Last February 18-21, 2014 in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, JATAM and WALHI, together with the international coal network, have organized the first SE Asia Regional Coal Meeting. The main purposes of the meeting are to develop the network of groups working on coal in the region, to build the capacity of those groups and individuals to fight proposed coal plants and mines, and to share experiences and strategies.
Part of the meeting is to visit coal mining communities and engage with the locals. We have witnessed the devastation right in our eyes. Arable land for food are turned into a wasteland!
Our friends from LEAP (Land, Empowerment, Animals, People) based in Malaysia, Jaswinder Kaur Kler, translated the conversation she had with one of the participants during the meetings, Ibu Mariana, 55 years old. Below are some of the powerful pieces she shared:
“My community’s struggles are falling on deaf ears. We are being poisoned slowly by coal mines and pollution of our rivers. It is a difficult battle, but I am determined to fight on,” Ibu Mardiana said.
“Hutan adalah nafas kami, air adalah darah kami;
Hutan dibabat (ditebang), bumi dikeruh, mata air kering;
Rakyat melarat, adat lenyap, masa depan gelap.”
(The forest is our breath, water is our blood;
The forest is cleared, land is destroyed, our watersheds are dry;
The people are suffering, our heritage is gone, our future is bleak.)
Reading through Jas’ translations from Ibu Mardiana’s words brought me to tears. May we continue to build the kind of power that will trample the dirty industry down!
Please read the whole write up from Jaswinder’s blog.