A zine showcasing hope, joy and mundanity in the lives of queer and disabled folk, produced by a newly found community. Comics, collage, illustration, poetry, and prose.
Over the years, due a series of over 13 dams constructed by China in the upper Mekong River, sand has accumulated in the river, causing a drop in the water level and a change in the river’s flow. Where there is still some water, the temperature has cooled, creating unfavorable conditions for fish to breed. These drastic changes to the river has led to a drastic decrease in fish, endangering the livelihood of people downriver, particularly those who live along the tributaries of the lower Mekong. This has not stopped China, which is not done with damming the Mekong both within its borders and beyond. China is constructing more dams and financing the development of its smaller neighbors as part of its Belt & Road Initiative. Meanwhile, it is also driving a potential food security crisis for those living by the rivers.
The Thai fisherfolk and their dying river (2021)
Uncle Jamrat and Auntie Cream have been fishing and harvesting by the Ing River all their lives. The Ing River is a major tributary of the Mekong River in the northern part of Thailand. The 13 dams constructed along the Mekong River by China are slowly killing the Ing River. The fish are gone and farms have dried up. China does not show any interest in listening or slowing down. Who can these communities turn to?
This illustrated story is commissioned by Innovation for Change – East Asia. It is part of the project ‘Stories of the Impact of China’s BRI’, which features eight stories about communities who are severely impacted by projects that fall under China’s BRI or other Chinese-led development. For each story, we brought together a local community partner and an artist/storyteller. The local community partner did the research and analysis of the issues at stake for their community. After that, the artist/storyteller, with the guidance of a story curator, turned the research into a story. Featuring stories from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, this project aims to show the range of adverse impacts brought on by developments that do not listen to the concerns of the affected communities. In amplifying their voices, we hope they can be heard.
UNTOLD IMPACT ON NORTHERN THAILAND’S WILDLIFE FROM MEKONG DAMS (Bangkok Tribune)
Science Shows Chinese Dams Are Devastating the Mekong (Foreign Policy)
Are dams killing the Mekong river? (DW News)
Mekong is half-dead (Thai PBS World)
Harnessing the Mekong or Killing It? (National Geographic)
The Long Journey of the Belt and Road Resistance (Innovation for Change-East Asia)
Learning Spaces on China’s Belt & Road Initiative and Beyond (Innovation for Change-East Asia and Social Innovations Advisory)
Art by Mis.lalita
Research by Phitchayetsaphong Khurupratchamak, Coordinator Boonruang Wetland Forest Conservation Group