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Akha Blog Page 11
Mien New Year in Portland
Jan 17, 2009
We had a great time at the Mien New Year festival in Portland, the second time we have attended. Lots of Mien friends and even a few Akha in the Mien community. Mien songs, Hmong songs, dancers, Akha songs, we all had a great time.
Final Call - Ride for Freedom
Jan. 15, 2009
We have stable bills to pay and then we leave, in days, in this month, for the US Coast at Lincoln City, Oregon and from there to the United Nations at New York by bus and horseback. If you can help, please do so at this time. We need your donation in one of the last expenses we have to launch this trip.
Its been a very long year, but we have prevailed and we have gotten a bus, it is ready to go, and we have pulled this all together with the help of all our friends. During this trip we want to bring awareness of the Akha situation in Thailand, we want to provide mosquito nets to the Akha of Laos, we want to help with rice supplies in the Akha villages in Thailand and support the Akha human rights network there.
Thanks for helping out, please pass the word to get this great adventure under way. Five Akha-American kids look forward to seeing this great country for the first time. Download our movies. We put everything we have into this, and now it is time to go.
Hampton and Cookie, our two horses have their new shoes and are ready to head out.
Ride for Freedom Update
Jan 14, 2008
We have stable bills and vet health papers and vaccines left to do.
Thank you for helping and thank you if you can still help with a donation.
We are also still looking for a good used mac notebook or a financial donation to that end.
Two New Docs
Jan 14, 2008
Two new docs up:
Ethnographic Notes on the Akhas Vol 2 pdf
The Lost Generation pdf
An excellent article with Ray Levesque (email@example.com) about the Native Lost Generation.
Ride For Freedom #2 Video
Jan 8, 2009
We now have our second Ride for Freedom video compiled. Mind you I am doing this on a borrowed computer and I don't have a lot of time to edit, have to shoot on the fly, best I can to reduce editing. This video is a bit larger than what we will probably be doing day to day, at 200 meg file .m4v format, but you can see it with an iPhone and other devices and you can also download the whole thing.
Jan. 5, 2009
Our current needs for departure are Diesel Fuel,
A Mac Book computer
And Stable Fees, Vet fees.
If you can help, please make a donation to assist with covering these costs.
Prisoners of a White God Available On Line
You can now see the documentary about the Akha human rights situation, Prisoners of a White God, on line at the link below.
This film illustrates the exploitation and removal of Akha children and the very one sided treatment of the Akha people by missionaries, removing thousands of Akha children to residential schools instead of assisting them in the villages and protecting the "family values" we so often hear about.
Your comments welcome.
Dec. 30, 2008
The horses, Hampton and Cookie wait for the trip to get started.
A couple potential drivers, a few small things to do to the bus, a few bills to pay.
We get closer. Should get out riding this week and get the bus and the horses together for the first time for some pics.
Let us know if you are interested to sponsor us for each mile we go.
Let us hear from you.
The Freeze is Over
We have survived two weeks of freeze, snow, ice and are finally getting some rain and warmer temperatures.
In a few days we should have all the ice off the ground.
We and the Bus Survive the Big Salem Freeze
Dec 18, 2008
We survived days of freezing weather in a real shakedown of the bus. Got ducting running to the water tanks and pipe manifolds and pumps and kept it all working. Wasn't sure how much heat the bus would retain, but with ice on the ground all around, ice on the roof, snow and temperatures down to 13 or below, we kept right on top of it, in one case going out in the middle of the night to get more propane and then having to thaw pipes that froze in just that short intermission.
We have gotten a lot done to date and we are really close to wrapping this up and leaving.
We are also in need of committed volunteers to help with press releases for communities as we pass through them, and help in gathering items we are still looking for such as a Apple notebook computer of some kind.
Hmong Abandoned by US in Thailand
Bangkok Post Dec. 24, 28
There is serious concern that the US Government has abandoned these and other Hmong in Thailand, clear evidence of how the Thai government treats minorities. Meanwhile the US govt. is moving Karen refugees into places like Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona.
The Bus Has Got a New, Toasty Warm Furnace
Friday, Dec 12, 2008
Early Thursday we set out for the RV shop on Silverton Road past Lancaster and set to work running black pipe, making duct holes, setting the furnace, building a propane compartment and rigging electric lines. At 11pm we were just wrapping up, one duct left to do later, but the furnace running on its own thermostat and the bus toasty warm for the first time. I had another late night meeting, so after sleeping in, I woke to the sound of pattering feet, Ah Pymm celebrating a warm morning in the kitchen, grabbing grapes, and eating some fried chicken.
