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Nel cuore del mondo

Dall'impervia Sierra Nevada colombiana, il messaggio del popolo dei "Fratelli Maggiori" per la salvezza del pianeta

Ereira Alan

Editeur - Casa editrice


America del Sud

Città - Town - Ville


Anno - Date de Parution


Pagine - Pages


Titolo originale

The Elder Brothers, a lost South American people and their message about the fate of earth

Lingua originale

Lingua - language - langue



Andrea Buzzi

Nel cuore del mondo Nel cuore del mondo  

Selezionato nel 1992 per il premio Mazzotti


Consulta anche: articolo su D - la repubblica: i giardinieri del mondo

Recensione in altra lingua (English):

An Important Message from the Kogi Elders
By Raymond Rugland

Our love of truth is evinced by our ability to discover and appropriate what is good wherever we come upon it. -- J. W. von Goethe
The Elder Brothers by Alan Ereira (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1992; 243 pages, ISBN 0-679-40618-2, cloth $23.00), tucked among the new books on display, caught my eye. Its subtitle, "A lost South American people and their message about the fate of the earth," clinched the matter. The dustjacket portrayed Indians of unknown genre, dressed in neat cotton garments and wearing conical hats, against a backdrop of mist-shrouded mountain slopes. Alan Ereira, historian and film director/producer, was chosen by the Kogi Indians of Colombia to bring their message to the world. This he was able to do with his TV film From the Heart of the World (British Broadcasting Corporation, London) and with his book The Elder Brothers.

Many of us were moved in the '30s by James Hilton's Lost Horizon with its Shangri-La, a city deep in the Himalayas ruled by a wise lama, where peace and harmony prevailed. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is no fiction. Its two peaks, nearly 19,000 feet high, seem to rise out of the sea in Colombia, and are home to the Kogi. They have lived in harmony with the Great Mother with great fidelity for Millennia, following an ancient wisdom which affirms all things are rooted in divinity. All things, they believe, exist in the mind of the Creator before they finally become manifest. Spirit permeates every thing.

That binding thread of spirit, called aluna, is central to the Kogi philosophy. An enlightened teacher, Mama Valencia, explains:

Everything we do is an event not only in the physical world but also in the spirit world. We live in a world shaped in spirit. Every tree, every stone, every river, has a spirit form, invisible to the Younger Brother. This is the world of aluna, the world of thought and spirit. Aluna embraces intelligence, soul and fertility: it is the stuff of life, the essence of reality. The material world is underpinned, shaped, given life and generative power in aluna, and the Mama's work is carried out in aluna. -- p. 63
Because Kogi elders or Mamas are seers, graduates of a mystery school, they have the natural ability to penetrate higher planes of existence and hidden causes. They understand the vital truth of the maxim "as above, so below." When the Younger Brother in his vanity, urged by his greed and ambition, thinks that he is "running things," that is when the planet and our existence on it become endangered. The expression of the law of the Great Mother is interfered with.

The Kogi way of life -- being content with the ways of old -- is a deliberate choice on their part, rooted in a profound sense of duty for carrying out the will of the Great Mother and insuring the well-being of this living planet. Other peoples of the New World were not so much conquered by the invader as they were seduced into believing that they were inferior to the race that identified "progress" with self-fulfillment in a limited sense. Many became Christians, assured that they would be considered more civilized. The Kogi have adopted the Spanish word civilizados ("civilized"), but when applied to the Younger Brother it expresses a contempt for the Western understanding of that word. The word civilization is an invention of the seventeenth century, but was, in fact, excluded by Dr. Samuel Johnson from his Dictionary on the basis that it merely duplicated "civility." Since then civilization has been used to refer to almost anything that distinguishes man from the animal. Almost every culture regards its way of life as the supreme achievement of the ages.

Though much of the Kogi philosophy is unfamiliar, that should not deter us from opening "new doors" and widening our horizons. The end-product is the strong conviction of brotherhood and respect for the earth. But how will the sophisticated "man of the world" react to it? Possibly millions of TV viewers saw From the Heart of the World; far fewer will read the book. The film permits a glimpse into the pure hearts and minds of this people, but to share in Alan Ereira's adventure fully one should read the book. Every paragraph is worthy of note and calls for response. In this writer's opinion, Ereira's commitment to the Kogi, their elders or Mamas, is well taken. The message they bring indicates -- as the evidence is totaled from many sources -- that there is a sunrise of spiritual awareness in the world, and in response to that awareness the "gods come out of hiding" and allow their voices to be heard once again.

