I’ve been coming to Goa every year for many years now. I’d heard about the mining, in vague terms, but had no idea how bad it had gotten. I’m horrified, to say the least, and realise we have been party to this by being so passive. I plan on showing this article to everyone who comes to Goa like us, and to everyone else I know as well. I feel like crying, like fighting, like doing something. Cheryl, God bless you, we love you and we’re behind you (And She Wore Iron, May 23).
Alisha Gangolay, Chicago
Way to go, Cheryl. Your tale is indeed one of a women of extraordinary courage. Your strong will to take on the rape of our beautiful motherland by her own selfish children is, and always will be, an inspiration—not just for Goa’s women but also her youth and men.
Herman Gomes, Goa
Soon, this entire country will become one giant pit. But, somehow, we don’t really care. Even Outlook placed this story at the bottom of the pile rather than the top. It’s not the newly elected women leaders in Tamil Nadu or West Bengal who are going to save us, it’s women like these.
Anil Sengupta, Bangalore
It’s a crying shame that the greed of the mine owners, who have already blithely chosen to despoil the environment, has begun to affect the lives of ordinary Goans living in the vicinity of these mines. Goan women, throughout history, have taken a stand to fight for what is right. The women who have chosen to fight the injustice make all us daughters and sons of Goa proud. Now, it is up to the government to curtail the rampant abuse.
Francisco Da Costa, San Francisco
Cheryl is the personification of the angered and violated spirit of women in many parts of Goa and India. The mining in Goa has got to stop, there is no other alternative. As Cheryl says, this is a fight to victory or to the death.
Terence Jorge, Goa
Always good to read about people, especially women, who aren’t just letting themselves be victims.
J. Pinto, New Jersey
Now that women are getting involved, maybe we’ll see some change.
Anil Kumar, Mumbai
Cheryl, you’ve got guts! More power to you and your sisters!
Now that’s what I call PLUCK!
Reana Furtado, Pune
Contrary to Cheryl D’Souza’s contention (And She Wore Iron, May 23) that the villagers need police protection, it’s the police the villagers need protection from! Just last month, 200 policemen assaulted the tribal villagers of Cauvrem who were doing what the police were failing to do: implement the director of mines and geology’s directive to stop illegal mining. Women, the elderly and the infirm were dragged, beaten and arrested.
"There needs to be a serious investigation into why the police are not helping the villagers...People getting harrassed and beaten up for years and the police have done nothing."
Protect the villagers? Good gracious, it's the police the villagers need protection from! Last month 200 police assaulted the tribal villagers of Cauvrem who were only doing the job the police were failing to do: implement the Director of Mines and Geology's directives to stop illegal mining. Women and old and infirm men were dragged, beaten and arrested instead of being complimented for their civic sense.
Tribals are objects to be bullied, harassed and trampled on in our 'democratic' country.
I happen to be in Goa now, have been coming every year for many years. I heard about the mining, in vague terms, but had no idea. I am horrified, to say the least, and realize we have been part of this by being so passive. I plan on showing this article to everyone who comes to Goa like us, and to every one else I know as well. I feel like crying, like fighting, like doing something. Cheryl, God bless you, we love you, we are behind you. Thank you Aimee Ginsburg for this fantastic writing job. Thanks Outlook for the story.
How the HELL is Outlok passing it off as a ( good ) women Vs ( bad ) men issue?
Its high time this silly reporting stopped and serious reporting began.
The lady has kicked up some dust and surely packs a punch.She appears determined to script her own story.Bon voyage!
An explaination of it all by someone that knows about the issues at hand:
Here is a glimpse of what the Mine Owners have done to Goa:
There needs to be a serious investigation into why the police are not helping the villagers...People getting harrassed and beaten up for years and the police have done nothing. It's bad enough they take bribes all day, but to allow women and children to be threatened and attacked by thugs...that's the height.
Are there any decent politicians in Goa?
I know how serious this issue is in goa as i have done a prize winning presentation on the topic EFFECTS OF GOAN MINING ON THE ECOLOGY, with great help and support from my friends, Terence Jorge and Hartman Souza[Cheryls brother]...the impact of goan mining on the landscape can well be seen not only when one visits the mines in person but also when one glimpses through Google Earth...
The concerned can even see abandoned mines which are left uncovered and subjected to the wrath of nature[eg.there is one in Caurem,Quepem,village panchayat of Rivona] This particular abandoned mine is very close or almost in the vicinity of the Netravali Sanctuary which includes a tributary of a river and a protected site of historical rock carvings ........
During monsoons, mining rejects enter rivers like the Kushavati and cause turbidity in the water.When such water enters the low lying areas including the fields it renders them useless...
These fields are the lifelines of the rural poor who are highly dependent on them as it is their only means to survive..A qustion does araise here, WHAT IS THE FAULT OF THESE INNOCENT PEOPLE?...We all need to arise from our slumber and unitedly put an end to this grave menace.....