No doubt about it, the last mechanical had been fixed and we could relax a bit as to great hurdles.
Cost of all the gear, the furnace, tanks and other supplies plus the labor that the shop helped do, was $1950. We still owe $738 of that.
We are still looking for a qualified driver, and an Apple notebook computer.
Bus Needs Furnace as Temperatures Head Down
As the temperatures drop, we are working on getting enough together for a gas furnace for the bus, never had one installed, and we make it on a bit of electric heat right now, but not adequate enough. If you can help out with this, let us know. We need two ten gallon propane tanks, an SF-35F furnace available on line at $540 and have it plumbed in.
This is our last significant mechanical that we need to do on the bus.
An End to the Thai Monarchy?
The article below in the Economist cites the Monarchy as the biggest problem to freedom and democracy in Thailand. The draconian Les Majeste law can be used against anyone, putting them in prison for being accused of speaking out in public on the issues of the Royalty.
Monarchy the Economist
Thailand's king and its crisis
EVEN the most revered of kings, worshipped by his people as a demigod, is not immortal. Thais were remindedof this last month when six days of ornate cremation ceremonies, with gilded carriages and armies of extras intraditional costumes, were held for Princess Galyani, the elder sister of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej(pictured above). There was talk in Bangkok of the princesss funeral being a dress rehearsal for the end ofBhumibols reign, 62 years long so far. Making one of few public appearances this year, shortly before his 81stbirthday on December 5th, the king did indeed look his age.
Ride for Freedom Update
Last night got out with the boys and pulled the starter on the bus, has been spinning free too many times. Picked up a new bendix for $40 and got that installed. Well you aren't suppose to pull the armature out past the brushes, but for those of you who know what this is about, I did that, not at first, but it sort of wandered to that point, so I had to pull the back and undo the wiring and reset the brushes on the armature, and then load the bendix back on, at any rate we got it back in, the boys holding the light, taking turns in the cold, and by 9:18 pm we had the starter running like a top, kicking over that 8-71 Detroit on the first spin. The kids are learning about the Detroit, about the fluid levels, the Inverter, the 8KW Kubota diesel midship, and all the different maintenance and controls. We call it our "submarine on wheels", there is so much packed in.
Also got the tires all blacked up at OK Tire in Salem. They were really impressed with the bus. We are still in need of a few items.
We need to install a furnace in the bus because the electric heat is not sufficient.
We are also looking for a volunteer driver.
And we'd like to say special thanks to all the people who helped out over this year once again.
Thai Govt Gets Kicked Out
A judge dumped the Prime Minister and others of the Peoples Party in Thailand. But Thaksin sympathizers still hold much of the power, so it is not clear what has been gained.
Thaksin's UK Visa Revoked
November 8, 2008
BANGKOK British immigration officials have revoked the visas of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, and his wife, several Thai newspapers reported Saturday.
Mr. Thaksin has made London his home since being ousted in a coup two years ago, but he was said to be traveling in Asia.
A Thai-language newspaper, Manager, posted what it said was an advisory to airlines not to fly Mr. Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, to Britain. "The U.K. visas contained in the passports of the individuals listed above are no longer valid for travel," it said.
A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office in London said in a telephone interview that privacy laws precluded the government from commenting on individual immigration cases.
Antigovernment protesters celebrated the news on Saturday. In recent weeks, protesters have marched to the British Embassy in Bangkok to demand that Mr. Thaksin, who was sentenced in absentia last month to two years in prison for abuse of power, be deported from Britain.
Obama Win Spells Well for Minority Peoples
After nearly a decade of war and drug war mentality with the Bush administration the landslide victory of Barack Obama offers hope for minority and indigenous peoples. Certainly we hope it creates an atmosphere where taking away the children of dark skinned peoples like the Akha by missionaries becomes unacceptable.
An example is Rotary International. Rotary has made no effort to recognize that taking away Akha children is wrong, though they say they have stopped funding for CGT on "some" levels untill they get an accounting. Meanwhile other Rotary chapters continue to fund the CGT mission project in Thailand. Rotary shows its true racist colors by refusing to address the issue of the removal of the children in the first place, not just issues of funding accountability, which of course are also important.
Canadian Genocide: UNREPENTANT The Video
This video produced by Kevin Annett is a documentary about the genocide of Canadian Indians by the church and the Canadian government. The search for the burial place of all the missing bodies of Native children is still sought.
