- Bruno Manser
Bruno Manser (born
August 25, 1954in Basel, Switzerland) was an environmental activist. He was well-known in Switzerland for his public activism for rainforestpreservation and the protection of indigenous peoples.
Life with the Penans
Manser created richly illustrated notebooks during his stay in 1984 to 1990 with the
Penanpeople, in the jungle of the Eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, near the Indonesian border of Kalimantan. He stayed with the nomadic band of Along Sega, who became the Penan figurehead for their struggle. He also visited many other settled Penan communities in the Upper Baram district. These notebooks were later published, with some success, by the Christoph Merianpress in Basel. Manser, however, was declared " persona non grata" in Malaysiaand had to leave the country with a bounty of $40,000 on his head.
Manser protested internationally for Sarawak. On 17th July, 1991 Manser chained himself to a lamp post with a banner during the G7 summit until cut loose by police. His protest was featured on the front page of "The Independent" newspaper the next day. In 1992 he parachuted into the Rio World Summit.
As of 2006, Manser is missing and presumed dead. His last known communication is a letter mailed to his girlfriend on
May 22, 2000from the village of Bario, in the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak, where he had returned to meet the nomadic Penan he lived with for so long.
Manser is still regarded by the Penan as somewhat of an idol, named "Lakei Penan" (Penan Man). A man that united them and has been accused by the government of arranging numerous blockades of logging roads (although no proof has been given) and having some positive effect by protesting in
Tokyoand Europeabout the alleged inhumanity of the tropical timber industry.
After search expeditions proved fruitless, a civil court in Basel ruled on
March 10, 2005that Manser be considered dead. Manser's unpopularity with Sarawak's government and the logging companies such as Samling Plywood, who have been known to use intimidation and violence as scare tactics have prompted suspicions surrounding his death, none of which have yet been proved.
Anonymous information concerning the presumed killing or the whereabouts of Bruno Manser still can be send to bm.searchandrescue [at] ecoterra.net
*"SAGO - A Film by Bruno Manser" (1997), a documentation of the culture of the Penan [http://www.bmf.ch/de/shop/]
Several documentary films have been made about him. They are
*"Blowpipes against Bulldozers", (1988) [http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/blow.html] ,
*"Tong Tana - En resa till Borneos inre", (1989) [http://imdb.com/title/tt0098489/] and
*"Tong Tana 2", (2001) [http://imdb.com/title/tt0331002/] .
*"Bruno Manser - Laki Penan" was published in April 2007 [http://www.brunomanser-derfilm.ch/] .
* [http://www.bmf.ch/en/en_bruno.html Bruno Manser Fonds]
* [http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu/archive/nl/91b/0080.html G7 protest]
* [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/1997/19970619.GA9255.html earth summit protest]
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