Thursday, December 24, 2009

POVERTY IS NOT FATE: It is man-made

Theary C. SENG giving her "Poverty is Not Fate" speech to 90,000 live audience, millions of TV viewers (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).

By Theary Seng
The Phnom Penh Post
August 10-23, 2007

On 7 June 2007, German rock legend Herbert Groenenmeyer, U2's Bono, Bob Geldof and civil society umbrella organization Global Call to Action against Poverty organized the P-8 Rock Concert in Rostock, Germany to highlight the plight of the world's poor, to coincide with the G-8 Summit where the leaders of the world richest countries were meeting in nearby, seaside Heiligendamm. I represented Cambodia, one of the "Poor 8" countries invited, along with Bangladesh, represented by Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus. Following is my speech to an electric crowd of 80,000 and several million more TV viewers.

Hallo Rostock!

My name is Theary Seng and I run the Center for Social Development in Cambodia. The Center for Social Development is a Cambodian human rights NGO which monitors 7 courts (including the Khmer Rouge Tribunal), advocates for good governance and accountability (many times with Transparency International) and conducts grassroots dialogue with villagers all over Cambodia on Justice & Reconciliation. One of our main donors is Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst.

I stand united with you today to resoundingly proclaim: Poverty is not fate. Poverty is not destiny. Poverty is man-made; it results from the greed and arrogance of power, poor governance and ill-conceived policies. Today, we join voices against the scourge of poverty and to urge the G-8 leaders to be more mindful of Cambodians, and the less fortunate of this world.

Yes, Cambodia is back -but not everyone. In Cambodia, 35 percent live on less than 50 US cents a day.

Lack of education causes poverty

Enrollment is up, but we have one in two Cambodian child not completing primary school. The girls are most vulnerable to dropping out first because of the lack of toilets -10 Million out of 14 Million Cambodians do not have access to toilets - or the girls are needed at home to care for sick family or they are trafficked and sold into prostitution or they have to work to supplement the family income. In Cambodia, education is supposed to be free, but students must often supplement teachers' meager salary of $30 a month.

War causes poverty

Poverty causes war. We, in Cambodia, had to start literally from the Year Zero, when almost 2 million Cambodians died as a result of the Khmer Rouge, including my parents - my dad immediately when the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, and my mom later when we were in prison and I was 7 years old.

Corruption causes poverty

In Cambodia, the Anti-Corruption Law has been in draft form since 1995; 12 years later, still no political will, still no law. Now we struck oil, and fear the Resource Curse. If big businesses control more and more of the world's resources, they must bear social responsibility. Let them start with transparency of information of what they pay to government, and let us join the Publish What You Pay movement to pressure them to do so.

Environmental destruction causes poverty

At least 30% of Cambodia's dense, tropical forests have been illegally depleted by the rich and powerful. Last Sunday, Global Witness - which the government has banned from the country for its past reports - released via the internet another scathing report. On my way to join you here, the Cambodian government again threatens confiscation.

Landlessness causes poverty

The Cambodian poor face illegal evictions, or they are forced to sell their land cheaply to pay for health care and life's unexpected crises.

The G-8 leaders believe they can judge our future. In Cambodia, we are currently trying to judge our past for our future. But at least, the G-8 are 8 individuals who control and possess power; in Cambodia, there's only one.

So, today, let us be reminded: Poverty is not destiny. Poverty many times is man-made. Poverty is the worst form of violence. Hence, let us do everything in our power to fight against this worst form of violence. Amidst the poverty, there's also much beauty in Cambodia; come visit us. We still need your help.

And today onward, ich bin eine Rostockerin! Danke schön

Theary C. Seng

Theary C. SENG before her speech on stage at P-8 Rock Concert (Rostock, Germany), July 2007.
Theary C. SENG with Bono at Press Conference before the P-8 Rock Concert (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).
Bono with Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).
Theary C. SENG with Sir Bob Geldof (remember 'We are the World' rock concerts of the 1980s) at the Press Conference (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).
German rock legend Herbert Gronenmeyer who organized this P-8 Rock Concert (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).
Theary C. SENG behind the stage during the day-long rock concert to raise awareness of world poverty with the G-8 leaders meeting in Heiligendamm (Rostock, Germany. July 2007).


Anonymous said...

The problem is that aid money has been used for talking, and not enough concrete actions on the grounds.

How can you expect just advocating, talking can bring about prosperity? We must work more to build school, roads, bridges and to create livelihoods for people.

Anonymous said...

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”Buddha

Khmer song:
May Buddha bless you=Som Preah Khum Krorng

Anonymous said...

Khmer must support khmer who need a hand.

Khmer must resist any regime, individual, or foreigner, or foreign country that oppresses us.

Anonymous said...