Was there ever a time when humankind was not encouraged to come up higher -- to truly evolve forth its inner capabilities to bring it to a higher moral, mental, and spiritual level than it has ever known? The proof is obvious: it resides in the existence of great souls who, history records, shone like beacons and, because they were once ordinary humans like ourselves, could identify with the masses and inspire them. How many more left no record of themselves? The Kogi have told us repeatedly the Highest dwells within us. They modestly consider themselves "a simple people" while striving to work ever more perfectly in harmony with the Great Mother. Few outsiders would have the grasp or the stamina to take instruction from the Mamas.

Does not the Kogi Genesis sound familiar?

In the beginning, there was blackness.
Only the sea.
In the beginning there was no sun, no moon, no people.
In the beginning there were no animals, no plants.
Only the sea.
The sea was the Mother.
The Mother was not people, she was not anything.
Nothing at all.
She was when she was, darkly.
She was memory and potential.
She was aluna. -- p. 115
Mama is the name the Kogi give to the Great Mother, to the sun, or to a wise or enlightened teacher (male or female). In the Inca pantheon Mama Ocllo corresponds to the Egyptian Isis (A Land of Mystery," by H. P. Blavatsky, The Theosophist, March, 1880, p. 160). Even if we call this Mother "Space," no matter how universal, it is not an emptiness but an existence, a manifestation, of something. The wisest of the wise gave it no name. The Hindu calls it Parabrahman, "beyond Brahman" or limitless. Unnamed, this power is nonetheless real and no thing exists but what is derived, supported, and sustained by it.

While most native Americans left no written records, there is no doubt they identified with nature and the Great Spirit. The first invaders from Europe took slaves, gold, silver, and jewels. Full of missionary zeal, priests used every means to make converts. They had no sympathy for native cultures and did their best to eradicate them. The little we know about many early American cultures is derived from Spanish accounts. Alexander Humboldt, a man of universal interests, came to Colombia in the early nineteenth century. He visited the famed sacred lake of El Dorado ("The Golden Man") that had proved such a magnet to the Spaniards. He brought back to Europe descriptions and drawings of Inca and Maya temples.

In 1915 Hiram Bingham, an American, made the first excavations at Machu Picchu, the sacred Incan city. On his team was O. F. Cook, botanist, a man of open mind. Because of our proclivity to regard ancients as uncivilized, their structures are usually labeled sacrificial altars, fortresses, or temples dedicated to gods and goddesses -- all an expression of barbarism. Cook changed all that. He showed that the prehistoric walls and terraces were built to convert rocky hillsides and canyons to tillable land. Behind them, in every case, Mr. Cook found that selected soils had been brought in from afar and then placed in layers to achieve the ideal mix for agriculture. This unknown people was dedicated to the art of farming and, hence, to the well-being of the community. What was done there on a grand scale has never been equaled in any other place and must have taken millennia.

The Kogi, today's custodians of the Tairona civilization, have managed to cling to their mountain refuge against great odds. In four hundred years they have had to contend with slavers, land-grabbers and plunderers, fanatic missionaries and, in our own time, hostile drug traffickers, warring politicians, and murderers. Realizing that this reclusive people had "stuck their neck out" by allowing themselves to be publicized, Ereira set up a trust fund to help them regain their rights and reclaim some of the coastal land which formerly was theirs. The Kogi learned from bitter experience they had nothing to gain from hospitality. Their first words to a stranger are: "When are you leaving?" Alan Ereira proved to be a rare "gringo" who treated the Kogi with respect, put his skills as a publicist at their disposal, and consented to take instruction from the Mamas for a period of one year.

Why did the tribe finally decide that now is the time for their message, and why is it important in their efforts to save the planet? They point out that the world was made by Serankua, the Son of the Mother, before we humans were. A long time ago all humanity held a common belief: there were no Younger Brothers. All recognized an indebtedness to the Creator for their worldly blessings. Understandably, payment has to be made for everything -- game taken for food, air that we breathe, and all that we require in order to live.

