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tv   Fighting Forest Faiths  BBC News  November 19, 2017 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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the military on sunday. they are attempting to persuade him to step down. huge crowds have demonstrated in the capital harare, calling for mr mugabe to resign. the lebanese politician saad hariri, who shocked his country when he resigned as prime minister, says he will return to beirut within days. mr hariri announced he was standing down while in saudi arabia a fortnight ago. the leader of the irish republican party, sinn fein, gerry adams, says he plans to stand down next year, after thirty—four years at the forefront of the republican movement in northern ireland. the argentine navy says it has so far failed to find any trace of the sanjuan, a submarine with forty—four crew on board after searching almost 80% of the sea area where it disappeared. now on bbc news, we take you deep into the forests of sumatra. for centuries they've been home to the orang rimba tribe. but as the palm oil industry
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in indonesia flourishes, the orang rimba have been forced to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and convert to a religion recognised by the state. rebecca henschke investigates. the orang rimba tribes have lived here for centuries, their land rights and faith are not recognised by the state of indonesia. the surrounding majority muslim population call them kaffir, or kubu. it is like garbage, you cannot even look at it. it is disgusting. and their forests are disappearing at one of the fastest rate in the world. not long ago this was thick rainforest, a hunting ground forthe orang rimba, but has recently been cleared to make way for palm oil.
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now the orang rimba are being forced into a stark choice. convert to a state religion or starve. we are travelling in some of the world's last remaining traces of rainforest in sumatra. to meet the orang rimba, the people of the jungle. they are trying to preserve their nomadic way of life against enormous pressure. from the moment they are born,
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orang rimba are connected to the trees. outsiders are not allowed to witness orfilm rituals but we have been given rare access. this man and his wife, elders of the tribe, explained their birthing rituals. everyone in the jungle has their own trees, even the dead ones. they have to look after it, they call it their sister theirabang, or the elder sister or older brother. from when they are born until death, always they are connected to thejungle. butet is an anthropologist who has lived with the orang rimba four years.
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many of their gods are animals. the tiger may be the most powerful, and they also have something that they worship is the god of the water spring, and they believe that they cannot do anything bad to the water, they will never defecate or wee or put soap in the water, so you can just straightaway drink. they take me deeper into the jungle, to their custodial forest for this tribe. the home of the sacred trees. the forest is also a valuable source of medicinal plants. this is the anti—malaria plant, so it has to be boiled up and then drank, it is a very kind of sour taste, bitter taste. it is used here to prevent or treat malaria. we stop to rest and food
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is quickly found. sweet potato dug up from the jungle, and meat from last night's hunt. their approach to food is most different to other indonesians, they eat wild pigs, but will not eat domesticated animals. snake, frog, pig, bats. different kinds of lizards for example. muslims will not eat that and orang rimba do not eat ayam,
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chicken or cows or anything that is domesticated. they believe it is only fair to fight for their food. but in this hunt today, like most days, has found no animals. he is bringing home nothing to feed his family. his forest is gone. and this is why. indonesia is now the world's largest exporter of palm oil, a product found in supermarkets all over the world. in my lifetime, 30—odd years, more than half of sumatra's forests
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have disappeared. they are replaced by monoculture palm oil plantations. this would have all been thick rainforest not that long ago, it is now a palm oil plantation and, as we have been driving along it has just been rows and rows of palm oil trees. here in this land that was the home of the orang rimba. orang rimba's forests have become someone else's, private land. i get a sense of this suspicion and mistrust when we enter a nearby village with our orang rimba guides. we're just about to head into the orang rimba area, or the forest and we just stopped
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at this place for lunch, and within minutes a whole group of officials from the local government have come in and are asking lots of questions, they want to see my id card, they want to know what we're doing here. the orang rimba that brought us here say this represents the pressure that they have from the authorities, they are not accepted, or treated with suspicion whereever they go. with the rapid rate of deforestation, social tensions are rising. there is now a push by the state to rein in the orang rimba. injakarta i met the social affairs minister. indonesia's presidentjoko widodo has bowed to slow down the rapid rate of deforestation and to protect forests like the orang rimba's,
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but his minister is reluctant to make promises. the fact that the central government is seemingly powerless to stop the deforestation is a sensitive topic. the palm oil plantations have moved into the sacred forests of the orang rimba. there is something else on the horizon, too. islam. 58 families from a tribe
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of orang rimba converted en masse to islam just a few months ago. and now the islamic missionary is here to make sure the new faith is practised. the whole tribe were picked up by islamic vigilante groups mosque, given clothes,
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headscarves and mats. he is certain he is doing the right thing. but it was not just the afterlife that this tribe was thinking about when they converted. it was surviving this one. every dry season, fires burned across sumatra,
