• #Global_media_Monitoring_Project (#GMMP)

    Who makes the news? is a knowledge, information and resource portal on applied media research. Our work focuses on gender and other axes of discrimination in and through media and communication.

    In 1987 a series of regional consultations on ‘women and media’ convened by the communication rights’ organisation WACC-UK culminated in the first-ever global conference on ‘Women Empowering Communication’ held in Bangkok in February 1994. Convened in co-operation with Isis International - Philippines and the International Women’s Tribune Centre-New York, the conference brought together over 430 people from 80 countries. At the conference, women from all over the world developed a series of strategies and resolutions for empowering women in and through the media in the ‘Bangkok Declaration’.

    The Bangkok Declaration and the recommendations contained in Section J on “Women and the media” of the Beijing Platform for Action of the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women have provided a blueprint for our interventions. In March 2017 the Bangkok Declaration was revised with input from participants at a WACC pre-Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) symposium in New York. Dubbed The New York Declaration, the new text reflects pertinent gender issues in the current media landscape. The document articulates a feminist agenda for the media and charts a path for action by various actors.

    We promote critical media research to generate evidence for education, awareness, training and advocacy, supporting women’s use of media for their own empowerment and for the development of their communities. It advocates full and equal participation of women in public communication so that their multiple and complex interests, experiences and realities become part of the public agenda. It also supports civil society evidence-building on media and marginalized sectors of society in order to advance social justice goals for all in and through the media.

    Our work has resulted in an extensive network of individuals and organizations concerned about gender, media and critical communication broadly, from grassroots activists to academics and development organisations.
    #femmes #genre #médias #presse

  • Suicide d’Arnaud Dubus, correspondant à Bangkok, symptôme d’une profession à l’agonie

    Je relaie cette tribune de la branche thaïlandaise de l’Union de la presse francophone (UPF), qui vient de perdre un de ses piliers, miné par la précarité du métier. L’ensemble de ses collègues et amis s’associe à la peine de sa famille et espère que sa contribution inestimable au journalisme en Asie du sud-est ne sera pas oubliée. Source : Notes de terrain

    • Rien ne saurait expliquer la douleur d’Arnaud et son geste, mais il serait lâche de feindre d’ignorer combien la #précarité de la dernière décennie de sa carrière a contribué à son mal-être. Ce reporter passionné qui pigea longtemps pour des #médias établis comme Libération, Le Temps, Radio France et RFI, avait dû mettre fin à son activité l’année dernière, faute de pouvoir en vivre.

      Pourtant, des Khmers Rouges aux Chemises Jaunes thaïlandaises, des scandales de corruption en Malaisie au rôle des moines bouddhistes en politique, il avait écrit avec une impeccable justesse d’analyse sur tous les grands dossiers de la région. Pour le dire simplement, Arnaud Dubus était considéré comme l’une des meilleures plumes francophones sur l’Asie du Sud Est. Ses propositions d’articles restaient néanmoins souvent sans suite et il nous avait confié qu’à Paris, dans certaines rédactions, on snobait un peu cet exilé aux allures de jeune homme timide - et qui ne la ramenait pas : l’Extrême Orient, quand il ne s’agit ni du Japon, ni de la Chine, n’intéresse pas grand monde.

      Survivant tant bien que mal à la fameuse crise de la presse écrite, il voyait depuis des années ses revenus diminuer, sans oser se plaindre : trop modeste, trop isolé des rédactions pour trouver une oreille attentive, trop humilié de ce déclassement de milieu de vie. Le journal Libération lui avait, il y a quelques temps supprimé son abonnement internet : « tu comprends, tu ne piges pas assez pour nous ». La radio publique RFI venait de décider de ne plus payer les cotisations sociales de ses pigistes à l’étranger. A sa mort, ces deux organes de presse lui ont rendu des hommages soutenus, et sans nul doute, sincères.

      Arnaud souffrait de dépression, qui fait tout autant de ravages sous les tropiques que dans la grisaille des capitales européennes : il suivait un traitement depuis une dizaine d’années. Récemment, faute d’une couverture sociale à l’étranger, il avait dû arrêter son traitement.

      Tout se passait comme si Arnaud Dubus devait s’avérer heureux de pouvoir encore récolter sa maigre pitance de pigiste, - de 600 à 1500 euros dans les bons mois - lui, ce spécialiste d’un monde exotique et périphérique pour lequel il ne valait pas la peine qu’on lui paie ses frais de reportage. Rappelons au passage quelques chiffres : une pige dans un grand quotidien français est rémunérée en moyenne 60 euros le feuillet, tarif qui n’a pas augmenté depuis une quinzaine d’années. Aujourd’hui, l’immense majorité de ceux qu’on appelle des « correspondants » à l’antenne ou sur le papier, sont en fait des pigistes basés à l’étranger, sans salaire fixe, sans protection sociale.

  • Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

    I’ve come back to check on a baby. Just after dusk I’m in a car lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled elephants, their trunks swaying. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot and tourists were on elephants’ backs.

    Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post of the stall stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three large, gray feet. A fourth foot hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the elephant tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her ankle.

    Meena is four years and two months old, still a toddler as elephants go. Khammon Kongkhaw, her mahout, or caretaker, told me earlier that Meena wears the spiked chain because she tends to kick. Kongkhaw has been responsible for Meena here at Maetaman Elephant Adventure, near Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, since she was 11 months old. He said he keeps her on the spiked shackle only during the day and takes it off at night. But it’s night now.

    I ask Jin Laoshen, the Maetaman staffer accompanying me on this nighttime visit, why her chain is still on. He says he doesn’t know.

    Maetaman is one of many animal attractions in and around tourist-swarmed Chiang Mai. People spill out of tour buses and clamber onto the trunks of elephants that, at the prodding of their mahouts’ bullhooks (long poles with a sharp metal hook), hoist them in the air while cameras snap. Visitors thrust bananas toward elephants’ trunks. They watch as mahouts goad their elephants—some of the most intelligent animals on the planet—to throw darts or kick oversize soccer balls while music blares.

    Meena is one of Maetaman’s 10 show elephants. To be precise, she’s a painter. Twice a day, in front of throngs of chattering tourists, Kongkhaw puts a paintbrush in the tip of her trunk and presses a steel nail to her face to direct her brushstrokes as she drags primary colors across paper. Often he guides her to paint a wild elephant in the savanna. Her paintings are then sold to tourists.

    Meena’s life is set to follow the same trajectory as many of the roughly 3,800 captive elephants in Thailand and thousands more throughout Southeast Asia. She’ll perform in shows until she’s about 10. After that, she’ll become a riding elephant. Tourists will sit on a bench strapped to her back, and she’ll give several rides a day. When Meena is too old or sick to give rides—maybe at 55, maybe at 75—she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a few years of retirement. She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall.

    Wildlife attractions such as Maetaman lure people from around the world to be with animals like Meena, and they make up a lucrative segment of the booming global travel industry. Twice as many trips are being taken abroad as 15 years ago, a jump driven partly by Chinese tourists, who spend far more on international travel than any other nationality.

    Wildlife tourism isn’t new, but social media is setting the industry ablaze, turning encounters with exotic animals into photo-driven bucket-list toppers. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. Nearly all millennials (23- to 38-year-olds) use social media while traveling. Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals.

    For all the visibility social media provides, it doesn’t show what happens beyond the view of the camera lens. People who feel joy and exhilaration from getting close to wild animals usually are unaware that many of the animals at such attractions live a lot like Meena, or worse.

    Photographer Kirsten Luce and I set out to look behind the curtain of the thriving wildlife tourism industry, to see how animals at various attractions—including some that emphasize their humane care of animals—are treated once the selfie-taking crowds have gone.

    After leaving Maetaman, we take a five-minute car ride up a winding hill to a property announced by a wooden plaque as “Elephant EcoValley: where elephants are in good hands.” There are no elephant rides here. No paint shows or other performances. Visitors can stroll through an open-air museum and learn about Thailand’s national animal. They can make herbal treats for the elephants and paper from elephant dung. They can watch elephants in a grassy, tree-ringed field.

    EcoValley’s guest book is filled with praise from Australians, Danes, Americans—tourists who often shun elephant camps such as Maetaman because the rides and shows make them uneasy. Here, they can see unchained elephants and leave feeling good about supporting what they believe is an ethical establishment. What many don’t know is that EcoValley’s seemingly carefree elephants are brought here for the day from nearby Maetaman—and that the two attractions are actually a single business.