When the Younger Brother was given knowledge of mechanical things, it became apparent that its application would prove destructive to Mother Earth. There was no place for him in the sacred land. Serankua, recognizing the danger, declared: "Let us send them away to the other side and, so that they respect us and so that they do not pass, I make a division -- the sea" (p. 74).

The Kogi message, delivered by the Mamas in the Chibcha language in the nuhue (ceremonial house), was translated into Spanish, and finally into English. The English conveys some of its primitive majesty.

After centuries and centuries of years
the Younger Brother passed from the other country,
says the Mama.
Senor Christopher Columbus* came to this land
and immediately saw the riches
and killed, shot, many natives (*The symbolic name for all invaders).
He took the gold which had been here.
Sacred gold, gold of masks,
all kinds of gold.
They took so much.
So much.
So much. -- p. 59
Younger Brother thinks
"Yes! Here I am! I know much about the universe!"
But this knowing is learning to destroy the world,
to destroy everything,
all humanity. -- p. 197
Because Younger Brother is among us,
Younger Brother is violating
the basic foundation of the world's law.
A total violation.
Building highways,
Extracting petroleum,
minerals. -- p. 196
If all the Kogi die, do you, Younger Brother,
think that you will also go on living?
Many stories have been heard that the sun will go out,
the world will come to an end.
But if we all act well and think well it will not end.
That is why we are still looking after
the sun and the moon and the land. -- pp. 166-7
The civilization we boast of does not embody what spiritual man is capable of. G. de Purucker in his Studies in Occult Philosophy states the kernel of the problem -- so difficult for our dominant culture, which permeates the whole world, to grasp: "That which sins in man is his intelligence. Sin lies in choice, in action" (p. 72). Now it becomes apparent what H. P. Blavatsky meant in The Secret Doctrine when she gives the reason for a "select number of fragments" of the ancient wisdom making an appearance again, after millennia of silence: "The world of to-day. . . is rapidly progressing on the reverse, material plane of spirituality" (1:xxii). Modern man has been largely persuaded that he is not born of spirit. Whether he is aware of his divine origin or not, he exercises, as a matter of course, a sacred gift: his freedom to make choices, guided by his intelligence. When we use this gift solely for our own ends -- more plainly, selfishly -- we do it in the face of nature's examples all around us of selflessness. This, in my opinion, is what is meant by proceeding on the "reverse, material plane of spirituality."

In our heart of hearts -- for all our declared beliefs and good intentions -- we know better. The Kogi Mamas see clearly; they are not naive. They are unmoved by pious declarations, alibis, excuses, and the down-deep conviction that nobody is looking and we can get away with it. If what we are doing is destructive to other humans, the lower kingdoms, and a living planet which provides home for mankind, is it too much to ask us to consider changing our direction -- say 180°?

Gloom and doom are not what we like to convey. Neither can the strength of good intentions undo the harm that has already been done. Good intentions are not enough. The bottom line is that there are those who will not stop plundering the earth for the dollar bill until they are compelled to do so by a rising tide of public indignation. Apparently nothing is sacred to those who are determined to plunder the planet of its riches. There is no thought for the generations to follow. The exploitation of other human beings did not end with the abolition of slavery and serfdom. Our ingenuity never ceases. The Kogi Mamas see us for what we are: very Younger Brothers.

The last resort of the "intellectual" is: "What are your proofs that the Kogi initiates have more insight than our Ph.D.s in the universities in preparing students for life?" Compare the practicality of the Kogi with our own: possessing few of the gadgets we regard as necessities they, nevertheless, have no homeless or starving, no gangs, no banks, no "working mothers"; whatever urban renewal they need, they do themselves. They do not feel disadvantaged because they have no shopping malls.

A Mama was assigned to Alan Ereira to instruct him in basic teachings and make him welcome in the ceremonial lodge. At one point the pupil asked the teacher about creation. He was told there was no time for it: just to run through the chapter headings would take nine nights. The details would require nine times nine nights. "We will tell you what you need to know." From this we may deduce that The Elder Brothers is based on the same logic. The Kogi message is limited to what the Younger Brother can receive.

Present-day scientists are beginning to investigate the world of sleep, in which we spend a third of our lives, but do they really understand about death or the causes of birth? The Kogi Mama knows that it is only in recognition of the reality of soul and spirit that the divine side of human nature can be cultivated.