Radio Interview with Harry Nicolaide's Mother
Interview with Harry Nicolaide's Mother
You can listen to this radio interview with Harry Nicolaide's mother as she describes the situation of his arrest and what she is doing to get him released.
Harry Nicolaides was arrested when he was leaving Thailand and charged with Les Majeste because he referred to the Royals in a book that he wrote in 2005.
Religion: Rabbi Alleges Threat Over Chicken Ritual
Saturday, October 11, 2008
New York City police are investigating a rabbi's complaint that threatening e-mails were sent in connection with the slaughter of chickens to atone for sins before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Rabbi Shea Hecht of the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education says the e-mails were sent by supporters of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign opposing the ritual, known as kapparot. He says some people added threatening and anti-Semitic comments to an online PETA form letter.
The Brooklyn-based Jewish organization slaughters about 4,000 chickens.
A PETA spokesman says the ritual is abusive and unnecessary.
Thai Police Battle With Protesters; More Than 100 Are Injured
Thai public knows how to battle corruption in the Capital
By Daniel Ten Kate and Rattaphol Onsanit
Police tried shortly after dawn to clear thousands of protesters who were attempting to prevent lawmakers from entering Parliament. As clashes continued throughout the day, two officers were shot and another was stabbed with a flag pole, piercing his stomach, liver and diaphragm, officials said. The clashes raised the stakes in the standoff, as Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat issued a policy address to Parliament that was meant to kick off three days of debates. Almost half the country's lawmakers boycotted the speech to protest the violence.
``The government's legitimacy is reduced as people were injured,'' Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political analyst at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, said in an interview. ``If the situation gets out of control, a coup is possible.'' The ruling People Power Party won December elections, a year after the military ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled to the U.K. in August to escape corruption charges. Now controlled by Somchai, Thaksin's brother-in-law, the party inherited his platform of cheap health care and small loans to poor people that appealed to the country's mostly rural northeast, where a third of Thailand's 66 million people live. Wealthier Bangkok residents accuse the government of buying rural votes and say they want a new system where professional groups represent half of Parliament. Failed Reconciliation Somchai took office Sept. 18 saying his government would reconcile with protesters and restore confidence among investors and tourists. He was forced to climb over a fence to avoid demonstrators when he left Parliament today, media reported.
``I have no plans to announce an emergency decree,'' Somchai, 61, said after meeting with Army Chief Anupong Paojinda and other generals at military headquarters. Soldiers were deployed this evening to help quell the violence, Channel 3 television reported. Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigned after the violence began early this morning. The former army chief was brought into the Cabinet Sept. 24 to persuade protesters to end their occupation of the prime minister's office.
The number of injured protesters rose to 162, according to the Public Health Ministry. Most suffered from tear gas irritation, while four were seriously injured, including one person who lost a leg, the ministry said earlier. Police said a car bomb killed a man near the protest this afternoon. Protesters rammed about a dozen policemen with a pickup truck, leaving many with broken legs, the Nation reported. The demonstrators had blocked access to roads around Parliament, setting up barriers of tires stacked chest high next to barbed-wire fences. Many of them wore helmets and goggles, and they carried wooden planks and metal bars as weapons.
The People's Alliance for Democracy has vowed to demonstrate until the government steps down, saying it won't accept anyone who has ties to Thaksin. ``We came here to upgrade the rally and make a big noise,'' said Kusol Pravichpibul, 51, a protester who volunteered at a medical site near the Parliament building. ``It worked 100 percent.''
Bus Repairs Soon to Be Completed
We are in need of $930 in L16 RV batteries, repairs to the electrical inverter, $4600 in tires and a paint job with sign lettering. Add one notebook computer and we are ready to take off.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Harry Nicolaides Losing Health in Bangkok Prison
You can do your part to fight censorship in Thailand.Sign the petition at the link below.
We've had a lot of people ask if this book was ever published, and reply that it was put out in a small printing. However we do not have any for sale. (Wish we did:)) Why the Thai govt. is taking action at this late date we don't know.
While Reporters Sans Frontiers and others have called for Harry Nicolaides release, Harry states that his health has been deteriorating by the day in Bangkok's Remand Prison. We are seeking a address and contact phone number at the m oment.
Thai authorities knew of the book since 2005 and received two copies from Harry for approval while he taught at the University. No objection was made by the government at the time and the book was also used in classroom teaching in a public school at Lampang.
Lese Majeste is often used to humiliate or silence people in the Kingdom, despite the King himself saying that people should be able to criticize the King.
