Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the wrong approach

Thailand's Fine Arts Department has alleged that squatters are destroying forest and encroaching on ancient ruins in the Sukhothai historical park, the Bangkok Post reports.

"Through the Provincial Electricity Authority these villagers now have electrical supplies, making their illegal settlement nearly complete," Anandha Chuchoti, a department official, told the paper.

I have great sympathy with officials trying to preserve Thailand's cultural and religious heritage. The problem here, however, is that authorities have to stop demonizing squatters and start working with them, so that they will police the park boundaries and stop illegal encroachments. The solution is not demonizing squatters. It is working in partnership with them to make them full citizens.


dailymostly said...

This is really interesting. Because I could see the potential for squatters to utilize the resources closest to them despite their ecological or cultural need to remain pristine. However the cynic in me feels they may want to keep the nature intact only for tourism. If they were wealthy luxury home buyers perhaps this wouldn't be an issue.

rn said...

DM: exactly! The golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

dailymostly said...

Haha thats really funny! It so crazy when governments try to monitor the consumption or ecologically ruinous behavior of the few who by their not having any means whatsoever are probably going the easiest on the land. Though perhaps cutting down trees isn't great, think about all the land your saving from having to be landfills to accomadate their waste had they been "regular" consumers. Or the oil tankers that won't be capsizing to support their middle-income energy dependency. ;)