The entire Pacific island of Tuvalu is literally vanishing as speak.
here to read the article.
Two new ecomartyrs have given their lives in the effort to save tropical
rainforest, joining the roll of honor that includes Dian Fossey and Chico
Mendes (for whom I coined the term ecomartyr—a deliberatly grating hack-journalism
confection, an antagonism you could call it if there were such a figure
of speech, designed to heighten the reader’s indignation: not only were
these people murdered, now they’re being called ecomartyrs). But
their deaths have attracted very little notice. The vogue for saving the
rainforest has come and gone, but the destruction continues. Bruno Manser,
a 47-year-old Swiss activist who devoted 12 years to trying to save the
Penan tribe, a small tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers who live in the
rainforest of Sarawak, in northeastern Borneo, was last seen on May 22nd
of last year and presumed to be dead. He was setting out to climb
a 7,000-foot limestone pinnacle called Batu Lawi to dramatize the plight
of the Penan, whose way of life is being extinguished by commercial logging,
the cash economy, Coca Cola, television-- the usual Western toxins. Or
he may have gone to the mountain in despair, to commit suicide because
he realized that the Penan were history, his efforts were useless. To learn
more, read Simon Elegant’s September 3, 2001 cover story in Time Asia,
In l990, Manser wrote: “Each morning at dawn the gibbons howl and their
voices carry great distances, riding the thermal boundary created by the
cool of the forest and the warm air above as the sun strikes the canopy.
Penan never eat the eyes of the gibbons. They are afraid of losing themselves
in the horizon. They lack an inner horizon. They don’t separate dreams
from reality. If someone dreams that a tree limb falls on a camp, they
will move with the dawn.”
The other ecomartyr is a 36-year-old Brazilian activist named Ademir Alfeu
Federicci and nicknamed Dema. He was shot in the head by an unknown assailant
in front of his wife and children on August 21st of this year, apparently
because he vociferously opposed a hydroelectric dam that the Brazilian
government plans to build on the Xingu River, in southern Amazonia, and
because he had been making a huge stink about the illegal logging that
is going on in the region. Like Chico Mendes, who was the president of
the rubber-tappers’ union, Dema was the president of a union of small agricultural
workers. For more information, contact Tonya Hennessey at Greenpeace, firstname.lastname@example.org
On top of this, Greenpeace's own operations chief has just received a death
threat. see tonya's site. In the Amazon, such threats should be taken very
seriously, because they are often anuncio. Not threats, but announcements,
statements of fact, that you are dead meat, we're going to get you, you
can count on it that are designed to prolong and increase the victim's
suffering. See a past dispatch about Chico
“Where do you go if you’re young and the world comes to an end?
Do you go into history? ” Isabelle, a first grader in Montreal, quoted
in the Montreal Gazette.
How often do porcupines do it? Very carefully and very often. Improbable
as it seems, a porcupine copulates every day, 365 days a year, whether
it is in breeding season or not, Natalie Angier reports in the 7/10/01
New York Times
The preferred wood for violin bows is something called Pernambuco wood.
But there are only 2000 of Pernambuco trees left in the world, in northeastern
Brazil. For some reason, they aren’t being cultivated. My source,
a Montreal violin-maker, doesn’t know why. Maybe they can’t be cultivated.
A friend of mine named Kenny who runs a beautiful heiffer farm in Orwell,
Vermont, and is keenly observant of the weather and the seasons, told me
that last April started as the latest spring on record and ended as the
earliest. Due to the lingering heavy snowcover, followed by weeks of no
rain and record heat, which probably had something to do with global warming
and brought out the leaves and flowers weeks ahead of time and messed with
the timetables of the returning birds. This provides anecdotal support
for Dr. Terry Root’s chapter about the disruptive climate-change-related
effects on bird migration at the onset of spring and fall, in the latest
report of the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change.
Just got a call from Mervin Roberts, who is pushing eighty and works as
a consultant for a philanthropic institution called Maine Coastal Resources,
which was thinking of making a grant to a leper colony in the Amazon where
some Franciscan monks had reported 4000 destitute lepers were “eating garbage.”
