Reflection on the natural activism “Mother Nature Cambodia”

Posted by: | Posted on: February 22, 2015

Weekly Analysis (Third Week of February 2015)

While the Western countries believe in giving space and liberty to their citizens to bravely speak up their voice and fully engage in social development in the hope of long term survival of their motherland, Cambodia is in dichotomous effort by the government. This historical and remarkable contrast has happened since Cambodian people protest against the additional border treaty with Vietnam in 2005, many of them were arrested and jailed, once Prime Minister Hun Sen promised to make coffins for those who dare to claim back Khmer Krom lost land for Cambodia, and with many other occasions including banning Alex from his campaign to protect the Cambodia forests, is seen as an attempt to threat those bottom line people activism who are working to protect their lands and forests and to open way or encourage the wrong doers such as land grab activities, deforestation and logging, and forced eviction etc. to continue their wrong deeds without obstacle.

This week, Cambodia media has been immensely covered by the Cambodian

Courtesy of Mother Nature facebook page

Courtesy of Mother Nature facebook page

government measure to reject visa extension for Alex Gonzalez-Davidson aka Alex to banning him from staying in Cambodia beyond February 20th expiry date. Alex has fallen in love with Cambodia nature particularly in Areng Valley in Koh Kong of South Western Cambodia. He has lived in Cambodia for more than 10 years and he can use Khmer language fluently. From his tangible contact with local communities and his researches in Areng area, he reveled that this more than 500 h. vast dense jungle and prairie are comprising of rare plants, wild life, lakes and brooks, and minority people etc. It has huge potential for eco-system and eco-tourism to generate income rather than to build dam that produces low electricity capacity. More than this, the dam project has likely hidden agenda to cut trees for trade within this vast plentiful green forest. Cambodian people especially youths both inside and outside of Cambodia have come in solidarity to condemn the government for this very unjust, negligible, dis-courageous measure. (watch this video Alex said about his visa denying)

The Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) has emerged the longest controller of power to be able to generate their wealth through lands, rivers, water, air and mountain businesses. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his leadership emerged as anti-capitalism. The CPP was installed by the Vietnam who practiced political dogma and ideology of Marx-Lenin to proliferate the farmers and to downgrade the bourgeois classes, has transformed themselves overnight to generate their personal, family and patrons wealth unbelievably. During this overnight policy changing, Hun Sen family and his political rings members have changed from poor cadres into billionaire capitalists.

The Social Change and Revolution has rested on “Blessed Unrest”

Blessed Unrest is a title of a book written by Paul Hawken. He posed intrigued question on the front cover that “How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming?”.

blessed_cover_new_frontWith more than 342 pages, Paul very well articulated on the history of Green Movements, Natural and Environmental Campaigns and the massive successes to galvanize the crowd and the power for change.

The history of political movements rested on how much local communities reacted to it or join a hand to activate it. Among other stories, the community interests for their green space, subsistence livelihood, beliefs, traditions and norms, and local identity etc. are the shared linkages that no one can deny their engagement.

Cambodia’s “Blessed Unrest”

Intractable conflicts in Cambodia during this post-cold war politics, all political fractions have maximized their strategies to win over their domestic contenders with the selling of logs, cutting of trees, trading mines and national treasure, privatizing and concessioning lands and water etc. depending who have controlled the larger space.

The Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) has emerged the longest controller of power to be able to generate their wealth through lands, rivers, water, air and mountain businesses. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his leadership emerged as anti-capitalism. The CPP was installed by the Vietnam who practiced political dogma and ideology of Marx-Lenin to proliferate the farmers and to downgrade the bourgeois classes, has transformed themselves overnight to generate their personal, family and patrons wealth unbelievably. During this overnight policy changing, Hun Sen family and his political rings members have changed from poor cadres into billionaire capitalists.

