The commodities people came first for the gold, possessed by the illusion of treasure and glory, stupid enough to not understand that the wealth was what they crushed beneath their boots. Behind them came some priests called Jesuits, who gathered the Indigenous to put them on their knees. They didn’t kill them with gunpowder or enslave them, like the men in boots did. The men in frocks tried to steal their souls and turn them into others, likewise a kind of death. The men in boots left devastation, blood, and fleas behind. Children, too, sometimes. The men in frocks bequeathed submission and crosses bearing the image of a man just like them, nailed to the wood. They told a strange story about him, and I really like stories. First they killed their god and then they worshipped him, which says a lot about these dominant humans.
Much later, Evangelicals came along and killed, too, spreading viruses with the spittle from their sermons. At present they occupy the state and become a greater threat every day, as they try to go farther and deeper inside. It seems they want to devour all the world’s souls, and now, they use their power to target the ancient peoples, who penetrated me and the forest so they wouldn’t be found. The ones the commodities people call “isolated Indigenous peoples.” I should explain that I hold nothing against any religion, and I live peacefully with all creators. In fact, Xingu, the name the ancients gave me, means “dwelling place of the gods.” However, I want to denounce those who use religion to mask their greed for land and gold. They don’t want to touch hearts and spirits but to appropriate territory and convert it into commodities.
Of all the worlds spinning on this planet, this forest, of which I am part, is the most biodiverse. And this forest, which is over 50 million years old, is now being murdered along with me by those who call me a resource and who, when they look at the forest, only see more resources. Nowadays, they look at us and their eyes turn us into commodities. I should tell you that the commodities people aren’t just American and European. More recently, they’re also Chinese. Today, these humans whom I’d never seen here navigate and fly over me. They’re everywhere, speaking a language I’ve just started learning. While we’re being consumed on the other side of the planet, the forest and I are becoming desert, ever nearer to what scientists call the point of no return. The dominant humans—whether they speak Portuguese or Spanish, as during the first colonizing furor, or English, as during the continuing second furor, or Chinese—battled each other for commodities but have much more in common than they imagine: They are all great builders of ruins.
I don’t expect to understand you, commodities people. I’ve tried but couldn’t. Even now, I must stop writing to catch my breath because you’ve poisoned me with mercury and other heavy metals, and I’m writhing in agony. When you poison me, the fish who live in me are poisoned, and the humans who eat the fish are poisoned. In all these millions of years, I’d never seen people who set their own home ablaze and poison their own water and food. That’s how I die while also killing. This idea is unbearable to me, because not only do they murder me, they turn me into an accomplice, too.