Posts Tagged ‘Khmer Rouge’
Ever since the monk Luon Sovath became the Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award 2012, I have following events in Cambodia with more than usual interest. And it is clear that the struggle for land rights there is continuing.
Two Cambodian women human rights defenders were convicted on baseless charges in separate trials on 26/27 December 2012. Yorm Bopha was sentenced to three years in prison. Tim Sakmony from Borei Keila received a six-month sentence, partially suspended, and has been released.
Both women have been prominent in protesting against the forced eviction of their communities. Yorm Bopha was outspoken during the detention of 13 other women activists from Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak Lake community, who were sentenced for up to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment in May 2012. Tim Sakmony is one of the representatives of 106 families now living in tents next to the demolished site of the Borei Keila community, also in Phnom Penh. The two women are believed to have been targeted because of their leading roles in peacefully advocating for the right to adequate housing for their communities.
Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA23/020/2012/en
In this context I want to draw attention to the film maker Chris Kelly and his colleagues. They have been filming in Cambodia for more than three and a half years, following the lives of three extraordinary individuals(including the Venerable Luon Sovath) caught up in the chaos and turmoil of Cambodia’s economic development. Now they are finished filming and starting the editing phase. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds towards the completion of the documentary.Please visit this link to see what they need to raise. If you cannot afford to donate, please help spread the word using your social media platforms, blogs, word of mouth or any other means that you can think of. http://www.blog.thecauseofprogress.com
“The Cause of Progress” tells the story of the lives of three Cambodians caught up in the country’s chaotic and often violent economic progress, set against the backdrop of the shifting political, religious and familial landscapes of modern-day Cambodia. Shot over the course of three years, the film is a unique and intimate portrait of modern Cambodia. At times poignant and emotional, at others violent and chaotic, the film explores the impact of progress on modern society – from the corruption of the national religion, to the disintegration of the family, to the abusive power and kleptocracy of the ruling political elite.
What is happening in Cambodia is happening all over the developing world, from South America to Africa to Eastern Europe – land is being colonised by the developed world and the local elites, while the rightful owners are being displaced. This film addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Each of the three personal narratives focuses on a different aspect of the story but forced evictions and land grabbing recur across all three. The Venerable Loun Sovath is a Human Rights Defender who uses video as part of his activist campaigning, all the while fighting against the corruption within his religious order. He is the 2012 Laureate of the MEA. Sopheap, facing eviction and waiting for a new home, is struggling to start a new business while she tries to cope with her slowly disintegrating family. And Srey Pov – at the front lines of a high profile forced eviction – comes face to face with a corrupt political elite and the sometimes difficult relationship between global institutions and the developing world.
This film will offer a unique insight into a country at a pivotal time in its development, finally shaking off the legacy of the past and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s future direction is uncertain.
Filmmaker Chris Kelly filming at Boeung Kak lake. Image © Nicolas Axelrod 2010.
- Luon Sovath speaks out on Radio Free Asia (thoolen.wordpress.com)