There are reports pilling on the dossiers of corruptions, land grabbing, and power abuses to enrich the “Family Tree” by both national and international investigators. Force evictions have been so pervasive, those victims of land grabs have been victimized by the states by killing with impunity, arresting, incarcerating, and intimidating etc. As more taming measure has had upon those protesters who are protecting their lands by the state, there are more visible engaging by the communities and local victims to dare their lives in front of the authority. Last 2014, the Adhoc civil society released report on land grab and victims of land grab are having more than before. The group warned of social unrest possibility if the state has no political wills to solve the problem.

The Most Admirable Tactician Prime Minister of Cambodia

In South East Asia, Hun Sen has been known for his longest premiership serving in Cambodia. He is called “strong man”, “best tactician”, “best Chinese-three-kingdom interpreter”, or “best chess player” etc. He had defeated his political party (FUNCINPEC) or he can restore life of this party to join with him once he sees suit. He promised with Cambodian voters to behead himself if he cannot solve the deforestation in Cambodia. But more than 10 years later, the forest of Cambodia has nonstoppingly deforested by either corporate or his close loyalists. Land concession policy laid out without having proper mechanism to control it in the attempt to allow his capitalists to extract millionaire wealth from it.

Among those land grab and deforestation victims, Chut Vutthy was shot dead in day light during a mission to investigate illegal vine tree cutting in Koh Kong. His death surprised the Cambodian people and the world imminently. He is named “Hero of Environment” by the Cambodian people and the world.

Alex who has always directly communicated with community members and local people of Areng valley has instructed them how to protect their belief, way of living, and green forests they have belonged since their ancestors. His subsequent successes in preventing different projects to the site head-ached government and their business allies tremendously. After several policemen banning Alex’s teamwork conducting public rally in Phnom Penh and the threatening word from MP Cheang Vun of the CPP, the recent banning statement from the Ministry of Interior, is not merely a confusion but an authoritative enforcement to shut up other activists and good citizens of Cambodia to retreat their bravery activities in protecting their lands and forests.

While the Western countries believe in giving space and liberty to their citizens to bravely speak up their voice and fully engage in social development in the hope of long term survival of their motherland, Cambodia is in dichotomous effort by the government. This historical and remarkable contrast has happened since Cambodian people protest against the additional border treaty with Vietnam in 2005, many of them were arrested and jailed, once Prime Minister Hun Sen promised to make coffins for those who dare to claim back Khmer Krom lost land for Cambodia, and with many other occasions including banning Alex from his campaign to protect the Cambodia forests, is seen as an attempt to threat those bottom line people activism who are working to protect their lands and forests and to open way or encourage the wrong doers such as land grab activities, deforestation and logging, and forced eviction etc. to continue their wrong deeds without obstacle.

Reality of Cambodia Forests

Map for Cambodia Land ScapeWhen I was young, the area close to Phnom Penh Kulen in Northwest Cambodia was very dense of forest and wild life. I traveled by oxen-cart to fetch vines and dead logs to make fence. There were dense green forest of tall best trees and wild fruits to eat covering vast extension upper plateau of Chi Kraeng river. But after seeing this map of Khmer land, I am interested to travel to Eastern part of Rattanakiri and Mondol Kiri including areas of Cardamon mountain that is showing very green dense image of forest than those areas my younghood experienced.

Cambodia is a country of rain forest landscape influenced by the power of monsoon wind. This tropical forest is like amazon forest, and the Cambodia shape is like bottom of frying pan centered by Tonle Sap lake, ranging the surrounding line by mountains which is exotic and beautiful!

Alex has decided to continue staying in Cambodia

alejandrogonzalezdavidson

Courtesy of PPP www.mothernature.pm

Till today, Alex has stood strong in his spirit and commitment. According to Cambodia immigration laws and laws on nationality, Alex should be granted Cambodian citizenship already as he has stayed in this country more than 10 years, developed his ability to adapt with culture and speaking Khmer language fluently, and he has worked hard to help protect the remaining Areng greenery valley for the future interests of Cambodian children.

When Alex has already confirmed his mind and heart as a Cambodian, no one can distort or discard his effort.