What Rainforest?Posted: October 13, 2008
I came across this 30-minute short documentary, “What Rainforest?” from Antares quite some time ago. I’ve only just got the chance to really watch it. And I’m shocked to the core, sad and angry all at once.
This is no more the subtle ‘trampling’. This is blatant outright disregard for the rights of the native people of Sarawak, and absolute disrespect for their culture and livelihood.
I mean, ponder these:
** The authorities say that Sarawak is still covered by 60% forest land. But what they don’t mention is that oil palm plantations and secondary forests (hutan belukar) are also included in this 60% statistic. Only 5% of the virgin forests that once existed in Sarawak still exist today. 5%!
** Imagine having built your house, and having cultivated 700 pepper plants (pokok lada) to make a living. Then one fine day, you leave your house for a day or two, and return home only to find that all your plants are gone and bulldozed over, and your house in shambles, the planks and wood taken out of the very structure your house. You are left with not even a decent house to stay in anymore!
** Imagine what it’s like when it comes to needing to give up your way of life and to plant your own oil palm, just so the companies do not take over your land and home.
The most ridiculous statement that I heard was from some state government official. In trying to justify what the state and companies are doing, taking away land rightfully owned by the natives, he says:
Forest reserves, protected forests, were terms coined back in 1933..
“The forests were protected from devastation by the natives because of the destructive way in which they carry out shifting cultivation. So they were protected from that so that they can be available for commercial exploitation.”
I’ve never heard any other statement more irresponsible and illogical than that.
Please give the documentary some time of your day. Just allocate 30 minutes of your time to watch and learn of what has been happening, and is continuing to happen in Sarawak today.
I also ask of you to give a minute more of your time to sign this online petition to restore the rights of the indigenous people of Sarawak.