An Obituary for Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips and the countless others who have disappeared in pursuit of ecosocial justice.

Last week, the bodies of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips arrived in Brasilia. We find a good part of our tragedies brutally engraved onto these dilacerated bodies. The corpses speak of the war that consumes Brazil and in which we are all soldiers, even though silence may penetrate our screams and we try to keep living normally. But a war has many sides. Nothing requires a more radical stance than war. Relativization is not possible. Bruno Pereira’s case, in specific, is a clear and important lesson on this war. For a couple of years, Bruno Pereira, a public worker in the most noble sense of the term, organized the FUNAI’s* sector dedicated to protecting isolated indigenous communities, the most fragile of originary people.

Bruno dared to be coherent, dedicated, correct, competent, and courageous. He did what was expected of him, he did what his country, Constitution, ethics, and the defense of human rights demanded, and his personal, professional, and spiritual choices transformed his life into a mission. It happens, however, that Bruno was all this at the wrong time, during the accursed government, in a new political Dark Ages that chokes the country and transforms Evil into a new virtue. Especially in the areas that bolsonaro waged war against: the defense of our climate and the protection of Indigenous rights. And as part of this declaration of war, he united his army: all the predators (big and small), corporate and political bandits dedicated to the invasion of the Amazon—the main objective of his cruel, idiotic, ignorant and truculent project. The Axis of Evil rose to power and started to materialize their destructive objectives without any prudery or hesitation. So Bruno was killed for being, along with other workers of FUNAI, Ibama**, ICMbio***—also targeted—a barrier protecting the Amazon from being handed to its invaders. 

One of the most striking moments to understand this war is the State’s reaction to the burning, solicited by Bruno to the Federal Police in 2019, of boats belonging to miners, deforesters, and land grabbers in protected areas. Everything requested within the domains of the Law, to interrupt an activity highly dangerous to the global environment, and to the lives of the Indigenous groups in the Javari region.  

For doing his duty, Bruno was disavowed and the narcos, goldmines, river-poisoners, and agribusiness henchmen became emboldened. The message was clear: bolsonaro has opened up the Amazon for extraction. 

In response, Bruno counter-attacked with weapons that a bolsonarista would never understand: he left FUNAI to continue to exercise his duty as a decent and dedicated public worker, in the protection for the isolated Indigenous groups in the Javari region. He affiliated himself with UNIJAVA, an Indigenous organization, and to other indigenists and environmentalist to undergo a superhuman task: to protect the Amazon from her predators, which consists In large part the Brazilian State. Bolsonaro forgot that you can’t control people who care. It’s like he didn’t pay attention to what happened during our military dictatorship that he so praises: thousands went to fight and resist, at the expense of their own lives, and the dictatorship fell. Oh how you will soon fall, Bolsonaro! 

On the contrary to what the fascists think, Bruno did not die. Neither did those activists who faced a similar destiny. They are stronger than all of you, fascists of shit! The Amazon will survive, with everything that she and her defenders believe in.

Meanwhile, there is no way of escaping and there is no room for ambiguity: choose your side. And, once more, a luta continua!

By Maristela Bernardo 

Translated in good faith by the ABF.

*National Indigenous Foundation

**Brazilian Institute of Environment

***Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation