Friday, April 30, 2010

Reflections on the journey to Bolivia

Reflections on the journey to Bolivia
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Photos: President Evo Morales, playing soccer in Colomi; Photo 2: President Morales at the traditional feast after the game in his community 0f Colomi, Bolivia. Photos by Brenda Norrell.

Now, that the World Climate Conference and journey to Bolivia is almost behind me, it is a good time to reflect on this incredible experience. I really was not prepared to nearly die in La Paz, with its altitude of 13,000 feet, or wind up in an ambulance on oxygen in Cochabamba, then on oxygen again at the airport.

Then, again, I could not have imagined that even though I could not walk or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time, that I would still be able to travel up the mountains in a press bus, and watch President Evo Morales play soccer. It was a great joy to be with the Bolivian people in Colomi and share their bounty of fresh foods, delicious fish, beans, corn and other traditional foods. The spirit in the room, with the cheering and kindness, reminded me of a Navajo basketball game. Here the homemade food was ice cream and there were firecrackers. It felt good to walk away with a Bolivian flag on a slender bamboo pole.

It was sad to see the lack of press coverage in the United States of such a powerful world event, and sadder still to see the spin articles attempting to discredit President Evo Morales. I didn't meet any US media while I was in Bolivia, but the press was well represented from Europe and South America.

The US media has been plummeting like a long-beaked bird who died in flight, straight for the earth. It seems to have smashed into the ground at this point. Sadly, now newspapers rely on the armchair journalists, who sit at home and write from written statements, or plagiarize the work of others. Because they are not present, they rely on sarcasm, rather than facts, and spend a great deal of time attempting to make themselves look clever. A look at most of the US news articles on the conference reveals that the bird smashed to the ground and the last publications still paying reporters are now cannibalizing, eating their own.

Indigenous Peoples from throughout the world made incredible sacrifices to be in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to take part in this effort to rescue the planet from the satanic force of the corporate rape of Mother Earth. They came to ensure that the forests, mountains, oceans, lakes, streams, jungles and the very air we breathe, will still be there for future generations.

For those who traveled across continents, with little or no money, it was extremely difficult to reach Bolivia. But in the end, there were not 5,000 people, or even the 10,000 people as expected, there were 35,000 people, ready to work hard for a better world and preservation of this planet. Navajos said the message of living in harmony with Mother Earth, reflects the Dine' way of Walking Beauty.

The final declaration of the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth offers a great deal to reflect on, as does the final statement from the working group of Indigenous Peoples.

Today, as I near the end of this great journey, I am reflecting on this paragraph from the final declaration of the people:

"Knowledge is universal, and should for no reason be the object of private property or private use, nor should its application in the form of technology. Developed countries have a responsibility to share their technology with developing countries, to build research centers in developing countries for the creation of technologies and innovations, and defend and promote their development and application for 'living well.' The world must recover and re-learn ancestral principles and approaches from native peoples to stop the destruction of the planet, as well as promote ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to recuperate the capacity for 'living well' in harmony with Mother Earth."

The Peoples Agreement (official translation of the final declaration):
Final declaration of the working group of Indigenous Peoples

1 comment:

Mary Ann M said...

How important your report is. Is there any way to use the Internet. To further spread what you said. I did't do very well in La Paz last summer, altitude iis hard.

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Censored News rarely receives donations. It is reader supported news, with no advertising, grants or salaries. Please donate so we can continue live coverage in 2015! Censored News is in its 9th year! Thank you! About Censored News Censored News was created in response to censorship by Indian Country Today. Censored News publisher Brenda Norrell was a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, when she was censored repeatedly and terminated in 2006. Now in its 9th year with no advertising, grants or sponsors, Censored News continues as a labor of love, a service to grassroots Indigenous Peoples and human rights advocates. Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 33 years, beginning at Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She served as a stringer for AP and USA Today on the Navajo Nation and later was based in Tucson and traveled with the Zapatistas in Mexico. After being blacklisted by all the paying media, Norrell has continued to work without pay, providing live coverage with Earthcycles from Indian lands across the US, including live coverage of the Longest Walk, with the five month live talk radio across America in 2008.