The green economy has villagers seeing red in Uganda:
Across Africa, some of the world’s poorest people have been thrown off land to make way for foreign investors, often uprooting local farmers so that food can be grown on a commercial scale and shipped to richer countries overseas.
But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.
The story later says that the residents have been on the land for decades, and some were given the land by previous governments.
The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.
In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.
But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.
Fast forward a bit:
Tensions brewed. The company and government said the residents were living illegally in a forest. Residents said they had rights. Community members took the company to court in 2009 and a temporary injunction was issued, barring evictions. Nevertheless, Oxfam and residents say, evictions continued.
Residents were given until Feb. 28, 2010, to vacate company premises while soldiers and the police kept surveillance. Company officials visited, too. From time to time a house would be burnt down, villagers said. Then came Feb. 28, a Sunday.
“We were in church,” recalled Jean-Marie Tushabe, 26, a father of two. “I heard bullets being shot into the air.”
Villagers allege that New Forest beat people, burnt their houses and may even have murdered an 8-year-old child.
It’s appropriate to approach this story with a dash of skepticism, but, given how the left in full power has historically treated its opponents — famine in the Soviet Union, cultural revolution in China, massacres in Cambodia — this kind of totalitarian behavior in the name of the “greater good” (which is actually evil) is not out of historical character. It’s right in the hard left’s wheelhouse. President Obama gave us a little glimpse of the left’s inhumanity regarding the Texas wildfires today. If your house burned down in the Bastrop fire, it’s your own fault for being such a carbon pig, and it’s your governor’s fault, just because.
Perhaps now he and Al Gore will issue a joint statement saying that New Forest was just helping Ugandan villagers reduce their carbon footprints.