Over the next days, Javier (Rodriguez) was a mine of information about the Kogi. He told me that Mamas are educated from infancy in the dark, and only allowed into the light when their education is complete, after two periods of nine years. Nine is the number required for completeness, as a foetus spends nine lunar months in the womb, and there are nine worlds. There are also characters called moros, he said, whose education continues for two more periods of nine years. These I would never meet; they live high in the Sierra, and speak only with Mamas. These are the oracles who determine ultimate policy. These creatures are the ones who have seen the approach of the end of the world. I later discovered that moro is the word for any pupil studying to be a Mama. It does seem quite possible that some students are not released into the light until they are over thirty. . . . The Kogi are profoundly ascetic, and prepare themselves for important moments by fasting, meditation and sexual abstinence; contact with anyone who is still locked into the gross physical world can, they believe, render this preparation useless. Javier's moras would be in this heightened state all their lives, and it would therefore be impossible for me ever to set eyes on them, but he suggested that they would have their eyes on me. -- pp. 77-8
Anyone who can discern the pure virtues of the bushman, the Australian aborigine, the Athapascan, Seminole, or the Hopi, should have no problem with the Kogi. They wear the seal of majesty: the recognition of the divinity in the heart of all. That gold insignia shows in their concern for their very Younger Brother.

(Reprinted from Sunrise magazine, April/May 1993. Copyright © 1993 by Theosophical University Press)

Recensione in altra lingua (Français):

The Kogi, survivors of a pre-Columbian civilization who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia, call themselves the "Elder Brothers" of humanity: they believe they are the guardians of all life on earth. In 1988, the leaders of this isolated and secretive tribe, whose main purpose is to live in harmony with nature, decided the time had come to warn their "Younger Brothers" that activites like strip mining and oil drilling were killing the earth. They invited British radio and television producer Ereira to convey their message to the world, and the result was a PBS film, From the Heart of the World. In this account of how the movie was made, Ereira vividly portrays the Kogi society and recounts his difficult but often humorous relationship with a mysterious people whose metaphysical, nature-centered view of life is so different from that of modern industrial society. He combines his narrative with long translations in which the Kogi speak for themselves, delivering their urgent message in the hypnotic cadences that characterize their language. Ereira came away from his encounter with the Kogi convinced by their dire warning, which he forcefully reiterates in a moving and compelling book. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Ereira, a London-based TV producer, brings a chilling doomsday message from Colombia's isolated Kogi Tribe in this captivating mix of anthropology and travel writing. It was while filming a documentary about the Spanish Armada that Ereira first heard of the Kogi, a tribe who call themselves the ``Elder Brothers'' of humanity and consider it their mission to care for ``Mother Earth.'' Secluded in the high-altitude jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on Colombia's Caribbean coast, flanked by cocaine ranches and the Guajira Desert, the Kogi were once a complex pre-Columbian civilization who managed to outlast the 16th-century conquistadors and preserve their culture through a ruthless code of isolation. To Ereira's surprise, the reclusive tribe accepted his offer to make a documentary about them--but as it turned out, the Kogi had their own agenda, assigned to them by their high priests, or ``Mamas.'' Having divined that Earth and all her people will die unless the civilized world quickly modifies its shortsighted way of life, the Mamas had decided to offer their own culture as an example of a better way to live. Pressed on by an unprecedented sense of urgency, the Kogi opened their homes to illustrate to Ereira and his cameras how, in their culture, each act is considered in its spiritual or moral dimension; how wisdom and sensitivity are so prized that some apprentice priests spend their first 30 years in total darkness to better attune themselves to ``aluna,'' the spiritual world; and how the interrelatedness of nature is so taken for granted that our own recent discoveries in that regard seem almost childlike. In the end, Ereira traveled to the top of the mountain for a terrifying view of melted glaciers and stark, snowless peaks--empirical evidence that the Kogi mystics' urgency, backed by a thousand years of keeping watch, may indeed be justified. A frightening and wondrous journey. (Eight pages of magnificent color photographs.)