    Meena was brought here once, but she tried to run into the forest. Another young elephant, Mei, comes sometimes, but today she’s at Maetaman, playing the harmonica in the shows. When she’s not doing that, or spending the day at EcoValley, she’s chained near Meena in one of Maetaman’s elephant stalls.

    Meena Kalamapijit owns Maetaman as well as EcoValley, which she opened in November 2017 to cater to Westerners. She says her 56 elephants are well cared for and that giving rides and performing allow them to have necessary exercise. And, she says, Meena the elephant’s behavior has gotten better since her mahout started using the spiked chain.
    Read MoreWildlife Watch
    Why we’re shining a light on wildlife tourism
    Poaching is sending the shy, elusive pangolin to its doom
    How to do wildlife tourism right

    We sit with Kalamapijit on a balcony outside her office, and she explains that when Westerners, especially Americans, stopped coming to Maetaman, she eliminated one of the daily shows to allot time for visitors to watch elephants bathe in the river that runs through the camp.

    “Westerners enjoy bathing because it looks happy and natural,” she says. “But a Chinese tour agency called me and said, ‘Why are you cutting the show? Our customers love to see it, and they don’t care about bathing at all.’ ” Providing separate options is good for business, Kalamapijit says.

    Around the world Kirsten and I watched tourists watching captive animals. In Thailand we also saw American men bear-hug tigers in Chiang Mai and Chinese brides in wedding gowns ride young elephants in the aqua surf on the island of Phuket. We watched polar bears in wire muzzles ballroom dancing across the ice under a big top in Russia and teenage boys on the Amazon River snapping selfies with baby sloths.

    Most tourists who enjoy these encounters don’t know that the adult tigers may be declawed, drugged, or both. Or that there are always cubs for tourists to snuggle with because the cats are speed bred and the cubs are taken from their mothers just days after birth. Or that the elephants give rides and perform tricks without harming people only because they’ve been “broken” as babies and taught to fear the bullhook. Or that the Amazonian sloths taken illegally from the jungle often die within weeks of being put in captivity.

    As we traveled to performance pits and holding pens on three continents and in the Hawaiian Islands, asking questions about how animals are treated and getting answers that didn’t always add up, it became clear how methodically and systematically animal suffering is concealed.

    The wildlife tourism industry caters to people’s love of animals but often seeks to maximize profits by exploiting animals from birth to death. The industry’s economy depends largely on people believing that the animals they’re paying to watch or ride or feed are having fun too.

    It succeeds partly because tourists—in unfamiliar settings and eager to have a positive experience—typically don’t consider the possibility that they’re helping to hurt animals. Social media adds to the confusion: Oblivious endorsements from friends and trendsetters legitimize attractions before a traveler ever gets near an animal.

    There has been some recognition of social media’s role in the problem. In December 2017, after a National Geographic investigative report on harmful wildlife tourism in Amazonian Brazil and Peru, Instagram introduced a feature: Users who click or search one of dozens of hashtags, such as #slothselfie and #tigercubselfie, now get a pop-up warning that the content they’re viewing may be harmful to animals.

    Everyone finds Olga Barantseva on Instagram. “Photographer from Russia. Photographing dreams,” her bio reads. She meets clients for woodland photo shoots with captive wild animals just outside Moscow.

    For her 18th birthday, Sasha Belova treated herself to a session with Barantseva—and a pack of wolves. “It was my dream,” she says as she fidgets with her hair, which had been styled that morning. “Wolves are wild and dangerous.” The wolves are kept in small cages at a petting zoo when not participating in photo shoots.

    The Kravtsov family hired Barantseva to take their first professional family photos—all five family members, shivering and smiling in the birch forest, joined by a bear named Stepan.

    Barantseva has been photographing people and wild animals together for six years. She “woke up as a star,” she says, in 2015, when a couple of international media outlets found her online. Her audience has exploded to more than 80,000 followers worldwide. “I want to show harmony between people and animals,” she says.

    On a raw fall day, under a crown of golden birch leaves on a hill that overlooks a frigid lake, two-and-a-half-year-old Alexander Levin, dressed in a hooded bumblebee sweater, timidly holds Stepan’s paw.

    The bear’s owners, Yury and Svetlana Panteleenko, ply their star with food—tuna fish mixed with oatmeal—to get him to approach the boy. Snap: It looks like a tender friendship. The owners toss grapes to Stepan to get him to open his mouth wide. Snap: The bear looks as if he’s smiling.

    The Panteleenkos constantly move Stepan, adjusting his paws, feeding him, and positioning Alexander as Barantseva, pink-haired, bundled in jeans and a parka, captures each moment. Snap: A photo goes to her Instagram feed. A boy and a bear in golden Russian woods—a picture straight out of a fairy tale. It’s a contemporary twist on a long-standing Russian tradition of exploiting bears for entertainment.

    Another day in the same forest, Kirsten and I join 12 young women who have nearly identical Instagram accounts replete with dreamy photos of models caressing owls and wolves and foxes. Armed with fancy cameras but as yet modest numbers of followers, they all want the audience Barantseva has. Each has paid the Panteleenkos $760 to take identical shots of models with the ultimate prize: a bear in the woods.

    Stepan is 26 years old, elderly for a brown bear, and can hardly walk. The Panteleenkos say they bought him from a small zoo when he was three months old. They say the bear’s work—a constant stream of photo shoots and movies—provides money to keep him fed.

    A video on Svetlana Panteleenko’s Instagram account proclaims: “Love along with some great food can make anyone a teddy :-)”

    And just like that, social media takes a single instance of local animal tourism and broadcasts it to the world.

    When the documentary film Blackfish was released in 2013, it drew a swift and decisive reaction from the American public. Through the story of Tilikum, a distressed killer whale at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, the film detailed the miserable life orcas can face in captivity. Hundreds of thousands of outraged viewers signed petitions. Companies with partnership deals, such as Southwest Airlines, severed ties with SeaWorld. Attendance at SeaWorld’s water parks slipped; its stock nose-dived.

    James Regan says what he saw in Blackfish upset him. Regan, honeymooning in Hawaii with his wife, Katie, is from England, where the country’s last marine mammal park closed permanently in 1993. I meet him at Dolphin Quest Oahu, an upscale swim-with-dolphins business on the grounds of the beachfront Kahala Hotel & Resort, just east of Honolulu. The Regans paid $225 each to swim for 30 minutes in a small group with a bottlenose dolphin. One of two Dolphin Quest locations in Hawaii, the facility houses six dolphins.

    Bottlenose dolphins are the backbone of an industry that spans the globe. Swim-with-dolphins operations rely on captive-bred and wild-caught dolphins that live—and interact with tourists—in pools. The popularity of these photo-friendly attractions reflects the disconnect around dolphin experiences: People in the West increasingly shun shows that feature animals performing tricks, but many see swimming with captive dolphins as a vacation rite of passage.

    Katie Regan has wanted to swim with dolphins since she was a child. Her husband laughs and says of Dolphin Quest, “They paint a lovely picture. When you’re in America, everyone is smiling.” But he appreciates that the facility is at their hotel, so they can watch the dolphins being fed and cared for. He brings up Blackfish again.

    Katie protests: “Stop making my dream a horrible thing!”

    Rae Stone, president of Dolphin Quest and a marine mammal veterinarian, says the company donates money to conservation projects and educates visitors about perils that marine mammals face in the wild. By paying for this entertainment, she says, visitors are helping captive dolphins’ wild cousins.

    Stone notes that Dolphin Quest is certified “humane” by American Humane, an animal welfare nonprofit. (The Walt Disney Company, National Geographic’s majority owner, offers dolphin encounters on some vacation excursions and at an attraction in Epcot, one of its Orlando parks. Disney says it follows the animal welfare standards of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a nonprofit that accredits more than 230 facilities worldwide.)

    It’s a vigorous debate: whether even places with high standards, veterinarians on staff, and features such as pools filled with filtered ocean water can be truly humane for marine mammals.

    Dolphin Quest’s Stone says yes.

    Critics, including the Humane Society of the United States, which does not endorse keeping dolphins in captivity, say no. They argue that these animals have evolved to swim great distances and live in complex social groups—conditions that can’t be replicated in the confines of a pool. This helps explain why the National Aquarium, in Baltimore, announced in 2016 that its dolphins will be retired to a seaside sanctuary by 2020.

    Some U.S. attractions breed their own dolphins because the nation has restricted dolphin catching in the wild since 1972. But elsewhere, dolphins are still being taken from the wild and turned into performers.

    In China, which has no national laws on captive-animal welfare, dolphinariums with wild-caught animals are a booming business: There are now 78 marine mammal parks, and 26 more are under construction.

