LICADHO Canada supports musical advocacy across Cambodia

LICADHO Canada (LC) recognizes the importance of music and songs to empower activists, heal traumatic impact, and to express themselves; especially under a regime that allows little space for freedom of expression. LC facilitates musical advocacy workshops for communities and informal groups and supports these groups with song and CD production.

LICADHO Canada supported production of the two Say No! Unon, Association and NGO Law campaign songs. Both the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations and the draft Trade Union Law have been widely criticised in Cambodia and abroad for the threat they represent to Cambodian civil society. The lyrics to ‘We Don’t Need These Laws’ were written by Cambodian youths and Boeung Kak activists to express their rejection of the laws and to assert their right to gather and express themselves freely, and produced by civil society members. The lyrics to ‘LANGO, Say No!’ were written and produced by civil society members with special guest appearance by DJ Kla.

Hard copies of most music CDs and VCDs are available in LICADHO and LC offices.

Say No! Union, Association and NGO Law campaign songs.

We Don’t Need These Laws

We can’t accept (this law)
We don’t like (this law)
We don’t need any law that bans our freedom!

A democratic country has laws
that protect the people’s freedoms
And no one can take those rights away.

We have the right to meet and participate (in this democracy)
We have the right to gather together to form associations, unions and organisations.

This law is so strict it’s not normal
There’s no value in a law that seeks to control NGOs and civil society!

Listen to the song and watch some of the campaign events at which activists and civil society members sang and danced to the song here.

LANGO, Say No!

Chorus: LANGO! LANGO! LANGO! Just say NO LANGO (Repeat)

Must say NO to LANGO. This law undermine rights. Community people groan, government is stirring

Associations and NGOs say NO. This law seriously undermines rights, restricts human rights and doesn’t allow anyone to struggle (for their rights)

Law provides power to authorities, deletes any NGOs who don’t register, government says NO, not allowed to have any activities

All citizen groan, not allowed to express opinion, no support, as community people need support

This law is passed like lightening, no consultation, no justice. They want to control associations and NGOs

This law is passed without compassion for citizens. People complain, that say no to NGO, we join with them all the time.

Now it’s time for us to stand up, and shout loudly saying NO to LANGO. We are united to change. We don’t want this law. GO!

Chorus (Repeat)

Because this law hasn’t changed, drafted without serious thought, violating our constitution, our freedom becomes low

We are united to say NO, for people to have rights to change, to make life, to live in dignity, full democracy, full democracy

Chorus (Repeat)

Listen to the song here.

‘Advocacy for Justice’ music CD
Chi Kreng community (2010)

How Happy You Are When You See me In Tears
Written by Mr. Nhaem Paot while detained in Siem Reap prison.

In retrospect, ancestral land; the scoundrels with the wicked heart So greedy; never give a damn about anything. Have a pile of wealth but still with poor character.

Oh my Chi Kreng Village used to be my homeland. The beautiful territory that we used to be living in peacefully. Oh my God! This time the tears drop on me when we were threatened to take our land.

How happy you are when you see me in tears. My heart is almost broken because of thinking of the land and plantation. The sound of the gun was so loud. We were shot at without any mercy.

Whenever I think of it I feel terrible pain. The hand was tied up with ropes and we were beaten. To live in the society with no freedom is the life path of the poor.

(The solo music)

I was put behind bars only physically, but my heart is still happy to compile the song from within the jail to disseminate my voice. This is the song about land conflict.

I was put behind bars suffering terribly, ceaselessly. Those traders and businessmen robbed our rice field. Why don’t the authorities try to find right or wrong The (Cambodian) society these days is very unjust.

‘Development Separates Families’ music CD
Boeung Kak Lake Community (2011)

Development Separates Families
Written by Tep Vanny

Tears fall in the middle of the night; my heart is full of pain all the time. With my children we were so warm together but Child, you’re still little. Dear, you don’t have good fortune.

Mom goes to protest, the children cry and sleep on the ground. Mom carries you in her arms, and caresses you with her tears. Mom is feeling so stifled in mind because we need a home. The land and home is the life of mother for good future. Now she’s left the children alone, and nobody takes care of them.

Oh, the development separates us. When mom sees her children running to follow her, she feels so bad. Where is the right of the mother? Please the powerful and rich feel compassion for our home.