Recensione in lingua italiana

I giardinieri del mondo
Sulle vette della Sierra Nevada di Santa Marta, la più alta montagna costiera del pianeta, vive un'antica etnia colombiana: gli indios Kogi. Discendenti del popolo dei Tairona, sterminato dagli Spagnoli nel '500, hanno affidato un messaggio al nostro fotografo: "La civiltà moderna sta facendo troppi danni. Dobbiamo lavorare tutti insieme, altrimenti la Madre Terra morirà"

di Massimo Morello

Foto di Serge Fouillet
Le foto sono dell'agenzia Planet

Orlando Santana è stato ammazzato in una bettola di Santa Marta, piccola città afosa e violenta della Colombia, schiacciata tra il Mar dei Caraibi e l'imponente massiccio della Sierra Nevada, la più alta montagna costiera del mondo, due picchi ripidi e impervi di quasi 5.800 metri. Adesso che Orlando è stato ammazzato sarà ancora più difficile raggiungere l'interno della Sierra, una sorta di minicontinente, un'isola tettonica le cui pendici sono coperte dalla foresta pluviale, l'alta giungla. È un ambiente dove la temperatura media si aggira sui 38 gradi con un'umidità del 90 per cento, popolato da ragni e serpenti velenosi, da un'infinità di vermi parassiti e da deliziosi animaletti come il vampiro portatore della rabbia, senza contare altre malattie esotiche che possono colpire chiunque vi si addentri. Non è un caso che sia stato chiamato El Infierno. In quest'inferno, nei villaggi spersi fra le alte valli, lungo il corso dei grandi fiumi e degli affluenti che li intersecano, vivono gli ultimi discendenti dei Tairona, uno dei tanti popoli che abitavano la Sierra e che formavano un'unica civiltà con stretti legami interni. È il popolo dei Kogi, un gruppo etnico che a sua volta comprende diverse comunità, come quelle degli Arhuacos o degli Arsarios, circa ottomila individui che definiscono se stessi i "Fratelli Maggiori" e vivono in un orgoglioso isolamento per seguire antichi rituali che permettono all'Universo di continuare a esistere nonostante gli errori dei "Fratelli Minori", cioè tutti coloro che Kogi non sono. Orlando era una delle migliori guide della zona, una delle più affidabili. Dicono che fosse ubriaco di guarapo, un distillato di canna da zucchero che ti brucia il cervello, o fatto di hanyue, la varietà locale di cocaina, e che abbia provocato una rissa. Non ci credo molto. Orlando era un tipo gentile, che metteva da parte tutti i soldi per mandarli alla moglie che viveva a Bogotà col bambino di sei mesi che lui aveva visto solo una volta. Mi sembra più probabile che Orlando desse fastidio a qualcuno. È facile farsi nemici a Santa Marta: i samarios, i suoi abitanti hanno elaborato un sistema di vita basato sul contrabbando e sul brigantaggio. Prima c'erano i trafficanti di marijuana, poi sono arrivati quelli di cocaina, che si sono costruiti lussuose ville sulla costa e hanno trasformato la fascia di terra alle spalle della città in un'enclave di narcotraficantes. Il territorio a nordest, invece, è controllato dai banditi: il tasso di omicidi è il più alto di tutta la Colombia. Poi ci sono i guerriglieri, gruppi sbandati che esercitano il loro potere sulle zone contadine a ovest della Sierra. Da ultimi, ma non meno importanti i guaqueros, i predatori dei resti della civiltà Tairona: a Santa Marta hanno costituito un sindacato con tanto di tessera e foto a colori dei 4 mila iscritti. È tutta gente che non ama molto gli stranieri, i visitatori, chi se ne va in giro dalle loro parti. Per trovare l'assassino di Orlando o meglio il suo mandante non c'è che l'imbarazzo della scelta. Per incontrare i Kogi, invece, sarà difficile trovare un'altra guida come lui. La triste storia di Orlando, in compenso, è utile per capire quel che sembra incredibile, ossia come mai quel popolo sia riuscito a mantenere il proprio isolamento per tanto tempo: solo una trentina di chilometri separano un tempio o una casa cerimoniale Kogi dalla cattedrale di Santa Marta. Sono stati la natura e gli stessi colombiani ad aver cospirato per lasciare intatto il loro santuario. Una cospirazione