In Memoriam: Jyri Jaakkola
May 1, 2010 by intlibecosoc
The 33-year old Finn Jyri Jaakkola—climate activist, revolutionary,
human—was murdered on 27 April while participating as an international
observer in a caravan destined to the community of San Juan Copalá in
the state of Oaxaca, México.  He went as an associate of VOCAL
(Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty) in a convoy that
was intended to deliver much-needed food and other supplies to the
autonomous municipality which has for months been cut off by
paramilitary organizations.  The caravan was at a certain point
ambushed and fired upon; Jyri and Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo were
killed.  Those responsible are said to be members of the Union of
Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT), an organization that
has been said to be a paramilitary group tied to México’s
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—the party of the present
governor of the state of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.[1]

The present author had the pleasure of knowing Jyri but for a few
days, this during the Encounter for Autonomous Life that took place in
Oaxaca de Juárez in early April.  He was a member of the Finnish
grassroots environmental organization Hyökyaalto as well as of Climate
Justice Action, and he partook in protests during the 15th meeting of
the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen last December.  During the
Encounter, he presented an account of the Copenhagen meeting and the
activities that took place to resist it, showing pictures of sit-ins
and manifestations organized by protestors as well as disturbing
images of police brutality directed at such.  He closed his plática,
or talk, with a list of demands adapted from those advocated by
Climate Justice Action:  that fossil fuels be kept in the ground, that
local communities obtain control over their resources, that
food-production be localized, that Northern over-consumption patterns
be massively reduced, that the concept of ecological and climate
debt[2] be recognized and that reparations be granted to Southern
societies, and that the rights of indigenous peoples and forests be

Jyri was in the audience for the talk “Atmospheric Dialectics,”
presented during the final day of the Encounter, and it was he who
spurred dialogue after the conclusion of this decidedly depressing
speech.  His kindness and warmth will not forgotten.

Jyri expressed to the author his desire to participate in actions
surrounding the COP-16 meeting that is slated to take place at Cancún
in November and December of this year.  Sadly, he will be able to do
no such thing now.  It is perhaps to be hoped, though, that that which
will occur at Cancún would have pleased Jyri; in this sense, it may be
that we can commemorate him thusly in life, against death.

Beside the talk he gave during the “COP, Cochabamba, and local
actions: sources in the struggle against global warming” event held on
the second evening of the Encounter for Autonomous Life, Jyri was
filmed in an interview by x while at the Encounter.  It is available
here; his section begins at 20:28.

Jyri’s passing brings to mind some of Hannah Arendt’s comments in The
Human Condition: “Men, though they must die, are not born in order to
die but in order to begin.”[3] It is time that we began—that we act to
realize Arendt’s affirming negation of her mentor and former lover
Martin Heidegger here, that we work to realize “a rational
establishment of overall society as humankind.”[4] It is to be
imagined that Jyri, like the rest of the Earth’s multitude that today
suffers brutal repression and violence, would wish for such.


[1] Octavio Vélez Ascencio, “Desaparecidos, varios de los emboscados
en Copala,” La Jornada, 29 April 2010.

[2] Andrew Simms, Ecological Debt: Global Warming & the Wealth of
Nations (London: Pluto, 2009).

[3] p. 246.

[4] Theodor W. Adorno, “Progress,” Benjamin: Philosophy, Aesthetics,
History, ed. Gary Smith, trans. Eric Krakauer (Chicago: Univ. of
Chicago Press, 1989).

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