For the beauties of the sea

| Para as belezas do mar
Yemanja guide us | Yemanja nos guia

by Ioanna Marathefti with the help of Fred Turuka, Jair Martins de Miranda and Ana Sanches
Our oceans and seas are dying. Filled with plastic, oil spillages, dynamite fishing. All because of the greed for money and power, spiralling out of control further and further away from the essentials of life, into the instant, egocentric gratification of money.

More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the oceans every year. Over 90 percent of seabirds have plastic pieces in their stomachs, while marine mammals are entangled in marine litter. Our oceans and seas are dying.

We were carried by the ocean. We came on boats in shackles. Yemanja listened to our sorrows, the water cleansed our wounds. The fishermen came to know each rock, every current – at times hard done by the strong winds, and at times soothed by the gentle waves, rhythmically touching the hull of the boat mesmerising our ears. Do you remember the gatherings on the beach at night? The warmth of the sea under the moonlight? This was our treasure. Our treasure, our ocean.

Our treasure,

our ocean.

Mariana, State of Minas Gerais, 35420-000, Brazil:  5th November 2015: a collapse of the wastewater dam and iron-ore mine left an environmental crisis in the River Doce; mercury, arsenic and toxic mud spewed into the Atlantic ocean. This was not a natural disaster. It was a disaster prompted by the thirst for money. It was a disaster that destroyed the lives of the local communities and the existence of entire ecosystems.

Right now the Amazon Reef is threatened. Home to pink corals and sunset-coloured fish, the Reef, an ‘underwater rainforest’ is at risk as oil companies plan to drill near the Amazon river.

Every drop of saltwater bears Yemanja’s imprint and calls us, her people, back to Yemanja, back to our mother and home. We gather on the smooth sandy beaches, the rocky coasts, the tranquil bays and the windy headlands to ask Yemanja for guidance. Our feet caressed by the waves; our messages and wishes in the form of a flower placed in the sea: “Salve Mariana” (Save Mariana) “Proteja nossos recifes” (Protect our Reef), “Defenda nossos Oceanos” (Defend our Oceans), “Proteja nossas aguas” (Protect our rivers and seas).

As we look towards the infinite sea, tasting the salt on our lips, Yemanja replies to our wishes “i have protected you over the years, i have kept your fishermen safe and provided you with life. Now it is your turn to work against the evil. Nature will give you the energy to unite against the atrocities. The present and the future is in your hands”


 Plastic Oceans Foundations

Information about Candomble and its practices:
 Mami Wata: Yemanja Brazilian Festival (c) Henry J. Drewal (video)
 Candomblé at a glance (BBC) (Video documentary)
 Spoken personal accounts,  Jair Martins de Miranda
 Shukla, P. (2015), “Costume: Performing Identities through Dress”. Indiana University Press.

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For the beauties of the sea