cui hanno partecipato anche gli stessi Kogi. A quei pochi che s'avventuravano nella foresta poteva capitare di trovarsi all'improvviso di fronte a un ometto dalla pelle scura con indosso un ampia tunica di cotone bianco e un paio di pantaloni arrotolati. In genere l'ometto ignorava completamente il visitatore e spariva nella foresta. Qualche volta si fermava e porgeva il tradizionale saluto Kogi: "Quando te ne vai?". La loro diffidenza, più che giustificata, risale al 1501, quando Pedro Alonzo Niño e Cristobal Guerra sbarcarono sulla costa di Santa Marta in cerca di tesori e città perdute. Nel 1525 gli Spagnoli crearono una base stabile con la fondazione di Santa Marta, che divenne il punto di partenza per tutte le spedizioni di conquista e rapina che muovevano verso l'interno. A quel tempo nella regione vivevano quasi un milione di indios, guerrieri tenaci e coraggiosi che opposero una strenua resistenza ai conquistadores: fu solo dopo cent'anni di lotte che gli Spagnoli riuscirono a consolidare il loro dominio sulla costa e i Tairona si ritirarono nella parte alta della Sierra. "Così fu stesa una tragica pace sull'antico paese dei Tairona" è stato scritto. "Distrutti i sentieri che collegavano la montagna con la costa, tagliati i ponti sui torrenti, incendiati i villaggi, sottomesse o annientate le tribù, l'intera zona venne avvolta nell'oblio. La natura nascose il tutto nella foresta e sulla Sierra calò l'appassionante leggenda delle città perdute". La leggenda divenne realtà nel 1975, quando un giovane contadino, Julius Cesar Sepulveda, che se n'era andato a caccia di tapiri nella zona dell'alto Rio Buritaca, si trovò a camminare tra muri a secco, massicciate circolari e sentieri lastricati che affioravano dall'intrico della foresta. Aveva trovato la Ciudad Perdida, la città perduta, capitale e santuario dei Tairona. Ma sarebbe stato meglio se non fosse andato a caccia: qualche giorno dopo Julius Cesar venne ucciso da un altro guaquero e divenne la prima vittima della guerra tra i predatori delle tombe Tairona, accecati dal sogno dell'oro e armati di machete, fucili e disperazione. Assieme ai desesperados si avventurarono dentro El Infierno anche gli archeologi, che battezzarono la Ciudad Perdida col toponimo scientifico di Buritaca 200 (il duecentesimo insediamento scoperto lungo il rio Buritaca) e cominciarono a svelarne i segreti. Costruita a partire dal 1200, la Ciudad Perdida rappresenta uno straordinario esempio della tecnica con cui gli indios Tairona sapevano adattare l'architettura urbana all'andamento del terreno senza mai violentare l'ambiente. Ma i Kogi non erano affatto interessati alle ricerche compiute dall'Istituto Colombiano di Antropologia: i predatori, gli archeologi o gli antropologi erano ugualmente pericolosi. Anzi, gli ultimi rappresentavano una minaccia più seria all'equilibrio sociale e culturale. Nonostante ciò una decina d'anni fa decisero di stabilire un contatto ravvicinato e scelsero come ambasciatori due tipi che erano riusciti ad arrivare sino a loro, a restarci parecchio tempo e a conquistarsi la loro fiducia.
Il primo è un inglese, Alan Ereira, produttore televisivo della BBC. L'altro è l'autore delle immagini di questo servizio, il fotografo francese Serge Fouillet. Ad essi è stato affidato il compito di trasmettere al mondo il messaggio di coloro che rappresentano la civiltà dell'America precolombiana giunta più integra fino a noi. Ci sarebbe da pensare che i Kogi siano stati costretti a farlo per cercare di "limitare i danni" dei sempre più numerosi e inevitabili contatti con i "Fratelli Minori". Ma ascoltando il messaggio si può intuire un motivo più profondo. "Finora abbiamo ignorato il Fratello Giovane. Non lo abbiamo degnato nemmeno di uno schiaffo" dissero a Ereira. "Ora però non possiamo più badare al mondo da soli. Il Fratello Giovane sta facendo troppi danni. Deve vedere, capire e assumersi le proprie responsabilità. Ora dobbiamo lavorare assieme. Altrimenti il mondo morirà".
