By Andrés Dimitriu
The Paris-Dakar rally, moved to Argentina and Chile, is a lucrative and at the same time whimsical colonial lag that uses the symbolic value of Patagonia and other regions, and has an enormity of environmental and social consequences. Just in case: filling the streets of Paris and other European capitals with camel dung for a week would be - comparatively - tender, cheap, ecological, instructive and a party for everyone.
There are maps and maps. When Admirals Hong Bao, Zhou Men, and Zhou Wen sailed along Patagonia, in 1421! . That was exceptional and hopefully the Asians - now infected with capitalist bulimia - would continue in that spirit. Colonial maps, old and new, anticipate looting, obsess over distances, inventories and the estimation of difficulties for appropriation. The local population, if it is not an obstacle, is an ornament. The maps of Magellan and others included the coats of arms of their royal patrons, thus announcing that "discovery" was synonymous with "I saw it first, it's mine / ours," backed by a timely papal bull of 1495. Timely for looters Of course, for whom discrimination is never an error of interpretation but rather a clumsy instrument to devalue or eliminate rebels and antagonists, be they women, indigenous communities, workers, child slaves or all that together. The capitalist economy, simplifying, depends on labor, collaboration and subsidies, but also on the supply of material components (say oil, roads, fields, mallines, coasts) and symbolic (trademarks, patents, image, symbolic value, including the money, speculated landscapes). Europeans and other industrialized countries know this very well, that is why they have armies of negotiators to remember and protect the value of what they decided to patent, from champagne and Camembert to biodiversity throughout the world, but they fear - as priceless - the equivalence because its rich would end up as beggars on the streets of the Third World. It is not only about corn, potatoes, peppers or coffee but much more. A great from Ethiopia, Tewolde Egziabher, said before the WTO: what if now it occurs to me to “discover” the city of Brussels and start taking a toll?
That's what it's about. The Paris-Dakar rally, transferred to Argentina and Chile, is a lucrative and at the same time capricious colonial lag that depends on those generous contributions (labor, material and symbolic), it does not have a hint of reciprocity, it uses the symbolic value of the Patagonia and other regions, has an enormity of environmental and social consequences, "organizes" the territory at will and generates profits - the visible loot - for around 300 million euros. That is why it cannot be carried out in Europe.
The rally, now called Dakar 2009 Chile - Argentina, lost its territorial support in Africa due to the well-founded rejection of African and European communities and organizations.
Using the past to seduce participants and audiences nostalgic for the emblems and privileges of the domain (the Africa Korps, the Foreign Legion, Lawrence of Arabia, the “touch and go” prostitute, slaves, plantations, mining), the race concentrates, According to a Mendoza company hoping to get a slice, “a lot of adrenaline, a lot of passion and a lot of glamor, three basic elements that act as magnets for brands”. The rally used to pass through Spain (or Portugal), Morocco, Mauritania and Rep. Of Mali to finish in Dakar, Senegal. Apart from tangible damage to people, animals and devastated lands, it is based on a triumphalist attitude that is easy to applaud for naive consumers of other people's shows ... as long as one does not think of proposing a Ceuta-Stockholm race, with Africans or South Americans driving like idiots passing through Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark, trampling the bottom of their farms or crossing their villages. Without considering these antecedents or what is at stake, the national, provincial and municipal governments promote, as if it were their own, this questioned advertising caravan, which celebrates “rude” individualism, freedom from excess and transit, in many cases to cross-country, with motorcycles, cars and trucks, through “exotic” places (recently the Jacobacci area was referred to as a place “similar to the Sahara”, again the metaphor of the “desert”) that serve as mere scenery, the waste of resources, energy and money, ostentation of exclusive technologies and social neglect. Organizers, partners and officials put in place destructive mechanisms without forgetting to accuse their critics - that is curious - as "preventing machines" or, to add the fascinating feeling of "risk" among participants and audience, that they are " extremists ”. That also adds value to the career and justifies, just by invoking the term, requesting assistance from the uniformed. Round business, logistics included.
It is not the Vuelta de la Manzana or road tourism, it is a much more complex and voracious business. Provinces and municipalities must learn to reject or legislate specifically, to quote each item to the millimeter, to charge for each violation, to demand compliance with environmental, health, labor, and trade regulations, and to think about the economy of the future without confusing - as is happening - exhibitionism and foreign money with local prosperity (**). Much better would be that, instead of the rally, the circus owners and the contestants play cars on the carpets of their houses. Just in case: filling the streets of Paris and other European capitals with camel dung for a week would be - comparatively - tender, cheap, ecological, instructive and a party for everyone.
