I just heard about a new documentary about Indonesia in the politically-turbulent 1960s. It’s called, “The Act of Killing.” And it’s about how — after the overthrow of President Sukarno by Suharto in the mid-1960s — Suharto loyalists were sent out in death squads to kill their countrymen who were suspected of (gasp) their presumed communist sympathies. Nearly 2.5 million men, women and children died in a genocide of purges, retribution, revenge and hand-to-hand murder (reenacted in explicit detail by two goons in this powerful documentary).
Well, if the Indonesians can so willingly kill their own people (like Egypt today), what’s scores more of orangutans, Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants to these barbarians? (Look, I know there are good people everywhere, but I’m on a roll here.)
Now yet more news comes out that five MORE beautiful, majestic Sumatran elephants were hunted down and murdered since June (including captive baby Raja; see an earlier post on this). The culprits? Mired-in-poverty villagers who seemingly had no choice in this escalating animal/human conflict because these elephants were destroying their crops. Well, what to expect when wildlife is having their own habitat destroyed out of human greed for forest lumber, palm oil, mining, etc.
Residents of Ranto Sabon village in Indonesia’s Aceh province have handed over to authorities the tusks of a 22-year-old Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) named Genk that was found dead in their village last month. The villagers admitted en masse to the killing, stressing that they were not after the ivory but were fed up with the elephant destroying their crops…
Elephant killings are fairly common in Aceh – last year 14 elephants died in the province, most from eating poison on palm oil plantations – and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. However graphic photos of Genk’s death caused outrage among Indonesian Twitter users, whose comments on social media eventually led the country’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to call for an investigation through his Twitter account.
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0814-dparker-dead-elephants-aceh.html#RCrdHGdqLGdHErTX.99
Here’s the link to the heartbreaking (and infuriating) Mongabay story: http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0814-dparker-dead-elephants-aceh.html
The West isn’t immune from such resource-raping either, so let’s not get all high and mighty. As I try to make it through Howard Zinn’s magnum opus, “The People’s History of the United States,” I just read last night that during the thoroughly imperialist Spanish-American War, U.S. capitalists were salivating all over themselves to get to the rich forests of Cuba — to chop them down and exploit for profitable lumber.
- Raja – The Innocent Elephant Held Captive By Angry Palm Oil Growers – Dies (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)
- Sumatran Elephants Still Face Imminent Threats (thejakartaglobe.com)
- Save Sumatra’s Forests (telania.wordpress.com)
- Elephant killers should be brought to justice, Indonesia’s president tweets [WARNING: brutally graphic images] (news.mongabay.com)
- Don’t turn a blind eye to what’s in your food – it could be killing elephants (theecologist.org)
- Another Elephant Found Dead in Aceh (thejakartaglobe.com)