This Is ‘Development’? Survival Releases Satirical Film for Awareness

Rick Kearns
2/16/14

The animated two-minute film starts with two white men in shirts and ties walking through a jungle, with classical string music in the background as the narrator intones, "As we travel through the jungle, we have but one goal in mind: bring the people sustainable development."

"But we encountered an unexpected challenge," the narrator continues.

"We discovered that these people, in their own peculiar sort of way, were already sustainable," says narrator David Mitchell, a British comedian who tells the story of "There You Go," a short satirical animated film produced and just released by the tribal advocacy group Survival International, that shows how the so-called development of indigenous societies can be destructive.

In the satirical animation 'There You Go!', development experts claim to bring 'sustainable development' to an imaginary tribe. Instead, they bring destruction. (Courtesy Oren Ginzburg/Survival)

That development of certain indigenous societies "is robbing tribal people of their land, self-sufficiency and pride and leaving them with nothing" is the central message of "There You Go" according to SI.

The film, based on a book of the same name by writer Oren Ginzburg, "tells the story of how tribal peoples are being destroyed in the name of ‘development. This is still happening today, in India, Ethiopia, Canada and elsewhere with devastating consequences."

According to Kayla Wieche of SI's U.S. office the film is mainly aimed at governments.

"Rather than specific NGOs or agencies, this video is targeted toward governments and others who insist that forced development is for tribal peoples' 'own good'. A surprising number of governments have made these claims, most notably Ethiopia and Malaysia," Wieche pointed out.

On the SI webpage devoted to "There You Go" the first example of this toxic development is from Ethiopia, which is one of the largest recipients of aid from the U.S.

"The government of Ethiopia...is forcibly resettling 200,000 self-sufficient tribal people, including Mursi, Kwegu and Bodi, leaving thousands with no land, cattle herds or livelihood. Unable to sustain themselves they say they are now just ‘waiting to die’. The Prime Minister justified this plan, in a country renowned for famine, by claiming it will give the tribes ‘a modern life’."

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