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Today's Top News
Bolivia's Morales Calls for New Era of 'Peace and Unity' to Break Greed of Capitalism
The 'end of the world' it is not, says president of Bolivia, but rather an opportunity to dispose of 'capitalism's greed' and unite in happiness and unselfishness
Bolivian President Evo Morales is marking today's winter solstice and the much-discussed calendar date by celebrating a hopeful vision for a "new era of peace and love" in the world, one in which the spirit of community and respect for Mother Earth will win out over the greed induced by global capitalism.
In an open invitation to celebrate the day, Morales explained that "the Mayan calendar's 21 of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of the Macha and the beginning of the Pacha, the end of selfishness and the beginning of brotherhood, it is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism."
And continued, "The scientists know very well that this marks the end of an anthropocentric life and the beginning of a bio-centric life. It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth. It is the end of sadness and the beginning of happiness, it is the end of division and the beginning of unity, and this is a theme to be developed. That is why we invite all of you, those of you who bet on mankind, we invite those who want to share their experiences for the benefit of mankind."
Morales, a champion of indigenous rights and himself a descendent of the Andean Aymara people, helped supplant the idea that the 2012 winter solstice marked the "end of times" or an "apocalypse" by clarifying that the lunar happening was simply an opportunity for spiritual renewal. Though auspicious for the Mayan people, most of the loud rhetoric clamoring about the "end of the world" is a Western invention, pushed by those who know little of the traditions or spirit of the indigenous people and their deeper history.
As The Guardian reports:
Morales will mark the day by boarding one of the largest reed ships built in modern times and join thousands of people for celebrations on the Island of the Sun on Lake Titicaca.
"According to the Mayan calendar, the 21 of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time," he told the UN in September. "It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth."
The Bolivian government has hailed the solstice as the start of an age in which community and collectivity will prevail over capitalism and individuality. Those themes have long been present in Morales's discourse, especially in the idea of vivir bien, or living well. He has stressed the importance of a harmonious balance between human life and the planet, though some people question its application in Bolivia, where the economy depends heavily on mining, oil and gas industries.
A fuller excerpt from Morales' speech announcing the celebration for the solstice is provided by the Indian Country Media Network, in which he said:
"I wish to take this opportunity to announce an invitation to an international meeting on the 21 of December this year. A meeting closing the age of non-time and receiving the new age of balance and harmony for Mother Earth. It would take so long to tell you about the knowledge of our indigenous brothers in Mexico, in Guatemala, in Bolivia, in Ecuador, but basically we are issuing this invitation to hold a virtual debate, and also in person, on the following topics:
Number 1: Global crisis of capitalism
Number 2: Mold of civilization, world government, capitalism, socialism, community, culture of life
Number 3: Climate crisis, relationship of the human being with nature
Number 4: Common energy, energy of change
Number 5: Awareness of Mother Earth
Number 6: Recovery of ancestral uses and customs, natural cosmic calendar
Number 7: Living well as a solution to the global crisis, because we affirm once again that one can only live better by preserving natural resources. This is a profound debate that I would like to have with the world.
Number 8: Food sovereignty of course, security with food sovereignty
Number 9: Integration, brotherhood, community economy, complementarity, right to communication, community learning for life, the new holistic human, the end of patriarchy, awakening of self knowledge, and of course health which is so important.
“And I would like to say that according to the Mayan calendar the 21 of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of the Macha and the beginning of the Pacha, the end of selfishness and the beginning of brotherhood, it is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism – 21 of December this year. The scientists know very well that this marks the end of an anthropocentric life and the beginning of a bio-centric life. It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth. It is the end of sadness and the beginning of happiness, it is the end of division and the beginning of unity, and this is a theme to be developed. That is why we invite all of you, those of you who bet on mankind, we invite those who want to share their experiences for the benefit of mankind."
And Shankar Chautari, also from The Guardian, reports back from a recent trip to the Mayan regions of Central and South America that there is little or no sense that the day marks the end of anything in a physical sense.
Throughout our trip, we encountered many ordinary Mayans from every walk of life to check out their reaction to the supposedly doomsday prediction. Most of the Mayans we spoke to were largely baffled by the question; others flatly denied that there was any reason that the world would come to an end. Told that a lot of conventional wisdom behind the doomsday scenario in the rest of the world supposedly derived from ancient Mayan texts, they politely replied that they were not aware of any such prediction or text.
In every place we visited, whether in a large city like Merida or a smaller town like Celestun or Uayamon, we found the local people going about their business in perfect calmness without any concern for any impending apocalypse.
Perhaps that was because no such apocalypse is foretold. David Stuart, a noted Mayan and Meso-American specialist at the University of Texas at Austin, observed in his book The Order Of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012, that "no Maya text – ancient, colonial or modern – ever predicted the end of time or the end of the world."