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covering the region in a toxic haze. slash and burning, the quickest and cheapest way to clear the forest to make way for plantations. i covered the fires in 2015. a longer dry season that year made them catastrophic. 500,000 people were affected and dozens died from breathing problems. when the fires were finally out, yusuf‘s tribe's forced home was gone. with no hope of returning to the old ways and after years of living on the edge of the village, they decided to try to enrol some of their children into
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the local school. they were told they had to convert. since his conversion, yusuf has officially taken three wives. he tells me that is allowed in islam. in just a few months, their lives have dramatically changed. a belief in one of the six recognised religions of indonesia must be stated in order to get an identity card, otherwise you don't officially exist. what about the 0rang rimba religion, or the beliefs that they hold? this man was one of the first 0rang rimba to convert
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in 2009. he was the custodial chief of his tribe, and a respected figure. for him, the promise of an afterlife is what convinced him. but he strongly disagrees with the mass convergence now taking place. he says it is about clearing the forest of orang rimba, indigenous rights bodies have been fighting to have the hundreds of faiths practised across indonesia recognised. it is so painful that we have been around even before they arrived, the new religion arrived, those religions who believe in god, but now it is like they rule us. they want to clean us
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from this country. they took the case to the constitutional court who ruled last week there should be space on identity cards for all faiths. the government wants the 0rang rimba to assimilate, and has built a number of housing estates for them. most have failed. this man takes me to one of them near his house. without forests to hunt in or land to grow crops, the 0rang rimba who have stayed here are reliant on hand—outs. today, an islamic charity group has come. bags of fresh beef, a slaughtered cow — an obligation, he says, to mark the islamic day of sacrifice. was particularly for the poor people
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got back some of the 0rang rimba don't eat cows. they eat everything. but it is a sacred food, they would eat something that has been kept. no, they eat everything. they eat cow, beef and everything. they eat cow, beef and everything. they eat cow, beef and everything. they eat it. religious conservativism is on the rise in indonesia, wiping away the hundreds of indigenous faiths and rituals. despite the intense pressure, this man is holding out. he says he will never convert. plantations, though, are edging closer to his tribe's area, and the scars on the jungle are everywhere. his son is now trying to have this
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forest recognised as theirs, following a recent landmark court ruling on indigenous land rights. but to do that, he too has converted. he worries if he doesn't fight back, that one day his children will be left only with stories to tell about the 0rang rimba tribe — once upon a time they were the people of the forest, but they are no longer.
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he chants. good evening. it's been a tale of two halves today — we've had the rather chilly dank and murky weather in the south, the brighter weather in the north, but it has been cold, particularly in the wind, so we had some lovely sunsets, however under the starry skies, clearly the frost is already forming. it's going to be a cold night. temperatures in the countryside down to —3, “4 degrees quite easily. however, in the south, it will take its time to the temperature to drop. we still have that cold air undercutting this patchy rain which could leave a few icy patches, particularly in the north
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where we keep the showers, but in the south where we've had that moisture, there could be a little bit of patchy fog around through the early hours of sunday morning. for many, it is a cold, cold start to our sunday morning, scraping the ice off the cars, and as i say, there could be some fog for early—morning travellers as well. for scotland it looks a bit more promising, in terms of the wind won't be quite as strong, it will still be chilly, there will still be some wintriness over the hills and later, the cloud will come in, and that will start to come in to northern ireland, western fringes of the country as well, so cold and grey here. cold and bright through the east, and it does look drier across southern parts of england and wales, compared with what we've seen today. but the cloud is never too far away — there could be early—morning fog and then the rain, all be it rather patchy, may well return to irish sea coasts of south—west england and wales and northern ireland into the afternoon, possibly western scotland. so here, even though there won't be great amounts of rain, it willjust be grey and cold. further east, although the wind isn't as strong as it has been
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today, it will nevertheless be pretty chilly — fives and six at best i think for the most. and that's because we have had such a chilly start. so even the sunshine not helping that much, despite that ridge of high pressure. and that then disappears as we get low pressure starting to roll in through the atlantic monday morning. look, some snow on its northern edge, particularly over the hills but possibly at lower levels, so that could cause some disruption potentially first thing monday. then it looks as if it will be swept away. mostly mild air except over the hills. as you can see, that westerly atlantic wind takes over for most. because we have this milder wind coming in off the atlantic, we will see temperatures rising, but it will take its time to warm up, particularly for scotland — you can see only fives to seven here. that is because the cold air isn't too far away. the mild air coming in off the atlantic does tend to win as we go into monday, but will it last? at the moment, tuesday does look a little bit milder for most of us, potentially, though, stormy later in the week. hello i'm tom donkin, welcome to bbc news. broadcasting to viewers in
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