    To have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see rare Black Sea dolphins, people in the landlocked town of Kaluga, a hundred miles from Moscow, don’t have to leave their city. In the parking lot of the Torgoviy Kvartal shopping mall, next to a hardware store, is a white inflatable pop-up aquarium: the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium. It looks like a children’s bouncy castle that’s been drained of its color.

    Inside the puffy dome, parents buy their kids dolphin-shaped trinkets: fuzzy dolls and Mylar balloons, paper dolphin hats, and drinks in plastic dolphin tumblers. Families take their seats around a small pool. The venue is so intimate that even the cheapest seats, at nine dollars apiece, are within splashing distance.

    “My kids are jumping for joy,” says a woman named Anya, motioning toward her two giddy boys, bouncing in their seats.

    In the middle of the jubilant atmosphere, in water that seems much too shallow and much too murky, two dolphins swim listlessly in circles.

    Russia is one of only a few countries (Indonesia is another) where traveling oceanariums exist. Dolphins and beluga whales, which need to be immersed in water to stay alive, are put in tubs on trucks and carted from city to city in a loop that usually ends when they die. These traveling shows are aboveboard: Russia has no laws that regulate how marine mammals should be treated in captivity.

    The shows are the domestic arm of a brisk Russian global trade in dolphins and small whales. Black Sea bottlenose dolphins can’t be caught legally without a permit, but Russian fishermen can catch belugas and orcas under legal quotas in the name of science and education. Some belugas are sold legally to aquariums around the country. Russia now allows only a dozen or so orcas to be caught each year for scientific and educational purposes, and since April 2018, the government has cracked down on exporting them. But government investigators believe that Russian orcas—which can sell for millions—are being caught illegally for export to China.

    Captive orcas, which can grow to 20 feet long and more than 10,000 pounds, are too big for the traveling shows that typically feature dolphins and belugas. When I contacted the owners of the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium and another operation, the White Whale Show, in separate telephone calls to ask where their dolphins and belugas come from, both men, Sergey Kuznetsov and Oleg Belesikov, hung up on me.

    Russia’s dozen or so traveling oceanariums are touted as a way to bring native wild animals to people who might never see the ocean.

    “Who else if not us?” says Mikhail Olyoshin, a staffer at one traveling oceanarium. And on this day in Kaluga, as the dolphins perform tricks to American pop songs and lie on platforms for several minutes for photo ops, parents and children express the same sentiment: Imagine, dolphins, up close, in my hometown. The ocean on delivery.

    Owners and operators of wildlife tourism attractions, from high-end facilities such as Dolphin Quest in Hawaii to low-end monkey shows in Thailand, say their animals live longer in captivity than wild counterparts because they’re safe from predators and environmental hazards. Show operators proudly emphasize that the animals under their care are with them for life. They’re family.

    Alla Azovtseva, a longtime dolphin trainer in Russia, shakes her head.

    “I don’t see any sense in this work. My conscience bites me. I look at my animals and want to cry,” says Azovtseva, who drives a red van with dolphins airbrushed on the side. At the moment, she’s training pilot whales to perform tricks at Moscow’s Moskvarium, one of Europe’s largest aquariums (not connected to the traveling dolphin shows). On her day off, we meet at a café near Red Square.

    She says she fell in love with dolphins in the late 1980s when she read a book by John Lilly, the American neuroscientist who broke open our understanding of the animals’ intelligence. She has spent 30 years training marine mammals to do tricks. But along the way she’s grown heartsick from forcing highly intelligent, social creatures to live isolated, barren lives in small tanks.

    “I would compare the dolphin situation with making a physicist sweep the street,” she says. “When they’re not engaged in performance or training, they just hang in the water facing down. It’s the deepest depression.”

    What people don’t know about many aquarium shows in Russia, Azovtseva says, is that the animals often die soon after being put in captivity, especially those in traveling shows. And Azovtseva—making clear she’s referring to the industry at large in Russia and not the Moskvarium—says she knows many aquariums quietly and illegally replace their animals with new ones.

    It’s been illegal to catch Black Sea dolphins in the wild for entertainment purposes since 2003, but according to Azovtseva, aquarium owners who want to increase their dolphin numbers quickly and cheaply buy dolphins poached there. Because these dolphins are acquired illegally, they’re missing the microchips that captive cetaceans in Russia are usually tagged with as a form of required identification.

    Some aquariums get around that, she says, by cutting out dead dolphins’ microchips and implanting them into replacement dolphins.

    “People are people,” Azovtseva says. “Once they see an opportunity, they exploit.” She says she can’t go on doing her work in the industry and that she’s decided to speak out because she wants people to know the truth about the origins and treatment of many of the marine mammals they love watching. We exchange a look—we both know what her words likely mean for her livelihood.

    “I don’t care if I’m fired,” she says defiantly. “When a person has nothing to lose, she becomes really brave.”

    I’m sitting on the edge of an infinity pool on the hilly Thai side of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, at a resort where rooms average more than a thousand dollars a night.

    Out past the pool, elephants roam in a lush valley. Sitting next to me is 20-year-old Stephanie van Houten. She’s Dutch and French, Tokyo born and raised, and a student at the University of Michigan. Her cosmopolitan background and pretty face make for a perfect cocktail of aspiration—she’s exactly the kind of Instagrammer who makes it as an influencer. That is, someone who has a large enough following to attract sponsors to underwrite posts and, in turn, travel, wardrobes, and bank accounts. In 2018, brands—fashion, travel, tech, and more—spent an estimated $1.6 billion on social media advertising by influencers.

    Van Houten has been here, at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, before. This time, in a fairly standard influencer-brand arrangement, she’ll have a picnic with elephants and post about it to her growing legion of more than 25,000 Instagram followers. In exchange, she gets hundreds of dollars off the nightly rate.

    At Anantara the fields are green, and during the day at least, many of the resort’s 22 elephants are tethered on ropes more than a hundred feet long so they can move around and socialize. Nevertheless, they’re expected to let guests touch them and do yoga beside them.

    After van Houten’s elephant picnic, I watch her edit the day’s hundreds of photos. She selects an image with her favorite elephant, Bo. She likes it, she says, because she felt a connection with Bo and thinks that will come across. She posts it at 9:30 p.m.—the time she estimates the largest number of her followers will be online. She includes a long caption, summing it up as “my love story with this incredible creature,” and the hashtag #stopelephantriding. Immediately, likes from followers stream in—more than a thousand, as well as comments with heart-eyed emoji.

    Anantara is out of reach for anyone but the wealthy—or prominent influencers. Anyone else seeking a similar experience might do a Google search for, say, “Thailand elephant sanctuary.”

    As tourist demand for ethical experiences with animals has grown, affordable establishments, often calling themselves “sanctuaries,” have cropped up purporting to offer humane, up-close elephant encounters. Bathing with elephants—tourists give them a mud bath, splash them in a river, or both—has become very popular. Many facilities portray baths as a benign alternative to elephant riding and performances. But elephants getting baths, like those that give rides and do tricks, will have been broken to some extent to make them obedient. And as long as bathing remains popular, places that offer it will need obedient elephants to keep their businesses going. 

    In Ban Ta Klang, a tiny town in eastern Thailand, modest homes dot the crimson earth. In front of each is a wide, bamboo platform for sitting, sleeping, and watching television.

    But the first thing I notice is the elephants. Some homes have one, others as many as five. Elephants stand under tarps or sheet metal roofs or trees. Some are together, mothers and babies, but most are alone. Nearly all the elephants wear ankle chains or hobbles—cuffs binding their front legs together. Dogs and chickens weave among the elephants’ legs, sending up puffs of red dust.

    Ban Ta Klang—known as Elephant Village—is ground zero in Thailand for training and trading captive elephants.

    “House elephants,” Sri Somboon says, gesturing as he turns down his TV. Next to his outdoor platform, a two-month-old baby elephant runs around his mother. Somboon points across the road to the third elephant in his charge, a three-year-old male tethered to a tree. He’s wrenching his head back and forth and thrashing his trunk around. It looks as if he’s going out of his mind.

    He’s in the middle of his training, Somboon says, and is getting good at painting. He’s already been sold, and when his training is finished, he’ll start working at a tourist camp down south.

    Ban Ta Klang and the surrounding area, part of Surin Province, claim to be the source of more than half of Thailand’s 3,800 captive elephants. Long before the flood of tourists, it was the center of the elephant trade; the animals were caught in the wild and tamed for use transporting logs. Now, every November, hundreds of elephants from here are displayed, bought, and sold in the province’s main town, Surin.

