The Center for Khmer Studies (CKS) will launch the Khmer Translation of Dr. Benny Widyono’s: Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk,The Khmer Rouge,
and The United Nations in Cambodia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers INC.
Dr. Widyono was a peacekeeper with UNTAC from 1992 to 1993 and the political representative of the U.N. Secretary General in Cambodia 1994 to 1997.
The Author will talk about his book and is available to sign individual copies.
Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC) Multi-purpose Hall The Royal University of Phnom Penh
Russian Federation Boulevard Toul Kork,
24 May · 18:00 – 21:00
Spanning 90 hectares in central north Phnom Penh, Boeung Kak Lake is one of the only large open spaces left in Cambodia’s capital city. Prior to the recent evictions, approximately 4,000 families lived on and around the lake, with many depending on the lake for their livelihood. Families have been living around the lake since the early 1980s, when they returned to the city following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Most of these families have legal rights to their land under Cambodia’s 2001 Land Law.
The law means little to those with power in Cambodia and people are being offered way under the market value of their property to move knowing that if they do not accept they may get nothing and have the house demolished around them. Most have been given little choice but to accept knowing the recent violent history of forced evictions in Cambodia they are fearful for their family’s safety.
It is very sad to see this once vibrant and busy community being destroyed in the guise of progress, when everyone really knows it is about the rich getting even richer on the shoulders of the poor and powerless.
Being a ” Barang ” I have certain different expectations of government. Government is given power to work for the people and to protect the interests and rights of all its citizens, not just its rich and powerful ones as seems to be the case generally in Cambodia. The powerful protecting and helping the poor and needy seems not to have reached Cambodia where it seems if you have no resources you are less that nothing.
I wonder how many of the people responsible for this atrocity would like to find themselves in the same position, with few or no rights, and even those they do have being ignored because the ” rich ” know that they do not have the resources to fight for justice.
The people of Boeung Kak made a life for themselves, building on the strengths of the Khmer people ability to survive and come through by building a service industry for travellers, before the thought of fancy hotels was even a twinkle in the eye of the rich and famous. The community was rough and ready but exciting and cheap for those who visited it, they, sadly, would no longer recognised it now.
The Water Festival in Phnom Penh is a annual event that brings an extra 1 million people to the city from the provinces to celebrate and have a holiday. I had been photographing the even for most of the weekend getting many pictures of happy people enjoying their time at the festival. This was marred by the events that took place late in the evening of the 22nd November when tragically 375 people were killed crossing the Diamond Gate Bridge.
The Diamond Gate bridge leads to Diamond Island a place used for celebrations and a fun fair. What cause this panic and the subsequent loss of life is yet to be determined but people were crushed to death after to many people tried to cross the bridge in a state of fear and panic.
The official investigation is no doubt underway and only time will tell the reasons for this disaster.