A cry of alarm necessary. Famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado launched an online petition on Sunday signed by stars like Brad Pitt, Madonna and Paul McCartney, calling for " urgent measures " from public authorities to protect the natives from the coronavirus. " The indigenous peoples of Brazil risk being decimated by the Covid-19 if urgent measures are not taken to protect them, " read the petition, already signed by nearly 150,000 people on Monday morning.
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Among the signatories, many movie stars, such as actors Sylvester Stallone, Meryl Streep, Richard Gere or Juliette Binoche, but also directors like Pedro Almodovar or Guillermo Del Toro. Prince Albert of Monaco, Nicolas Hulot and Sting also signed the petition, as well as top models Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bundchen or the Brazilian singers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.
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The faces of these stars appear at the beginning of a video designed by the Brazilian Fernando Meirelles, director of La Cité de Dieu (2002) and des Deux Papes (2019). On this video circulating on social networks, we can also see black and white photos of natives, taken by Sebastião Salgado in the Amazon.
" These ethnic groups have been decimated for five centuries by the diseases brought by European colonizers (...) Today, with this new plague, these native communities risk being totally eradicated, defenseless against the coronavirus , denounces the petition. Their situation is doubly critical, because the territories recognized as the exclusive use of the indigenous populations are illegally invaded by gold washers, timber traffickers or farmers who appropriate their lands, ”the text specifies.
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In the video, Sebastião Salgado calls " the President of the Republic, the leaders of the Congress and the judiciary in Brazil " to put an end to these intrusions and to " ensure the protection " of the native peoples. " Brazil owes a debt to its first inhabitants, it's time to do what should have been done a long time ago, " concludes photographer. The state of Amazonas (North), where the largest number of indigenous people in Brazil live, is one of the most affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 dead according to the latest official report.