28 May

We interviewed Javier Moro, author of “Paths of Freedom”

Javier Moro wrote a book about the life of Chico Mendes

Dear Javier Moro, this interview contains questions asked by architecture and urban-planning students and professors of the Federal University of Amapá. Your book raised strong curiosity in the students and we ask you to kindly answer some questions.

Renato Lobato-At present, the story of Chico Mendes and his fight in defense of rubber-tapper rights is globally known; most of such knowledge is owed to your book; however, what was it like to you to get to know such an important portion of the Brazilian history (the rubber cycle and the whole migration process that attracted thousands of people to the region), and what factor (or factors) led you to write the book?

Javier Moro-My background is connected to anthropology and I have always been interested in Amazon cultures. I was in Brazil in December 1998 conducting a research study about American anthropologist Darrell Posey and about the chief of Kayapo Paiakan Indians (both of them had been accused of sabotage against the construction of a hydroelectric dam and were threatened to be killed) when Chico Mendes was murdered. I took the plane and got there for Chico Mendes funeral. What I saw, the environment I perceived, the story I found out about all those rubber tappers touched me. I decided to stay there and document everything I discovered, with the idea of compiling the data into a book with all those Amazon stories. Soon, with the help of abundant bibliography about the region, I was able to reconstruct the rubber epic and all the rest…

Bianca Moro de Carvalho– We were curious about the richness of detail of the landscape and life of Amazon region dwellers; we though the film Fitzcarraldo, directed by Werner Herzog, had been the greatest boldness of experiencing a story in the Amazon region, but your book exceeds all this. How could you get to such richness of detail?

Javier Moro-Simply because I spent two years travelling through the Amazon region taking notes and conducting interviews, before I started writing the book. I lived with a family of rubber tappers to be able to find out what their lives was like; I talked to some miners and farmers in Redenção (State of Pará) and Rio Branco; I was a guest at Bishop Moacyr Grechi’s and Gilson Pescador’s and they told me about their lives at home. To be able to write stories, I have to get acquainted with the places, smell them, listen to them, and feel them.

Suéllen Conceição– Your book Caminhos da Liberdade (Paths of Freedom) is connected with the main objective of the characters in the story in search for a democratic Amazon region with environmental values. Do you believe it is fundamental to have passion to defend something gigantic? Did passion occur and does it still occur with Chico Mendes and the other characters involved in the book saga?

Javier Moro-You have to be passionate in everything you do in your life. However, in addition to the passion of the characters, there is a conflict of interests of populations in general.

Renato Lobato– The Amazon region is one of the greatest assets of mankind and, according to what we read in your book, you are a great expert on that reality; however, there is still a lot to be done, in terms of both social and environmental issues. In that context, what is your opinion for the next paths to freedom for the Amazon region, to make it more and more relevant both for Brazilians and for the world?

Javier Moro-It is important to get to a social pact to preserve the forest. The interests at stake are mutually conflicting. The poor need land, and the Indians too; you can’t forget to meet people’s needs. I believe that only by rationalizing people’s needs one can reach an agreement. The Amazon region will survive if all people reach an agreement about the manner of exploitation.

Bianca Moro de Carvalho-Mary Allegreti is another very important person in the instruction of Chico Mendes. Wouldn’t she be the real warrior who opened new paths for the peoples of the Amazon region?

Javier Moro-Mary Allegreti was really important for the world to get to know the reality of rubber tappers. It’s been a long time since I heard from her. I’d like to see her again.

Suéllen Conceição and Neto Corrêa-Freedom is a path reached through education. Knowledge transforms the lives of people. A clear example is Marina Silva who, in our last elections for President, attained the third position with an expressive vote. In your opinion, how can information and education become more accessible? And how can we make the awareness of the Amazon people viable by prioritizing human rights and environmental issues?

Javier Moro-Brazil had a great progress in the field of education and distribution of basic products to families and all this… Obligatory education is fundamental, but I believe it already exists in Brazil. What happens is that the country comes from a past of extreme poverty that fortunately is being reduced. Time is short. I am not an expert in education themes to give you a good answer. I’m just a story teller.

The Green Club- We thank you for your special participation. It was an enriching experience for those who were born in the Amazon region and did not know the story of Chico Mendes and we hope the Amazon region will always be present in your literature. And, as your fans, we are curious about your current projects.

Javier Moro-I am writing a book about the First Empire in Brazil. It is a historical novel and I hope you like it. I also believe the book will help you understand the roots of Brazilians of today. I hope it will be available in early 2012.

It was an honor to be with you all. For further information, you know how to reach me.



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