29 de maio de 2024

Amazonidas, presentes!


Increasingly present in the press, social networks, and corporate communication, the Brazilian Portuguese word “Amazonidas” (“Amazonites” in brazilian portuguese) has already been the subject of controversy and has even been “corrected” in some spaces.

When using it, we do not refer to those born in the state of Amazonas, described in the demonym “Amazonense” (“amazonian” in Brazilian portuguese), as some dictionaries highlight when explaining the word’s meaning.

So, what is the real meaning of Amazonida?

The explanation requires a retrospect to understand what was and remains of this vast state born under the signs of the rainforest and the waters.

Even among those millions born in the states of the Amazon region, some still have little or no identification with what it is to be an Amazonida and find the word a little odd. The reason may be the fragmentation of our identities due to favoring state identities, where rivalry is stimulated to the detriment of the historical and cultural ties that unite us.

We have already noticed gradual change, and the word has become increasingly used in lectures, articles, classes, and discussions when the theme is the region.

It should be noted that the use of the word “Amazonida” was registered internationally for the first time in 1990. The proclaimer was journalist Lucio Flavio Pinto, author of more than 20 books on the region and editor of the “Jornal Pessoal,” an alternative outlet produced in Belem (PA) since 1987. On that occasion, he spoke in Paris at the session of the People’s Tribunal (formerly the Russell Tribunal) dedicated to the Amazon. Pinto explained that he wanted to delimit Amazonida citizens in a political and philosophical position, distinguishing them among those aware of the region, its colonial condition, and exploitation. Thus, they are negligent and participate in the region’s political struggle.

Pinto says that the use of the expression caused immediate reactions. It bothered by suggesting a specific regional condition and was criticized for the alleged exclusion of the Amazon from a “unique and equal” Brazil.

We are not equal, and we will never be.

Our historical trajectory and social, political, and economic dynamics are entirely different from the rest of the country. Let us remember the political separation when the then Grao-Para was not Brazil, and there were two different colonies for more than two centuries.

We are nationally and internationally under the aegis of stereotyped exuberance and the immense condition of our region. We are indeed an inseparable part of nature. And it is essential to understand ourselves in our territory and ancestry, even with the constant efforts to draw from us the traits of the original peoples who built us.

As Pinto explains, the Amazon’s ethos is seriously injured by attacks on the life system that adds up to the “cycle of sun, water, and forest.” We are also the result of syncretisms and a social framework earmarked by slavery and resistance, absences and silences, similarities and ambiguities.

We are riparians, caboclos, Indigenous, Quilombolas, small farmers, students, teachers, journalists, and workers of every craft – finally, we are social subjects of the floodplain and the land. And we are singular. We are many Amazonidas. We have taken on styles, customs, and cultural practices, even without the political recognition of our existence. Even in a progressive transformation process, stereotypes have reduced us to isolated beings in time and space.

As sociologist and researcher Violeta Refkalefsky points out, we were subjected to a centuries-old project of cultural and racial inferiorization that underestimates our complexity. Even so, we keep strengthening our symbolic exchanges; we have maintained our culture and traditions and refuse the frame of Eurocentric civilization.

Therefore, to understand the Amazon, we must recognize the social groups that make up our territory. It is necessary to understand our people in their gestures, accents, struggles, and everyday lives, where the cultural manifestations and practices that make us proud are found. And also realize the contradictions that build social landscapes very different from the harmony and romanticism that inhabit the ideas on the Amazon.

In fact, today, we are tomorrow. The 30th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP30) is scheduled for Belem next year, but it has already arrived here with its challenges and expectations.

We are waiting for a world of people to discuss the world here and experience our world.

Everyone will be looking at us, and we want to be looked at and heard.

It is time to try to deconstruct the Amazon that has been invented and reinvented several times, opening up space for the Amazonida singularities that remain here—in an intricate game of stereotypes and silences—trying to empty the ideals imposed on us and challenging those who underestimate our complexity.

We are Amazonidas, and we are here to stay!



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