During the month of December, my wife and I renewed the National Geographic Magazine. It is one of those magazines that has been around longer than we have.
During the years of subscribing to it, I have seldom read the articles. Not only because the pictures capture my attention, but because the prose never engaged me. Not so with at least one article in the January 2014 edition.
Everyone should read “Kayapo Courage.” We found it captivating. It even employed our highlighters.
Kayapo, an Amazon tribe in northern Brazil, is an endangered species. All because “civilization” wants to dam their river and take the wood from their forests.
I think of us, you and I, as representing the civilized world. Standing by, we are indirectly destroying for profit their habitat. By us only watching what happens to the Kayapo, we should be held accountable for our inaction, but we are not.
We know our ancestors kicked out the American Indians from what was rightfully theirs. How then, some wonder, can we throw stones at other countries still doing it now. Aren’t we a pot calling the kettle black?
Life is complicated, or so we seem to make it. Having had the American Indian experience in North America, why can’t we, rather than projecting our guilt for the benefit of the oppressor, help the Kayapo out? As with the elephants, I don’t have an answer.
I guess, for now, my wife and I are just going to write small checks. We do so for the elephants, and as soon as we find out how to do so for the Kayapo, we will.
In the end, how can $50 or$100 a year be of much help? This is my human dilemma. How can we do better at helping those who are oppressed? Aren’t we all sharing a common place?