    One evening I sit with Jakkrawan Homhual and Wanchai Sala-ngam. Both 33, they’ve been best friends since childhood. About half the people in Ban Ta Klang who care for elephants, including Homhual, don’t own them. They’re paid a modest salary by a rich owner to breed and train baby elephants for entertainment. As night falls, thousands of termites swarm us, attracted to the single bulb hanging above the bamboo platform. Our conversation turns to elephant training.

    Phajaan is the traditional—and brutal—days- or weeks-long process of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. It has long been used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia to tame wild elephants, which still account for many of the country’s captives. Under phajaan, elephants are bound with ropes, confined in tight wooden structures, starved, and beaten repeatedly with bullhooks, nails, and hammers until their will is crushed. The extent to which phajaan persists in its harshest form is unclear. Since 2012, the government has been cracking down on the illegal import of elephants taken from the forests of neighboring Myanmar, Thailand’s main source of wild-caught animals.

    I ask the men how baby elephants born in captivity are broken and trained.

    When a baby is about two years old, they say, mahouts tie its mother to a tree and slowly drag the baby away. Once separated, the baby is confined. Using a bullhook on its ear, they teach the baby to move: left, right, turn, stop. To teach an elephant to sit, Sala-ngam says, “we tie up the front legs. One mahout will use a bullhook at the back. The other will pull a rope on the front legs.” He adds: “To train the elephant, you need to use the bullhook so the elephant will know.”

    Humans identify suffering in other humans by universal signs: People sob, wince, cry out, put voice to their hurt. Animals have no universal language for pain. Many animals don’t have tear ducts. More creatures still—prey animals, for example—instinctively mask symptoms of pain, lest they appear weak to predators. Recognizing that a nonhuman animal is in pain is difficult, often impossible.

    But we know that animals feel pain. All mammals have a similar neuroanatomy. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians all have pain receptors. As recently as a decade ago, scientists had collected more evidence that fish feel pain than they had for neonatal infants. A four-year-old human child with spikes pressing into his flesh would express pain by screaming. A four-year-old elephant just stands there in the rain, her leg jerking in the air.

    Of all the silently suffering animals I saw in pools and pens around the world, two in particular haunt me: an elephant and a tiger.

    They lived in the same facility, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo, about 15 miles south of Bangkok. The elephant, Gluay Hom, four years old, was kept under a stadium. The aging tiger, Khai Khem, 22, spent his days on a short chain in a photo studio. Both had irrefutable signs of suffering: The emaciated elephant had a bent, swollen leg hanging in the air and a large, bleeding sore at his temple. His eyes were rolled back in his head. The tiger had a dental abscess so severe that the infection was eating through the bottom of his jaw.

    When I contacted the owner of the facility, Uthen Youngprapakorn, to ask about these animals, he said the fact that they hadn’t died proved that the facility was caring for them properly. He then threatened a lawsuit.

    Six months after Kirsten and I returned from Thailand, we asked Ryn Jirenuwat, our Bangkok-based Thai interpreter, to check on Gluay Hom and Khai Khem. She went to Samut Prakan and watched them for hours, sending photos and video. Gluay Hom was still alive, still standing in the same stall, leg still bent at an unnatural angle. The elephants next to him were skin and bones. Khai Khem was still chained by his neck to a hook in the floor. He just stays in his dark corner, Jirenuwat texted, and when he hears people coming, he twists on his chain and turns his back to them.

    “Like he just wants to be swallowed by the wall.”

    #tourisme #nos_ennemis_les_bêtes

  • Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet – The Decolonial Atlas

    “The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

    Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth. Their business model relies on the destruction of the only home humanity has ever known.

    • Montrer le siège des entreprises de merde pour critiquer les structures capitalistes qui tuent le plus ok, mais le coup de nommer les patrons… ça me laisse toujours dubitatif, vu que ça va changer quoi de virer l’un ou l’autre ? Une autre personne le remplacera et ça sera 100% pareil, et on refera la même liste avec les suivants à l’infini.

      C’est dans la lignée de la gauche (et de la droite) alter-capitaliste, que la critique de la valeur appelle « le populisme transversal » ou « anticapitalisme tronqué », qui fustige « les 1% contre les 99% », etc, sans critiquer avant tous les mécanismes complets.
      cc @ktche

    • Je trouve très bien d’opposer des noms de personnes à la nécessité de faire croire que « on arrête pas le progrès » ou que le libéralisme est dans la nature humaine et que donc le capitalisme prédateur n’est le fait de personne et qu’il est une entité magique déifié devant lequel il faut se prosterner.
      Avec des actions ciblées nommément, les responsables sont parfois très perturbés d’être désignés, leurs enfants les regardent de travers et ils se cachent des médias. Désigner les vrais responsables ce n’est pas les mener au lynchage, c’est dire que le système est fait par des êtres humains (encore un peu) et qu’il faut réincarner l’action. Ça donne un peu d’espoir pour espérer en la déconstruction des mécanismes complets, qui sont concrètement portés par des vivants à moelle épinière verticale qui remonte parfois jusqu’au bulbe supérieur.

      @fil, tu as la liste de ces responsables ? J’aimerai bien mettre un visage dessus pour savoir la composition du groupe.

    • Le texte dit :

      The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth.

      sinon, faut compter,…
      à première vue, je vois 3 femmes :
      Grethe Moen (Petoro) à Stavanger
      Somruedee Chaimongkol (Banpu) à Bangkok
      Nicke Widyawati (Pertamina) à Djakarta

  • En Thaïlande, le couronnement du roi Vajiralongkorn, monarque imprévisible et politique

    Le couronnement du roi Maha Vajiralongkorn, monté sur le trône à la mort de son père en 2016, a débuté samedi et doit s’achever lundi à Bangkok.

    L’événement qui se déroule du samedi 4 au lundi 6 mai à Bangkok ne s’était pas produit en Thaïlande depuis 1950 : le couronnement d’un roi. Sa Majesté Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66 ans, aura dû attendre longtemps avant d’accéder au trône, son père Bhumipol Adulyadej, mort en 2016 à l’âge de 88 ans, ayant régné sept décennies sur l’ancien royaume de Siam.

    Bien que roi depuis plus de deux ans, Rama X – son nom dynastique – n’avait toujours pas été couronné. Il va donc l’être, pendant le week-end, lors de cérémonies élaborées qui se prolongeront durant deux jours et où vont se mêler des rites bouddhiques et brahmaniques, hérités de l’Inde classique. Ce couronnement a cependant lieu dans le contexte d’une Thaïlande politiquement divisée, dirigée depuis cinq ans par la junte militaire, et dont l’actuel souverain incarne pour beaucoup une stabilité mise à mal depuis le début du siècle, une période marquée par deux coups d’Etat.

    Il n’est rien de dire que la personnalité de Sa Majesté Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodinthrathepphayawarangkun – son nom complet –, contraste fortement avec celle de son père, connu comme « le roi qui ne sourit jamais » en raison de la sobriété de son comportement et adulé par son peuple durant tout son règne.

    Capture écran du roi Maha Vajiralongkorn, assis sur le trône, en face de la reine Suthida, lors de son couronnement, samedi 4 mai.

    Loin de connaître la même ferveur, Rama X est un personnage fantasque et imprévisible, dont la vie personnelle a été agitée. Il vient d’ailleurs d’annoncer, à la surprise générale, qu’il s’était marié pour la quatrième fois, mercredi 1er mai : l’heureuse élue, Suthida Tidjai, une ancienne hôtesse de l’air de Thai Airways âgée de 40 ans, est sa compagne depuis plusieurs années. En 2016, son futur époux l’avait nommée au grade de général au sein de l’armée et chef adjointe de l’Unité de ses gardes du corps.

    Institution vénérée et puissante

    On ne sait cependant que peu de choses sur ce souverain pilote de chasse, formé au Royaume-Uni et en Australie, et qui éleva naguère à la dignité de maréchal d’aviation son chien Fufu, décédé quatre ans après sa prise de fonction.

    Depuis qu’il a accédé au trône de cette monarchie constitutionnelle, où l’institution royale est aussi vénérée que puissante, les décisions prises par Rama X ont laissé perplexe plus d’un observateur. Si la Constitution bride les pouvoirs exécutifs du souverain, le père de l’actuel roi, Rama IX, s’impliqua directement dans les affaires du royaume.
    De même, son fils ne semble pas disposé à ne faire que de la figuration, rôle auquel le limite, en théorie, cette même Constitution.

