NEWS 2005

 

Call for help: Gana Bushmen of Kalahari

Posted to: Community - General by Evonne Heyning (632), Tue, 27 Sep 2005 12:22:50 PDT

This message came to me from a group of dedicated advocates for the Gana bushmen of Botswana who have faced terrible trials since forced off their land by the diamond mines in 2002. I cannot offer more information on this issue beyond Kim's email blast below but thought it may be of interest to a number of ONet advocates.

~evonne~


Update on Kalahari Bushmen

September 27, 2005

Greetings to all!

Many of you met Roy Sesana, leader of First People of the Kalahari, at the Gathering in 2004 in Big Bear. You heard him speak about the forced relocation by the Botswana government and the conditions in the resettlement camps - alcoholism, AIDS, TB, malaria, etc... He spoke about how his culture is dying and how his government cared little for his people - referring to them as "stone age people" that needed to assimilate or "perish like the dodo". Over the course of the year, the situation has worsened and my partner in the Indigenous Land Rights Fund (a partner organization of Journey to the Heart), Rupert Isaacson, has just returned from the Kalahari where his party led by activist Gloria Steinem was on a fact- finding/awareness raising mission. Not only were they harassed and escorted by gunmen out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) but now comes word that Roy and 28 others have been arrested for attempting to gain access to the CKGR - their homeland.

Coincidentally, I will be going to Washington DC this week for meetings with the State Dept, Amnesty International, UN Foundation and World Bank, among others. Rupert lodged a complaint with the US Embassy in Botswana while he was there.

You can help. We need to get the word out to the media, activists, and government officials at all levels around the country and around the world, that this grave human rights violation is occurring right now. We are acutely aware that there are so many areas of conflict on the planet that need attention but if Roy's story touched you at all, please get out your list of contacts and spread the word. The Bushmen are the oldest culture on the planet and we can all be traced by our DNA back to them. If we lose them, we lose our oldest living relatives.

Please read these two articles to get more information on their dire situation. One is a piece about Roy's arrest from Reuters and the second an update with information about the harassment of Rupert's group.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Kim Langbecker Founder/ED Journey to the Heart