The Amazon Is on Fire—Indigenous Rights Can Help Put It Out

August 26, 2019
By Naomi Klein

It was an epic case of projection. Lashing out at the attacks on his Amazon-incinerating policies, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused French President Emmanuel Macron of having a “colonial mindset.”

 

The not even vaguely funny joke is that it is Bolsonaro who has unleashed a wave of unmasked colonial violence inside his country. This is a politician who came to power railing against indigenous people, casting their land rights as an unacceptable barrier to development in the Amazon, where cultures intrinsically linked to the rainforest have consistently resisted mega projects and the expanding frontier of agribusiness. “If I become president there will not be a centimeter more of indigenous land,” he said, while ominously declaring that “we’re going to give a rifle and a carry permit to every farmer.”