Contact phone for the Remand Prison:
Australian Embassy in Bangkok:
Thai Government officials fail to turn up at Ethnic Minorities Fair
Sept. 10, 2008
Minorities disregarded; 80% of tourist take comes from ethnic site visits
The working committee of the fair, held on those dates in order to celebrate World Ethnic Minorities Day along with ethnic minority groups and their supporters worldwide, had submitted a letter to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security inviting its representative to preside over the opening ceremony. The Ministry failed to reply or to send a representative as requested; the governor of Chiang Mai province, who had been invited to receive a letter from the organizers calling for the recognition of the rights of minority groups, did not attend, nor did the deputy governor. The reason given by the provincial administration was that both were "busy" at the time. A minor official, whose brief was minority group issues, was sent. The event had attracted 25 ethnic minority groups, academics from various universities, more than 50 private development organisations, and a large public and private sector attendance.
Waiying Thongbue, advisor to the National Economic and Social Council, stated government representatives such as provincial governors should place more importance on ethnic minorities, who are accepted worldwide under the 150-member United Nations Charter of which Thailand is part. Pointing out that the Tourist Authority of Thailand uses a majority of photographs or ethnic minority groups to tourism across the world, and that 80% of tourism-related income comes from visits to ethnic minority sites, Waiying said that he could not understand the lack of importance placed by local and national government on both the event and the issue in general.
The Akha Have a Bus
We pay and pick up the bus, begin repairs, cleaning, and soon signs.
As soon as the signs are up, computer in place, our trip begins, Ride for Freedom.
Peru Indigenous Victorious
Peru Indigenous force Govt. to Stand Down
Indigenous groups in Peru are claiming victory after more than a week of protests throughout the state.
A day after the government declared martial law in three of the provinces affected by the protests, on August 19 a congressional commission voted to overturn the controversial law known as Decree 1015, which the indigenous groups were challenging.
They say the law makes it easier for mining and energy companies to buy communally owned land, will lead to a foreign land grab, especially in the Amazon rain forest, Reuters explains. Garcia passed the law by decree earlier this year under special powers Congress granted him to bring Peruvian law into compliance with a new free-trade deal with the United States.
The Congressional Commission said Garcia went too far with the decree, and agreed in principle to bring any new land law into compliance with Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization. The Commission also issued an official document to the Executive calling for the overturn of Supreme Decree 058-2008-PCM, imposing the states of emergency, adds Bill Weinberg of the WW4Report.
US Raids Kill Scores of Children in Afghan Town
Aug. 23, 2008
US war in Afghanistan continues to kill scores of children during bombings and assaults. Reports state that more than 50 of the dead are children under 15 years of age.
Thai King World's Richest Royal at $35 Billion
So why does the Queen need all that Akha land???
Thu Aug 21, 2008
King Bhumibol, 80 and, at 62 years on the throne the world's longest-serving head of state, pushed to the top of the richest royals list by virtue a greater transparency surrounding his fortune, Forbes said.
It said that the Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of his family's wealth, "granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok."
Hill Tribe Have Difficulties Over Lack of ID Cards
The article below discusses hilltribe ID card problems in Thailand.
Plight of Hill Tribes
"They need to educate themselves so that they know what their basic rights are," she said. "Knowing your rights does not guarantee that you can access them, but not knowing your rights guarantees that you can't." The education issue is seen as double-edged. Ms Chutima said government officials also need to be educated about the plight of the hill tribe people they come into close contact with. "We have suggested that the government should host seminars and training for officials so they know what they are doing. The officers need to understand the relevant laws and the impact they have on hill tribes. "In the field, they often use their own prejudice and bias to do their work," she said.
The issue was raised recently at a Unesco interactive panel on the impact of legal status on hill tribes in Thailand. Unesco statistical analyst Amanda Flaim said the Unesco Highland Peoples Survey studied a sample group of 192 border villages in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son provinces to determine the impact of a person's legal status (citizenship and birth registration) on access to social services, education, health care, land tenure, and agricultural credit. Interviews with 63,719 people make it the largest household survey of its type in Thailand.
A study of a sample group revealed 38 percent of hill tribe people do not have Thai citizenship. Compared to highlanders with Thai citizenship, those lacking citizenship are 73 percent less likely to enter primary school and 98 percent less likely to progress to higher education. Similarly, highlanders who lack birth registration, a status which is not exactly congruous with citizenship, are 64 percent less likely to enter lower primary school and 85 percent less likely to enter secondary school relative to highlanders with official Thai birth registration.
