27 Dec 2006


T.W. Punchi Banda and T.W Muttu Banda were arrested along with eight others earlier this year. They were part of a group of 19 Wanniyala-Aetto who had returned to the forest from which they were evicted more than 20 years ago. The group, from government rehabilitation village Hennanigala, had returned to their former village, Kandeganville, in what is now the national park. The remainder of the group fled the forest when park guards came to arrest them.

Ecological crisis is an excuse for raising tax, controlling population and extending neo-liberalism, no surprise, what isn't an excuse. So while Tony Blair jets off on holiday with yet another third rate pop star, pushing up his carbon budget, there is constant pressure on the communities on this planet who actually live ecologically.

The paragraph above is from a Survival International report on rainforest dwelling people in Sri Lanka, kicked out of their land and in this case arrested for returning.

I guess somewhere you can buy a carbon offset, so you can fly and in return some more rainforest gets enclosed from the people who have lived in it for centuries.

This kind of stuff is totally off the map for Blair and other mainstream politicians.

You can write and protest, although I guess boycott threats would be in order as well

Please write to the President of Sri Lanka urging his government to immediately allow all those Wanniyala-Aetto who so wish to return to their land, to hunt for their own consumption and to gather forest produce inside the park, without fear of further eviction, harassment or violence.

His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka
Mr Mahinda Rajapakse
Presidential Office
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 112 433346

There is an interesting account of the Veddhas to which the Wanniyla-Aetto belong on the wiki oracle

Sri Lanka's indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas -- or Wanniya-laeto ('forest-dwellers') as they call themselves -- preserve a direct line of descent from the island's original Neolithic community dating from at least 18,000 BC and probably far earlier according to current scientific opinion. Even today, the surviving Wanniya-laeto community retains much of its own distinctive cyclic worldview, prehistoric cultural memory, and time-tested knowledge of their semi-evergreen dry monsoon forest habitat that has enabled their ancestor-revering culture to meet the diverse challenges to their collective identity and survival. With the impending extinction of Wanniya-laeto culture, however, Sri Lanka and the world stand to lose a rich body of indigenous lore and living ecological wisdom.

There is also a detailed and rather more referenced account here

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