The Malaya Movement welcomes the news of Brandon Lee’s return to the United States after surviving a violent attack on his life this past August 6th in Lagawe, Ifugao, Philippines. Brandon, a 37 year old Chinese-American and San Francisco native, is a fierce advocate for the land, cultural, and human rights of the indigenous people in the Philippines where he has been living and working as a paralegal for the Ifugao Peasant Movement and as a human rights worker for the Cordillera People’s Alliance.
The Malaya Movement extends its heartfelt gratitude to all the concerned individuals, health workers, people’s organizations, and government agencies that have contributed their time and resources to support Brandon as he fought to survive such a horrific act of violence. Brandon’s recovery and safe passage back to the San Francisco Bay Area where his mother, brother, and a throng of other family, friends, and supporters have been eagerly awaiting his return has truly been a community wide effort! While we celebrate and are inspired by Brandon’s resilient fighting spirit, we also know that his is a story shared by tens of thousands killed by extrajudicial killings, the overwhelming majority of whom had not survived their attacks nor garnered as much international attention.
In 2015, Brandon was tagged as an “enemy of the state” along with other indigenous rights activists for their fierce advocacy against the construction of a local dam that would spell disaster for the indigenous people of the area. In 2018, Ricardo Mayumi, also an advocate with the Ifugao Peasant Movement, was shot and killed by two gunmen. This past August, Brandon was shot four times outside of his home, but has survived–enduring even eight cardiac arrests in the course of attempting to excise four bullets from his body. For the past few years, members of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Military have continued to vilify, surveil, and harass Brandon and his fellow human rights defenders for calling out and fighting against plunder and corruption, and Brandon is certain that these are the same elements responsible for this brutal attack on his life.
Brandon is surely on the road to repairing the physical damage sustained from his shooting, but the road to genuine peace through justice is still a much longer journey, so we call on all peace-loving and democracy-defending people, Filipino and allies alike, to continue fighting against state-sponsored attacks and killings of indigenous and environmental rights advocates and human rights defenders! We implore our friends in the US Congress to continue working with us so that we can ensure that not a single cent of our US tax dollars go to support killings and human rights abuses in the Philippines! Until it can be guaranteed that US tax dollars will not be washed in the blood of Filipinos, we continue to call for a moratorium on any further sending of our tax dollars to support the Philippine military and/or police through training, arms, or any other means!
In the last two months leading up to Brandon’s return to the United States, individuals and organizations across the nation engaged in many efforts to share Brandon’s story. Benefit concerts, educational forums, and media events were held to call attention to the looming state-sponsored threats to environmental and indigenous people’s rights advocates as well as to gain support not only for Brandon, but for the continuing struggle of the indigenous people of the Cordilleras to defend their ancestral lands.
There remains ongoing efforts to contribute to Brandon Lee’s hospital and family fund, please donate directly by checking out the gofundme page or to participate in the #dubsforbrandon raffle where you can win two Golden State Warriors Club Suite Tickets for a donation, head over to this link.
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