Archive for the ‘American’ Category

Thai Crime: Son Of Attacked Masseuse Wants To Know Why American Attacked His Mother

October 4, 2021

The son and relatives of the masseuse allegedly assaulted and raped by an American citizen have arrived in the northeastern province but have not yet confronted the accused.
“I want to know why he did this to my mom, as well as his motive,” said Ball, at a traditional massage parlor.
Robert Gordon, 37, and his mother traveled from Lop Buri to Khon Kaen, where Robert Gordon was expected to be taken to the crime scene for a re-enactment on Monday.
When the re-enactment was canceled, they were disappointed.
Gordon was previously identified only by his last name. Police discovered he was born in Colorado.
In Khon Kaen, Pol Col Preecha Kengsarikit, head of the Muang police station, said the suspect refused to re-enact the alleged assault on the 45-year-old woman because he feared for his safety.
On Monday, investigators will ask him further questions and ask the provincial court to extend his detention, he said.
In accepting Mr Gordon’s request not to conduct the crime reenactment, Ball questioned whether police used different standards for Thai and foreign suspects.
“There should be no special treatment for foreigners who commit crimes in Thailand,” he said. He said if the suspect had been Thai, he would have been forced to perform the re-enactment.
Recently, the suspect was arrested at a hotel in Soi Nana in Bangkok. He claimed he was under the influence of drugs when he committed the alleged crimes.
Before leaving the province, he allegedly committed an obscene act against a 13-year-old girl in Ban Phai district, before fleeing Muang district of Khon Kaen for Bangkok on a motorcycle.
Police say the American was charged with serious physical assault, rape, and illegally detaining others.
Gordon’s wife and lawyer have arrived in Khon Kaen from Amnart Charoen, said Khon Kaen police chief Pol Maj Gen Noppakao Sommana

Meeting Rohingya Refugees in America: My Personal Experience

July 22, 2021

By Quentin Choy

July 21, 2021

By now, many of you reading likely know about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

If not, don’t worry!

The Rohingya people are an ethnic and religious minority living in Myanmar. They face violent persecution and displacement by both democratic and military governments. In this post, I’ll share my personal experiences in meeting Rohingya refugees living in the United States.

A protest in South Africa to save the Rohingya.

An estimated 8,000 Rohingya refugees settled in the US since 2005, with the largest population living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Rohingya people have faced some of the most difficult perils in terms of migration.

Within Myanmar, the Rohingya are classified as internally displaced persons (IDP). UNHCR defines IDPs as people who “stay within their own country and remain under the protection of its government, even if that government is the reason for their displacement.”

Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.

Internally displaced persons differ from refugees because they do not cross borders to reach safety. Rather they attempt to find safety within their country from the government itself.

The Rohingya are denied health care and other rights. The Burmese government denies them citizenship, making them a stateless people. Due to them not having citizenship, they are unable to obtain passports and leave Myanmar.

Daniel’s Story: Escape from Myanmar

Two years ago, I met a Rohingya refugee named Daniel. He lives in Colorado and has lived there for a few months.

He and a local organization hosted an event called “A Walk in Their Shoes: Burma.” The goal of the event was to inform the community about the struggles Rohingya people faced in Myanmar as well as their journey to the United States.

In 2018, when I met Daniel, Myanmar was led by Aung San Suu Kyi. She has since been arrested following the military coup in February, which removed her as the nation’s democratically-elected leader.

Aung San Suu Kyi.

Troubles escalated for Daniel when he was arrested by Burmese Police. Burmese police officers have been known to arrest and torture people without good reason including Daniel. Upon Daniel’s arrest and subsequent torture, his father asked friends and family to donate money in order to pay his bail.

He knew that arrests like this were common in Myanmar, and that now would be a good time to flee the country to avoid further persecution.

Daniel and I at an event about the Rohingya experience in Myanmar.

Daniel Flees to Bangladesh

Daniel fled Myanmar and headed to Bangladesh. Thousands of Rohingya choose to seek refuge in Bangladesh due to its proximity to Myanmar.

Large cities like Dhaka also allow Rohingya to potentially travel by sea to other countries that can protect them such as Malaysia or the United States.

Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Upon arrival at the Bangladeshi border, border guards confronted Daniel. He spoke to them about the atrocities happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar, but they were indifferent.

They refused to let Rohingya in, but since Daniel was a former professional soccer player and was quite wealthy, he paid the guards 100,000 Burmese kyats in order to let him through.

Many Rohingya refugees flee from Myanmar (orange) to Bangladesh (green) to reach safety.

With the Bangladeshi border being strictly fortified by military forces, many Rohingya leave Myanmar through the Indian Ocean. They either establish arrangements with smugglers or with other ships that allow them on board.

