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Borneo (Kalimantan): A Frontline for Survival of our Planet

Borneo (Kalimantan): A Frontline for Survival of our Planet

dissidentvoice.org
By Ricardo Vaz

Ricardo Vaz: You are preparing a new documentary film about a big island, Borneo, which is shared by three Asian countries. Which was the triggering factor for making this film now?

Andre Vltchek: The triggering factor was a simple shock. Im not what youd call an environmentalist. Of course, I care about our planet, about our wonderful creatures, plants, oceans, rivers and deserts. I dont want them to suffer, to disappear. I wrote an entire book about the plight of South Pacific island nations, called Oceania, but that was all I never made one single film about the environmental destruction.


Mount Kimabalu in Borneo, Malaysia

But after visiting Borneo earlier this year (2017), something changed inside me. The island used to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, covered by impenetrable tropical forests, high mountains, and mighty rivers. Its many kingdoms and cultures were self-sufficient and thoroughly unique. Thousands of animal species were coexisting in harmony, sharing the living space with other creatures like birds, butterflies and rare plants, trees and flowers. It was a magic, gentle and pure world…

And it was all not so long ago. Many things are even documented by stunning old photographs…

Then, Western colonialism changed, basically ruined everything; as it had ruined everything almost everything, all over the world.


Soon nothing left of Indonesia

Dutch and British invaders, showing no respect and no interest in local people and their habitat, began doing here what they have been doing everywhere for centuries: plundering, stealing, cutting down trees, extracting riches from under the earth, enslaving the locals.


Single-handedly ruining the mountain

Later on, after semi-independence, the West corrupted local elites and introduced savage capitalism onto basically the entire island of Borneo. In Indonesia, the situation has been the most brutal, since 1965, when the pro-Western treasonous military overthrew the progressive anti-imperialist President Sukarno, putting on the throne a beast, a nitwit and a shameless collaborator, General Suharto. His barefaced money-hungry clique, together with Saudi-type religious bigots, has been running the country until this very moment.


Everything that can be extracted is taken away

Result: there is almost nothing left of the native forest. Indonesia has the fastest rate of tropical deforestation of any other nation on Earth. Rivers are polluted, often toxic. Hundreds of species are gone forever. Unbridled coal mining is scarring the land. Horrid palm oil plantations are replacing everything. As more and more riches are being found underground, the greater is the destruction. Indonesia is one of the most corrupt nations in the world, partially because of the shameful culture of collaboration of its elites with the West, and with extreme capitalism.


Logging what is left of Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo

What I saw in Borneo simply shocked me. From now on Ill refuse to shut up. If Indonesians themselves are too scared or too programmed to address the situation, Ill try to do it myself.

RV: It seems that amnesia about the massive suffering of enslaved people, provoked by foreign imperialist administrations, is not the main concern of the traditional colonial powers like France, Britain or the US. For 75 years Borneo was a British protectorate. After its political independence, did UK put into practice a neo-colonial approach, aiming at keeping control of the islands resources? If yes, what means have been used?

AV: Yes, of course. Brits and Dutch, as well as others did it.

There were many well-established neo-colonial strategies implemented in Borneo.

First of all, the elites in all three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei) are almost totally under control of the West. What is often called corruption here is, in fact, nothing else other than collaboration with the foreign powers. Colonialism never died here – in fact, it is alive and well in Borneo, and almost everywhere in Southeast Asia. The local elites are serving the interests of both European and North American powers. They are willing to rob, to impoverish their own people, so they can maintain their own profits and privileges, and fill their own coffers, as well as those of the neo-colonialists.


New landscape of Kalimantan

Education and culture are also playing their terrible roles. Education in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia is almost fully controlled by the Western demagogues, and it is sprinkled generously with the extreme and intolerant religious currents, predominantly imported from the Gulf and from the West. Those few writers, filmmakers and film producers who could still be found here, are producing mainly absolute rubbish, and not addressing anything rebellious, socialist or revolutionary here. Almost all of them are well remunerated from the West and expected to shut up. I described it in great details in my latest novel Aurora.

The situation in education is even worse: professors are chasing diplomas and PhDs instead of fighting for their island. They are pacified, bought by the privileges and by pathetic feel good rewards, like those fully paid trips to Europe or the United States. They are paid to travel to the lands of their former colonial masters like UK or Holland, and learn, instead of spitting into the faces of those who have been robbing them for long and horrendous centuries. After getting indoctrinated at home and abroad, teachers and professors return home and continue their destructive work, brainwashing and indoctrinating both children and youth.

The young generation is taught how to get well-paid professions, how to make money and how to serve Western imperialism and savage capitalism, instead of fighting for, or defending their country or their almost destroyed islands, like Borneo. It is thoroughly shameful! The people who are ruling Southeast Asia would be executed for treason in places like Cuba, China or Russia!

RV: Back in 2012, Barack Obama announced a “pivot to Asia”. Is Southeast Asia already turning into the next Middle East because of the US imperialist ambitions?

AV: Good question, but it came a little bit too late. Southeast Asia and the Middle East are not all that different, anymore.

Look, in both parts of the world, the West used the most extreme religious streams, in order to enslave, brainwash and pacify the local population. And it is not only Islam that has been used and abused by Washington, London and Paris. Every imaginable and unimaginable fundamentalist religious torrent was injected into this part of the world.

Result: this enormous part of the world does not have one single great scientist, philosopher, writer or a film director! Not one, just imagine!

The more destroyed, damaged and brainwashed this part of the world becomes, the more it is hailed by the Western mass media as successful, tolerant and democratic. It is all just one highway robbery, a terrible, cynical joke, but it is being accepted at home and abroad, as most of the lies that are being spread by the Western indoctrinators are tolerated and embraced, as they are always well paid for.

RV: How are you planning to produce your documentary film? Are you being funded by some organization?

AV: I have no idea… Im not funded by anyone.

This is how I always work: I recycle what I make from my books and films into my new work, into my revolutionary struggle for survival of our planet. I often run myself into the ground; periodically I collapse. But then I collect myself, get up somehow, and try to continue my struggle, my journey.

This time I actually asked my readers for support. Borneo is a tremendous story and it may need two films: one short and one feature one. I used the fundraising system: GoGetFunding. I asked for US$20,000, which would hardly cover a half of basic expenses. So far I collected US$60. That would not pay even for a couple of memory cards. But I never give up.

As the great Chilean President Salvador Allende used to say: Adelante Camaradas, venceremos nuevamente!

As an internationalist, I feel that it is simply my duty to fight for Borneo, as it is my duty to fight for Afghanistan or for Venezuela.

If someone is ready to support my work and my struggle, Ill be grateful. If no one will, Ill do it on my own, somehow! Attempts to destroy our planet do not wait. Why should I?

All photos by Andre Vltchek

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are the revolutionary novel Aurora and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: Exposing Lies Of The Empire and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Watch his Rwanda Gambit, a documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. He continues to work around the world and can be reached through his website and Twitter. Read other articles by Andre.

Ricardo Vaz writes for InvestigAction. Read other articles by Ricardo.

View the original article at dissidentvoice.org

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