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tv   Fighting Forest Faiths  BBC News  November 19, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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hello. this is bbc news. the headlines... robert mugabe has been given an ultimatum of midday tomorrow to resign from his position as president of zimbabwe or face impeachment proceedings. the chancellor, philip hammond, has said britain needs to build an extra 300,000 homes a year to make an impact on the housing crisis. police say they're confident that a body found near swanage is that of the missing teenager, gaia pope. gaia's sister described her as "beautiful, emotionally wise and intelligent." tests of driverless cars on uk roads are set to be given the go—ahead in this week's budget. that is our objective, to see fully driverless cars, without a safety attendant in the car, on the roads, in the uk, by 2021. now on bbc news, fighting forest faiths investigates the impact of the palm oil industry on traditional tribes in sumatra. the 0rang rimba tribes have
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lived here for centuries, but their land rights and faith are not recognised by the state of indonesia. the surrounding majority muslim population call them kubu. it is like garbage, you cannot even look at it. it is disgusting. and their forests are disappearing at one of the fastest rates in the world. not long ago, this was thick rainforest, a hunting ground forthe 0rang rimba, but it has recently been cleared to make way for palm oil. now the 0rang rimba are being forced
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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 meeting the 0rang 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, 0rang rimba are connected to the trees. 0utsiders are not allowed to witness
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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 or their older sister or older brother. from when they are born until death, always connected with the jungle. this woman is an anthropologist who has lived with the 0rang rimba four years. many of their gods are animals. the tiger may be the most powerful. and they also have something
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they worship, the god of the water spring, and they believe that they cannot do anything bad to the water, they will never defecate, wee, or put soap in the water, so you can 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 an anti—malaria plant, so it has to be boiled up and then drunk. 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 is quickly found. sweet potato dug up from the jungle,
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and meat from last night's hunt. their approach to food is very different to other indonesians. they eat wild pigs, but they will not eat domesticated animals. snake, frog, pig, bats. muslims will not eat those, and 0rang rimba do not eat chicken or cows or anything that is domesticated. they believe it is only fair to fight for their food. but this hunt today, like most days, has found no animals. he is bringing home nothing to feed his family.
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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—plus years, more than half of the forests in sumatra have disappeared. they are replaced by monoculture palm oil plantations. this would have all been thick
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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 0rang rimba. 0rang 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 0rang rimba guides. we're just about to head into the 0rang rimba area, or the forest, and we just stopped at this place for lunch,
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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 0rang rimba say this represents the pressure that they have from the authorities, they are not accepted and they are 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 0rang rimba. 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 0rang 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 0rang rimba. there is something else on the horizon too. islam. 58 families from a tribe of 0rang rimba converted en masse to islam just a few months ago. the now islamic missionary is here to make sure the new faith is practised. the whole tribe were picked up
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by islamic vigilante groups and government officials, and bused into the nearest city's mosque. they were given headscarves. he is certain he is doing the right thing. but it was not just the afterlife that this tribe was thinking
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about when they converted. it was surviving this one. every dry season, fires burn across sumatra, covering the region in a toxic haze. slash and burn, 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 forest 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
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in 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 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 0rang rimba, making land grabbing easier. 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 from this country.
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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. 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. for the poor people, so...
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some of the 0rang rimba do not eat cows. they eat everything. but it is a sacred food, they would not eat something that has been kept. no, they eat everything. 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 are edging closer to his tribe's area and the scars on the jungle are everywhere. his son is now trying to have
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this 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, one day his children will be left only with stories to tell about the 0rang rimba tribe.
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once upon a time, they were the people of the forest, but they are no longer. he chants. we have had many faces of water recently. the mist, fog, frost, sunshine. —— faces of autumn. we will not see scenes like this through the week ahead. cloud is building from the west, ahead of this frontal system heading our way. much of the weather this week will
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be coming off the atlantic, wetter and windy. that is what starts this evening. clear skies at first in the east, maybe a touch of frost at first, before outbreaks of rain build in the west. snow for a time across scottish mountains. the rain stretching down into wales. further south, a drier night. milder here. colder north. a wet start to the day tomorrow, snow over the tops of the scottish mountains. slowly clearing away eastwards, but it will take its time. further south and west, a drier morning, but cloudier, breezier and milder. 0utbreaks drier morning, but cloudier, breezier and milder. outbreaks of rain running down the east coast, taking its time to clear, persistent rain in north—west england. slowly clearing from northern ireland in the morning. it will take its time to go from scotland. snow over the tops of the hills above 400 metres. the band of rain slowly clearing through the day, going east, it may
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ta ke through the day, going east, it may take its time to go from the midlands and the east of england. patchy light rain pushing into wales and south—west england later. brighter skies also developing behind the rain. a messy picture. mild tomorrow. still quite cold across scotland and northern ireland. battle going on the cold airto the ireland. battle going on the cold air to the east, milder to the west. it looks like the milder air will win through next week. this is how it looks on tuesday, quite a messy picture, another atlantic front bringing further rain across scotland, northern ireland, northern england and eventually later in the day, wales and south—west england. strong winds, touching gale force. further south and east, looking drier and maybe brighter and certainly milder. still struggling to get into double figures across scotla nd to get into double figures across scotland and northern ireland. this is how the weak pans out. going back
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to something quite different, wet and windy, drier in the south—east for a and windy, drier in the south—east fora time, and windy, drier in the south—east for a time, but foremost, something bit milder. welcome to bbc news. we are live in the capital of zimbabwe, harare. breaking news, the reuters news agency here are reporting that president mugabe has agreed to step down as president. it has not been confirmed, we have not had that for many other sources, but we do know that president mugabe is due to address the nation live on national television on some bubbly‘s national television, zbc. they have already
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