    Le roi s’est distingué ces deux dernières années par ses desiderata et ses réactions, créant des précédents : à la mort de son père, le 13 octobre 2016, Vajiralongkorn annonce qu’il ne va pas devenir roi dans l’immédiat, demandant « un délai » pour « porter le deuil ». Même s’il est de tradition, depuis le début de la dynastie Chakri, fondée en 1782, que le nouveau monarque monte sur le trône dès la mort du souverain défunt. Vajiralongkorn sera proclamé roi un peu plus tard, le 16 décembre.

    Des habitants attendent devant le palais royal, samedi 4 mai.

    En janvier 2017, nouvelle surprise : le souverain exige que soient amendés plusieurs articles du projet d’une nouvelle Constitution concoctée par les militaires au pouvoir – et approuvée l’été précédent par référendum. D’abord, il rejette l’obligation de se faire remplacer par un régent lorsqu’il est absent du pays. Une raison simple explique sa royale exigence : depuis des années, le roi passe une bonne partie de son temps dans sa somptueuse résidence des environs de Munich, près du lac de Sternberg.

    Contrôle du Bureau des avoirs de la couronne

    Le roi exige ensuite l’amendement de deux autres articles. Un premier qui permet à la Cour constitutionnelle d’être l’arbitre ultime en cas de crise majeure ainsi qu’un deuxième stipulant que toute proclamation royale soit contresignée par un ministre ou par le président du Parlement. Ces articles restreignaient ses pouvoirs de monarque constitutionnel.

    Vajiralongkorn ne s’est pas arrêté en si bon chemin : en 2017, il a pris le contrôle direct du Bureau des avoirs de la couronne, dont les actifs sont estimés à 40 milliards de dollars (35,7 milliards d’euros). Magnanime, il a cependant accepté de payer des impôts sur les revenus générés par cet organisme qui s’occupe de la gestion des terres royales et de différents investissements, notamment dans le domaine bancaire…

    « Je défendrai votre héritage comme s’il en allait de ma propre vie », le général Apirat, lors d’une cérémonie

    Le roi a aussi fait le ménage au palais, en révoquant des grands chambellans et en répudiant son avant-dernière épouse, dont l’oncle croupit désormais en prison pour corruption et « lèse-majesté ». Il a enfin étendu son contrôle au domaine militaire : en nommant, fin 2018, le général Apirat Kongsompong chef de l’armée, il a renforcé, à l’intérieur de cette dernière, la faction de la « garde du roi », affaiblissant ainsi la position du chef de la junte et premier ministre, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, qui n’était pas spécialement un soutien acharné du nouveau roi, par le passé.

    Des Thaïlandais regardent la cérémonie de couronnement à la télévision, samedi 4 mai.

    Le 7 mars, à l’occasion d’une cérémonie sans précédent, ce même général Apirat a prêté serment à la monarchie en compagnie de plusieurs centaines de ses officiers devant une statue du roi Rama V, un souverain particulièrement révéré, mort en 1910. « Je défendrai votre héritage comme s’il en allait de ma propre vie », s’est exclamé l’officier, à genoux et mains jointes haut sur le crâne en signe de respect absolu.

    Selon un diplomate asitique, « le fait que le roi ait lui-même une expérience de militaire conduit à ce qu’il garde un œil attentif sur les forces armées et les promotions en son sein »
    Une telle cérémonie a été perçue par différents observateurs comme l’expression « d’une offensive tous azimuts contre les opposants de la junte militaire », écrit le site indépendant Khaosod. L’armée, en dépit de ses divisions interne, perçoit son avenir comme intrinsèquement lié à celui de la royauté. Et réciproquement : il est loin le temps où, à la suite du coup d’Etat de 1932, qui mit fin à la monarchie absolue, cette dernière fut marginalisée par les militaires.

    Même si la Thaïlande redevient une démocratie et quel que soit le gouvernement issu des élections législatives du 24 mars, la nouvelle Constitution contribue à limiter les pouvoirs du premier ministre et de son cabinet. Elle renforce l’alliance entre le palais royal et l’armée. « Le fait que le roi ait lui-même une expérience de militaire conduit à ce qu’il garde un œil attentif sur les forces armées et les promotions en son sein », juge un diplomate asiatique cité par la revue japonaise Nikkei Asian review.

  • Résultats ambigus des élections en #Thaïlande

    Le 24 mars dernier, les Thaïlandais se sont rendus aux urnes pour la première fois depuis le coup d’État de 2014. Alors qu’on attend toujours les résultats définitifs, les premiers chiffres pointent vers un pays plus polarisé que jamais. Entretien avec Pitch Pongsawat, Politologue à l’université Chulalongkorn de Bangkok, et animateur sur la chaîne d’information d’opposition « Voice TV ». CETRI : Dans quel contexte interviennent ces élections en Thaïlande ? Pitch Pongsawat : Il s’agit de la première (...)


    / #Le_Sud_en_mouvement, #Le_regard_du_CETRI, #Analyses, Thaïlande, #Election

  • #Enjeux_numériques en Asie du Sud-Est

    En mars 2019 s’est tenue à Bangkok, en Thaïlande, une rencontre internationale de mouvements sociaux consacrée à la « justice numérique ». Une soixantaine d’activistes et universitaires, issus du monde entier, y ont participé. Entretien avec Edgardo Legaspi, Développeur de programme au sein de l’ONG Focus on the Global South . CETRI : Focus on the Global South vient de co-organiser une rencontre internationale en faveur de la « justice numérique ». En quoi cette problématique est pertinente pour l’Asie (...)


    / #Le_Sud_en_mouvement, #Le_regard_du_CETRI, Enjeux numériques, #Analyses

  • Numérisation de l’agriculture : quels risques pour les paysans et populations du Sud ?

    En mars 2019 s’est tenue à Bangkok, en Thaïlande, une rencontre internationale de mouvements sociaux consacrée à la « justice numérique ». Une soixantaine d’activistes et universitaires, issus du monde entier, y ont participé. Entretien avec Kartini Samon, chercheuse et représentante régionale pour l’Asie de l’ONG « GRAIN ». CETRI : Comment une association d’aide aux petits agriculteurs et aux luttes paysannes dans le Sud se retrouve-t-elle à participer à une rencontre sur la « justice numérique » ? (...)


    / #Enjeux_numériques, #Analyses, #Le_Sud_en_mouvement, #Le_regard_du_CETRI, Agriculture & luttes pour la (...)


  • U.S.-Thai pair facing death for ’sea home’ should fight the charge: Thailand says - Reuters

    A floating home, lived in by an American man and his Thai partner, is pictured in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket island in Thailand, April 13, 2019. Picture taken April 13, 2019.
    Royal Thai Navy/Handout via REUTERS

    BANGKOK (Reuters) - A senior Thai government official on Friday urged a U.S. man and a Thai woman on the run from a possible death sentence for building an off-shore “sea home” to fight the charge in court.

    The two, Chad Elwartowski and his partner Supranee Thepdet, have been accused of violating Thai sovereignty by raising a small cabin on top of a big, weighted spar in what they say are international waters, 14 nautical miles off the west-coast Thai island of Phuket.

    But Thailand says the structure is in its 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

    I urge them to get a lawyer to fight this case,” Supoj Rodruang Na Nongkhai, the deputy provincial governor of Phuket, told Reuters.

    He said the two were believed to be in hiding in Thailand.

    They have been charged under a law on the violation of sovereignty, which stipulates punishment of life in prison or death.

    Thailand will proceed with everything according to the law. We are not threatening them,” Supoj said.


    • La réponse du HCR:
      UNHCR strongly rejects widespread allegations against workforce

      The following is UNHCR’s response to media following widespread allegations made against its workforce in a recent NBC press article.

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, strongly rejects the widespread allegations against its workforce in a recent press article, which risks jeopardizing the future of refugees in dire need of resettlement.

      UNHCR is one of the biggest and most operational UN agencies, working in 138 countries and serving 68.5 million people. The overwhelmingly majority of our 16,000 personnel are deeply committed professionals, many of whom are working in difficult environments, sometimes risking their own safety.

      As with other organizations, we are not immune to risk or failure on the part of individuals. This is why we have a solid safeguarding structure, which has been further strengthened in the last two years, and which we continuously seek to improve.

      We are fully committed to ensuring the integrity of our programmes. Our workforce is also systematically reminded of the obligation to abide by the highest standards of conduct and to make sure that all their actions are free of any consideration of personal gain.

      Every report or allegation of fraud, corruption or retaliation against refugees by UNHCR personnel or those working for our partners, is thoroughly assessed and, if substantiated, results in disciplinary sanctions, including summary dismissal from the organization.

