by Cheruiyot Kiplangat, Ogiek
My dear Mau, how beautiful you were,
Your love, your care,
I can't forget,
Glance at you, restores my sight,
Its' you, I can't afford to miss.
A natural gift you were,
The custodian of our lives,
Unemployed, poor, without food,
Sick, and ailing,
Generously, you solved them all.
A home for the wildlife you were,
Preserver of God's creation
Our country gained, as tourists came.
The bees, the elephants, the others'
All found peace with you.
A source of rivers you were,
Your waters were clean,
The Mara, and the Sondu,
East Africa and Egypt praised you,
Without you, no more water.
Today's, I mourn the Mau,
Brutal attacks on you,
Excisions and fires, tractors and sawmills,
Have we abandoned you? 'The Mau'
Don't we need you anymore?
No! The Ogiek can't leave you?
We'll defend and fight,
In court, we bargain,
Besides you, we teach,
In heaven, we pray,
All for your sake, 'the Mau.'
Why that !!! ???
The Ogiek are a peaceful group of indigenous people who live in the Mau Forest in Kenya. The Kenyan government want to evict them from their traditional homeland. Their excuse is that the Ogiek pose an "environmental threat" although they do not state what sort of threat this is. These people do not hunt endangered species and follow a sustainable lifestyle hunting and gathering honey. Some practice subsistence farming and livestock breeding, however these activities are not so extensively practiced that they pose any real threat to the forest.
Those most keen to see the Ogiek evicted apart from the Kenyan Governmnet, are powerful logging companies. The Mau Forest is a protected area in which there are many valuable trees. The Kenyan government has not only allowed logging in this area, it has also sold off some of the protected land, which is illegal.
Clearing Mau Forest
Legend in % of Clearing
The Ogiek feel so strongly about this issue that they took their case to the Kenyan High Court. It was dismissed in March 2000 and the devastation of their homeland continues. They need people like us to lobby the Kenyan officials to stop the logging in the Mau Forest and to pass legislation which will allow them to inhabit the forest and protect this area for the future.