CPP members steal money from Cambodia why Khmers are poor.
Before 1970, teacher monthy salary was 3000 riels = 10/8 of once = more than US$1000.
Where are those money ?
CPP members steal money from teachers.
Stop steal from Cambodia thieves.

Anonymous said...

good jobs sist theary, am with u

Anonymous said...

I support Theary and I agree to condemn Hun Sen and his corrupt mafia in Cambodia, but I disagree with Theary for attacking Buddha and attacking GOD.

Buddha taught of Karma and fate. GOD the almighty with Christ as the messenger taught of "what comes around goes around" which means the same thing.

Our past karma is led to our present sufferings. Karma cannot end with revenge, therefore, we can try to teach those who are rich and powerful to see the karma and that they will receive what they are doing to others. For this we can help to reduce their bad karma but to becoming good people do good deeds to help those who need. They will understand that when they die they cannot take those belongings with them into the graves.

500riel toilet said...

WOW that is one of that's a great quote. poverty is not fate, its man made...

Anonymous said...

hey 11:33,
what are you talking about? ms theary is not attacking any gods or God or Buddha or Jesus. where is she attacking the gods? are we listening to the same speech?
am proud to see a khmer woman on international stage.

Anonymous said...

It a good message to the world, and we want this message preaching in Cambodia too sothat every khmer can hear.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

A very poerful speech.

Anonymous said...

Very good Theary! We're so proud of you! Keep up your outstanding works!.


Anonymous said...

Why wasn't this speech reach Cambodia in 2007? Why so slow? or why now?

Anonymous said...

maybe not widely known before and now better. the message are very good in 2007 and now, it doesn't matter when we here. thanks bong theary!

Anonymous said...

Very cool Ms. Theary! Yeah, the message still very needed hearing in Cambodia!

Anonymous said...

Poverty is not fate but man make is for the political strategies of politicians, but the religious people, they are offended by.

Because they believe it is all karma and fate. There are ways to reach out to those riches and powerful through preaching the gospel of God or Buddha, so they can see the real teachings of Buddha instead of just claiming to be Buddhists but don't undersatnd the karma and fate, or reaching out to the Christians to understand that we cannot take with us all belongings after we die, that hell exists while we are alive and after our death, and our actions will affect us later on. Ms Seng is not a prophecy in 1500's century Nostradamus who forsaw the future of menkind.

Some of you can deny but the whole world, and people like scholars and historians respect him, and even an evil man like Hitler in 18th century was in the prophecy of Nostradamus.

I won't say Ms. Seng attacks GOD or Attacks Buddha directly, but she plays God innocently. Playing God will not be succeeded.

Anonymous said...


It is wonderful that a Cambodian woman Ms Theary Seng is now known on the International stage because of her courage and her willingness to fight against the regime in Cambodia. Either she does this for her country and for her own fame altogther that she may someday jump into a politcal career, then her record is good. That's how the politicians before her polishing excellent resume from starting something even community organizer like a socialist-communist Obama. They have to start from somewhere, excpet Hun Sen, he needed no degress no credible talks to get elected, because Hanoi needs to put him there for land.

If Seng believes that the poverty is man make which goes against the religious people who beleved in karma, then she is the one will have to solve and will pulldown the man make from he system; and if she cannot then she cannot play God. The components in our bodies are not all from Venus. If it is not fate, why some incarnated in poor family and some incarnated in rich family?

The religious people working through gospels of God and Buddha to change people from evils to angels, because they don't believe that the poverty is menmake.

Anonymous said...

bend over baby theary let sam rainshit have some doggy style fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How about you bend over I bok your azz, 8;05am?

Anonymous said...

8:05am motherfucker son fo the bitch, tell your mother cleaning her pussy ok cos Ah Kwak hun sen has been fucking her pussy for more than 30ys so pussy may have been conteminated,why, i want ur mom bend over for me ottoooooo fun with youn slave whore pussy.ahahahah

Anonymous said...

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." -Gospel according to Luke (6:45)

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - St. Paul's letter to the Philippians (4:8)

Anonymous said...

COWARDS! COWARDS! COWARDS! INCOMPETENCE! These useless, destructive, selfish, uneducated people need to move over for Sam Rainsy and other more courageous and competent people to lead Cambodia! They cannot even take care of their own people. They think Cambodia is their private property, to be inherited by their children who are so immoral and AMORAL (like animals which cannot distinguish right from wrong!). And the silent CPP supporters - you are complicit in this disgrace of your own country and people. Silence/inaction is agreement.

Anonymous said...

I think whatever Theary Seng is trying to do for her country she should not play GOD.
For those great men like Nostradamus and evil men like HItler before us did not come to earth to prophecise the future and come to cause sufferings to human beings if it wasn't fate.
GOD incarnated into flesh (Jesus Chirst), does not mean anything?

Anonymous said...

Very great reflection Theary...

Your speech is not about god or other but it is a thought-provoking speech