Roberts went down to check it out before the grant was finalized. It turns
out that I visited the colony, which is seven miles from the city of Manaus,
in l976 and devoted a few paragraphs of my book, The Rivers Amazon, to
it. Roberts had read the book before going down and had called me to see
if I had any contacts or suggestions. Everything was as I had described
it, he reported, except that the Franciscans who were running the colony
had left, and so had all the lepers except for three. It was, as he described
it, a “depressed leper colony.” With the advent of the new sulfa drugs,
he explained, most lepers can be treated so that within six months they
are no longer contagious and can return to the general population, which
is what the other 3997 lepers had apparently done. Other healthy Amazonians
had moved into the abandoned compound with their families because there
was electric power “to run their boob tubes,” Roberts went on. “This place
doesn’t need American help. The people are better off than they are in
many parts of America.” So this is good news for Maine Coastal Resources,
I said to Roberts. It doesn’t have to make the grant. “I suppose,” he said,
“but I’m furious with the Franciscans. It didn’t pan out. That’s why these
benevolent organization have to be so careful before they send out the
Here’s a bulletin forwarded by David Simpson, a freelance environmental
editor in Kenya: for the last twenty years, 10,000 bears in China have
been imprisoned with catheters draining their gall bladders for shampoos,
aphrodisiacs, and “miraculous” remedies. There is heavy poaching of the
black bear in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, also for their gall
bladders, which are sold to Asian agents, who also make monthly stops at
local convenience stores to buy ginseng roots as far north as Vermont.
The news about the 100 to 400 remaining spirit bears, a recent item in
the Montreal Gazette reports, is much more heartening. The 100,000-hectare
Great Bear Rainforest has been set aside in British Columbia for this rare
white subspecies of black bear, also known as the kermode.
From another severe bout of resistant falciparum malaria (I nearly died
of blackwater fever, one of its complication, in the Peruvian Amazon in
l976) last fall which I picked up in Congo and came down with in the Adirondacks.
The minute you get the splitting headache, that means your lariam tablets
aren’t doing any good, he explained. Don’t ask any questions, just pop
three fancidars and a cocktail of the antibiotics kotexin and doxycyline.
There will be bulletins with this sort of practical advice for world travelers.
The composition of your tropical kit. This column could also have news
about and web addresses of organizations or individuals who are doing unusual
things in unusual places. Reader input welcome.
The international journal Autodafe is published through a partnership of
nine editors including Agra in Athens, Asa in Porto, Anagrama in Barcelona,
Denoël in Paris, Feltrinelli in Milan, Pangloss in Moscow, Serpent¹s
Tail in London, Seven Stories Press in New York and Ikusager in Vitoria,
in the Spanish Basque country. Issue n°2 http://www.autodafe.org/autodafe/autodafe_02/autodafe_02.htm
is being published these days.
The International Parliament of Writers opens its website.
Autodafe, The censored library
The journal Autodafe, appearing in eight languages, adds a multilingual
Internet site this fall christened http://www.autodafe.org/,
which serves as a relay and an extension of the publication¹s initiative.
A wide selection of writings published in the review Autodafe is available
on the site in four languages‹French, English, Spanish and Portugese‹original
articles in French and English will also be inserted regularly. The site¹s
three captions respond to its aim of addressing current world affairs,
literary efforts and issues dealt with by writers today:
Writings of authors giving their perspectives of given social or
political situations, such as violence or the death penalty in the United
States, the Basque dilemma, the Zapatista movement in the Mexican province
of Chiapas, war in the Balkans, contemporary Russia, etc..
Interviews with authors from all points of the world such as Afghanistan,
Congo-Brazzaville, Cuba, Algeria, China and Iraq, who are being hosted
in Asylum Cities and whose individual experiences strike a singularly common
note with those of their colleagues.
Analyses and thoughts on literary creativity, on its link to the
society that produces it and on the current status of cultural activities
and the examples of censoring currently practiced in the world.
Autodafe.org provides more
general coverage of the International Parliament of Writers and the Asylum
City network. The Parliament¹s history, a complete description of
the Asylum Cities program, a list of cities and regions that are members
of the network, as well as a presentation of writers hosted in them, and
a selection of some of their works are included on the site. A "Bookstore²
houses a section containing unpublished literary works that have been censored
throughout the world.
To be informed of the website updating, you can be registered in our
The editorial section of Autodafe both the publication and the
Internet site is intended to provide the following:
reactivate exchange nowadays injured not only by censorship but also
by the hegemony of the media - between writers of the five continents.
to make known contemporary literary works that are difficult to obtain
because they appear in minor languages, are excluded because of no funding
or are censored by political or religious powers.
to give the opportunity of self-expression, not only to individuals, but
to peoples and experiences struck mute, to vanishing cultures, to endangered
Communicate privately with Alex Shoumatoff by emailing
him at AlexShoumatoff@Shoumatopia.Com
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