Shortly after arriving in Thailand this summer, I was dispatched to Kho-ha, a small village in southern Thailand’s Songkhla province, to write a legal memorandum regarding a local mine blasting and causation lawsuit.
For the past several years, Khu-ha has been the scene of a struggle between a socially aware community group and a powerful Thai mining company. Khu-ha is situated at the base of a large lime-stone mountain called Khoa Khu-ha—a mountain that has been one of Khu-ha’s symbols for centuries, as well as the source of fresh stream water for the village and home to lush greenery and a high number of bats that inhabit its many caves.
Khoa Khu-ha also happens to be located on a large swathe of public land that the Thai government leased a few years ago to the mining company. Since that time, the village of Khu-ha has not been the same. As soon as the mining company set up shop, it began blowing up Khao Khu-ha with large quantities of dynamite to extract the limestone. I arrived in Khu-ha to see a mountain with a gaping crater, the entire center blown away.
A community in jeopardy
But the community of Khu-ha’s injuries aren’t limited to the destruction of their precious Khao Khu-ha. Many people have suffered property damage from the close-range blasts, health problems due to the mine dust, loss of livelihoods from the mine activities, and loss of the general sense of security that they used to have before the massive explosions began launching dust, large stones, and loud booming blasts into the atmosphere on a daily basis.
One family owns a duck farm, and as soon as the explosions began, their ducks stopped producing eggs—wiping out their family income. Another family's house is falling apart, its foundation cracked by . . .