Rich in Culture: Akha

UPDATE:

Subsequent to this highly publicized international call below, Matthew McDaniel got arrested by the Thai authorities and - while the USAmerican Ambassador did nothing except playing on the golf course in the capital, Matthew was only freed by international pressure mounted by a civil society organization. However, he was then later deported and continues the struggle for the Akha from outside Thailand. His wife and children could be rescued too and live now in what is exile for them, but together as a family to fight the fight for the sovreignty of the Akah people. (see: www.akha.org and https://akha.blogspot.com ). Thailand still remains to be a vassal of the USA and daily human rights abuses against the Indigenous Peoples are reported.

Matthew McDaniel can now be reached via e-mail and phone: +1-971-388-7185

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The Battle for Hooh Yoh Akha

From Matthew McDaniel

Urgent Action Required

Hooh Yoh Akha Village Forced Relocation
Ampur Mae Faluang
Chiangrai Province
Thailand
Jan 2, 2004


Dear Friends:

The battle for Hooh Yoh Village has now spread to four more villages. The question first off is do you understand what this battle is about? And secondly, what will YOU do about it? These are the only questions.

Without your decision to act, to do more than get email journals, the livilihood of 500 families will come to an end. Their culture, their economics, their hope for the future, their peace, will all come to an end. They will be faced with the prospect of no food in the way they have always known, and they will have to flee by whatever means, many of them with no ID cards, to whatever part of Thailand or Burma as individuals and families both, to find some means of eating.

What is the battle for Hooh Yoh?
The Queen of Thailand, and the 3rd Army which runs such projects in this border area, along with forestry have decided to take this land. The website discribing the project claims that this project is being done in conjunction with the villages. That the villages need it, yet the villagers say they were never consulted, they were never asked if they wanted it. The website claims that this land will be used to raise food for them! www.chaipat.or.th/journal/aug03/hill_e.html

Do we take all the land from able, competent farmers and then say that we have taken the land to raise food for the people from whom we have taken the land?

What is this?

So all the land of 8 villages now is taken. The meeting two days ago was to inform them all that the expanding project and actions means that no one can any longer farm in these 8 villages which include Akha, Lahu, Lisu, and ethnic Chinese in this area. But this is now done in one fell swoop, meaning that the government is no longer concerned with any objection. These actions are in line with long announced goals of the government to relocate all so-called "hill tribe" village people in Thailand to anywhere but where they are.

We can believe them regarding this, how we can believe them!

This will mean, that all the land is taken reaching right up to my village, Pah Nmm, at Bpah Mah Hahn, which means that in this region, the south side of an entire valley region is taken, there is only the north side left to take. That is only a technicality, as when there is no longer any opposition, you can take it all.

Rue the day of George Bush's drug war.
If you can kill them all, then you sure can take all their land, least they can be happy they are not dead?

What you can do?

First we need to know if you will make a committment to take action?
Then you need to contact us with this willingness.
We need for people to contact their MP, a letter to a specific person, with follow up letters or email or phone calls. This is the same for Congress people.
There are other lists that we must build of people whom we can contact to alert about these events.

If you are seriously interested to take some action on behalf of these village people please contact me.

The Thai army now claims it will set up all its own news to promote government policies.

Thailand claims it needs no one, that the UNHCR should mind its own business, that refugees are not any of its affair, that they are an internal Thai affair.

George Bush signed into law the up grading of Thailand to Non-NATO Ally Status as their reward for drug war and support in Iraq.

Our consultants tell us that the US law makers will now support any effort that fights US policy. Thailand is eating out of the hand of US policy. Thaksin sees his dream to be dictator of Asia and this will only happen with US backing.

The United States has no longer any moral position or standing as a defender of human rights.The slaughter of more than 10,000 civilians in Iraq should convince us of this by now.

Crisis after crisis will be generated to maintain the status quo.
We are now in World War III and the window of time in which we can talk and publish now that the world press is capitulating will be a short one.

Will you stand by, or will you become a voice while there is yet time?

Eventually, what happens to the Akha now, will happen to all of us.

Your donation supports this work, please consider what we do here, this is no office bound NGO project.

Matthew McDaniel


The Akha Heritage Foundation.
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