My dearest Sombath,
A year ago on Saturday, December 15, it began as a normal day for us. Who would have thought that before the end of that day, it would be the beginning of a nightmare for both of us – a nightmare that even today, after 365 days, I still wish I could wake up from. I do not even dare think what those 365 days were like for you. I can only hope that you are still safe, and that those who have taken you will not harm you, and treat you with kindness and compassion. I can only hope that your gentle and humble “Buddha nature” will touch the hearts of the people around you, and they will in their hearts know the injustice done to you.
Dearest Sombath, I just want you to know that your plight has not been forgotten. You are in the minds and hearts of all your friends and family, as well as among the colleagues from the civil society networks across the region and beyond.
In particular, the youth groups in the region have been most active since your disappearance. They have carried out many activities to demonstrate their concern for your safety and urged for your return. This activity carried out today and organized by people who respect and love you, is once more to tell the world that you are not forgotten, and they will continue to do everything they can until you are surfaced.
Sombath, you may be somewhat comforted to know that apart from the development networks and partners, many international Human Rights groups, like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Forum Asia, AFAD, FIDH and so on, have also mounted a campaign against this violation of your rights. In addition, many governments around the world and a number of prominent leaders, including Catherine Ashton of the EU, Hilary Clinton and John Kerry of the US, and also Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, have taken up your case with the Lao leaders. They have urged the Lao Government to quickly find you and bring you home. Your leaders, including President Choumaly Sayasone, have promised to conduct serious investigation and find the perpetrators who took you. I can only hope that their promise is true, even though it has now been a year, and there is still no information whatsoever on your whereabouts or your situation.
Sombath, your absence has left such a big void in my life, and the ache does not go away. The only thing that keeps me going is to hang on to the hope that you are still safe, and that you will come home. Sombath, wherever you are, you too must stay strong and have courage and faith that not too long in the near future, you will be reunited with us.
I can solemnly promise you, Sombath, that I will not rest, no matter how hard and how long it would take, I will leave no stone unturned until I get you back.
Stay strong, my love. Shui Meng