      Investigations at UNHCR on possible misconduct by our workforce are carried out by the Inspector General’s Office (IGO), which is an independent oversight body. It consists of expert investigators, with a strong background in law enforcement, military, war crimes tribunals or people who occupied similar functions in private companies and other international organizations. In recent years, additional investigators were recruited and some stationed in Nairobi, Pretoria and Bangkok enabling them to deploy rapidly and to have a better understanding of local contexts and issues.

      UNHCR disciplinary measures have been reinforced, with a 60% rise in the number of disciplinary actions taken by the High Commissioner between 2017 and 2018. Referrals to national authorities are undertaken systematically in cases involving conduct that may amount to criminal conduct and waivers of immunity facilitated.

      In addition, we have significantly strengthened our risk management capacity and skills in the past two years. We now have a solid network of some 300 risk officers, focal points and managers in our field operations and at HQ to help ensure that risks are properly identified and managed, that the integrity of our programmes is further enhanced and that the risk culture is reinforced across the organization.

      The prevention of fraud, including identity fraud, is key to ensuring the integrity of our resettlement programme. This is why we use biometrics in registration, including iris scans and fingerprints, in the majority of refugee operations where we operate, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Biometric registration makes theft of identity virtually impossible and biometric screening of refugees is done at various stages of the resettlement process, including right before departure. In other places, such as Libya and Yemen, where security conditions do not allow us to deploy such a tool, we take all possible preventive measures related to fraud.

      We are acutely aware that refugees are at times approached by people trying to defraud them. For example, reports and investigations have found multiple occasions where people pose as UNHCR officials, using fake ID cards and claiming that they can influence the resettlement process. While it is impossible for UNHCR to root out ground level imposters, we have taken renewed action to raise awareness among refugees, help them recognize and report fraudsters, reminding them that all services provided by UNHCR and its partners are free.

      Resettlement is highly sought after by refugees. UNHCR considered 1.2 million people to have resettlement needs in 2018 alone, while less than 60,000 people were resettled last year. In 2019, those needs further increased. The fact that the needs for resettlement are far greater than the places available is a factor that weighs heavily in favor of those wishing to exploit desperate refugees, many of whom have lived many years in refugee camps, with no foreseeable end to their plight in sight for themselves or their children.

      UNHCR strives to ensure that refugees have proper means to provide feedback. This is essential to ensure their protection and the very reason why we completed last year a survey across 41 countries. We are using the information on the communication systems most commonly used by our beneficiaries – such as complaint boxes, hotlines, emails, social media and face to face interaction – and existing challenges to strengthen these mechanisms. In Kenya, for instance, refugees can report misconduct of any staff member of UNHCR, a partner or a contractor by email ( or, by filling in a webform (, by using complaints boxes that are available at all UNHCR offices or by calling our toll-free local Helpline (800720063).

      UNHCR recognizes its responsibility to protect refugees, particularly those who come forward and cooperate with an investigation to root out misconduct. Significant attention has been devoted to strengthening measures to protect witnesses and people of concern who cooperate with an IGO investigation and these efforts are continuing. We have put a specific protocol in place, with steps taken during the investigation phase, including in the conduct of interviews, the anonymization of testimony and redaction of investigative findings and reports.

      When it comes to our own staff being targeted, our record is clear: If a staff member is found to have retaliated against another member of our workforce for reporting wrongdoing, it leads to dismissal. We have a robust policy to protect staff members that are retaliated against. In September 2018, we issued a new policy on Protection against Retaliation, which now includes our affiliate workforce, expands the scope of the activities considered as protected and extends the timeline to report. It also provides interim measures to safeguard the interests of the complainant and strengthens corrective measures.

      We also launched a confidential independent helpline available to all colleagues who wish to report misconduct or obtain advice on what to do when in doubt. This helpline is managed by an external provider and is available 24/7 by phone, through a web form and an app. It offers the possibility to report in complete anonymity.

      We are committed to eradicating misconduct from our organization. If we receive pertinent information concerning alleged fraud, corruption or misconduct by a member of our workforce, we take action, and if the allegations are substantiated, act to end such inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour. UNHCR encourages anyone, including refugees and journalists, with information about suspected fraud or other wrongdoing to contact its Inspector General’s Office without delay at

  • Davos 2019: Parables from the Promenade

    Davos 2019: Parables from the PromenadeOn the train ride to Davos, the influential Swiss town in the middle of nowhere. I flew into Zurich from Bangkok so I was not ready for the cold at all.The economic mood hasn’t been so bright leading up to 2019’s World Economic Forum at Davos. We are very far along the risk curve and are left with a paucity of “alpha” to uncover, leaving the economy at its most fragile state after the unexpected Trump Rally. I often get asked where to park one’s treasury, and I can provide little input (not equities, not gold). The world today is still injured with the events of a mystical 2008 past, and the recent hit in the market leave us in weak confidence. Our collective memories and melodies are mystic not born in relation to reality, but transforms our (...)

    #hackernoon-top-story #bitcoin #davos-2019 #cryptocurrency #government

  • Chicago Tribune - We are currently unavailable in your region

    In 1924, French writer Andre Malraux was arrested and imprisoned when he removed nearly a ton of stone carvings and ornaments from a temple in the remote Cambodian jungle and trundled them away in

    Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.

    #Malraux #pillage #internet_restreint #TOR_is_love

      New York Times News ServiceCHICAGO TRIBUNE

      January 5, 1997 Phnom Penh

      In 1924, French writer Andre Malraux was arrested and imprisoned when he removed nearly a ton of stone carvings and ornaments from a temple in the remote Cambodian jungle and trundled them away in oxcarts.

      In 1980, starving refugees fleeing the terrors of the Khmer Rouge arrived at the border with Thailand lugging stone heads lopped from temple statues and ornate silverwork looted from museums.

      Today the looting continues, from hundreds of temples and archaeological sites scattered through the jungles of this often-lawless country, sometimes organized by smuggling syndicates and abetted by antique dealers in Thailand and elsewhere.

      Entire temple walls covered with bas-relief are hacked into chunks and trucked away by thieves. Villagers sell ancient pottery for pennies. Armed bands have attacked monks at remote temples to loot their treasures and have twice raided the conservation office at the temple complex of Angkor.

      But the tide is slowly beginning to turn. With the Cambodian government beginning a campaign to seek the return of the country’s treasures, and with cooperation from curators and customs agents abroad, 1996 was a significant year for the recovery of artifacts.

      Fifteen objects have come home, in three separate shipments from three continents, raising hopes that some of the more significant artifacts may be returned.

      In July, the U.S. returned a small head of the god Shiva that had been seized by Customs in San Francisco. Cambodia is a largely Buddhist nation, but over the centuries its history and its art have seen successive overlays of Buddhist and Hindu influences. At some temples, statues of Buddha mingle with those of the Hindu deities, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

      In September, the Thai government returned 13 large stone carvings, some up to 800 years old, that had been confiscated by Thai police from an antique shop in Bangkok in 1990. Thai officials said the return was a gesture of good will meant to combat that country’s image as a center of antique trafficking.

      And in December, a British couple returned a stone Brahma head that they had bought at auction. Its Cambodian origin was confirmed by a list, published by UNESCO, of 100 artifacts that had disappeared from an inventory compiled in the 1960s.

      In addition, Sebastien Cavalier, a UNESCO representative here, said he was expecting the return as early as next month of a 10th Century Angkorean head of Shiva that is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

      Six bronze pieces sent to the Guimet Museum in Paris for cleaning and safekeeping in the 1970s could also be returned in the coming months, he said.

      Now with the launching in January of a major traveling exhibition of Khmer artifacts—to Paris, Washington, Tokyo and Osaka— accompanied by an updated catalog of some of Cambodia’s missing treasures, Cavalier said he hopes the returns will accelerate.

      The exhibit will be on display in Paris from Jan. 31 to May 26, at the National Gallery in Washington from June 30 to Sept. 28, and in Japan from Oct. 28 to March 22, 1998.

      But the pillage of artifacts continues at a far greater pace than the returns.

      Government control remains tenuous in much of Cambodia and the Ministry of Culture has little money for the protection of antiquities. There is little check on armed groups and corrupt officials throughout the countryside, where hundreds of temples remain unused and unguarded or overgrown with jungle.

      Truckloads of treasures regularly pass through military checkpoints into Thailand, art experts say. Heavy stone artifacts are towed in fishing nets to cargo ships off the southern coast. In Thailand, skilled artisans repair or copy damaged objects and certificates of authenticity are forged.

      Most of Cambodia’s artistic patrimony remains uncatalogued, and Cavalier said there was no way to know the full extent of what had already been stolen over the last decades, or what remained scattered around the country.

