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.
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