Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Mapuche "Indians" and their struggle with Chile

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How to use this resource: First, please review the vocabulary list and understand the meanings of the words.  Then, please read the article provided.  Refer back to the vocabulary list if you do not remember the meanings of some words.

By reviewing the vocabulary words over and over, they will begin to 'stick' in your memory and you will be able to use them when you speak.

The Mapuche are a group of 'indigenous' people in South America.  This means that they existed in South America before the Spanish came over from Europe to colonize the area.

Over the centuries (a century is 100 years) The Mapuche have fought hard to maintain their independence and identity.  Apparently now the Chilean government is trying to classify this indigenous group as 'terrorists.'

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a rapporteur - basically this is the person whom an organization chooses to do research about an issue and to write a report.

a dispute - this is a type of argument in which both sides believe something different about a situation.  For instance, Japan and Korea have had a dispute about which country owns a specific island - both countries believe the island belongs to them and they dispute that the island belongs to the other country.

to boil over into violence - if you heat water on a stove for long enough, it will begin to boil.  If the water is too high in the pot, the water will boil over.  So if a situation boils over, it is a critical situation and trouble comes from it.

a systematic use of excessive force - they regularly or often or commonly use too much force against the Mapuche. (pronounced:  Mah POO che)

to discriminate against - remember you always use 'against' with discriminate.  If someone discriminates against someone else, the first person takes action against the second person to harm him/her because of some racial or ethnic issue.  If someone doesn't like black people and he refuses to hire black people for his business, he is discriminating against black people.

arbitrary - this means random.  If they are using an anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche in an arbitrary manner, they use it when they feel like it and there are no real or objective standards.

if something is volatile - it is unstable and unpredictable.

prompt - if you are a prompt person, you are always on time

to escalate - to get worse

a vast swath(e) of land - a large area spread out over a great distance.

renowned for their ferocity - famous for how cruel and  brutal they were.  If a dog is ferocious, it will bite a person easily.

they resisted conquest - they fought against being conquered or beaten.

waged a campaign - fought

arson - starting stuff on fire

to sabotage machinery - to deliberately destroy machines

to invoke a law - to use a law. So if the Mapuche fight to try to get their land back, the government calls them terrorists and tries to throw them in jail.

drafted - written by Pinochet.  Pinochet was a violent dictator in Chile who helped assassinate the Chilean president Salvador Allende.

to stamp out opposition - to eliminate, get rid of

harshest - most severe

statute book - law book

a conviction - when a person is determined to be guilty.  By using this law, the Chilean government can find people guilty without providing any evidence or witnesses.

anonymous - you don't know the person's name.

a paradigm shift - a change in the way that the government views the situation.  A paradigm is a way you look at things.  The government has to stop looking at the Mapuche as terrorists and view them as people who had their land stolen.

conspicuously - obviously

rumbling on - going on slowly but steadily

sporadic - every once in a while

assailants - attackers

the blaze - the fire

a hunger strike - when people refuse to eat to protest something

a raid - when the police suddenly and quickly attack someone or some group.


Writing/discussion questions:

How do you determine when a group is a group of freedom fighters or terrorists?

How do you determine when a government is engaged in terrorism?

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