Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial

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Overview

Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life?part of a larger story of tribal and indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe.

The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per...

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Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial

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Overview

Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life—part of a larger story of tribal and indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe.

The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per person, of any country in the world. During the 1990s, its government began awarding extensive logging and mining concessions to multinational companies from China, Indonesia, Canada, and elsewhere. Saramaka Maroons, the descendants of self-liberated African slaves who had lived in that rainforest for more than 300 years, resisted, bringing their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In 2008, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered its landmark judgment in their favor, their efforts to protect their threatened rainforest were thrust into the international spotlight. Two leaders of the struggle to protect their way of life, Saramaka Headcaptain Wazen Eduards and Saramaka law student Hugo Jabini, were awarded the Goldman Prize for the Environment (often referred to as the environmental Nobel Prize), under the banner of "A New Precedent for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples."

Anthropologist Richard Price, who has worked with Saramakas for more than forty years and who participated actively in this struggle, tells the gripping story of how Saramakas harnessed international human rights law to win control of their own piece of the Amazonian forest and guarantee their cultural survival.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An extraordinary work of remarkable depth and consequence. . . . Price is an exceptional ethnographer of Saramaka communities, histories, and individual lives. He is also a clear and informed ethnographer of emergent human rights regimes. Humane, reflective, actively written, and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic."—Donald Brennis, University of California, Santa Cruz

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812221374
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/4/2012
  • Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Price
Richard Price divides his time between rural Martinique and the College of William and Mary, where he is Duane A. and Virginia S. Dittman Professor of American Studies and Professor of Anthropology and History. His award-winning books include First-Time, Alabi's World, The Convict and the Colonel, and Travels with Tooy. He is the coauthor, with Sally Price, of Romare Bearden: The Caribbean Dimension, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Biography

In a 1981 essay he wrote for The New York Times entitled "The Fonzie of Literature," Bronx-born Richard Price sums up the origin of his rep as a streetwise scribe:

"I doubt that if I had written about the suburbs I would have attracted nearly as much attention. I found most interviewers and reviewers more than willing to romanticize my background, to make it sound like I had come out of Hell's Kitchen or an Odyssey House. I spent three hours being interviewed by People magazine, insisting that I was not Piri Thomas or Claude Brown, I was a middle-class Jewish kid who went to three colleges. But when the issue hit the stands, the leadoff of the one-paragraph squib was, 'Richard Price comes from the slum-stricken streets and paved playgrounds of the Bronx.'"

So while he may not be the hardened thug that critics seem to want to believe he is, his string of bestselling novels and hit screenplays are filled with enough urban wit and grit to garner him commercial and critical—if not street—cred.

After graduating from Cornell in 1971, Price broke out of the Bronx with The Wanderers in 1974, when he was 24 and in the process of earning an M.F.A. from Columbia. A series of hard-boiled vignettes about a teenage gang coming up in the 1960s that Price scribbled in his spare time, the collection was whisked off to a literary agent by the head of Columbia's writing program, and Price's debut found a publisher. In 1979, Orion released a major motion picture based on the book. A sort of "anti-Grease," The Wanderers noticeably lacked the nostalgic bubblegum bounce of other coming-of-age novels and flicks of its day, and touched off Price's reputation for being unafraid to expose the dark side of Americana.

Two more acclaimed novels would follow—I>Bloodbrothers (1976) and Ladies' Man (1978)—but soon an out-of-control cocaine habit plunged Price into a creative and personal abyss. "I wasn't even that big of a doper," he recalled to Salon.com. "I was definitely bush league. But enough that it sort of preoccupied me for three years."

Hollywood proved to be the sunny savior Price needed to help him climb out of the funk. By the mid-'80s, he had become a top screenwriter with a roster of hits to his credit, including the The Color of Money (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), Sea of Love, Ransom, and Mad Dog and Glory. "[Screenwriting] kept me in the writing game, and it also showed me I was able to write about things that were not connected to my autobiography," he told Salon.

In 1994, Price returned to fiction with the novel Clockers—a gritty depiction of crack trafficking in the fictional city of Dempsy, New Jersey, a Dantean hell of crime and urban blight. (Adapted into a film by Spike Lee, Clockers would earn Price another Academy Award nomination for screenwriting.) Since then, he has revisited Dempsy in blockbusters like Freedomland and Samaritan, garnering praise for his unblinkered view of inner-city life and his pitch-perfect ear for street talk. A writer's writer, Price counts among his many admirers such distinguished novelists as Russell Banks, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Elmore Leonard, and Stephen King. But in a 2003 interview, he confessed that the greatest validation he ever received came from his teenage daughter who read Samaritan and told him he was "really good!" Says Price, "Of course I want The New York Times to sing my praises, but she's my kid."

Good To Know

Price lives in New York City with his wife, downtown artist Judy Hudson, and their two daughters.

The inspiration for his novel Freedomland came from the infamous case of Susan Smith—a woman who admitted to murdering her own children after initially reporting a fictional carjacking.

A former cocaine addict, Price occasionally volunteers his time to speak about the dangers of drugs to high school students.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 12, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bronx, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cornell University, 1971; M.F.A., Columbia University

Table of Contents

Preface

Africans Discover America
Land, Spirits, Power
Earth, Water, Sky
The Dam at Afobaka
Rockets at Kourou
Sovereignty and Territory
The Aloeboetoe Incursion
The Moiwana Massacre
Trees
Resistance Redux
Initial Protests
The Depredations Continue
Judgment Day
Pre-Hearing Pleadings
The Hearing
The Judgment
American Dreams
Developments on the Ground
Broader Implications

Postface

Notes
References Cited
Illustration Credits
Acknowledgments

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Fernglow

    Hey can i join?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    TO MATELESS TOMS!!!

    If you need a mate go to echosong first result. Echosong needs a mate or else her cruel father Blackheart will force her to return to her original clan... but u dont have to only if u want to...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    To bluestar

    So your a leader people who (83 like charecters tlsay tehere them its notlrmek

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Bluestar

    *She runs to the third result*

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    Darkflame

    Third result

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