The Common Good

The Dark Side of Development

090724-cambodiaDevelopment is a word full of hope. It brings to mind water pumps and rice banks, bridges and education, smiling children and sky-scraping financial institutions. Yet there is a dark side to development.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

On Friday, July 17th, at 4 a.m., this dark side showed its face when

[D]ozens of armed police took up positions around Group 78, Phnom Penh, in order to enforce a municipal order that they dismantle their homes or be forcibly removed.

This followed 53 families yesterday "agreeing" to the authorities' demand that they accept an offer of $8,000 compensation or their homes would be forcibly destroyed. Negotiations this morning with the remaining 7 families who had not "agreed" led to a final offer to them of up to $20,000 in compensation which they all accepted, except for one family whose home was destroyed against their will. (Joint media statement by civil society in Cambodia, July 17, 2009)

This community had to make way for development. Their homes were ramshackle and had to give way to pristine apartments. Their homes stand over black water and had to give way to paved sidewalks. Their families rode bicycles or walked to work. They had to give way to the shiny black SUVs of the wealthy. Their children barely make it through the fourth grade. They had to give way to the well-reasoned premise that the city needs this place

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)