Green Hell: Massacre of the Brazilian Indians by Lucien Bodard
An excerpt from the book Green Hell: Massacre of the Brazillian Indians by Lucien Bodard a look at the Indians in the Amazon.
GREEN HELL: MASSACRE OF THE BRAZILIAN INDIANS by Lucien Bodard. New York: Outer-bridge and Dienstfrey; E. P. Dutton and Company, 1971.
About the Book: The fantastic world of the Amazonian forest, a green hell where all is possible, is compassionately described by one of France's foremost journalists. The current "opening" of the interior is set against a rush of earlier events-slavery, rubber, gold, and diamonds-all of which led to the decimation of human lives. Incredible as some of the accounts seem, one truth powerfully confronts the reader: Brasilia itself is a monument to the destruction of the Indians.
From the Book:
Four hundred years of death. In the early days, for one or two centuries, the civilized made fantastic efforts to tame the Indians and get something useful out of them. The settlers wanted to use their bodies for hard labor in their plantations and mines. The men of God, while trying to save their bodies, wished to acquire their souls. First it was the Indians' arrows, and later their resistance (through a passivity equivalent to suicide), that touched off the whites' rage. So the whites killed. No living Indian had brought them any gain, except for the women who brought into the world those dour, tragic and abandoned half-castes who were eventually to become the instruments for liquidating other Indians.
As a matter of fact . . . aerial bombardment and the manhunt are frowned upon by the connoisseurs. According to them, one receives better value by proceeding, these days, with the gentle approach, by strychnine or smallpox. It is more efficient, yet less obvious. In Rondonia, how many little Indians died without any fuss, after sucking candy! Brutal killers, the Chico Luises and their ilk, pursue an outmoded profession. So much better to have an intelligent, good-hearted white to go to the tribes in the very heart of the jungle! He must first win the confidence of the Indians. A long and delicate task. He avoids arousing their suspicion by an excess of gifts, proposing trade instead. He says to the Indians: "Kill the animals for me and give me their furs; collect gold from the river, and in exchange, I'll bring you sacks of salt and sugar." The deal is made: for several hundred skins and several pounds of precious metal, the Indians get tons and tons of salt and sugar--impregnated with arsenic. The white removes himself before the Indians begin to eat and die. It is to his interest to leave fast.
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