If you’ve read the latest chapters of my superhero book, you already met the mysterious “friend” my main character, Roberto, tries to hide. Rob is a druid, from an old tribe of native Brazilians from Amazon and, as you’ll discover today, he has someone close to him. This someone’s name is “Anhangá” and he was based on one of the most terrifying and yet beautiful tales in Brazilian folklore.
For my indigenous ancestors, Anhangá (like Curupira, another of Brazilian’s folklore character) is a protector of the Amazon Forest and he’d do anything to defend it, including to kill those who disrespected it. The tale of Anhangá, like most folklore and mythology stories around the globe, was created to:
- Explain nature before science could;
- Work as a warning against the dangers of the world;
- Teach the young how to properly behave before something (the forest, in this case), and
- Dwell on human nature.
In Anhangá’s tale, if a man or woman decided to hunt in His forest, they’d need to leave tobacco and alcohol for Anhangá, as a tribute. Still, if they made anything considered disrespectful to the forest or its animals, they’d be severely punished, no matter how many gifts they offered Him.
Anhangá’s tale is about the respect and the reverence the indigenous people had for the forest. It’s about respecting nature for its Sanctity, for its preciosity. And it’s about people living in peace with it.
This is NOT what’s happening in Brazil right now. Comparing August 2019 with the same period of 2018, we had an 83% increase in the forest fires. Yesterday, the sky from my window was dark, marred with the ashes of trees that burned more 3000 kilometers away from my place. Yesterday’s rain had traces of soot.
To make matters worse, the beast who calls himself our president decided to cast the blame on the people trying to save the Amazon Rainforest when 60% of the fires in the past months happened in private properties registered in the Bazilian register of Environmental Agriculture (in a free translation) and more than 20%, according to experts, are a result of it, what means these rich, selfish, greedy men probably had the government’s blessings to do so.
Honestly, I’m heartbroken. I cried today for most of my afternoon because that’s not the first time Brazil’s leadership shows how unprepared, foolish, and ignorant they are. They’ve been cutting the money for cultural projects and literature initiatives, and now they’re expanding the damages to one of the most sacred and beautiful things our planet has. I’m saddened to say I’m deeply ashamed of my country right now.
Roberto Tiaraju Tapir and Anhangá (along with a few other characters from BISCA and many others from my other books) were created to celebrate my native Brazilian heritage, but I fear the day they’ll represent something beautiful that ceased to exist.
Right now, sitting on a comfortable chair in the heart of the “richest” city in Brazil, I’m wishing with all my heart Anhangá could be more than just an old Tupi, Mawé, and Ahiag tale. I wish he could be real, to protect our forest… and to punish those responsible for what’s happening right now.
Unfortunately, neither He or Roberto live in our reality (they could never dwell too far from our minds and hearts)–so the only thing left for me to do is to hope the popular pressure is enough to force the government take action. Before it’s too late.