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FOSPA, the diversity forum

In the last week of July 2022, between the 28th and 31st, the X FOSPA – Pan-Amazonian Social Forum took place in the city of Belém/PA. The motto of the 10th forum was “weaving hope in the Amazon”. Twenty years after the first meeting also held in this city, social movements, environmental activists, scientists, people of faith and culture, and youths met again to debate the present and future of the Amazon and its peoples.

The meeting that brought together the different faces of the Amazon clearly expressed the diversity that the forest has, whether in fauna and flora, or social and cultural. During the days of the event several activities took place. As in a great festival, at the same time the voices of the Amazon echoed in the activities, in the big events, in the spaces of cultural presentation and in the ecumenical and inter-religious Tapiri.

Three aspects stood out and deserve our attention: the place of culture in the forum, the role of youth and the protagonism of women. Without a doubt, in a country where these three groups are agonizing due to the lack of structure and investment, finding space where they are almost pillars is a cause for celebration and celebration.

The tremors in the bodies denounced what was happening: the curimbó, the banjo and the maracas opened the spell! The sound echoed through the spaces and took care of everyone. The chant that elevated everyone to another dimension, almost in a mystical ecstasy, also denounced the destruction of life in this earthly dimension. Carimbó, a cultural, artistic and, we might say, spiritual movement, by singing about life in the Amazon and rocking us with its enveloping rhythm, also awakens our critical awareness.

In the song Queimada, by Mestre Lourival Igarapó, it was announced: “Whoever saw it saw the earth burn […] the forest burn […] left upset to see so many fires in the tropical forests. Lives ending, sources all drying up, without having water to drink.”. At a point where poetry is linked to prophecy, the master denounces in his lyrics the destruction of the forest and its consequences for the destruction of life itself. 

And like a good prophecy, poetry also announces a new era: “But one day the earth turns to the side of good. It makes new seeds sprout in the minds of these people who don't think about anyone. That's when things change, every seedling will have life, every life will have the sun and make the sunflower spin”. May the time to spin come!

The young people present at the Pan-Amazon Social Forum also gave their message. As exhibitors and/or organizers in various rounds of conversations, young Amazonian faces echoed the daily struggle on the ground they tread and in the networks they navigated. Here we highlight the action of RELLAC – Network of Young Leaders in Protected and Conserved Areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, which launched its manifesto built by many hands – Young Voices of the Amazon for the Planet.

Finally, here we bring the prophetic role of the women who were present and made X FOSPA happen. Resisting in culture, religions, social movements, environmental activism, agroecology and politics, they set the tone for FOSPA. They were the driving force for the realization, organization and conduction of the forum.