The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest
by Andrew Revkin
I like some of the music by Mana, and one of their songs "Cuando los Angeles Lloran" begins like this:
A chico Méndez lo mataron
Era un defensor y un ángel de toda la amazonia
él murío a sangre fría
Lo sabía Collor De Melo y también la policia
Roughly translated, that says:
They killed Chico Mendez
He was a defender and angel of all the Amazon
He died in cold blood
Collor de Mello knew it, and so did the police...
I had no idea what this song was really about, until I read The Burning Season, one of the books my husband brought into our home. In an easy-flowing, detailed narrative, Revkin relates the plight of the Amazon rainforest, and political turmoil in Brazil. Chico Mendes was a native Brazilian whose living came from extracting rubber and gathering brazil nuts from the trees, in a carefully planned manner which left little impact on the forest and kept the resource renewable. In 1988 he was murdered by a group with conflicting interests: cattle ranchers who were clearing the land for their own use. I felt astonished, dismayed and outraged at what I read in this book. It taught me a lot about an issue I've always heard of, but felt far removed from. Have any of you read this book?
Rating: 4/5 ........ 336 pages, 1994