"The degree of disadvantage is very acute," Ms Flaim said. Dr David A Feingold, Unesco International Coordinator for HIV and Trafficking Programmes, said the situation is probably more critical as researchers were not given access to an estimated 700 villages in special military zones along border areas, suggesting lower rates of access to education.
He said: "Unesco research has identified 'lack of citizenship' as the greatest risk factor for highland girls and women in Thailand to be trafficked, or otherwise exploited." Consequently, Unesco, in cooperation with the British Embassy, initiated the UK government-funded Highland Birth and Citizenship Registration Promotion Project. The objective of this project is to promote birth registration and citizenship awareness among highland minorities in Thailand through the development and dissemination of research-based, culturally appropriate indigenous language materials.
The British Embassy has agreed to finance the second phase of the programme.
Human rights lawyer Surapong Kongchantuk estimates that there are three million people considered stateless or undocumented in Thailand. Many were born in the Kingdom after fleeing persecution in Burma. "There are a lot of migrants who have been living here in Thailand much longer than [ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's] family, but they were never registered because the original census surveys never got up into the hills. And a lot of policies were never translated into these people's original languages," said Dr Feingold.
Surapong said lawyers and education officials have produced guidelines on how undocumented children could get an education. After His Majesty the King expressed a concern about the problem, the Thaksin-led administration announced a strategy in 2005 to help the stateless. An estimated 50,000 students have been given identity cards in recent years to help them go to school and travel to different towns to study.
But the majority need official permission to travel outside their local area, and approval is granted by the district chief on a case-by-case basis. Devoid of an education and unaware of their rights and how to gain Thai citizenship, many hill tribe people are likely to be forced into illegal activities in order to survive, such as drug dealing and prostitution. This results in arrests, fuels the prejudices of the majority community and prevents many true natives of Thailand from obtaining their legal rights as citizens. Without an education to increase awareness of and to secure their legal rights, the sinister cycle rolls on.
A new booklet, the Manual for Capacity-building on Birth Registration and Citizenship in Thailand, provides a better understanding of the regulations governing the legal status of people residing in Thailand. The Thai-language publication, with a translation in English on CD, can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Daniel Calderbank works in media and communications at Unesco Bangkok. A former staff member of the 'Bangkok Post', he has worked in radio broadcasting and for national newspapers in the UK, the UAE and Thailand. If you have a comment or would like to discuss issues raised in this article, contact Daniel at email@example.com .
Thaksin and Wife Pojaman Jump Bail, Warrants Issued
Thaksin Shinawatra, known for ordering a brutal "War on Drugs" in which more than 2247 people were killed in 90 days during 2003, has jumped bail with his wife Pojaman and returned to exile in London. The Thai Supreme Court issued arrest warrants for them in the corruption charges they face. Thaksin claimed he could not get a fair trial. Certainly he would receive a more fair trial than the thousands who he ordered killed without mercy.
Horse Trip Goal: 10,000 Mosquito Nets for the Akha of Laos
After spending 13 years in Thailand working with the Akha we spent a year in north Laos and witnessed first hand the very serious malaria situation. Our trip across the US by horseback is to raise enough money to purchase 10,000 nets for the Akha of Laos. There are 60,000 Akha living in Laos. Many villages were relocated, forcing the Akha to live in low land areas where they would not choose to live. The obvious reason being that in the low lands malaria is epidemic. The malaria in northern Laos is not "pv" malaria but "pf" malaria, which attacks the brain, causes brain swelling and even with medication produces mortality in 20% of cases.
The first line of defense is nets for all villagers, then better medical care and frequent testing. However in villages that have lost their land, staying at the hospital or paying for medicine is often out of the question, as there is not even enough food.
In the first year after relocation many villages lost 20% and more of their population due to malaria, disentary and malnutrition. The first to die were the elderly and small children. Current reports from Laos document an ongoing situation that has not improved.
For 17 years we have worked with the Akha on human rights issues and intend to make a very large difference regarding human rights protections and basic health care.
You can make a difference by making a donation on line.
As we travel across the US to the United Nations by horseback we represent one of the most disadvantaged groups in SE Asia, the Akha people.
Akha.org Gets New Server
We have just upgraded our server to give you better service, 6 or 7 times the speed and tripple the space, making it easier for you to download data and giving us a lot more room for documents and other content. We still have considerable documents to add to the site, and rebuilding all of our photo section.
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