Well this was sort of inevitable. It seems there’s a real-life tribe of Na’avi in the form of the Dongria Kondh in the Niyamgiri Hills on the northeast coast of India, who live peacefully, worshipping the mountains and raping pterodactyls. The Dongria are in the midst of a fight for their homeland against some real-life, golf-playing Giovanni Ribisis at a company called Vedanta, who want to cut the top off the Dongria’s sacred mountain so they can mine for bauxite (the most important aluminum ore), and no doubt make fur coats out of their children’s skin to wear while they dance on the ashes of the Dongria rec center.
U.K.-based charity Survival International has appealed to James Cameron on behalf of the Dongria. Survival said, “The Dongria Kondh are struggling to defend their land against a mining company hell-bent on destroying their sacred mountain.” The ad also provides a link to a 10-minute film [attached after the jump] narrated by India-born British actress Joanna Lumley (“Absolutely Fabulous”). Survival explained how the Dongria are battling against U.K.-based Vedanta Resources, majority-owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal.
“Just as the Na’vi describe the forest of Pandora as ‘their everything,’ for the Dongria Kondh, life and land have always been deeply connected. The fundamental story of ‘Avatar’ – if you take away the multi-coloured lemurs, the long-trunked horses and warring androids — is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri,” Survival’s director Stephen Corry said. “The mine will destroy the forests on which the Dongria Kondh depend and wreck the lives of thousands of other Kondh tribal people living in the area. I do hope that James Cameron will join the Dongria’s struggle to save their sacred mountain and secure their future.”
Survival International recently persuaded the Church of England to sell its investment in Vedanta Resources “for ethical reasons.” In 2007, a pension fund backed by the Norwegian government also sold its $13 million investment based on recommendations from the funds’ ethics council, which stated that “allegations leveled at (Vedanta) regarding environmental damage and complicity in human rights violations, including abuse and forced eviction of tribal people, are well founded.” Similarly, another Vedanta investor, Scotland-based Martin Currie Investments sold its £2.3 million stake last year, as did British Petroleum’s pension fund, which reduced its holdings in Vedanta due to “concerns about the way the company operates.” [THR]
It seems now that the tide is already turning, and all that’s left is for James Cameron’s remotely-controlled avatar to parachute into the jungle, rape the biggest animal in the forest, and teach these noble, ignorant savages how to kick ass, white-man style. “Here, Tuk Tuk, learn how to fire this sidearm. Go ahead, it’s not heavy. See, it’s light because it’s made of aluminum.”
Good story. Could use a few sad puppies and Sarah McClachlan though.