Van Roosmalen was recognized as a ‘Hero of the Planet’ by Time magazine for his remarkable research in the Amazon. However, most people might not know that he was an employee of the National Research Institute of the Amazon for almost twenty years, which makes him an employee of the Brazilian government. The same government he referred to as disinterested in the Amazon.
Marc van Roosmalen did not have the right to make such sweeping references to a whole society, especially one that he was part of for most of his professional life.
As Brazilians, the seminar raised in us a feeling of rage and injustice, and we were furious at his misconceptions about Brazilian society and the Amazon occupation. Corrupt, xenophobic, stupid: these were just some of the adjectives used by Marc van Roosmalen when referring to Brazil.
We might not know much about the Amazon region. Fortunately, we do know something about respect, otherwise we would have replied to Marc van Roosmalen with the same disrespect with which he referred to Brazil.
We just hope that the audience did not leave taking everything Van Roosmalen said at face value. Also, we would like to ask Studium Generale to organize a more ‘both sides of the coin’ evening next time.