First, there was the forest, logging came; bare lands appeared and mining companies came. What’s next? This idea has been in my mind when I revisited Midsalip in January this year to film and produce a short video on the struggle of the indigenous Subanens and the people of Midsalip against mining. My first visit to Midsalip was in the 80’s during the picket against logging companies. Talking about education, that has been the most educative experience in my life about the care of environment.
I was assigned for seven years in Brasil and eleven years in Peru. Both of these countries have gone through the same pattern of destruction, first sending people to colonize virgin territories of forest, then came the logging business, cattle raising and finally the mining. Forests were denuded at tremendous speed, driving the indigenous people to death and to nowhere. After the timbers were cut, greedy corporate interest were turn to minerals, digging open pit mining, rerouting, killing and contaminating rivers. A desolate land, dried rivers, tons of poisonous mercury and cyanide were left to replace what was once the lungs of the earth. Amidst this destruction, human community continue to produce unknown martyrs for the defense of the forest and the indigenous people, among them Chico Mendez and Dorothy Stang who recently have shed their blood.