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Bougainville: Our Island, Our Fight (1998)

Documents an indigenous people who fight against a multinational mining company (Panguna copper mine) and government forces (PNG). The guerrillas relay the belief that they fight to defend their independence and preserve the local environment on the island of Bougainville.



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Credited cast:
Joseph Kabui ...
Francis Ona ...


The Island of Bougainville is located in the Solomon Islands, but is politically considered a territory of Papua New Guinea. For the last ten years the people of this Island have fought a guerrilla war with salvaged and recovered World War II weaponry against government forces supplied with more modern equipment. The government has instituted a a complete economic blockade of the island in addition to an extended campaign of aerial bombardment and violence against its civilian population. Bougainville - "Our Island, Our Fight" depicts the world of Bougainville residents as they leave their traditional coastal society to take refuge from a dangerous military conflict. An explanation of the conflict's causes reveals that the installation of an open cut copper mine at Panguna had initially offered promise of economic prosperity for the region. Bougainville residents eventually determined that the mine project entailed significant ecological damage and social exploitation. Through ... Written by ipso-facto productions

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1998 (USA)  »

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The Coconut Revolution (Bougainville story)
15 October 2004 | by (Ghent, Flanders (Belgium)) – See all my reviews

---- Some spoilers but this is a documentary with a story.... -----

Excellent documentary about a "forgotten war". One wanders how the makers heard about what happened on a tiny island near Papua New Guinea. Even more: it's amazing a documentary was made about it all!

This documentary tells the story of a Pacific island's population that rose up in arms against a giant mining corporation named "Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ)". Grace to their creativity and string bound they won their autonomy and this despite a military occupation and a blockade of their island.

When the mining company RTZ decided to step up production at the Panguna Mine on the island of Bougainville, they got more than they bargained for. The island's people had enough of seeing their environment ruined and being treated as pawns by RTZ.

Not a moment the RTZ Company thought about providing the islanders any compensation of the destruction and pollution made. This although huge profits were made by their mining activity. The people decided it was time to put an end to outside interference in the island's affairs. To do this they concluded the mine had to be closed down.

The Papua New Guinea Army (PNGDF) were mobilized in an attempt to put down the rebellion. The islanders fought back with bows & arrows, and sticks & stones. Against a heavily armed adversary they still managed to retain control of most of their island. Realizing they were beaten on the ground, the government of Papua New Guinea imposed a blockade. The islanders became very creative in running their own island and realizing their own destiny. They managed to produce 'green' electricity and even developed their own fuel in order to keep some cars running. Their military fight for freedom deepened as it became as well an environmental and spiritual revolution. The ruins of the old Panguna mine where being recycled to supply the raw materials for the world's first eco-revolution.

A David and Goliath story of the 21st century. An amazing success story. So many cultures and people have been wiped out by colonialism and for cooperate profit. Not those of Bougainville island.

Many viewers might find inspiration in how those people work together to build a society that is conscious about ecological matters and socially more just.

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