June 15, 2004
Despite the fact that the Thai Government deported me in April of this year, it does little to cover their treatment of the Akha Hill Tribe and illustrates a lack of perception of international publicity. Not that the Akha story wasn't publicized already but the forced and sudden deportation highlights the plight of the Akha to the international community.
As well, it caused a lot of Akha to realize the level of my commitment to improve their situation.
The way forward is an international campaign to increase public awareness of Thailand's disregard for International Human Rights Law and their long term genocidal campaign against the Akha.
These realities were made blatantly clear in the just released Thai Human Rights Journal with two articles about my work with the Akha people, one entitled the "Akha Genocide".
The seizure of the farm lands of Hooh Yoh Akha in Chiangrai Province illustrates this point and galvanizes the resistance against Thai government policy.
As well, in America and other parts of the world, where Thai restaurants are popular, most people are naive about Thailand, have never heard of the Akha Hill Tribe, and are shocked that such an abusive situation has been able to hide in the closet for so long, that American diplomats know of the situation and say nothing.
And of course the initial Thai Government response to a suddenly new form of bad publicity about the "wonderful land of smile" is to promise "dialogue" and then not answer emails!
Not worried, with plenty of time on my hands, my efforts are methodical to inform the world about Thai Government policy and why requirements must be attatched to all agreements, cooperation and aid to the country of Thailand.
Where will people buy their shrimp and rice? Who will fill the flights of Thai Airways?
Burma which does not do near as well as Thailand in covering up its human rights problems, has been radically effected by campaigns against anyone doing business in Burma. Why should not the shoe be on the other foot it fits so well, the country which masters "constructive engagement", Thailand?
Considering that only 20,000 of the 70,000 Akha in Thailand have Thai ID cards, the ease with which Thais can come and live or go to school in the US if they have enough money must be challenged!
When Thailand was recovering from the failure of corrupt banks and the subsequent collapse of the baht, Thai students studying in the US were allowed to get green cards so that they could work in order to compensate for the currency exchange rate differences.
I must ask how Thailand has ever offered such generosity to the Akha, most of whom have no cards of any kind?
In the aftermath of the Drug War rampage of 2003 in which more than 2274 people were ruthlessly murdered by the Thai Government it is little wonder that Thailand no longer sits on the UN Human Rights Commission.
What restrictions will be passed against an Army that uses weapons bought or given from the US, such as M-16's, to bash the faces of hill tribe men? (Please go to http://www.akha.org/content-cat-10.html)
Will Humvees continue to be supplied by the US Government to a country which is using them to run over rice lands stripped from the Akha people such as at Hooh Yoh Akha in Ampur Mae Fah Luang, Chiangrai Province?
( http://www.akha.org/upload/hoohyoh/hoohyoh.htm )
Will millions of American tax payer dollars continue to go to the Thai Government so that they can continue to murder the hill tribe?
Such connections to any other CEO Dictatorship would lead to an outcry in Congress or Parliaments. Yet on the Bush watch an unprecedented human rights disaster has occurred around the world.
The American missionaries who procure, abuse and exploit Akha children will be fought at their base of support, the ax laid to the roots of the tree, exposing their practices and the realities to American Church congregations who support them.
Rather than repent of the abuses of American Indians, the American missionaries have taken their scourge to a similar people in the far away mountains of northern Thailand and Burma, to places from which the flow of heroin, missionaries with/and CIA drug trafficking can not be sorted out, to conduct the busy work of looking like they were spreading the gospel. Considering the gospel is oft referred to as the good news, we wonder just what kind of gospel the missions are preaching?
Will Paul W. Lewis, the infamous Baptist missionary with perhaps more than one job during his time in Burma, ever stand before an Akha court and be asked about his involvement in the heroin trade?
Will the Akha get to send him to prison or take away HIS children?
Will the Akha women every be able to ask him why they were sterilized and then abandoned?
Speak up, demand justice for the Akha people, and ask yourself just what the average Akha person will be eating next time you slow down for that Thai Restaurant!
The Akha Heritage Foundation.
http://www.akha.org Akha Heritage Site.
PO Box 6073 Salem, OR. 97304 USA.
Citizens' Initiative Omega