Letter to the editor: Tortuguita and Tyre

Manuel Esteban Paez Terán aka Tortuguita

Letter to the editor from Julia Wright

They both loved Nature.

The one loved sunsets and photographed them — but he did not walk happily into any sunset. The other defended trees with all their radical love; they knew they must save the roots of the trees of Weelaunee to destroy white-supremacy policing at the roots.

Both were twins in lynching at the hands of  systemically racist police, whether it wears Black or white masks.

One was named Tortuguita, the other was named Tyre.

Both had their lives in front of them.

For the one, there was almost immediate and damning bodycam footage and second-degree murder charges for five Black officers, followed by the arrest of a white police officer and first responders to boot.

For the other, silence. No body cam, no name of the state trooper who shot them down in the forest. No arrest except for the arrest on charges of “domestic terrorism” for those who protested the murder of a peaceful forest protector.

For the one, there is an attempt to poster Black-masked police “transparency”; for the other, there is Black-masked corporate and political opacity.

In each case behind the Black masks, we find the white-supremacist complicity of the police and the military with the corporate establishment.

In the case of one of the youths, the Vice President of the United States attended his VIP funeral. In the other’s case, we are not told if or when there was a funeral — all we know is that the family, the Forest Defenders and an overwhelmingly anti-Cop City Atlanta community have called for an indep

WW PHOTO: Roberto Mercado

endent autopsy. However, we are sure that when the funeral does take place, the Vice President will stay far away, since those the victim protested with were found guilty of “domestic terrorism” before being proven innocent.

The postmortem image of Tyre has been twisted and exploited to become an advertisement for neoliberal police reform.

The postmortem image of Tortuguita has been twisted and exploited to make them look like a “terrorist,” whereas none of those who invaded the Capitol were charged with or sentenced for terrorism. Meanwhile, Tortuguita has become internationally known as the first eco-freedom fighter to die on U.S. soil for a cause intersectioning eco-justice for us all and an eradication of white supremacy policing.

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