Friday, January 30, 2009

Prying eyes

The blue-shirted 7NG employers building a wall on the Dey Krahom site
I was at the Phnom Penh Centre building for a workshop on handicraft social enterprises this morning and thought I'd take a look at the Dey Krahom area, just out of curiosity. However less than a minute after wandering into the now levelled area where the Dey Krahom community used to be housed, I was shepherded out by a 7NG security guard on his walkie-talkie, who wasn't prepared to listen to my appeal to take a few photos. So the pictures here are from the top of the Centre that overlooks Dey Krahom (through the trees) and the Bassac White Building, where tenants are still living. The blue-shirted 7NG employees are busting a gut to build a 2.5 metre-high brick wall just a metre from the White Building, much to the annoyance of the tenants who would prefer a six metre space to allow for access and for safety. They've no chance, judging by the speed at which the wall is going up. The future of those residents (up to 600 families) in the White Building is now under threat, as 7NG has confirmed they'd like to purchase the property and relocate the tenants. As for Dey Krahom, apart from a few piles of rubble, its pretty empty and all the former homes of the residents have been flattened and the debris removed. You would never know a community had been residing there until the end of last week.
The new wall is just 1 metre from the ground floor of the White Building behindLife goes on in the White Building despite the wall-building going on under their nose

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

The death of Dey Krahom

These shanty homes in front of the White Building at Dey Krahom have now been levelled
I'm not in Phnom Penh at the moment but earlier this morning, at 6am to be precise, the wreckers moved in to demolish the remaining homes of the shanty-town dwellers who had refused to accept the offer of a cash settlement and new land on the outskirts of the city. Dey Krahom has been levelled. The 3-year struggle of the residents has been crushed and the former home of many of Phnom Penh's artistic community has witnessed its final scene. Unfortunately, their's is not a singularly sad story, its happening all over Cambodia. So sad.
These homes have now been reduced to piles of rubble