Può apparire un tantino presuntuoso da parte loro, ma bisogna pensare che i Kogi si ritengono "i guardiani dell'Universo" e del suo centro, ossia la Sierra Nevada di Santa Marta. Avendo avuto la sciagura di osservare da vicino il nostro comportamento, hanno intuito quali potevano essere le conseguenze su scala planetaria. "Voi siete i responsabili di una grande sofferenza", hanno detto a Fouillet. "La Sierra, il Cuore della Terra soffre.
E se oggi il Cuore soffre, il resto della Terra deve soffrire anch'esso". In questa prospettiva è difficile dar torto ai mamas, i sacerdoti Kogi, coloro che conoscono i riti per "voltare il Sole" quando giungono i solstizi, che leggono nel cielo il momento della semina e del raccolto e che, soprattutto, sono i custodi del mito della creazione, una storia complicatissima in cui ciclicamente si crea e si distrugge l'equilibrio tra Bene o Male finché la Dea Madre stabilisce un ordine definitivo e manda i suoi figli a insegnare agli uomini, tramite i mamas, i rituali adatti a mantenere questo stato di cose. È così che i mamas hanno stabilito come costruire le capanne, simbolo dell'Utero della Madre Terra, che viene continuamente fecondata dal Cielo attraverso la raggiera di bastoncini sistemata sul tetto. E hanno elaborato i motivi delle mochilas, le borse in fibra d'agave fabbricate dalle donne e decorate con disegni i cui colori simbolizzano gli elementi naturali da mantenere in costante equilibrio. Ora però i mamas hanno compreso che i rituali da loro conosciuti non sono più sufficienti per permettere all'Universo di esistere. Ci vuole anche il nostro intervento: "La Terra, la Madre di tutti morirà se non ne prendete cura" hanno sentenziato. È stato questo immenso terrore, non per se stessi, ma per l'Universo intero, che li ha convinti a dimenticare una secolare abitudine al sospetto a rivelarci i loro segreti. Ma è inutile illudersi: non potremo mai metterli in pratica. Sarebbe come pensare di poter cambiare radicalmente la nostra cultura, dai rapporti tra i sessi a quelli con il proprio corpo: per i Kogi le malattie sono un fenomeno naturale da accettare come tale e comunque secondarie rispetto alle "malattie" della Terra, che metterebbero a rischio l'esistenza di tutti. Insomma il loro segreto è quello dell'adattamento a un ambiente estremo. Ne è esempio l'uso della coca: gli uomini portano sempre con sé il poporo, un piccolo recipiente di zucca dal quale estraggono polvere di calce con un bastoncello che poi mettono in bocca per mischiarla al grumo di foglie di coca tenuto sotto la guancia. "È in questa combinazione che la coca produce i suoi effetti stupefacenti", mi spiega Alvaro, un medico colombiano che da anni si occupa anche di etnobotanica. "Ma il motivo è anche un altro: questo cocktail è antichissimo, da sempre usato dagli indios e dai campesiños, la calce elimina gli effetti della fame e la coca dà energia. La vita nella Sierra è durissima". D'altra parte sono proprio questi usi e queste condizioni di vita ad aver indotto molti "uomini di buona volontà" a voler salvare i Kogi da se stessi e dal loro ambiente. Ma ciò significherebbe la loro estinzione. E, quindi, quella dell'Universo intero. E allora, qual è il mezzo per salvare i Kogi, la Sierra, l'Universo, noi stessi? Per qualcuno l'unica possibilità di salvarli e salvarci è non andare nella Sierra, permettere ai Kogi di continuare a vivere come hanno sempre fatto, lasciando indenne il loro ambiente naturale: salvando il Cuore si salverà tutta la Terra. Può essere. Fouillet ed Ereira sono di quest'idea, anche se continuano a tornare nella Sierra Nevada. Anch'io la penso così, ma sono stato stregato da un mito e ho fatto di tutto per raggiungere la Ciudad Perdida. Purtroppo Orlando era stato ammazzato e non si trovavano altre guide disposte ad accompagnarmi all'Infierno. Così ho dovuto seguire le vie ufficiali. Con scarso successo: "Non si può señor" mi ha scoraggiato un sorridente capitano dell'esercito. "È per la sua sicurezza e quella degli indios".

Consulta anche: articolo su D - la repubblica: i giardinieri del mondo