The Dark Side of “Development”

It was a cloudy saturday morning when I came accross to an intriguing movie about “development”. Thanks for Facebook’s timeline, its groups and people who share bunch of interesting things to be learnt. So.. this is what I have learnt on that day

Let’s start with the questions around the notion of development. Such as, why is development can be cruel and destroying? Does everybody like to be called and considered as developed, modern, and cool? How development can lead to marginalisation of some part of society while at the same time benefiting to other? Those are questions, perhaps, can be answered by watching this two minutes ilustrated movie.

Survival International 2

As raised by Tania Murray Li on her book, “the will to improve,” development is triggered by the way we frame what is desirable heavenly life that we want to be achieved. For those who lives in cities, grew up on the modern way of life, pictures of a perfect life that may come across in our mind could be: big houses with side pools, MVP cars, prestigous jobs, and being respected by society. Those are the imagination that hanging around as the ultimate goals for the most of us. Those are the reasons why we have to study hard, work timelessly and earn money: to be able to buy such luxurious way of life.

With such frame, we then consider indigenous and tribal peoples who have been livin in the jungles, deserts, sea shores, and mountains as backward and undeveloped. These terms, backward, underdeveloped, poor and uneducated, are used as justification to carry out a salvation project called development. At first, the intention seems good and lofty. We, of course the modern people, want to modernise the tribal because simply they do not live in the same standards as we do. We argue that the tribal, who we termed as backward, deserve to enjoy the “easiness” way of life as we are now experiencing it.

But, the introduction of development has devastated the indigenous and tribal peoples life. Who need vocational training if they have no intention to do a modern professional job. Who ask for more money if the forest’s resource can fulfil their needs in a perfectly sustainable way. And why are they called as poor people if they can maintain their life for hundred or thousand of years and they are perfectly fine until the development come. Indeed, the mobilisation of development tools, professionals development workers, money and ideologies have changed the indigenous and tribal practices, beliefs and social relations. They were forced to leave their land in the name of conservation. They were advised to change their agricultural practice in order to integrate to global economic system. The were introduced to monetary system that is believed could increase their livelihood.

At the end, we can see that the development has failed to realise its promise as indigenous and tribal people suffer from a lost land, changed livelihood and degradated morals.

note: Copyright for video and pictures belong to Survival International Charitable Trust

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