  • En Thaïlande, les moines rendus obèses par l’afflux d’offrandes sucrées AFP - 22 Novembre 2018 - RTBF

    Chaque jour, des milliers de moines bouddhistes font la tournée des offrandes à travers la Thaïlande. Les boissons sucrées et gâteaux industriels qu’ils récoltent les rendent souvent obèses, un phénomène devenu un vrai problème de société dans le royaume.

    « Avant de venir ici et de me mettre au régime, je pouvais à peine marcher 100 mètres sans me sentir fatigué », explique à l’AFP Pipit Sarakitwinon, venu faire un « check-up » dans un hôpital spécialisé dans le traitement des moines. Ces derniers sont plus de 300.000 dans ce pays majoritairement bouddhiste de près de 70 millions d’habitants.

    Il se réjouit d’être passé de 180 à 150 kilos depuis qu’il s’est mis à la diète en début d’année.

    La tradition de faire des offrandes en nature aux moines est très ancrée en Thaïlande, mais aussi en Birmanie ou au Cambodge voisin, où les statues de Bouddha le montrent joufflu.

    Mais la classique obole de riz s’est transformée en paniers de « junk-food », des chips aux boissons énergétiques, dans ce pays où les scandales de moines vivant grand train ou détournant de l’argent à des fins personnelles n’ont pas découragé les fidèles de leur faire des dons, considérés comme de « bonnes actions » portant chance.

    On continue de voir, y compris dans des grandes villes comme Bangkok, des moines aller pieds nus à l’aube à travers les rues.

    Mais nombre d’entre eux reçoivent les dons sans bouger de leur temple. Et, dans les supermarchés, des rayons entiers sont consacrés à ces offrandes toutes prêtes, empilées dans un seau jaune.

    « S’ils mangent notre nourriture et en sont satisfaits, nous pensons que la nourriture sera ainsi transmise à nos défunts bien aimés », explique Prachaksvich Lebnak, un haut responsable du ministère de la Santé. « Certains leur offrent même des cigarettes », se désespère-t-il.

    L’ennemi : les boissons sucrées
    Ce goût pour des offrandes trop grasses, trop sucrées ou trop salées, donne des taux de diabète et d’hypertension au sein du clergé bouddhiste qui affolent les autorités sanitaires, dans un pays où plus généralement l’obésité progresse.

    Selon une étude réalisée cette année dans le nord-est de la Thaïlande, l’un des États les plus touchés par l’obésité en Asie, sur plus de 3.500 moines examinés, 15% étaient obèses. L’universitaire Jongjit Angkatavanich affirme même, études à l’appui, que les taux d’obésité montent à 48% chez les moines interrogés.

    L’ennemi à abattre : les boissons sucrées que les moines boivent en grande quantité, n’étant pas autorisés à manger de nourriture solide après midi.

    Les autorités sanitaires essayent de les sensibiliser aux bases de la diététique.

    Dans un hôpital de Bangkok qui leur est consacré, un grand panneau à l’entrée leur explique que « l’eau est la meilleure des boissons ». « Vous devriez consommer moins de six cuillères de sucre par jour », lit-on sur ce panneau qui dresse une liste des boissons sucrées les plus courantes, comme le thé vert, les sodas ou les boissons énergétiques, avec le nombre de cuillères de sucre par bouteille.

    Charte de la Santé des moines
    En décembre 2017, la junte militaire au pouvoir en Thaïlande a publié une Charte de la Santé des moines, les enjoignant à prendre soin de leur corps.

    Des initiations à la diététique sont organisées, y compris à travers les monastères de province, pour tenter de changer leurs habitudes alimentaires.

    Le problème, c’est qu’ils sont censés accepter toutes les offrandes car « selon l’enseignement de Bouddha, tout ce qui est offert doit être accepté », rappelle Phra Rajvoramuni, un moine ayant participé à la rédaction de la charte.

    Par ailleurs, en Thaïlande, les moines sont censés ne pas faire de sport.

    Dans ce cas, « ils devraient faire de l’exercice, comme de la marche méditative, faire le ménage du temple le matin, balayer le sol » de façon dynamique, suggère Phra Rajvoramuni, le moine qui a co-écrit la charte.

    Pipit a suivi le conseil. Il marche davantage et s’efforce de manger moins. « Maintenant, assure-t-il, je fais plus attention à la nourriture offerte par les villageois. »

    #sucre #alimentation #religion #Thaïlande #bouddhisme #obésité

  • Petite note sur la #religion au #Cambodge.

    J’ai l’impression que cette année il y a plus de femmes voilées dans les rues au Cambodge par rapport au nombre que j’ai pu voir l’année passée. Et pour la première fois j’ai vu quelques (rares) fammes avec un voile leur couvrant aussi la bouche et le cou. Ce n’est qu’une impression, peut-être sans valeur.
    Je l’ai surtout remarqué dans la région de #Kratie et #Sen_Monorom...

    Si mes impressions n’ont probablement aucune valeur objective, cette photo prise sur la route entre Sen Monorom et Phnom Penh montre qu’il y a des investissements qui arrivent de l’extérieur...
    Difficile à voir, mais il y a sur le bandeau noir au-dessous du toit du portique le drapeau du #Koweït...

    Voici la répartition des différentes religions au Cambodge, selon wiki :

    #islam #musulmans

    • Bon, le drapeau de gauche c’est celui… du Cambodge…

      Sur l’islam, point d’entrée WP

      article de 2006
      Les Chams, le visage de l’islam au Cambodge

      Une communauté musulmane peu connue peuple depuis cinq siècles le royaume khmer. Répartis en 372 villages, les Chams et les Chveas, musulmans du Cambodge, représentent 4 % de la population du petit pays bouddhique, soit un demi-million de personnes. Malgré leur implantation très ancienne, ils n’échappent pas aux problèmes contemporains de l’islam minoritaire.

      Une minorité dans la minorité

      The Cham Imam Sann - A Threatened Tribe of Islam - Cambodian Village Scholars Fund

      On the occasion of Imam San’s birthday each October, the sect that emerged from his early followers gathers in the former royal city of Udong, about 30 kilometers outside of the present capital of Phnom Penh, to honor his memory through prayer and offerings. The colorful mawlut ceremony reaffirms the sect’s privileged heritage and its continued isolation from the rest of the country’s Islamic community, which is dominated by a group known as the Cham.

      The Imam San followers are the only group to remain outside the domain of the Mufti, the government-sanctioned leader of Islam in Cambodia – a status that was renewed by the government in 1988. Successive Imam San leaders, or Ong Khnuur, have held the prestigious title of Okhna, originally bestowed by the palace.

      Cambodia’s estimated 37,000 Imam San followers live in only a few dozen villages spread throughout the country. Geography has reinforced the sect’s isolation, and the mawlut has become an increasingly important opportunity to forge friendships and – more essential to the survival of the community – marriages.

      Financement issu du Golfe. Note : il est évident que pour les « vrais croyants » les islams de la périphérie asiatique sont assez largement hérétiques (voire nettement plus que ça si on est salafiste… (d’ailleurs l’un des articles mentionne la (très) mauvaise opinion émise par un salafiste de Phnom Penh…)) cf. la discussion avec @aude_v sur l’islam malaisien. Par exemple (on tombe très facilement sur eux) the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (article de 2010)

      Kuwaiti-Funded Cambodian Charity Denies Terror Links - The Cambodia Daily

      The Cambodian director of a lo­cal Islamic NGO funded by a Ku­wait charity that is on a US watch list for bankrolling al-Qaida denied any links to the international terror group yesterday.

      I would like to clarify that my or­ganization has done everything for the sake of the children and is not involved in terrorism,” said Sos Mo­hammat, director of the Good Sour­ces Cambodia Organization, which runs 10 orphanages.