Daniel paid the captain of a fishing ship to let him aboard his 256-man ship, eventually taking him across a stormy sea on an 8 day-long trip from Bangladesh to Malaysia.

Bangladeshi border guards.

Not all Rohingya have been as lucky as Daniel, however, in their maritime voyages. In 2017, 46 Rohingya died crossing the Naf River trying to reach Bangladesh by boat.

This photo gallery from Reuters shows images of the crossing and the desperation of the Rohingya refugees. Many of the images will break your heart. See the gallery here.

Many Rohingya fail to reach safety in other countries, and few can afford to bribe guards or pay for travel like Daniel could. It is especially difficult to successfully reach a country like the United States.

A fishing boat on the Naf River.

Daniel in America

While Daniel safely lives in Colorado, he hopes that his family will be able to eventually join him. Despite his safety, he fears for the safety of those he left behind.

The Rohingya find themselves in an even more dire situation now that the military have taken control of Myanmar.

Through a local center meant to help refugees and immigrants adjust to American life, Daniel met several other Rohingya men who now live in America.

Daniel, myself, and other Rohingya refugees. One of them had an important phone call!

They performed traditional Rohingya music at a festival meant to teach the community about other cultures from around the world.

Daniel and other Rohingya men performing traditional songs.

The Rohingya in Bangladesh

In December 2020, Bangladeshi authorities abandoned hundreds of Rohingya refugees on an isolated, 15 square mile island. They were bound to Malaysia but were instead dumped like garbage onto the island known as Bhasan Char.https://www.youtube.com/embed/dffxqMELl4s?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

A fire in Rohingya camps destroyed thousands of shelters resulting in over 60,000 Rohingya being made homeless.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1373970683252772866&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwethecommoners.com%2F2021%2F07%2F21%2Fmeeting-rohingya-refugees-in-america-my-personal-experience%2F&sessionId=93108e6d496f4a0ed88fa619a44687aed431fdf8&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

Conclusion

While some Rohingya have successfully escaped Myanmar to places like Bangladesh, Malaysia, or the United States, the situation is still dire for them.

The coronavirus pandemic, Rohingya camp fire, abandonment on Bhasan Char island, and the military coup have all worsened the situation for their people.

I’m glad that I was able to learn about these experiences from someone firsthand. While statistics and headlines are enough to grab an empathetic heart, true firsthand accounts stick with you for far longer. I thank Daniel for sharing his story with my community, and I hope you can remember his story when thinking about Myanmar and his people.

Source: https://wethecommoners.com/2021/07/21/meeting-rohingya-refugees-in-america-my-personal-experience/

Announcement

Thanks again to Quintin Choi for writing an article for my blog.

A Look At Thai-Americans

July 19, 2021

A Look at Thai-Americans

According to Pew Research Center343,000 Thai Americans lived in the United States in 2019. The majority of Thai-Americans in the United States live in California.

33,000 Thai-Americans live in Los Angeles, making the city the largest location of Thai people outside of Thailand.

New York City also holds a large portion of America’s Thai Americans. Around 11,000 Thai people live in New York City. According to Asian American Federation64 percent of New York City’s Thai population is foreign-born.

The United States is allied with Thailand. In Southeast Asia, Thailand is a valued ally for the United States and the promotion of American interests in the region.

Thailand and the United States work together in countering narcotics, human trafficking, and wildlife trafficking.

America also supplies military training and weapons to Thailand.

Since 1950, Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential supplies, training, and other assistance in the construction and improvement of facilities.  We have $2.85 billion in ongoing Foreign Military Sales and an annual slate of more than 400 joint military exercises and engagements.

from U.S. State Department’s “U.S. Relations With Thailand

Charles Djou: First Thai U.S. Representative (2010-11)

Charles Djou is the son of a Chinese father and Thai mother. He was born in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. He later got his Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California.

Djou rose in fame throughout Hawaiian politics, becoming the House minority leader in the Hawai’i State House of Representatives. Prior to that, Djou served as Vice Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party.

Djou won a 2010 special election for one of Hawaii’s two congressional seats. In Congress, he served on the House Budget committee and the House Armed Services committee.

Charles Djou broke from the Republicans several times during his short time in the House. He supported a repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and supported a version of the DREAM Act.

Djou Out of Power

He lost re-election in 2012. In 2011, he suspended his campaign for months as he was deployed to Afghanistan.

He described his role during efforts at counterinsurgency in Afghanistan with Politico.

“A good chunk of them, I made the decision to let ’em go. Part of that is we didn’t have good evidence. Part of that is because when you’re in a counter-insurgency environment, you want to be extra cautious. You don’t want to detain a local villager, who really is innocent, and then basically just anger the village and the family and turn all of them against Americans.”

