Friday, March 13, 2009

A Step Closer to Truth in the Death of "The Rainforest Martyr"

Sr. Dorothy Stang, a 74-year-old US nun, read the Bible aloud when the men came to kill her. They listened for a moment. then fired--there in the Amazon rainforest she loved enough to protect with her own life. She had lived among wealthy enemies for 30 years in the Amazon jungle, trying to preserve the environment and defend the rights of poor settlers against powerful ranchers eager to steal their land. Her corpse, lying face down in the mud just over four years ago in 2005, was shot pointblank six times: in the head, throat and body.

"Death in the Amazon" (4:20):

A rancher accused of ordering her murder is now charged with trying to fraudulently obtain the plot of Amazon rain forest she died trying to defend, a prosecutor stated yesterday. Rancher Regivaldo Galvao previously testified he had no interest in the property that 73-year-old Dorothy Stang protected, but prosecutors say Galvao presented documents to Brazil's Incra land reform agency in November asserting he owns the disputed land and demanding its return.

Federal prosecutor Felicio Pontes denies Galvao's claim that the land where Stang was killed is public. It is possible that Galvao's attempt to take the land will help convict him of killing the Dayton, Ohio nun.

"It will help the case of Dorothy's murder," Pontes stated, according to Associated Press Writer Bradley Brooks. "The case is still open and we can use the facts from this land case in Dorothy's. He is going to be found guilty, I have no doubt."

Prosecutors contend Galvao and another rancher hired the gunmen who killed Stang. Although he was arrested in 2005, he was freed on bail in 2006 and has since avoided trial through various legal maneuvers.

An acclaimed HBO documentary film, "They Killed Sister Dorothy," will air on HBO2 pay service Wednesday, March 25, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT. It treats the life and mission of Sister Dorothy, who admirers called "The Angel of the Amazon," in her quest for sustainable living practices.

"They Killed Sister Dorothy" trailer (3:28):

After she received several death threats Sister Dorothy commented, "I don't want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment."


Dusty said...

What strength and commitment she had. Would any of us have that? I don't know if I could..

Putting this on Sirens m'dear. ;)

Border Explorer said...

Thanks, Dusty, for sharing this on Sirens--I'm always honored to appear there.

I don't know if I could have that commitment and courage either. There are some amazing people in this world. Sr. Dorothy is(was) one, no question.

Dusty said...

I am going to put both videos up as the Featured Vid's on the sidebar too.

Great writeup BE...made me cry when I watched the vids.

Libby said...

Somehow I had never heard about this. Thank you for sharing.

Carol said...

Blessings on Sister Dorothy for her selfless service.

D.K. Raed said...

I will definitely watch it on HBO. Last night I caught "Salvador" (for the manyeth time) which captured the chaos surrounding the death of the Marialito nuns and Archbishop Romero for speaking out for simple human rights.

I have great admiration for those who live their commitments. No one really knows how deep their commitment goes until tested.

Dave Dubya said...

Yet more sad evidence that greed kills. Thanks for relaying a story that everyone needs to hear.

Jan said...

I'd forgotten about Sr. Dorothy. Thank you for the reminder and videos. What an amazing woman. We need to remember.

Utah Savage said...

I so admire the women who stand up to bullies. I know she died a martyr. But like other women she is a heroic figure and will inspire others.

Thanks for sharing this story. And like Dave Dubya said, "Greed kills."

claire bangasser said...

Thank you for mentioning the documentary on HBO2. I will watch it.
Do you know of a book on today's women martyrs?
Thanks for your post, as always.

Katie Schwartz said...

BE,Great post. I will definitely watch the documentary. I'm interested in learning more about her and her work. I can't believe she was murdered, so sick, isn't it?

Diane said...

thank you for sharing this awful and awesome story. what courage she had.

I hope her cause is not lost.