Andres Dimitriu - Teacher and researcher in Communication and Development, Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Articles by this author and others related to the subject at: http: //theomai.unq.edu.ar/Theomai_Patagonia/index.htm
** In this regard, there was a request for a report in the Rio Negro Legislature.
We publish below the note from ADN Rio Negro on the request for Reports to the legislature. http://www.adnrionegro.com.ar
They ask for reports for the Dakar Rally
Viedma.- Due to the expressed concern of some residents of Ingeniero Jacobacci and surroundings, legislator Magdalena Odarda (ARI), presented a request for information addressed to the Minister of Production, Dn. Juan Accatino, Mr. President of CODEMA, Mr. Oscar Echeverría and the Minister of Government, Mr. Jose Luis Rodriguez.
Odarda occasionally asks to know, if there is precise knowledge of the route that the Rally will take within the Rio Negro territory and the region near Ingeniero Jacobacci. If so, ask that a copy be sent.
If the damage that may occur to native flora and fauna and to productive activities, especially animal husbandry in the area, has been evaluated.
If an Environmental Impact Study has been required in order to determine the damages that it could cause and the remediation thereof and, consequently, if a public hearing has been scheduled. If so, send a copy of it and of the Environmental Resolution, if any.
If an environmental remediation fund or similar will be created with contributions from the same organization of the Paris - Dakar Rally.
If the environmental, social and cultural consequences of this Rally have been made known in other parts of the world.
If local producers have been informed what is the roadmap to which we allude in point 1).
If the Paris-Dakar organization will be required to cover medical coverage for local people who may suffer damages and / or insurance to cover these and other possible damages.
He also wants to know what contributions in human, financial, infrastructure, logistics, health resources or of any other nature the Provincial State is making to facilitate the completion of the career.
Finally, if the organization of the Rally has made contributions to the provincial treasury in terms of taxes, fees, licenses. If so, for what amount and in what concept.
The parliamentarian supports the request for reports, in addition to the claim of some residents of the town of Ingeniero Jacobacci and the area where the Rally would pass and it is public knowledge that during the month of January 2009, the Paris Dakar Rally will pass through our province, being one of the meeting points the town of Ingeniero Jacobacci.
Odarda said that the data released shows the participation of around 250 motorcyclists, 100 trucks, and around 230 cars in the competition. To these will be added the support and logistics teams, mobilized in around 170 trucks and 150 cars of various sizes, with more than 1,000 people following the test alternatives directly.
Those of us who know the extensive territory of Rio Negro know that the town of Ingeniero Jacobacci and the entire region is characterized by a dry continental climate, with strong winds, low rainfall and extreme temperatures and that its landscape alternates valleys, terraces and depressions.
We also know that the ecosystem of the area is made up of shrubby and herbaceous steppe flora where numerous animal species, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians can be found. Among the most representative mammals are the wildcats, pumas, guanacos, ferrets, weasels, hares, armadillos, skunks, gray foxes. Snakes, lizards, yarará ñata and frogs are some of the reptiles and amphibians in the area. Among the wide variety of birds, we mention the choique, geese, jote, ducks, harriers and black-necked swans that constitute a vulnerable species protected by provincial law 3288.
Explain that the intention of this list is to warn of the consequences that the movement of such a large number of vehicles at high speed could have on the native flora and fauna of the region, livestock, soil erosion and the danger to safety and security. the health of people both due to possible accidents and the amount of dust in suspension that an activity of this magnitude will produce.
On the other hand, remember that in environmental matters, the Law 3266 of Environmental Impact governs in Río Negro, whose scope includes actions that: “… significantly modify the topography, those that directly or indirectly alter or destroy populations of flora and fauna wild water, those that modify the margins, channels, flows, regime and behavior of surface and groundwater, those that directly or indirectly emit noise, heat, light, ionizing radiation and other energy waste that is significantly annoying or harmful, and those that directly or indirectly erosion. " (Art. 3, inc. M). Such activities must have an EIA prior to their authorization.
Finally added Odarda, "in addition to the evident environmental impact, it is not clear what the economic advantage will be for the Jacobacci community and for the province, taking into account that according to what was announced by the Ministry of Government, provincial security forces will be used, in addition to the national ones to facilitate the realization of the event, which will mean a disbursement of public funds. "