Malayasia: Bidayuh villagers set fire to logging camps, 13 heavy machines
By Intercontinental Cry / earthfirstnews.wordpress.com

Residents from 10 Bidayuh villagers this week set fire to five logging camps and thirteen heavy machines in a stark protest against logging activities on their land, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

As reported by Free Malaysia Today, the Bidayuh villagers took matters into their own hands because of the governments refusal to address their complaints about logging activities within their Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

One village leader, who did not wish to be identified, explained to reporters that, “We have made several reports to the authorities and yet the logging activities still continue[d],” adding that crops, fruit trees and land had already been destroyed by the activities.

He also said that they warned the workers to stop what they were doing, but the workers ignored them, much like the government. “We gave them ample time, and when they failed to adhere to our warning, we have to take action,” he said.

Shortly after the fire, an unnamed villager was quoted as saying, “They have tested our patience and we just cannot take it anymore. We have lodged several reports and complaints to the authorities, but the logging activities continued. We are fed up. Our rights have been encroached, our crops destroyed.”

Dr. Christopher Kiyui of the People’s Justice Party (PKR), who lost to Manyin in Sarawak’s recent election, told Radio Free Sarawak that 500 villagers had “burnt 13 Caterpillar and tractor machines and some lorries, around 10 in the morning [of May 9th, 2011]. About 50 people came from each village.”

Fortunately, no one was injured during the agitation. Similarly, no arrests have been made; however the police did step in several hours after the fires began. They just couldn’t do anything because they were so outnumbered.

Leading up to May 9th, the Bidayuh were already busy blocking the access road used by the workers to defend their land. Local assembly representative and state Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Michael Manyin Jawong had also incensed the Bidayuh when he claimed that the protesters were merely a group of “trouble makers” who were “causing a ruckus” to get some money from the logging company.

Photo courtesy mocsarawak.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy mocsarawak.wordpress.com

A spokesperson for the communities said that Manyin was lying. The villagers rejected the company’s intrusion, he said, because “our NCR land and our jungle… are our ancestral properties.” Properties that the Bidayuh clearly want to protect.

Agitations such as these are few and far in between, but have occurred in other parts of the world. In 2009, for instance, the Maya reportedly burned equipment at a gold mine in Guatemala; and the Lepcha took action against the Panan hydel power project in Sikkim, India. Similarly, in 2008, the Enawene Nawe completely levelled a hydro dam construction site in Brazil.

Governments and Industry spokespersons tried to dismiss these actions as mere vandalism, as if Indigenous Peoples have nothing better to do than trash private property. But the fact is, with more than 5,000 industrial projects taking place on Indigenous lands around the world, it’s no wonder it doesn’t happen more often.

Especially since the stakes are so high. Companies may offer a few short term jobs and maybe even free bubble gum for the kids, but Indigenous people face the depletion of their water supply, the destruction of their food sources, the loss of their cultural property and the overall devastation of their homelands.

The burden is simply too great for anyone to carry.

Thanks to @Uriohau and @funnywhitedog for the initial report.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 18,837 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 12,604 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn · 5,622 views today · PART ONE A fable to start with Once upon a time life evolved on a certain planet, bringing forth many different social organizations—packs, pods, flocks, troops, herds, and...
Lawns Are for Suckers. Plant a Garden - for the Climate!
Nathanael Johnson · 2,580 views today · Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change...
You Should Get Naked More Often. It's Good for You.
Joni Sweet · 1,977 views today · When Nelly encouraged overheated people worldwide to get naked in 2002, he was unknowingly advocating much more than just a sexy, sweaty dance party. Sunbathing, sleeping...
How Native Americans Managed "Wild" Land Long Before Settlers
Sami Grover · 1,690 views today · When European settlers first came to North America, they assumed they were looking at "untouched" nature. Sure, there were native peoples, but history tells us they didn't...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · 1,300 views today · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,096 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Bioregional Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Place in Which You Live?
Rua Lupa · 969 views today · In the vast emptiness of space there are an unimaginable number of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions upon billions of stars. Looking at one galaxy we find an average...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · 870 views today · Inspired by the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation: a sold-out multicultural, multigenerational inquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and...
Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma
Kali Holloway · 710 views today · We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 652 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 632 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn · 570 views today · The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 542 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt · 538 views today · We don't need no education. At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 513 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 512 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven't Noticed
Gustavo Tanaka · 400 views today · Most of us haven't quite realized there is something extraordinary happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that...
Why People's Opinions of You Aren't Real
4 min · 394 views today · "You are what you love and not what loves you." - From Charlie Kaufman's film "Adaptation"
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Malayasia: Bidayuh villagers set fire to logging camps, 13 heavy machines