The Breath of Xapuri is for life

Image: Cholera Joy
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By ALICE ITANI*

Fighting and thinking together is a manifesto of those who take care of our woods, our forests, our rivers and our land, as they take care of their communities

The Breath of the Xapiri displayed in images on the building in the National Congress last December 6th invokes us to fight together in this pandemic. And when Wapichana, Guajajara, Xakriabá, Kopenawa, Krenak, with their paused lines, express about this crisis of confinement that is afflicting us, they are not only compounding the pain of loss of their own with those of all, but also with the pain of the Earth.

Fighting and thinking together is a manifesto of those who take care of our woods, our forests, our rivers and our land, as they take care of their communities. And, with that breath, he exposes us that more than ever it is necessary to produce life. They express within a cosmology in which the flow of life is understood. These voices, more than words, express a culture, a struggle for community production, a way of being, a Teko Porã. In the Guarani language, it is a way of life present in the body, which is always in motion and in the process of balancing. It is the power by which life asks to flow with a mode of expression of the soul. The vital drive works because life wants to persist. To remain part of nature as a living being.

The creation process is also one of reacting, of resisting environmental conditions, creating and recreating the vital tonus to be able to move. Evil appears when the body is out of balance. Sickness comes from the soul that is out of balance. This worldview makes it possible to understand forms of social existence with the rights of nature. And, which is also the production and conservation of life, considering the respect for life integrated with the existence of nature, its maintenance and regeneration of its vital cycles, its structure, its functions and its evolutionary processes.

But, there is no way of being without the place of being, it is necessary to have a Tekoá a place to be, it is necessary to have water, it is necessary to live the forest and with all its life to be able to live its culture and, finally, to to be. The way of life is woven on life cycles, which is also that of the earth, water, sun and moon, with other living organisms that live intertwined between continuity and community living. It is a call to good living. living nature that gives meaning to life, which is in balance, like a living organism, with respect and harmony, without division between man and nature and between soul and nature, as there is not between body and soul.

The call to preservation is in caring for the beings of nature, the territory and the cultural production of the community, which also represents the production of life. And, therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic is, one more among many struggles, a respiratory crisis, an announced danger, of an atmosphere that has become infectious. The air we breathe, essential for life, is produced by the woods, forests, rivers and the earth. The great confinement is to avoid this air, which has become the medium of propagation and each person has become a potential transmitting vehicle.

More than the search for protection through masks and distancing from people, the reflection on the production of life, from our ways of survival, our production of ways of being, our cultural and social spaces, is also for the protection and preservation of own species. Maybe we still have time to avoid the sky falling and we can postpone the end of the world.

The reflection on the production of life has become complex due to an extreme division that has taken place, between the human and the non-human, between man and nature, between body and soul. A division that interests a capitalist economy, called modernity, developmentalism and, which also produced division between rich and poor, between so-called developed and undeveloped countries, and the different classifications that began to distinguish the human being itself, in races and genders. Industry developed through these divisions and classifications and the financial economy that produced financial wealth for a few. And the rest were left with crumbs immersed in a process of alienation, due to the lack of control over the production of life, cultural production and social production.

The living beings of the countries of the south were also left with the burden of producing this wealth for these few, as subordinates to a process of acculturation, colonialist, of domination. The media industry, for example, follows antenna 1, which emits programs that are rebroadcast to all other places on the planet. Theatrical and cinematographic production was subordinated to the commodification of those who dominate the Euro-American market, notably through financial power. School curricula dominated by colonizing ideologies that appropriated knowledge, as well as science and technology. Traditional knowledge came to be disregarded, obstacles to modernization.

From the division between man and nature, he goes on to exploit the natural resources of the countries of the south. And, in the case of Brazil, it reaches the extremes of expropriating entire populations from their living territories for the removal of gold, manganese, ore, niobium, gold, and others. And these natural resources, belonging to local territories, are exported to industrialized countries for the production of goods and enrich the few. Local populations are left without their living spaces as well as with all the waste from the extraction of these resources, with soil, water and air contamination. And, producing diseases with the chemical compounds used in this extraction.

The same occurs with the production of soy, animal protein such as beef, pork and poultry, which use more and more areas of land. Currently, production takes place in mega-farms, the result of land grabbing, fires, expulsion of traditional and native populations from places, destroying ecosystems and biomes. This production serves notably for export, to feed others in other countries, and financial gains for the corporations that dominate agribusiness. And, the intensive and extensive use of chemical compounds in this production also affects local and family production through soil, water and air contamination by aerial spraying.

One cannot speak of production of life when territories are usurped and the places where communities live are contaminated. The healthy condition of the spaces is appropriated by corporations to produce their financial wealth and to feed others.

Is it possible to talk about health in this context? This is already the result of complex divisions within this modernity established in the Euro-American economic perspective. And, which makes much more profitable for the pharmaceutical industry and hospital supplies. With the cuts on our universal health system, the SUS, and on public policies in general, we are left with high bills for health insurance, illnesses, accidents and illnesses.

To think about the production of life is also to reflect on non-servitude to the production process of the circle of work and consumption. That is, to think of a social and collective autonomy of peoples, for a society capable of producing and surviving, and of resuming its institutions in an incessant struggle against alienation, production of its ways of being, and political equality as equal participation in its social process and resulting from continuous construction and reconstruction. This autonomy is individual, collective and social, but an individual cannot be autonomous if society is not. The autonomy of Brazilian society as a nation deserves to be built, within its ways of being and breaking with Western economic models imposed under arguments of modernity.

The type of development established for the countries of the south was outlined and a primer followed. with laws, economic rules and local power structures for domination. To escape this is to decolonize thought, re-elaborate the imaginary, building perspectives of producing the wealth of peoples and communities through the work of all. Some experiences that escape this subservience serve as examples. The one from Ecuador that inserted the right of nature into its Constitution. That of traditional peoples and natives of Latin American countries who resist with their cultures and, therefore, their traditional knowledge. That of communities that produce for their survival and live for that and with that. And, they are diverse in the Brazilian territory, considering natural assets as common assets within forms of social cooperation, of common use and enjoyment, within cooperation networks.

Alice Itani is a professor of sociology at the Department of Education at Unesp-Rio Claro.

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