It is obvious, and therefore, if there were a “rhetorical answer” it would have to be like this: there will be a trial in The Hague, as well as many others in Brazil.

However, is it only now that we “knew” about these atrocities? Did we only wake up to reality on January 1, 2023? Could it be that the very history of miscegenation (by force, against black and indigenous women) already tells us a lot about who we are?

Faced with this insistent liturgy of our civilizing process, especially in the post-2016 (coup d'état), and in a stupendous way – because popular culture, traditions and symbolic heritages of the original peoples are absolutely resistant and stupendous –, there are true narratives that need to be be picked up and welcomed by the cortex, but also by the cordis: the heart of the people that overflows with real cordiality, respectful of life and people.


The silenced narratives

Brazil is a privileged country for its cultural diversity, to a large extent, arising from the original peoples who maintain not only ethnic traits, but, above all, the traits of the culture of a people. The territory where the Pataxó live, located between the municipalities of Itamaraju, Itabela, Porto Seguro and Prado, in the State of Bahia, Brazil, is currently an area of ​​13.800 hectares, distributed in 10 villages, where about 600 Pataxó families live, totaling a community of 5.000 indigenous people (FUNAI, 2006). There we have this resounding example of the encounter between the cortex and the cordis: Eye contact activates the amygdala (region of the brain where some sensations are processed) and our entire system of emotions.

Empathy is not understanding a person, it is putting yourself in the other's shoes. It is the ability to feel what another person feels if they were in the same situation experienced by them, objectively and rationally experiencing what the other feels in order to try to understand feelings and emotions, generating respect and understanding that the other is part of us .

Jokana means woman in Patxohã. Patxohã, is the language of the Pataxó peoples, in this case, referring to the Jokanas of Aldeia Barra Velha, mother village of the Pataxó, located in the extreme south of Bahia, being part of the municipality of Porto Seguro. Within these jokanas, there is a divine presence, which nourishes and carries a force based on the tradition, culture and memory that constitute their identity. Jokana's identity is collective and crosses the barriers of time, struggles and memories of pain faced during colonialism and the fire of 51 in Aldeia Barra Velha, solidifying a force through respect, empathy and collectivity.

Jokana is born belonging to a strong and empowered group, who, from the moment they leave the womb, dive into an immense universe of knowledge that will be shared on a daily basis. Their look shows their struggle, their experiences and wisdom, Jokanas listen with their eyes, listen with their soul and dress in smiles and silence. It is through this identity that the jokana speaks, screams and fights for their rights. Dialogue is the tool of struggle, be it spoken, danced, sung, written or even expressed in glances, silence and gestures. The look of pain, of injustice tells and narrates this story of a community still very vulnerable and struggling to survive.

Today in Brazil, we observe a growing place of speech for indigenous women, a space of struggle for their rights and their knowledge, bringing hope to indigenous peoples, but also keeping ancestral knowledge alive, with relevant contributions to climate change, natural medicine, education , and socio-political organizations. After the 2022 elections, today in 2023, Brazil has for the first time an indigenous minister, represented by Sonia Guajajara in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples. And this is the country that was reborn, like Phoenix, after the social massacres, in culture, the attacks on the poor, blacks, indigenous people. It is the country that the unique chance, in its history, to get rid of Fascism, of the genocides that victimize indigenous children with the maximum refinement of cruelty - all of whom we hope will be, with the same intensity of their acts (or omissions), judged and condemned under the maximum rigor of the law.


look to tomorrow

We hope from the bottom of our hearts (the cordis that feeds our hope without programmed genocides) who share with us this last look: The look, which can mean so much, the exact idea and meaning it has before immersing itself in this culture. – “looking through the eyes of the Other”. The look brings with it emotions, reflects feelings and pain. The way of seeing something, expresses an opinion, a position. The look brings with it yesterday, today and the hope of tomorrow: history. To look and see, one must observe and feel. We feel all the pain in the world, but today we are deeply hurt by the pain of the 500 children killed by the bad faith that brought their death.

May we look to tomorrow, without forgetting this disastrous day, as one who looks to the future, the sunrise when no child dies of hunger.

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez He is a professor at the Department of Education at UFSCar.

*Marcia Camargo is an artist and doctoral student in Science, Technology and Society at UFSCar.


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