The real Avatar: A video about Indigenous land rights and Environmental Protection attracted mixed reactions from the community of Ngwedu,in Buliisa district
On August,17, 2019, Ngetha Media Association for Peace in Partnership with our on-ground Environmental Defenders and Land rights activists in Nwgedu,Buliisa district facilitated the screening of the Film “The Real Avatar” a film that shows an indigenous alien tribe on a different planet who came together in the fight for saving their home in the forests from business and profit-oriented human invaders who were aiming at carrying out mining activities on their motherland.
Located in the Albertine region of Uganda, Ngwedu sub-county, Buliisa district, lies Ngwedo village, one of the focal villages which have experienced and still yet to experience serious impacts that come as a result of exploration of oil resources within the region. Ranging from environmental and climatic, social, economic, political, cultural and other relevant aspects are some of the impacts that the people within this area have to cope-up within their daily lives.
Land grabbing, forceful and unlawful evictions of people from their lands also emerged as a very threatening issue to the local people around Ngwedu village and this is basically being powered by the state, corporations and very rich and well-connected individuals from Kampala who want to utilize the opportunity of oil exploration, grab people’s lands in anticipation of being compensated by the government with huge amounts of monies.
But, most notably, the local communities in this area are experiencing and will yet experience much worrying environmental and climatic changes being caused by rampant cutting down of trees and clearing of forest lands for commercial charcoal burning and producing timber in a bid to pave way for oil development activities that are taking place around which has already started negatively impacting on the communities with results like the long drought hence calling for more community education and sensitization on environmental protection and conservation activism.
Based on these backgrounds, On Saturday 17, August 2019, Ngetha Media Association for Peace under the environment program, conducted a public cinema show at Ngwedo village center with the people from surrounding areas. The cinema show was about educating local and indigenous communities on how important it is to join synergies in conservation and protection of the environment and their indigenous land territories from outside invaders that may include business people and big corporations who are always profit-minded and money-making while causing much degradation to people’s indigenous lands.
These public cinema shows are aimed at educating and building stronger and informed community grassroots networks of local people who could emerge as focal local environmental defenders by advocating for the protection and conservation of environment while defending their indigenous territories from intruders whose activities always come along with high levels of human rights abuse and environmental degradation.
The public cinema show was based on the film “The Real Avatar” a film that shows an indigenous alien tribe on a different planet who came together in the fight for saving their home in the forests from business and profit-oriented human invaders who were aiming at carrying out mining activities on their motherland. The film shows the aggressiveness of the mining company which brought in ex-marine soldiers to provide security and fighting off the indigenous tribe who owned the land and forests but the tribe looked more determined to do whatever it takes for them to protect and save their original home from profit-oriented invaders.
The film also tells a story of how, for example, indigenous communities in Peru found in Western South America called the “Awajun” and “Wampis” who are staying in the forests of Amazon and along the Amazon River. These indigenous tribes staged protests against their government which had paved way for the foreign corporation companies to carry out the exploitation of oil, gas and other mineral resources on their land while violating environmental and human rights.
In conclusion, the public cinema show was such an important tool in sensitization of the local people of Ngwedu village and the surroundings as it directly addresses issues that the immediate communities in and within the Albertine region are facing because of Oil resource exploitation. The film reminded the communities of what they have to do by reminding them of their rights to resources and land as indigenous populations and the urgency of jealously protecting their indigenous lands while conserving the environment for sustainable development.
Ngetha Media Association for Peace is working closely with communities which are resisting land grabbing, environmental degradation, and taking direct action to prevent people who are destroying forests, lakes, rivers and other natural resources relevant for the survival of indigenous cultures.