Norman Lewis was eighty-three years old when he embarked on a series of three arduous journeys into the most contentious corners of Indonesia: western Sumatra, East Timor and Irian Jaya. Presenting himself as the picture of innocence, he reports only what he observes, using his well honed tools of irony and humour to deliver a devastating assessment of the brutality of the central government in these outlying corners of its empire. Lewis observes the decimation of tropical rainforests in Sumatra and unearths the all-but-forgotten massacre of communists in 1965, and describes his visit to the gargantuan Freeport Copper mine in Irian Jaya- a foretaste of the film Avatar, in which this time the bad guys triumph. He reveals his passion for justice and his delight in every form of human society whilst gently challenging our complacency and lazy indifference.
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