      He added that the Kuwait charity that funds his organization, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, has been cleared of links to terrorism by the Kuwaiti government.

      article de 2016, inauguration d’une école islamique pour filles

      KUNA : Foundation stone laid for expansion of Kuwait Islamic Institute in Cambodia - Human - 07/04/2016

      Charge d’Affaires in Cambodia Mutib Al-Usaimi participates in laying the foundation stone for expansion project of Kuwait Islamic Institute for Girls in Cambodia

      Charge d’Affaires of Kuwait’s embassy in Cambodia Mutib Al-Usaimi has taken part in a ceremony held to lay the foundation stone of the second expansion project at the Kuwait Islamic Institute for Girls in the East Asian Kingdom.
      The ceremony was attended by deputy governor of the Tboung Khmum province where the Institute is located, and deputy head of the Southeast Asia Commission at the Kuwait- based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage, Ahmad Humoud Al-Jassar, a statement by the Kuwaiti embassy said on Thursday.
      Addressing the ceremony, Al-Usaimi reiterated Kuwait’s keenness on continuing support to all charity and humanitarian projects in Cambodia. He also appreciated efforts by the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage, in collaboration with Manabaa Al-Khair Charity, implementing and supervising various projects nationwide.

      infos (peu détaillées) d’une agence de voyages qui propose un circuit spécialisé

      Orphanage Center | Cambodian Muslim Tour

      In addition, our Islamic center or Orphnage Center have built and opened too. There are more than 10 orphanage centers that have made in Cambodia such as in Kampot, Kampong som( Sihanoukville), Kampong CHam, Kandal and Phnom Penh city.
      CAMTOUR would like to apoligize for less information about these Centers and we will update information about these orphanage centers with full detail address and information.

    • Bon, visiblement, tout cela n’est pas clair, mais je vais ajouter mes constatations sur la Thaïlande qui datent d’il y a cinq ans. Je n’ai jamais mis les pieds dans le Sud où vivent la plupart des Malais mais j’ai par contre bossé quelques années sur Thanon Krung Thep Kritha où vivent pas mal de musulmans à Bangkok. Ça donne un petit quartier calme majoritairement musulman et très accueillant. Les quelques mosquées des environs étaient presque toutes en travaux et en très bon état. De ce que j’ai pu comprendre concernant la pratique religieuse, il y avait des Imams étranger (un Marocain et un d’un pays du Golfe Arabe si mes souvenirs sont bons) et si les femmes portent des voiles de couleur comme ça se fait en Asie du Sud-Est, on voyait pas mal de voiles noirs aux alentours des mosquées. Une connaissance qui enseignait à la base l’anglais dans le publique s’était récemment reconverti en traducteur Arabe-Thaï. Manifestement un changement était en marche mais j’ignore dans quelle direction. Je tiens à dire que la famille que je connaissais le mieux avait quand même la volonté d’une pratique séculaire. Les parents ne fréquentaient pas les mosquées, le mari laissait sa femme seule au magasin y compris avec des étrangers et il avait écrit une thèse sur la pratique de l’Islam en Thaïlande depuis le Royaume d’Ayuthaya jusqu’à nos jours. Je suis curieux d’y retourner un jour pour voir ce que tout ça est devenu.

  • Procédure | Un visa, une (autre) vie

    D’une détention sans fin en Thaïlande à l’asile en Suisse Alors que Shehan* perd espoir de sortir un jour du centre de détention dans lequel il croupit, à Bangkok, en attendant une hypothétique réinstallation vers un pays sûr, une visiteuse de prison tente une ultime démarche auprès du secteur réfugié du Centre social protestant Genève. […]

  • The Problem with a Comfortable Career

    A framework for assesssing and re-evaluating things when your work life is just a little too easy.Have you ever found yourself worrying that your life or career was a little too comfortable? And then maybe immediately felt guilty because of how privileged a problem that is to be able to have?This post is for anyone who — like me — has ever asked themselves the question: is everything just a little too easy?I drafted this piece from the 13th floor of a Bangkok condo looking out over a beautiful, modern and foreign city. I had spent the previous week in Chiang Mai hiking mountains, exploring temples, and eating some of the most delicious — and cheapest — food I could imagine.The view from where I drafted this post. Bangkok, Thailand.From Thailand I flew back to Cape Town — arguably one of the best (...)

    #entrepreneurship #careers #work-life-balance #life-lessons #personal-development

  • Unending Repression in Thailand 4 Years After Coup. Hopes Dim for Democratic Restoration

    Four years after the Thai military seized power on May 22, 2014, Thailand is nowhere near what the ruling junta promised would be a rights-respecting, democratic country.

    The coup leader, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, wields unchecked power with total impunity. Since the coup, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order has routinely enforced censorship and blocked public discussions about the state of human rights and democracy in Thailand. Hundreds of activists and dissidents have been prosecuted on criminal charges such as sedition, computer-related crimes, and lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) for the peaceful expression of their views. Public gatherings of more than five people and pro-democracy activities are prohibited. Thousands have been summoned and pressured to stop making political comments against the junta. Military authorities continue to secretly detain people for up to seven days without charge and interrogate them without access to lawyers or safeguards against mistreatment.

    Prayut has repeatedly made, and then broken, promises about election dates and a return to civilian rule. His latest promise is to hold elections by February 2019, but there is little reason to believe that, if held, they will be free and fair. The junta has indicated that some leading politicians and political parties will be banned, while restrictive laws mean that voters and the media will have their arms twisted and their mouths gagged.

    Despite this, more and more Thais from all walks of life have come forward to challenge the military dictatorship – including by holding peaceful rallies in Bangkok and other provinces demanding that the junta lift restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

    Now more than ever, concerned governments need to press for a transition to civilian democratic rule. The United States, the European Union, Japan, and other friends of Thailand have repeatedly said that bilateral relations will only be normalized when democracy is fully restored through a free and fair election. They should publicly stress that a legitimate election requires more than an orderly election day, but a political context in which all are freely able to express their views and participate in the electoral process without fear of arrest.

    Four years after waking up to a military coup, Thais finally need to know that their country is on the path to a genuine, rights-respecting democracy.
    #Thaïlande #coup #répression #dictature

  • Aux Philippines, Duterte fait fermer un paradis touristique devenu un « cloaque » ([qui sent la m…, dans le texte original]

    « Quand vous entrez dans l’eau, ça pue. Et ça pue quoi ? La merde ! » Avec le langage fleuri qui le caractérise, le président philippin, Rodrigo Duterte avait annoncé au mois de février que l’île de Boracay, l’un des fleurons de l’industrie touristique de l’archipel, serait fermée pour six mois aux visiteurs à compter du 26 avril. Qualifiant ce qui fut un paradis « sable blanc-cocotiers » de « cloaque », le chef de l’Etat a pris cette décision coûteuse pour l’économie de son pays sur la recommandation de plusieurs agences gouvernementales. Ce partisan de la manière forte a ordonné le déploiement de 600 policiers pour faire évacuer l’île.

    Car, au-delà de la brutalité habituelle des décisions d’un président dont la campagne antidrogue a fait plus de 12 000 morts, selon Human Rights Watch, il y avait urgence à prendre des mesures. Les autorités locales sont accusées d’avoir été incapables de faire respecter les normes de préservation de l’environnement marin et de mettre sur pied un système efficace de collecte des ordures. Elles ont aussi permis aux promoteurs immobiliers de défigurer l’île.

    Au moins trois cents hôtels et « resorts » de luxe ont totalement ignoré les réglementations qui les obligeaient à disposer de leur propre système d’égouts et de recyclage des eaux usées. La plupart se contentent d’évacuer ces dernières dans les canaux et l’océan.

    Une telle décision, spectaculaire et sans précédent, ne fait pas l’affaire des quelque 36 000 personnes travaillant dans le secteur des loisirs de cette île qui ne vit que par le tourisme. La fermeture provisoire de Boracay devrait coûter quelque 600 millions d’euros.

    L’expansion incontrôlée du tourisme de masse est un phénomène régional qui annonce déjà ailleurs de semblables décisions : la célèbre Maya Bay thaïlandaise, rendue célèbre par le tournage du film La Plage, avec Leonardo DiCaprio, va être interdite aux touristes à partir du mois de juin et pour quatre mois, indiquant que les pouvoirs publics commencent à se rendre compte de l’ampleur du problème. « Les îles ont un écosystème fragile qui ne peut tout simplement pas supporter un tel nombre de touristes, la pollution des bateaux et des hôtels construits sur les plages, juge, à Bangkok, l’expert environnemental Thon Thamrongnawasawat. La fermeture est le seul moyen de permettre à la nature de se régénérer. »

  • How a kid from San Francisco ended up starting a school in #india

    My start up failed and I had no money to pay rent. Three weeks later, having sold almost everything I owned, I boarded a plane to Bangkok with a one way ticket and a carry on backpack.My financial situation didn’t worry me. I only had a couple hundred dollars in my bank account but I had my laptop and I was a good software engineer.Good software engineers in the US can make $150 per hour freelancing, even while working remotely from beaches in Thailand.Nine months laterI was finishing up some work in a co-working space in Delhi, India when I ran into a local kid named Ayush. We started chatting and instantly hit it off. We both were start up kids and self taught programmers.We started talking about my travels and he asked me, “How can you afford this?”. I told him about the freelancing (...)

    #startup #education #tech #starting-a-school