The Sculptures of Refugees

The Sculptures of refugees
Here we reflect on
  • displacement in Cambodia
  • world refugees and asylum seekers
  • evictions
  • displacement of the heart

From 1975 to 1979, displacement was the experience of all Cambodians as they were forcibly relocated from their homes. Even before that there were more than a million displaced crowded into Phnom Penh. From 1979 to 1992, hundreds of thousands existed in refugee camps or fled overseas.

In this century, thousands more are being evicted from their land to make way for "socio-economic development", big land-owners and beautification. Villagers complain the compensation, if any, is woefully inadequate (Books available!). Migrant workers cross border daily to Thailand, seeking subsistence for their families.

In our world at the end of 2009, there were 15.2 million refugees and 27.1 million internally displaced persons. Forced migration challenges the conscience of the world. In Cambodia, people from China, Vietnam, Sudan, Burma, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka seek asylum. Most refugees in the world come from Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

As you pass here, remember the deported Uighurs, the Burmese, the Montagnards, the boy from Sudan who spent months in an underground pit, the ones safely settled in welcoming countries.

Our own hearts get displaced sometimes, too.
  • How have you welcomed a refugee?
  • Where would you seek asylum?
  • What displaces your heart?
Main source countries of refugees, end-2009 (Source:UNHCR)

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