An Indigenous Karen Forest Activist is Mourned - Finally There is Evidence of His Murder

in ecotrain •  14 days ago 

Billy (Porlajee) was last seen on April 17, 2014 in the custody of Thai forestry officials. It is claimed that he was arrested for collecting wild honey in a national park, but he was never seen again.

At the time of his arrest, he was helping his relatives, a group of ethnic Karen, to sue Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, the former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park, for setting fire to their bamboo huts and rice barns during a series of forest evictions. Mr Chaiwat and his team faced a murder charge related to Porlajee's disappearance, but were eventually acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Yesterday, Tuesday 3rd September 2019, the Royal Thai Police Department of Special Investigations announced that temporal skull bone fragments located in the area have been proven to be a DNA match for Billy's mother, and confirmed that this young Karen activist was likely to have been murdered. Finally there is evidence.

Billy.jpgImage courtesy of the Bangkok POst.

Thai law under the current military regime does not allow criticism of the Thai government, nor its officials, in any way. As a solo mother caring for my Thai daughter in Thailand, I have no wish to be critical of the regime or any rogue officers or officials within it. What I DO wish to do is to honor this brave young man. I want to share with you the plight of the indigenous Karen people, and their struggle to stay on "their lands" in countries (both Burma and Thailand) where they have neither nationality nor legal identity, not protection, and where their traditional forest way of life is under threat.

This powerful video was made by my film-maker friend, Alex Boyesen, in Thailand, in 2013 - the year before Billy's disappearance.


There is no better way to honor Billy's life that to take 10 minutes to watch this powerful documentary about the Karen forest people. When you see me writing about my #organicfrontiers project with the Karen and the herbs we source from their traditional lands, THESE are the people we are seeking to support through organic micro-enterprise.

Ignorance is NO EXCUSE in the age of the internet. I applaud the Karen activists who literally put their lives on the line to protect their indigenous way of life. I stand by these people and labour quietly in the best way I know how, here in North Western Thailand.

When you roll your eyes next week as I post about the benefits of organic moringa and neem and how my business has made them into dinky organic skin care products, it is THESE PEOPLE who benefit the most. Because I buy from them direct and am teaching them the basics of permaculture and organic farming so they can eke out a livelihood after they are evicted from their forest homes.

Please take a moment to feel the dislocation and sense of abandonment the Karen people feel. We CAN make a difference globally, perhaps not exactly giving them back their lands but at least by creating sustainable organic livelihoods in mountain villages on the fringes of the forest to spare them the necessity of heading to the cities.

One Love has never meant so much.

Forever Free, Billy. Mother Earth holds you close.

Come check out my natural Thai herbal business…

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Much gratitude @veryspider Always nice to start my Thai Friday with cake. 😋

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
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Thank you. It gives me pleasure every day to submit others' posts to @c-squared... lol always comes as SUCH a pleasant surprise to find my own work encouraged & curated.

It really gives me shivers to read this. What would it be like that my home, living, land everything is taken away from me. It must be so difficult. Despite of the conditions it's very brave of you to put up this post and the video for so many of us to know what dark things happen which we are so unaware of.
Thank you for sharing

We who have a voice and an internet connection are OBLIGATED to use them well. Thank you for reading & honouring Billy's life by reading his story.

After so long it must be some relief to his family to have some form of confirmation.
It's heart breaking that these things are happening in so many places to indigenous people. I fear for so many of them. The Amazon is at the forefront of many minds too.

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Not relief. Just a heavy, terrible confirmation of what we have all known, for many years. The Amazon gets a lot of coverage, the rest of the world's indigenous forests and people groups not so much.

True. The coverage comes when it affects us as well, I guess, and we know the Amazon's destruction will have worldwide effects. I don't follow msm much, but it wouldn't surprise me if they aren't even mentioning the indigenous people being harmed there, just the fact that the forests have been damaged.

Sometimes knowing for certain and knowing where exactly can bring a little closure. I'm sorry if this isn't the case.

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Hello, @artemislives,
I am really excited about your story on Karen Forest Activist and I am waiting for your next post on what they do to provide us anything related to natural products.

And you let me know on your Thai Herbal Bussiness.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
Keep your best post with NaturalProducts.Today.

@bahagia-arbi | NaturalProducts Curator


The NATRL token is a utility token specific to the NaturalProducts.Today site (based on Steem) used for curation, rewards, and contest promotion. The token price is market-driven and may never have any value.

Our first 12 new products in the Organic Frontiers range are scheduled for photography next week, and up on our websites in next 7-10 days. PROMISE you will be tagged when I post about them. :) Thank you for your support.

Thank you for all that you do, for the awareness you continue to spread, you are being heard and this man's life will now be acknowledged and honoured by those of us who see how much he achieved through your words. I have said it once already but will say it again now, you are such an inspiration and your huge heart has really changed the lives of many. I can not imagine any one rolling their eyes when you share your work and your passion xx

I am just one person, determined not to live a life of irrelevance seeking ego stroking in discord. I do what I can. You'd be stunned at how many people DO turn up their noses at #naturalproducts, clearly failing to understand that without solid commercial exposure and subsequent income, these indigenous people will starve.

well done your courageous soul for sharing this.. people NEED to know the things that happen under the covers.. WELL done and thank you on behalf of those who cant speak out

Courageous? Nah. Just bored stupid with people talking about the fluffy western side of herbs and natural healing and sidestepping the big things - which is speaking out for those without a voice and making sure they have food and access to the things they need. We do that by beginning to create products, livelihoods and sustainable organic income.

The life won't be back after they taken it, although it's painful even though the dead body or some skeleton was found. Maybe that's a little fine, knowing that someone was not seen is found. But even though the life won't return they left a story, it's nice.

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It's a painful story for his family who have lost their homes, income and their land.

It is sad to learn about Billy's life and moreover sad to see that while we live in so much comfort there are so many people who are still struggling for their basics.
Thank you for voicing it out and allowing us to learn about the Karen community

It makes my heart heavy to know what sufering mankind can afflict on others!
I couldn't hardly imagine what it would be like to be forced out of my forest home!
So grateful for the wonderful work you do with the Karen People!