The meeting between these two people is not only exciting, it is also surprising; a priori, two extraordinary destinies that everything opposes. An early environmental activist Indian chief and a world-class Rock Star.
One is an Indian chief, a historic defender of the Amazon rainforest, and arguably the most famous indigenous chief on the planet. Ambassador of his people on the subject of deforestation and for the defense of indigenous culture, tireless defender of the environment, the indigenous leader Raoni embarked on a final adventure by filing a complaint against Jair Bolsonaro for "crimes against humanity" for his "last mission": the recognition and delimitation of the natives’ ancestral lands.
The other person is an English musician and singer, composer, and bassist of the group The Police, and this trio experienced worldwide success. Even more committed in his solo career, the former leader of the group The Police performed the song Fragile, followed by the hit Message in a Bottle, to the loud applause of his fans. During the reopening of the Bataclan in Paris, which had been closed since the attack of November 13, 2015, he performed alongside French rock star Mylène Farmer, performing the hit “Stolen Car”. During his career, he has always got involved in various causes, and has been campaigning to preserve the planet for more than thirty years.
In 1988, musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, created the Rain Forest Foundation (with the Belgian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Dutilleux), at the request of chef Raoni. This was to support the Kayapo people, in order to protect their traditional lands and their culture.
Using notoriety for the service of others
The fight led by these 2 men was to be the preservation of the Amazonian forest and its inhabitants, and the story begins in 1989. That year, the cacique (or native chief) Raoni Metuktire, engaged in a tour of 17 countries alongside the singer Sting, who offered him his stage and his notoriety as a spokesperson, to defend the rights of the native Indians of Brazil and the Amazon rainforest. The objective for Chief Raoni was to raise funds while aiming to initiate a campaign of awareness regarding deforestation, and thus, thanks to this tour, to spread his message on a planetary scale.
This collaboration resulted in a historic success
Since then, he has experienced media exposure throughout the whirlwind of an era. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the indigenous peoples, the demarcation of lands and the defense of the indigenous cultures. Several “Rainforest Foundations” were created around the world, and the G7 released funds for the demarcation of indigenous reserves in Brazil.
Even if awareness campaigns concerning the future of the Amazon rainforest were not new, this fight has remained a real battle horse for the British singer, who recently did not hesitate to criticize the Brazilian powers who are in place, to denounce the increase in forest fires in the Amazon.
The British star assures us that he "Keeps up hope". “My strategy in life is to always be optimistic.”
Threats are still looming
It's David's fight against Goliath, but Raoni, despite his age, never gives up. Deforestation, which had dropped dramatically in the Amazon from 2004 to 2012, was on the rise again in January 2019, an increase of over 54% compared to January 2018, according to the NGO Imazon. Despite having contracted Covid-19, and losing his wife to a cerebral accident, Raoni continues his fight.
Raoni Matuktire has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for "crimes against humanity." Under question: the persecution and destruction of the habitat of the indigenous peoples of the Amazonian forest AND "Destruction of the Amazonian forest," essential for the regulation of the climate, and hit by record fires in 2020, "constitutes a direct danger not only for Brazilians but also for all humanity,” the complaint points out.
The plaintiffs allege that this state policy leads to “murders,” “forcible population transfers” and “persecutions,” constituting "crimes against humanity” as defined by the Rome Statute of the ICC.
Environmentalists believe that one of the best ways to preserve these areas is to officially recognize them as indigenous lands, where any mining or non-traditional agricultural activity is prohibited.
We all breathe the same air, we all drink the same water, we all live on one Earth. We all have to protect our Planet.
In our home, the invasions have started again. Lumberjacks and gold diggers do not respect the reserves. We do not have the means to protect this immense forest of which we are the guardians for all of you.
I need your support. And I'm asking you before it's too late.
For more than forty years, he has been the tireless guardian of the Amazon rainforest. He has spent four decades meeting the high dignitaries of this world, collecting promises, some of which have been kept and some not. But no one is eternal and Raoni, now 90 years old, is counting on all humanity so that peace will finally reign.
"Teach our children a world without conflict, without quarrel, without war", preaches Raoni Metuktire at each of his steps in the world. ©Le Point.