Cartoon book satirizing ‘development’ launched in Malaysia
By Survival International
Survival International has today launched in Malaysia a biting critique of how tribal peoples are being destroyed in the name of ‘development’. The critique is presented in a cartoon book called ‘There you go!’ that can be read in two minutes.
Tribal peoples around the world, from the Penan in Sarawak to Amazonian Indians, have told Survival that the cartoon reflects their experiences of ‘development’. An indigenous activist working closely with the Penan said, ‘What happens in the book ‘There you go!’ is exactly what is happening in Sarawak.’
Survival has sent the book to the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, key members of the two leaders’ cabinets, and the libraries of all Malaysia’s public universities.
The cartoon highlights how the concept of development is often used to justify the dispossession of tribal peoples. John, a semi-nomadic Penan man, told Survival, ‘It is like what happened here when the company came to destroy our forest. They said it was progress, the government said it was development and we shouldn’t stop it. But all they did was destroy our forest and then they left. It wasn’t progress for us.’
Tony Blair said about the book, ‘There you go! should help raise understanding about the complexities and potential pitfalls of offering development assistance, with a particular focus on tribal peoples.’
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, ‘This little book contains the big message that we must avoid the arrogance of presuming to know what's best for those whose voices are not heard in global debates. It reminds us of our shared responsibility to see to it that all people are active participants in shaping the decisions that impact their lives. Only then can we hope to see real development.’
Read ‘There you go!’ on Survival’s website. For copies of the cartoon in book form, contact Miriam Ross on email@example.com
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