Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lost in Middle Earth and The Writer's Tower

For those of you who actually remember my sadly untended and forgotten blog, I'd like to announce that I am closing the pages of this book (the word "blog" gets tedious after a while), and starting another. So henceforth I will no longer post here. This blog was my first, and a good blog while I took the time to write on it... Hopefully my new blog will be just as good.
Without further ado, may I introduce my Writer's Tower. Feel free to bug me if I don't update regularly!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


For those of you who haven't read the news article I just posted--read that first (or at least skim it). This is a follow-up, so to speak.

Many Christian organizations in Cambodia and other parts of the world are fighting for justice for those who aren't being given justice. Some Christians, however, act as if it is not our duty to defend the rights of others--that we can simply live in complacency and as long as we don't actively pervert justice, we can let perverted justice go forward. I, however, strongly disagree with that viewpoint. Here's why:

Exodus 23:6 "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.”

Deuteronomy 27:19 "Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow."

Psalm 11:7 “For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.”

Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”

Psalm 140:12 “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.”

Psalm 106:3 “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” [italics added]

Isaiah 1:17 “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” [italics added]

Amos 5:15 “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.” [italics added]

Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”


This is a news article I wrote for my Advanced Composition class. It's a bit out of date, but still relevant. I was able to attend the court hearing, so I caught a glimpse of the proceedings....Enjoy.

Courts Declare Dey Krahorm Leaders Guilty

On February 16th, prosecutors from the company “7NG” charged three leaders of the recently evicted Dey Krahorm community with damaging 7NG property. Lawyers from 7NG never showed, but the hearing continued with a stand-in for the company. By the end of the trial, the judge declared the defendants guilty of “assault” and “destruction of property.” He gave them each a suspended jail sentence of over a year and a fine of three-hundred US dollars. Another lawsuit, this time against Vichet, another Dey Krahorm representative, began the day after these hearings ended.

“It was the best they could have hoped for, but it wasn’t justice,” said Mrs. J of a social justice organization, mirroring the thoughts and words of other justice workers.

Due to the fact many Dey Krahorm people physically resisted the January evictions by erecting barricades, holding hands, and even throwing rocks, the courts ruled the defendants guilty. Some argue that 7NG should face these charges, rather than the Dey Krahorm people who “only tried to protect their property.”

Justice workers from around the world have called the lawsuits by 7NG “intimidation.” These workers also point out these suits occurred while the Dey Krahorm people withstood company offers of “compensation,” and the accused all hold positions of leadership among the Dey Krahorm.

Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun of Cambodia declared the community members “greedy” in refusing to accept the company’s early offers of money or “apartments” for their land. After the evictions, the company cancelled the money offers and changed the criteria for getting an apartment. Analyses show the offers of money fell far below the market-rate value of the land.

Although Cambodian land laws say that a person owns land if they live on it for five or more years, a small group of representatives essentially gave away a 3.6 hectare piece of land to a company called “7NG” without consulting the hundreds of families living on the land. Despite the fact that the majority of the hundreds of families in the community had lived on the land for over five years, 7NG still claims rights to the property. Since 2005 the families have faced violence and other acts of intimidation from the company as they stood their ground. Over the years, some families merely gave in and left.

Early on January 24th police forcefully evicted the last remaining 152 families from the Dey Krahorm—“Red Soil” in English—community.

“I was inside the site by four o’clock in the morning,” said Naly Pilorge, director of the human rights organization LICADHO. She went on to tell how the police blockaded the roads in and out of the community. “About six o’clock, many police, mostly military police, moved towards Dey Krahorm”

Volunteers for social justice organizations filmed as police officers fired tear-gas, fire extinguishers, and water canons into the groups of resisting people. Bulldozers flattened houses sometimes even before the people could remove their personal belongings.

“Some people were not even able to gather clothing,” Pilorge stated.

Many Dey Krahorm people fought back, attempting to resist the forced eviction. This led to the lawsuit from 7NG, mainly accusing the community leaders of harming company property.

Since the eviction, the company has removed the families to a site outside the city. Legal analyses on the situation by the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions stated, “Housing conditions at the resettlement site Damnak Tayoung are woefully inadequate including insufficient access to water and sanitation.”

Now far from their jobs and their children’s schools, the people of Dey Krahorm have accepted the company’s offer of apartments for lack of any other choice. Some had to pay three-hundred US dollars to get their “compensation.” 7NG did not offer homes to all of the families.

7NG has said that the Dey Krahorm land, property valued at over 44 million US dollars, will undergo development for the betterment of Cambodian society. Planning has begun for housing, offices, and a shopping center. Since the community qualified as a slum with most houses built out of tin, wood, and plastic tarps, many Cambodians in the government say that the Dey Krahorm presence marred the riverfront property. Representatives from 7NG remain silent with regard to the accusations leveled against the company from justice workers and even others in the Cambodian government.

Four days after the eviction, the Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights came out with an official statement, calling the eviction “a setback for the rule of the law.”


Briefing Paper: The Eviction of Dey Krahorm." 29/01/2009

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Analysis of the Forced Eviction of Dey Krahorm Community."

Jack, Susan. Personal interview. 01/03/2009.

Pilorge, Naly. "Dey Krahorm." International Christian Assembly. World Vision Building, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 01/03/2009.

United Nations Office of the High Commisssioner, "The Eviction of Dey Krahorm Residents: A Setback for the Rule of the Law."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shocking Neglect on My Part

Yes, I'm back from Thailand, have been back for a while now. The TPS trip was...amazing. I'm going to attempt to write up *something* (or maybe just put up pictures) about it...of course, I might not. But we'll see.
Eruanna's family visited, which was also wonderful. Eruanna and I had an absolutely great time. We even painted the wall with BE verbs!
Now I'm just catching up on school, agonizing over a presentation I think I'm supposed to be giving Sunday, etc.
*leaves to do work*

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Thailand

Hey all my readers, I wish I could write to you all individually but I am very busy. I'm having a lovely time in Thailand with the TPS team. Everyone on the team is wonderful, I'll be working with 4-5 year olds at the conference, and I've been doing quite a bit of shopping lately. There's too much to say, so I'll have to talk with all of you later... I miss you guys!
p.s. If you are in Cambodia, PLAY WITH TOLLERS.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sights of Christmas

Spark sleeping in front of our Christmas tree
Part of the wreath I made last year
Our pretty ornaments
An oddly rotated pie that Abby-la and I made
My delicious vanilla-scented candle
Meow hugging Abby's Christmas tree. We're not sure why.