Charles Djou in “Charles Djou serves Afghanistan stint

Djou failed to win election to the House again in 2014, and he lost a bid for Honolulu mayor in 2016.

Today, Djou is attaining a Master’s degree from the United States Army War College. He is no longer a member of the Republican Party and endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

He is an independent and cited Trump’s personal character as his reason for leaving the GOP.

Tammy Duckworth: First Thai U.S. Senator

Tammy Duckworth was born in Bangkok in 1968. She and her family moved to Honolulu before Duckworth attended the University of Hawai’i. She would later earn a Master’s degree from George Washington University.

Duckworth speaks both Thai and Indonesian fluently.

In 2004, Duckworth’s life changed forever. While serving as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in the Iraq War, Iraqi militants shot down her helicopter.

Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial movement in her right arm. This remarkable survival story makes her easily recognizable as she is the only wheelchair-bound U.S. Senator currently serving. She now uses prosthetic legs along with her wheelchair.

“When I see myself wearing those legs in a mirror, I see loss. But when I see this”—she gestures toward the steel-and-titanium prosthesis attached to her thigh above her right knee—“I see strength. I see a reminder of where I am now. People always want me to hide [my wheelchair] in pictures. I say no! I earned this wheelchair. It’s no different from a medal I wear on my chest. Why would I hide it?”

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in Vogue’s “Senator Tammy Duckworth on the Attack That Took Her Legs—And Having a Baby at 50

During her medical recovery in Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C., Duckworth began to realize the insufficient services given to veterans. She referred to Walter Reed as the “petting zoo” as many high-profile politicians came for photo-ops with veterans while doing nothing to help them.

She won election to the House in 2012 and to the Senate in 2016.

Aside from being the first Thai-American in the U.S. Senate, Duckworth is also the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office. Much of Duckworth’s work involves women’s rights, Asian-American rights, and veterans affairs.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) at Senator Duckworth’s baby shower.

She was also on Joe Biden’s list of potential vice-presidential picks. Her memoir is titled Every Day is a Gift: A Memoir by Tammy Duckworth.

Conclusion

As we can see from Charles Djou and Tammy Duckworth, the legacy left behind by Thai-Americans on U.S. politics is immense, despite their numbers being small. Two war veterans of different parties both shaped the way that Americans view issues such as war, immigration, motherhood, and the acceptable behavior of a president.

Announcemnts

I like to thank Quinton Choy for this article. If you would like to email him, you can email him at wethecommoners@outlook.com. If you would like to write about Thailand, gaming or Myanmar, you can send the article to tomtardis@yahoo.com.

American Reporter Released By Myanmar Military

June 14, 2021

Nathan Maung, a US citizen and editor-in-chief of Kamayut Media, was released from prison on June 14, 2021, after more than three months behind bars. His lawyer confirmed that he will be deported on June 15, 2021.

Nathan Maung and Hanthar Nyein, cofounders of Kamayut Media, were detained by regime forces on March 9 after their Yangon offices were raided.

Both were charged with violating Section 505a of the Penal Code, which can result in up to three years in prison for spreading false news, causing fear, or inciting government employees to commit crimes.

Attorney Tin Zar Oo, who represents Nathan Maung, told Myanmar Now that he was released from Insein Prison around 10 am on June 14, 2021, and met with his family members at the Kamayut police station.

Major Myo Oo, the plaintiff in the case, withdrew the charge against Nathan Maung, and the court ordered his release since he had not yet been indicted.

He will still have to spend Monday night in an interrogation centre, but he will be deported to the US on June 15, 2021.

According to Tin Zar Oo, the man was tested for Covid-19 today, and if he passes, he will be flying home to the US tomorrow.

CNN reported last week that the pair had been tortured during their two-week detention at an interrogation center before they were sent to the notorious Insein Prison.

“The two sources said they were kept in adjoining rooms so they could hear each other scream during interrogations,” CNN reported.

Nathan Maung is one of two American journalists who were arrested by the coup regime.

The 37-year-old managing editor of the local news outlet Frontier Myanmar was detained at the Yangon International Airport on May 24 as he waited to board a flight.

The US State Department called his detention and the arrest of other journalists in Myanmar an “unacceptable attack on freedom of expression.”

Danny Fenster was not allowed access to the US Embassy officials in Myanmar during their virtual visit with Nathan Maung.

In April 2021, Myanmar regime authorities detained Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi and accused him of spreading false news. In May 2021, he was released and sent back to Tokyo.

He has been speaking out about the regime’s treatment of detainees in the Insein prison since his release.

Robert Bociaga, a Polish reporter, was also arrested in Shan State in March 2021 and deported a few weeks later.

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