Its hard not to look at the huge scar that runs down the right side of the 72-year-old’s body. The jagged line, which runs from his shoulder blade to his navel, was caused by an AK-47 round which hit him in the back and bounced off his rib cage several times before exiting his stomach, essentially tearing apart the entire right side of his body.
When asked he says he was not angry about being wounded. He was a soldier in the liberation army fighting to dispel the Khmer Rouge, and he felt like he was doing something good for his country. He was proud to be fighting to free his people and soldiering is a dangerous job.
But now, decades after the war was won, Noum Nam feels has been forgotten and exploited by the same government that he risked his life for. Evicted from his home in Borei Keila, he and his wife were moved to a barren patch of rural land that is the Toul Som Bo relocation site. He receives no military pension and the small house that they were given was built by an NGO, not the government or the development company, Phan Imex. Too old to work and left in a place devoid of opportunity, Noum Nam is once of many whose life has been derailed.
Since the Cambodian government does next to nothing to help those affected by the Borei Keila evictions, NGOs are one of the only sources of hope for these people. When asked which organization helps them the most, the vast majority named Licadho as being the most involved, giving them food and medicines. Please consider donating to help the evicted.