Sombath worked closely with Quaker Service Laos (QSL) during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He made significant contributions to their programs, including the Rice Integrated Farming Systems (RIFS) project. While QSL staff wrote a plea to the Lao government soon after Sombath’s abduction, subsequent requests to contribute their thoughts about Sombath and his work have... continue reading.
My dearest Sombath, Today, February 17, is your birthday. If you have not been disappeared, we should be celebrating your 65th birthday today, and you should be enjoying this day surrounded by your family and friends. Even though I don’t know where you are, I still want to send you all my love and prayers... continue reading.
My dearest Sombath, Today is the last day of 2017. For four years now I have been waiting desperately for news of your whereabouts and your safe return. This time of the year should be a time for family gatherings to send off the old year and welcome the new. But for you and I,... continue reading.
Dear Uncle Sombath, I have not written to you in a long time, since you disappeared. That hit me inside, in my heart. It made me wonder what I should do about my work, because you were always my role model, ever since I was a PADETC volunteer while in secondary school. The first time... continue reading.
Dear Respected Uncle, I hope you are well. Five years ago, I asked you for advice about a new job. You never refused to help. Even if you had a lot of work, you would always find time for me. The only exception was that it could not conflict with the time you played ping... continue reading.
Dear Sombath, I began meeting you only after they said you were gone, a victim of enforced disappearance. I first met you in an email sent by my colleague at Focus on the Global South, Joseph Purugganan exactly one year ago, when I first joined the organization as a budding activist. He mentioned of the... continue reading.
Greetings Sombath, I am mindful that 12 December 2015 marks the beginning of the fourth year of your disappearance. I found in the course of my travels over the past year that your absence has not faded the reputation of your splendid development efforts. It may have strengthened it instead. Development specialists — ranging from... continue reading.
My dearest Sombath Today, 15th December 2015 marks the third anniversary of your disappearance. Each year, I dread the dawning of this day, as I am once more reminded of that fateful evening when you were so abruptly taken away from my life. I remember that evening 3 years ago so well. You and I... continue reading.
Dear Sombath, Last month I finally graduated. To be honest I hadn’t been that bothered about going to the graduation. It reminded me of what you said before the Asia Europe People’s Forum, that certain people were more focused upon the teacup than the tea–what is important is the experiences and learning gained over the... continue reading.
Mekong Watch: 30 August 2015 私の最も親愛なるソムバットへ この数か月、あなたに書かなくてはと何度も思い、少し書きかけるのだけれど、毎回、続けて書けないのです。本当に難しくて。思いを言葉にすることさえ以前にも増して困難になっています。あなたを力づけるためにこれ以上何を言えるでしょうか。あなたが元気でいてくれて、自分の自由を取り戻す希望を捨てていないことを、ただ祈っています。 明日は8月30日です。再び、国際失踪者デーを迎えます。私は昨年のこの日にあなたに宛てて書いた手紙を読み直しています。綴った感情は今も同じです。失踪が私にのしかかり、味わう痛みと失望は、年に一度、この日にだけ思い出さなくとも、私の場合は、毎日、毎秒、その痛みと失望とともにあるのです。 でも、失望の中にあっても、言葉があなたに伝わっていないようであっても、私は伝えたい。この数週間、私は希望と信頼が再び芽生えるのを見つけたのです。この数週間、私は東京、ソウル、ジャカルタ、マニラで、「非自発的失踪に反対するアジア連盟」（Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance: AFAD）やその他の人権団体が主催した、沢山のロビー活動に参加したのです。これらの活動は様々な地域の皆さんや団体に、あなたの失踪、それから他の方々の失踪について思い出してもらう活動でした。それぞれの場所で私は心から寄り添ってくれる友人や支援者に会いました。そして忘れてはならないことは、失踪者の家族に会ったことです。... continue reading.