Way to go Cheryl....your tale is indeed one of a woman with extraordinary courage. Your strong will power to take on the rape of our beautiful motherland by her own selfish children is, and will always be an inspiration not only for the women in goa but also the youth and men alike.....All who are goans at heart please support our dear sister Cheryl........
Hats off to you Cherly. You are doing something that, people usually dont dare to think of. Holding it against the mining mafia is unthinkable by people. I can relate to this coz I have ben through something similar. But I was lucky that I was with a group of NGO.
We were sucessful in protecting a crucial piece of forest with was a prime tiger habitat.
An illegal mine has been shut down at Caurem after tribal people protested in front of the Chief Minister's home brought the matter to his front door. Well, this is the right thing to do give focused exposure to the plight of the Goan people that have been fighting for justice.
Several other mines in the area surrounding the village of Caurem must be shut down - now. The farming in the area is one that has been handed over from generation to generation. It is not right for GREED and corrupt politicians to adversely impact the people of Caurem. Destroy the farming tradition and respect for Mother Earth that the local stakeholders have up held for thousands of years.
The local corrupt Goa government has been led by the ever corrupt National Government as we have seen all over India. Inspite of the judicial authorities issuing notices to stop the mining in one or two cases - nothing has been done. This is a slap in the face of all decent and the hard working local Goans from Caurem and beyond.
Countries like China that desire Goan resources really do not care about the environment - much as they do not give a hoot what happens to the Chinese environment at home. Witness the very dirty, polluted cities of China filled with toxic particulates in the air.
Goa is one of the twelve eco-sensitive areas on this Earth. It pains us all to see some mostly outsiders, non-Goans come into Goa and destroy our land with open surface mining. Polluting our air, destroying our pristine forest and rivers, adversely impact all life including human life.
The Indian government, the Prime Minister of India, the related corrupt Ministers to this issue; should feel ashamed of themselves.
Recently local activists have been physically harmed. This nonsense must stop - soon, the outrage will be international after some focused publicity is given. This matter will be brought before the United Nations and other International forums soon. The loal Goa government and the Indian government asked for this.
Do not tout and exploit tourism and other selfish businesses on the backs of hard working, decent, well informed Goans who have been recognized the world over as very decent and educated.
We will not be bullied and if all the mines around Caurem are not first temporarily shut down - and then one by one mitigated, abated and completely shut down - focused international pressure will be used to shame those entities that are adversely impacting the decent hard working Caurem villagers of Goa first and others living in Goa and subjected by Mine Owners as second class citizens.
Public pressure must be applied and the agitation must go on. We Goans are very tolerant but when you push the button and cross the line - those evil forces that think they can get away with murder in broad daylight will be dealt with.
Francisco Da Costa
Director, Environmental Justice Advocacy
This is a very well written article with dramatic and expertly clicked shots. Cheryl is the personification of the angered and violated woman spirit in many parts of Goa and India. The mining in Goa has got to stop, there is no other alternative to this.
As Cheryl says, this is a fight to victory or to extinction.
An Amazing example of integrity. Her attitude specially this quote " ‘Oh well, what to do?’ I hate that f***ing phrase." is priceless
A good way to show the world the on going adverse impacts linked to mining; is to work on a video which I am sure some one can come forward and shine the light on this darkness.
I could contact one of two of my good friends in Goa - if some one contacts me.
Here is one from another part of India on the same issue sent to me by Surya:
Man - you've got guts Cheryl ! More strength to you and your sisters.
Cheryl D’Souza with a sledgehammer !!......I am scared
That is what I call PLUCK!!! Keep going!!!
It is a crying shame that the Mine Owners have chosen to adversely impact the environment,abuse Mother Earth and now have turned their greed to impact the lives of ordinary Goans in the vicinity of these mines.
Goan women throughout history have taken a stand for what is right. This story and the women who have chosen to fight the injustice - make all of us daughters and sons of Goa - proud.
I left Goa in the eighties to come to San Francisco. Of course I led many demonstrations and when I was there the Zuari Ferterlizer Company polluted the watershed and the nearby ocean - and we fought them and won.
China is growing and has not care if any country that gives them iron ore, oil, or the resources it needs - cares about the environment at the source.
Now, it is left to the Indian Government to curtail the rampant abuse of mining at the expense of impacting all life; including human life. Some Minister must take a stand in Goa and on the National level.
The Goan men, youth, and the children must be educated and encouraged to join in this fight. Feel free to contact me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
great photos and great writing. Maybe now that the women are getting involved we will see some change. The poverty is a problem becuase the people in the effected areas have no possibility of resisting, but usually when the owmen are good and angry, we see change.
One crutique is the caption on the photo that says: the girls are alright. They certainly look like women to me, not even one girl in this photo. Or, was it just an Outlook editor, supposidly politically right on, condescending the women just like everyone else?
Always good to read about people, women especially, who aren't just letting themselves be victims.
Soon this whole country will be one big pit, but we don't really care somehow. Even Outlook put this story at the bottom, instead of at the top. It is not the newly elected women of TN or West Bengal who are going to save us, it is women like these. Bravo to you Cheryl, you have my full suppoert, for whatever it's worth.
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