The Peaceful People is the story of the Penan, the jungle nomads of Sarawak, who for decades have fought for possession and preservation of their traditional forest lands. Drawing on extensive first-hand interviews, as well as the diaries and journals of explorers, botanists and colonial administrators, and the observations of missionaries, the book provides the most comprehensive account of the dynamics of Penan society to date. Written in a compelling and accessible style, the narrative tells the shocking history of the Penan, exposing massacres and murders, while recounting the nomads’ uniquely shy and peaceful way of life. In particular, the analysis focuses on the Penan’s consistently non-violent modern-day protests against rampant logging which attracted world attention in the 1980s and 1990s. The Peaceful People is essential reading for those interested in the history and culture of Borneo, the politics of logging and development, and the lives of indigenous peoples who seek new ways to survive in a hostile world.
About the author
Paul Malone is an Australian journalist with thirty years’ experience, having worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Canberra Times. He currently writes a weekly column for The Canberra Times. He first visited Borneo in 1974, and started work on this book in 2007 when he wrote a series of articles on Eastern Penan’s logging road blockades.