Friday, July 12, 2013

A moment of triumph for Brazilian Indigenous tribes

Just weeks ago, the only people standing up against neoliberal predations in Brazil were Indigenous tribes being evicted from their lands by the Belo Monte dam project. They were halting the project by occupying construction sites & when the government flew their leaders to Brasilia to read them the riot act, they protested at every government building in the city.

Those already displaced, who had made a settlement in an abandoned natural history museum in Rio de Janeiro, waged a several month long battle with the government who forcibly evicted them to make room for swanky shopping malls for World Cup & Olympic game attendees.

So it must be a triumphant & glorious moment for this Brazilian Indian man named Hunikui Ninawa & the contingents of Indigenous activists participating in the July 11th National Day of Struggle in Brasilia. Tens of thousands of students, Indigenous tribes, & trade unionists led by the country’s five leading labor federations went on strike, protested, blocked traffic demanding better health & education services, reduced work hours, lower public transportation costs, & yes, land reform.

It is certainly not just speculation to say the on-going, relentless struggles of these Indigenous fighters against neoliberal policies, who for so long fought alone, inspired millions of other Brazilians to settle some scores of their own. Rebellion against injustice is a contagious thing that reverberates--from Egypt to Turkey to Brazil--& eventually elsewhere. So it can be said these Indigenous people led the way when it looked like they were waging a losing battle. Hats off to them & our fullest solidarity!

(Photo by Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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