Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recognizing a Mapuche State

The following article has been circulating in some pro-democracy, Latin American blogs and was written Santiago Belmonte. The title of this article is Recognizing a Mapuche State and was written in response to the announcement of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil that they would recognize a Palestinian State.

The Mapuche mentioned in the title are an indigenous people from Southwestern Argentina and South Chile. As most indigenous tribes in these regions, they were killed, persecuted, discriminated against and forced to integrate into the dominant societies. Attempts by Mapuche activists to get recognition resulted in their being prosecuted under counter-terrorism laws. It goes without saying that Mapuche terrorism has been insignificant by international standards and limited to some fires, burning of some structures and some threats. With this background in mind, here is my translation. As with other translations I undertook, all great points are Mr. Belmondo’s. All errors are mine.

Recognizing a Mapuche State, by Santiago Belmondo

The governments of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have announced the recognition of a Palestinian State. This, they claim, is based on “sentiments of justice, and their traditional lines in the defense of human rights.” Logically, any fool would recognize that their reasons are based on self-interest in no way related to their claims. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the functionaries of the respective governments mentioned expressed this recognition impulsively and with plenty of missinformation.

First let us clarify one element that is public knowledge: No Palestinian State exists. Even the future inhabitants have not proclaimed such a state. Second, the aforementioned functionaries have announced that for a Palestinian state to be viable, “Israel should withdraw to the pre-1967 borders.” It seems that these governments chose to ignore that there never were nor are there today recognized borders among the parties in the Middle East conflict. What existed between 1948 and 1967 was a provisional armistice not negotiated with any Palestinian leader, but with Jordan, which since the beginning of the British Mandate had been known as Transjordan. Trans meaning adjacent to the Jordan River. Argentinean functionaries choose to forget that their government resolved to abstain when in 1947 the United Nations voted a partition plan dividing the land between Jews and Arabs.

Having clarified this point, we are left to ponder if Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have solved all their problems, if they have resolved all the injustices within their own territories. Are they also prepared to recognize a Kurdish state for the Kurds who are systematically massacred by Iraq and Turkey? And just to name a few; are they ready to fight for the freedom of Tibet and for the rights of those who are systematically exterminated in Somalia and Eritrea?

But let us not go so far away. Let us stay here among the Catholic South American countries. I mentioned Catholic because it would seem that a good Catholic has read the Bible and is aware to whom the land belongs where the State of Israel is located. Those who have read history are aware that the Jews have been forced into exile by Babylonians and Romans, but for two millennia never ceased to yearn and clamor for a return to the land of their ancestors. And now they have returned closing the cycle of exile. Those Catholics who have read the Bible are also aware that that nowhere is there mention of the term Palestinian, nor is there mention of an ethnic entity that could be recognized under such term.

But something completely different occurs in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. There everything occurred in reverse. The original populations and their descendants and legitimate owners of the lands in those countries have been systematically assassinated in bloody genocides, and deprived of their rights by Spanish and Portuguese invaders. Much more just and urgent than the aspirations of the Palestinians is the immediate recognition of a Mapuche State which like the aforementioned Palestinian one has not been proclaimed, has no recognizable boundaries but does have legitimate claims. Should we remind Argentina of the systematic annihilation of the Ranqueles in the XIX century, and the occupation of territories that belonged to the Huarpes, Puelches, Tehuelches, Tobas, Kollas, Diaguitas, and Querandies? Should we remind Uruguay of the genocide of the Churruas, and the expropriation of their lands? Should we remind Brazil of the complete extermination of indigenous nations like the Tupi, Parana, Marubo, Enawene, Nave, Chiripas, Maxakali and Kahingang, besides the expulsion of hundreds of tribes from their land to enrich a few powerful and unscrupulous businessmen in complicity with the Brazilian state.

If Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are so concerned with the tribulations of marginalized peoples, shouldn’t they start by restituting the property in their countries to their legitimate owners? Shouldn’t they pay compensation for all the suffering they are causing and have caused for centuries?

Conquistadores exterminating and enslaving Mapuches

Dealing with Mapuche activists

This writer, therefore, recognizes immediately, and recommends to institutions around the world to likewise recognize the establishment of a Mapuche State, a Tupi State and the hundreds of smaller, but no less legitimate states in lands currently occupied by Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

1 comment:

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