From Socialist Voice, October 2007

Letter

Biofuel production is destroying traditional communities

The Swedish Minister for Trade, Sten Tolgfors, who recently attended the “Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil” in Malaysia, calls for the removal of EU biofuel import tariffs from Malaysia and Indonesia. What this really means indirectly is that this EU minister is encouraging the continuous expansion of palm oil plantations, especially by multinational corporations, in both Malaysia and Indonesia, that would include expansion in the brutally colonised West Papua, where the genocide and holocaust of Indigenous West Papuans still continues.
     This minister, speaking in such a contradictory language-game, who seems to know much about trade but obviously without a care about our natural environment, since this is not in Europe, does not understand that palm oil expansion usually means a continuous and infinite process, from the logging industry, of destroying our tropical rain-forest reserves and ancestral Indigenous land and forest rights, initially enriching multinational corporations’ multi-billion worth of profit.
     Then such corporations would continue endlessly towards further multi-billion profit-making industry, that is, by constructing plantations on the same logged rain-forest area, the biggest plantations being palm oil, followed by acacia. (That’s what capitalism is fundamentally about: infinite destruction, exploitation and expansion for the sake of maximum power and wealth for the capitalist class, at the cost of extreme suffering and abuses of human and environmental rights of the ordinary class, the natural environment and all its wildlife.)
     EU socio-environmentally conscious consumers, the Green and Socialist Parties and NGOs, can help us here in the “Third World” to struggle, no matter how small, against such injustice, which includes writing, calling up and protesting against their EU officials and politicians who are practising double standards of human rights in the “Third World” (one example being EU officials from the EU Commission in Malaysia charged by traditional Indigenous villagers with complicity with Malaysian logging and plantation corporations in destroying our tropical forest reserves and their ancestral Indigenous land and forest rights); also to indict these EU officials, army and politicians in the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court in the Hague if found in breach of human and environmental rights in the “Third World.”
     Only then can humanity hope to achieve true modernity (not capitalist modernity) and social justice and as true human beings, as envisaged enlighteningly by Hegel and Marx.
          Noor Aza Othman
          Selangor
          Malaysia

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