““People are obsessed with money,” said Tsetsgee Munkhbayar, 45, organizer of the protest in Sukhbataar Square. With a face brown from years in the sun, Munkhbayar usually dresses in traditional Mongolian garb: a deel, the long robe generally worn with a sash, and a rounded, pitched helmet-like hat.
“The traditional Mongolian perspective of loving nature and mother earth is being forgotten,” he said. As a people we are at a dead-end. We must get ourselves away from the idea that economics is everything and that economics will save us.”
Munkhbayar heads a coalition of environmental and nationalist groups called Fire Nation, which organizes protests against the rush to develop the mineral economy. Self-trained in environmental legislation, he hands out copies of the national mining law to a visiting reporter. Frustrated by what he says is the mining industry’s tendency to ignore land protections, Munkhbayar and others have taken to violent civil disobedience.”