Bruno Manser, One of their Own

Posted: August 15, 2007 in Freedom of Speech

 Short summary of Bruno Manser

Bruno Manser, a 46 year old Swiss national who spent 6 years living with a group of nomadic Penan later came to be known as the man that made sure the plight of the indigenous people in Sarawak is known to the world. He was not only well versed in their language and understood their culture but he took a step further by understanding and fighting for their rights. He served as their link to the outside world, to inform people about their plights and at that time particularly the blockades to international media. During the time he was living with the nomadic Penans, both Penans and Dayaks started to conduct blockades as a form of protest against logging activist. The government blamed Manser, accusing him of playing a vital role in their protest against this activities. Due to his suspected huge influence, the government was believed to have had a bounty on his head ($US 50,000) with a series of captures by the authorities, he managed to escape and left the country in the 1990s.

But it did not stop there.Bruno Manser did not fail ‘his people’, he kept vying for the rights through various channels such as his organisation, Bruno Manser Fonds that can be accessed at over the course of 10 years. After that period of time he continued to pursue his fight by publicity stunts (motorized hang-glider). He finally re-entered Sarawak through the Indonesia-Malaysia border and was last said to have been searching for the remaining Penan nomadic group but sadly he never returned yet his body has never been found, some suspect foul-play while other belief that it was a jungle accident.

(Source: BorneoProject+ Bruno Manser, LakiPenan)

I’m certainly proud to know that people like Bruno Manser are not merely fictional characters but do exist in reality. I’m glad and amazed how a foreigner, a man from a completely different country, background, ethnicity, culture, civilization could not only relate to the Penans by understanding them but for taking up the cause, for fighting for their rights as though it was his fight, his suffering…. A man who was not only loved and respected but accepted as one of their own. Perhaps if we could learn a thing or two from Bruno we’d realize that we should be fighting for the same thing for humanity that does not differentiate between color, race, cultures, backgrounds but only to the cause of truth, justice for the people. If only we could fight for our people the way he did for ours, we would be truly independent. The day we finally realize and understand how to care,love, struggle and fight for our people regardless of their ethnicity is the day we will have an awakening of consciousness.

An insight to who Bruno is and what he did for the Penan community, what happen to him etc, do check out;

<“Borneo Project”>

<“Article on Bruno”>


Anyway in relation to the struggle for indigenous people of Sarawak it would be a good idea to check <“Malaysiakini”>article today on the Iban farmers fight against eviction from NCR land. I shall write a posting regarding the plight of the Iban farmers soon.


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