Chapter 1

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INDONESIA: ON THE FRONT LINES

Soaked in sweat, I stumbled over tree roots as I tried to keep up with the short, stocky man with the large machete. It was February 2001 and I was in Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province.

We were walking away from the spot where BP, my new employer, was to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. On the proposed plant site was a village called Tanah Merah, or “red land” in Indonesian, for the rich color of the clay the village stood on. Tanah Merah was home to 127 households that would have to move to new homes that BP would build. I was there to see the new village site for the first time. The man ...

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