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The Mission Cold War

Akha Days

Part One

The Missionary Cold War:

How missions work and effect the lives and independence of the Akha and their freedom to their own religion and culture. How the villages are broken and converted.

The involvement and structure of the mission system in north Thailand is very important to understand, but of greatest importance is to understand that the Akha as a people have a right to their own tradition and culture under international law, and this right is certainly not being protected. It is one thing to say that the Church has a question of character and morality in this matter, but ultimately the failure to protect the Akha and their culture must fall in part both on the Thai government and International organizations and the Missions. The missions, since they are the perpetrators, are the chief defendant in the matter.

The history of missions is long, through the centuries, from crusades to the new world, a political order that always claimed it wasn't. Always converting and eliminating tribal cultures and often tribal peoples, subjegating smaller groups into the larger ones, assisting colonialization and assimilization. A growth industry on the back of others, following close to the exploitation of resources and lands that the indigenous live on. This parallel situation is very hard for missionaries to admit to. They are woefully ignorant of anything but the polished, carefully selected version of their conquest history. It is quite amazing that anyone denies this political role and goal of missions does not exist, but quite a few still do make this denial.

In Thailand there is functioning both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. They both work with the Akha. The Catholic Church is under one structure, while the protestant efforts are under many structures. There are a few umbrella organizations that house many of the individual organizations of the protestants, but this certainly does not cover them all. Since the protestants do not organize a visible central structure, though they often work in such a way quietly, they can claim security from appeal to any such organization. Their makeup of many missions, churches, individuals, all claiming to be unaffiliated makes bringing them to justice for their crimes that much more difficult.

They are here for a reason. I am not sure what all those reasons are, but it certainly appears to be based on inherant needs of the individuals in these organizations and not much on the needs of the people whom they work with, in this case the Akha.

The need of the missionary individual is to stay out of hell, and they feel that in order to ensure this, they must also keep a few other people out of hell by converting them to the same fear paradym. This is the driving force of the missionaries, you won't meet one that wants to talk the Bible or the details and justifications of all this. At best, rather than logic and blow by blow discussion you will encounter rhetoric and quotations. Obviously these people are very insecure, very unsure of themselves, and really are quite afraid to think for themselves. Many of them have their lives, years and years, buried in such ventures and if it were inspected now, the validity, well, might be more than they could handle, that they had wasted much time and years. Or had just been wrong.

I don't mind that people believe different than I do but I wonder why they can't even argue their own belief system? For instance, say if I said I agreed that it is good to keep people out of hell. I might add that I believe that for the sake of argument because I also believe that it is good to try and prevent bad things from happening to people, much in the same way the Thai highway department is installing guard rails in the mountains along the side of steep roads. So then I would ask the missions, that if saving people from harm is the point, then why is not the money focused to do the most good, water, medical care, human rights, etc rather than build big church buildings?

But they are not so interested in such things. Many Christians make careful distinctions before giving away money. One is that they are around to save souls only, the costly church buildings are for this reason, and they aren't allowed to spend for saving from other things. Ok, saved from snake bites but not malaria. Odd support system they do have indeed.

This explains their casual disregard of the living and human rights conditions of the Akha. It is just much easier to build a church and claim success. When you need more to do, and when you need to show how compassionate missionaries are in helping others where the Buddhists won't then you can cross the line and borrow one or two human needs also, to show how much you care for these poor folk. But, the real goal is evangelization, and the rest is borrowed for additional kudos.

For this same reason, having supplied a village with a church, the missionaries feel no guilt at going home and living and eating well in Chiangrai, Chiangmai or elsewhere, because they have done their job. This is a very careful good news, or "gospel" as they are so fond of calling it. This is the purpose of their work, to spread the "good news" the gospel. However, the good part of the news is very limited. When this is pointed out, the missions must refer to their mission packet for working with the Akha. In this mission packet, built, embelished upon, and added to as the years go buy, are the standard protective answers that they have for being basically racist bigots that they are. "Oh, the Akha are bound in the spirit of bondage, that is why they must suffer and die till they come out of it and think like us." And so goes the thinking and the neighborhood.

The missionaries can not cope with the fact of how good they all live, compared to the Akha they claim to help. In only one or two situations are missionaries living in the villages and this is for the sole purpose of putting a complete end to the culture and converting them all to be good american style mindless evangelicals.

Goals of the missions and why we have a problem:

The chief effect of the missions is to deny the Akha their right to be who they are, keep their own culture and traditions. The missionaries wish to impose a different one, one of the west, on these people. This is made easier by the poverty, another reason that the missions do not fight the poverty in the villages. To fight the poverty would make them less able to succeed in forcing their religion on the Akha.

The missionaries lie and go to great length to deny that this is what they are doing, taking away the Akha right to freedom to their own religion and culture. These people are criminal by every measure of international law guaranteeing the Akha the right to be who they are, religiously and culturally. Further the missionaries seldom speak the language and have little clue to the culture of the Akha. It isn't like their own so it is wrong. That is all.

I would like to point out the fact that the missions are not here in any limited kind of way. They are not here to convert a maximum of ten villages. They feel compelled due to their belief system, no matter how filled with contradictions it is, that they must convert the entire earth to their way of thinking. They must have proof that they are succeeding and this need for proof brings many errors and ills with it also.

But it must be constantly pointed out, that this is their belief system, that they, number one, not only feel they must do and impose, they also in a self fulfilling way, feel that it must be their right to convert all to believe like them, or they are not having religious freedom. They say nothing about the right of the other people whom they wish to convert to be left alone, to practice their own culture.

