Preface to "The Jaguar Children/Os meninos Jaguar"

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From the Defence of the Forest to the reconquest of the city

by Grazia Francescano

An endless tree of waters. Fingers of green liquid wandering in the hyperbolical green of the forest, moved by the confused fluid of the dreams. So appeared to me for the first time the Amazon river from the window of the Fokker that was leading me, on February 1989, to the historic meeting of the Xiangu’s indigenous populations, at Altamira: the same meeting that had drawed on the Amazonas in flame (9.500 fires in 1988, year record) the anxious eyes of the world.
"The forest and the rivers are our external organs as well as the heart and the lungs are those internal", so whispered José Lutzemberger, close to me. Founder of the modern Brazilian environmentalism and forerunner of the campaign to defend the Amazonian forest.
When the plane started rising on the squares devastated by the fires and by the cuttings, scattered here and there in the still immense vegetable blanket that seemed strips of skin whom somebody had roughly pulled out a plaster, on the hills furrowed by red-blood scars of the roads only just opened in the vegetation; and suddenly it opened wide, like a huge flayed San Bartolomeo, a sweep of hills skinned by fire, with naked mussels, then by a hair’s breadth I understood that the words of Luizembreger were not rhetoric. Yes, is true: the Earth is really Gaia, living organism which suffers and feels (as the English scientist James Lovelock suggest in his controversial Theory of Gaia, uphold that the biosphere acts like a whole living system, from him baptised with the name of the Greek goddess of the Earth).
The first message the Forest sent me was exactly the one that Marcia Theophilo commit to the jaguar children, protagonists of her marvellous epic poem, fluctuating and branched like the rivers of Amazonian: "What lives in the forest is inside the goddess". And the goddess is inside all of us. Therefore there’s no difference between animals and plants, between children and animals, between us and the nature. Each thing transform itself in other things, in a everlasting and magic metamorphosis that has been for centuries – and in part today still remains –part of the indigenous vision of the world.
A vision of the world that the western people to wipe out forever: not only with the physical destruction of the tropical forest, coffer that gather over 50% of the "biodiversity" (variety of the animal and vegetable species) of the planet, but also with the destruction of the cultural biodiversity, of the most different "reading of the universe" that the indigenous ethnos have for so long time preserved. Nature and memory wiped out together.
Against this last crime, the Jaguar goddess, evoked by Márcia, shows the most frail host but also the most powerful of the world: the children-animals, her children pushed by the bulldozers and from the destructive fire through the urban jungles that in the Two thousand will host majority of the Brasilian populations and of the so called Third World.
The children of the favelas and the ruas, which they meet in desperate but unite "street tribes", to defend from the "new beasts" in the "cruel forest" of the city. The population of children that, in the hopes of Márcia and ours, from here will start his rebellion, "his protest of the twisting of the World".
Dream of a poet-jaguar, able in her poetry to penetrate in each and every living
come inside each living being, to fly with the royal hawk and jump in the waves with the boto vermelho, the magic pink dolphin of Rio? Utopia of a daughter of Amazonian who to the soul of the forest asks help to
No, is more than this. Because the eyes of true poets are "light and memory", as well as the ones of the Jaguar goodness, in this Márcia Theóphilo’s luxuriant fluvial poem , shows a path, a direction of the route.
Is not a coincidence, is not a sheer if the long path which brings from the forest of hummingbirds to the urban jungle of the children-jaguar are already finding united companions. For example, the WWF. In the latest past years it has been among the most active in promoting the campaign to defend the tropical forests(…).
"A poetic revolution, a revolution of the conscience". Writes Márcia. The children jaguar don’t "attack something, but defend life, the entire life.
"Maybe somebody will listen to them", ends up the poet. Surely she has already listened , and enabled us to listen too. And than? Won’t be enough, say the sceptics. Who can say: the jaguar is silent, nobody can hear him in the forest. Unless he jumps, is when he shakes the cosmos.

Grazia Francescato WWF President – Italy


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