The Burning Season

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Basically, the movie entitled "The Burning Season" was about a brave man named Chico Mendez, who is determined to fight in order to save the rainforest of Amazon. He also fought for the people and led them in order to preserve the land that rightfully belongs to them. Just like what Chico told the people, "...the law says that we make productive use of the land...the law belongs to us." In addition to this, one important issue that is likewise raised in this movie is the apparent existence of injustice and oppression of those who are rich or in power against the poor and powerless sector of the place. Even at the start of the movie, injustice was shown clearly when as a boy Chico witnessed how his father was deceived when he sold rubber to the owner of a store and to make matters worse, his father did not do anything about it because he had no choice.

Evidently, this kind of injustice that he witnessed as a child stuck in his mind as he grew up and it prompted him to attack it as was reflected in one of his statements, "I will not let my children look at me like I look at my father." This is one of the lines of Chico that struck me. Chico may have perceived his father as a weakling because for him having no choice is not a reason not to fight against injustice. For Chico, no matter how poor a person is, he is given the will to fight for what he believes in "“ a right that is not vested only to those who have the money and the power.

And in connection to this, another issue was raised in the movie and that is the importance of EDUCATION as a weapon to fight against oppression. Even if he lives in a place where education was not given importance, as a young boy, I was really impressed on how Chico showed the will and determination to learn and to educate himself by teaching a man to taper rubber tree in exchange of teaching him how to read and also to learn math. When he grew up, and was ready to fight for the people's rights over the land, education played a significant role. How he valued can be reflected in his words like, "One educated man is the beginning of a movement" and "What good is the organization without education." The way Chico valued education somehow changed my perception that for one to be successful in fighting for what one believes doesn't entail of merely using physical force or violence because as what is clearly shown in the movie, education is a more powerful tool than physical force. In order to fight, one doesn't need to kill or hurt other people, because the more effective way is to serve one's purpose is by compromising. All individuals is granted the freedom to fight for what one believes in but this freedom has its limitation "“ freedom also entails one to be responsible of his own actions like to prevent hurting other people. The way Chico showed his determination to be educated, in a way made me feel guilty my own shortcomings. Unlike Chico who possess no money and the means to learn and to be educated, I was given the privilege to be provided with the best education that a person could get but sometimes I take it for granted, primarily because before, I don't see the value of going to school and doing the same routine of doing things. The movie made me more aware that I am blessed so I should really value what I am provided with "“ one of which is education.

Lastly, I hope that many people would be like Chico Mendez "“ a modern day hero. I was really inspired with his courage and determination even to the extent of sacrificing of his for the benefit of others.