Further, there is no unified theory of what their own religion is, so every individual and group comes with a different definition, within the greater pool. The greater effort accepts this based on the idea that at least everyone will be converted to some form of social Christianity.

I say social Christianity because if you ask these people what it means to be a Christian, they will say that in reality many people are not "true Christians", are only church goers. But they try to at least convert villagers to this first status, in order to increase the second, but would deny they are related. So we convert an Akha village to be Christian, but are they all Christians, don't know, ok.

So one of my cases against these people is that they are converting the villages to an acceptable form of evangelical american style religious culture first of all and that this does not have anything to do with what their own Bible even claims to be about, mass social movements not really being the focus of the Bible.

So how does this spell out for the Akha?

Since there are no limits to what the missions want, we can assume that their goals at conversion want it all. For the Akha, this means they want all Akha villages converted, their culture put an end to. It really doesn't matter if there is later on inner strife with two and three churches sprouting up. They have been converted first off and the details can be sorted out later. That the Akha were not allowed to be who they wished to be is not of a matter.

So the goal is to convert all the Akha, to take over by force of outside pressure, all Akha villages in Thailand, Burma, Laos and China.

None of the missions involved will discuss the specific problems involved in this, though they do admit problems exist. In many cases, due to many efforts on my part to expose this missionary campaign, they are going to length to mask their true efforts by pretending to care for the culture of the Akha. They are liars.

Over the past 80 years the missions have destroyed much of Akha culture, displaced the youth, abandoned the youth would be better to say, converting them out of being Akha into being nothing with no place at all unless it is the church, which hardly matches the knowlegde and past they came from.

If you go to Akha.org you will see many photos and additional commentary on this process that they have brought about in the mountains.

Current situation:

But I would now like to go on to mention the current situation with the Akha and what the missions are doing to them.

Currently the mission, numbering in the scores, are working to break the last of the traditional Akha villages and strenthen their grip on the existing villages. This is a political colonization. Surely the US embassy and the Thai government are aware of it and in agreement that it can go on, or law would be used to stop it.

Most of the missions are from the US.

We have numerous villages now that are being split or under pressure to split. The missions involved are known, who they are, how they are working, who they are paying to do the dirty work.

Requests to the UN for assistance in the matter go unheeded.

The traditional elders are pushed aside and given no choice. Though it is illegal for people who don't follow the Akha way to live in the village, these new converts that have been converted in the villages, insist on staying and building a church and defying the leadership of the village. In the past they used to seperate to another village, fine enough. They no longer do, insisting that it is easier just to break the whole village. Christians say that they are suppose to obey those in authority. Missionaries deny this. They have a way of breaking every rule that they themselves say they believe in.

Once pushed aside, not only are the elders reduced, when there are enough converts in the village who have taken control, then they will be pushed to claim the village as a Christian village, against the wishes of the elders, and then they forbid all Akha religion in the village, taking the village over and then forbidding the village the same religious freedom they insisted upon.

This is a war, a cold war of religious and political terrorism being waged against the Akha in the mountains. No bullets, just lots of force.

Many people comment that the Akha must agree to this or it wouldn't happen. This is not at all the case. Well paid Akha are sent to force a conversion, step by step on the new village. The intruder does not work, does not farm and is not from that village. They are paid insurgents, paid trouble makers. They find the weakest point in the village, some family with a problem with the existing leadership, and then the power battle is on. Divide and conquer.

*** (This being the biggest ploy of the protestant dominated US). So the excesses of the Catholic structure could be made to look like they had been done away with, while still retaining in full the nasty habits of the lesser character of humanity when combined with the power excesses of religion.

Where as the Catholic church was centralized and powerful, the protestant church is decentralized and less powerful. If it was a reformation movement, it was only briefly so. The final result of the movement was many little units of the church which have basically no oversight or accountability, and definitely will not answer questions, the most notable part of any religious authority or government. The failure to answer questions they don't like which would expose corruption, human rights abuses and the very lack of freedom of religion, as in freedom from their religion.)

The trouble making churches and missions are photographed and listed on the web site Akha.org

Later on I will seek addresses.

But I advise that you contact the American Embassy in Thailand, the Thai Embassy closest to you, the Thai government, The UN and your federal representatives in your respective countries and insist that IMMEDIATE ENFORCEMENT of Thai and International occur, and that there is an immediate moratorium on church building and prosyletization in Akha villages.

The number of Akha villages that have been over run bring the situation for the remaining villages to a crisis level, and they stand alone, no justice for these people.

Two nights ago at Mae Chan Luang Village behind Doi Maesalong I attended a meeting where the headman asked the outside Akha pastor to quit coming to the village and trying to split it. He has currently split off 11 families.

He is sponsored from Joh Seh Thai Akha village on the Mae Chan to Thatong Highway, and by the Taiwanese who are behind that in alliance with a church in the Town of Huai Krai. This is a different mission, but the same town from which the German Missionary comes from which harrasses Huuh Mah Akha, has placed an outside Akha missionary in that village as well.

You may gladly protest loudly to all Taiwanese Embassies.

In many ways the missions are like the communist collectivization of the Kulaks in Russia that drove them into starvation by probably the millions as mentioned extensively by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

Matthew McDaniel
Maesai, Chiangrai, Thailand


Copyright 1991 - 2006 The Akha Heritage Foundation