Monday, April 25, 2016
Worldview, Privilege, Sleep
A young, indigenous woman confronts a logger who is poaching old-growth mahogany trees in Thailand. She and her community know that logging will turn their land into a desert. She is not so much a tree-hugging activist as she is desperate. Her back is up against the wall and she is making a last-ditch stand for survival. The corporate loggers don't care about that though, and, when they get a chance, they first intimidate her. When that doesn't work, they destroy her rice field. When that doesn't deter her, they find her alone one day on the trail and execute her. The Thai government benefits from the logging, so looks the other way. Another unexplained indigenous death in the forest. Another indigenous group mobilizes to block an open pit copper mine on their tribal land. Leaders end up beaten to death, bodies thrown into a river. The stories are legion. Big business goes on. The front lines of preserving delicate, endangered, and necessary eco-systems, more and more, is falling to those who can least afford to stand up to the biggest and most powerful forces on the planet, yet we first-worlders sit here in comfort, and comment on the beauty of the mahogany in the new entertainment center. Nothing is wrong in our little world. In fact things are pretty good. We are happy, a bit fat, and life is sweet, mostly, but something there is gnawing at our conscience beneath the gluttony. We just don't want to look too hard at where all our little goo-gahs and trinkets come from or who is holding our long term survival interests at heart when she stands up to power. Her story goes underground, draws strength from darkness, buried truth, and begins to coil, to whisper to a sleeping earth, and a living planet begins to stir, to shake off a parasite, a hungry ghost that can never get enough.