សាមគ្គី សាមគ្គានំ តបោ សុខោ – ការសាមគ្គីបង្រួបបង្រួមគ្នានឹងនាំសេចក្តីសុខមកអោយ – ព្រះពុទ្ធអង្គ
Samakii Samakea Nam Tapo Sokho – Unity brings us happiness – Buddha
This above Khmer popular saying is suite well with the context and functionality of the Paris Peace Agreement. During the negotiation processes, within the successful written agreement, and post-Paris Peace Agreement implementation, we are stunned by the terms “national reconciliation”, “unity”, “solidarity”, “conflict resolution”, “comprehensive peace settlement”, and “dialogue or negotiation” etc.
Now, it is time for Cambodia politics to update itself to compete with the global change. Confrontational strategy has been changed to diplomatic policy and negotiation. The new paradigm shift has transformed itself more complex and intricate – human subconsciousness to free themselves from all sufferings.
The Paris Peace Agreement is the blueprint for Cambodian politicians to put aside egoistic behavior by embracing principles and democratic value. Each party must be able to simply distinguish between the self and the nation clearly. Under this spirit, the PPA urges every politician especially the law-maker must stop lie their own constituents.
I have a dream to see Khmer leaders can work together, can speak the language of nation building together with honest sub-conscience. When I was young, I cried because of hurting; but when I am grown up, I cried because I was overwhelmingly affected by bliss and joy. I remember the cry I made when watching the yellow robe army of Dhamma Yietra led Maha Ghosananda walked through the National Road No. 6. There were Japanese Mahayana monks preceded in the front with drums, gongs and strange chanting unusual to my ears. Parading after were hundred thousands of Cambodian Buddhist monks, with following white clothing nuns and laymen/laywomen. I was called to bring a bucket of water for water sprinkling on the edge of the road by the monks. Many drops of water fell unto my head with the word Peace and National Reconciliation deeply penetrated into my brain.
That memorable moment has never been disappeared from my head.
This year marks 23 years anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement, I see more commemorative organizings by the Cambodian political parties, NGOs, activists and general citizens in both inside and outside country more than any years I have been witnessing. Thousands of youths, land activists and Buddhist monks are parading around the Phnom Penh city with petitions handed over to Co-Chairmen of the PPA: Indonesia and France.
The most significant sign is the evolving of Cambodia politics into two party system: CNRP & CPP; which is a good component for the concept of Mutual Understanding, National Reconciliation, and Comprehensive National Building Endeavor. Hence, those terms and efforts should not be the propaganda. Mutual understanding and national reconciliation shall happen only through the Rule of Law and Professionalism.
For the Sake of the Nation, These Two Parties must be able to Take Turn in Serving the Nation, like many civilized countries around the World have been Experiencing.
I would like to END my writing on PPA as of today. Below is the Movie Clips of “One Evening after the War” filmed by Social Engineering Rithy Panh.
“Peouv is recalling about the her story and the Three Unfortunate Disarming Soldier.”
“Srey Poeu is saddening about the social gap and injustice in Cambodian society, and her true love with Sovanna.”
“Srey Peouv is entrapped as Sex Worker or Srey Bar in Phnom Penh after she was sold to the brothel for $1400 dollars. She cannot make a family life with Sovanna with this dept.”
“At the end, Sovanna was shot by Maly, his friend, left Srey Peouv with Bophana, their daughter. Srey Peou is still a Sex Worker in Phnom Penh.”
Among those frameworks of the Paris Peace Agreement, inclusive development and social equality are the front-page agenda. Like I mentioned previously, the peace, the freedom, and the policy of disarming and demobilizing have produced huge social odds. The economic development through free market and capitalism have transcended into crony capitalism and neo-patrimonialism.
Further discussion to this slide of his, it is essential to hold “Public Debates” on in-dept reform of all fields that Cambodia government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen has ever promised with the Cambodian people. Answering to the question posting that “The elites are controlling the economy and the red security force (red box) is protecting them. So the obstacle is the non-neutral arm force, or guns that has still carried out the job to protect the dictator”; Dr. Lao Mong Hay inspired us to push for “Public Debates” on this issue. He said “Indeed, our security forces including the the military and the police should be politically neutral and impartial. This political neutrality and impartiality should be extended to public servants, judges and prosecutors. It is hoped that one day, the affiliation to political parties and involvement in political activities of all these military and civilian officials will be constitutionally banned. It would be good if there were public debates on this issue, which could eventually come up with a proposal for this ban and a draft constitutional amendment to that effect. ”
Diversion at Stake
While Prime Minister Hun Sen has promised to carry out in-dept reform in all fields such as Assembly, National Election Committee (NEC), Judiciary, Arm Force and Public Servants etc., one group called themselves “Pandits” are loudly speaking to appeal for the party’s reform by pushing both CPP and CNRP to reform its party structure in hope to develop more sound democracy. This latest movement has posed suspicion from all Cambodian people and democrats. The intent to help demolish the social mountain of Cambodia (Neo-Patrimonialism) with Prime Minister Hun Sen under the support of CNRP, at least, has been diverted by this new movement.
Watching this clip, the 98% of Cambodian population are farmer. The displacement to city like Poeuv is very unfortunate. Peouv was cheated and sold by a lady to another brothel. Her value is $1400 that she has no day to receive freedom from this amount of money. But her trap in Phnom Penh, at least, can afford to send monthly remittance to feed many lives in her family back home in Prey Veng. The movie has reflected the current displaced workers of Cambodia. The poor parents and siblings at home who cannot afford to earn $2 dollars a day, have placed high expectation on their displaced children regardless of what job and what position they have been working/holding. Peouv was shocked to hear his older sister flattered her of light skin and city-like figure. And she must bite teeth to avoid such painful city life revealing to her family.
In Cambodia, job means thing to keep one busy although she/he is playing cards, Ramvong dancing, singing, farming, ploughing, fetching water from the well, or lullabying a baby etc. After disarming, Sovanna worked with various jobs such as boxer, beer and ice server at the wedding party, pork meat-cutter, and farming etc. Those described jobs have no pension plan, no injury insurance, sick leave, benefits and security at all. Sovanna was mocked by his friend that he cannot earn $2 dollar a day how could he afford a girl to be his wife; and the beside sitting girl can earn up to $100 a day.
Paris Peace Agreement has brought in international currency to develop economy of this country. Trillions of dollar has been promised by the signatory parties and each year, at least, 600 millions handed over to the Cambodian government and the civil society. But life has changed with opposing direction: the rich and powerful people have become more rich and more powerful; the poor and farmers have become victim of free market economic and so-called development. Forced eviction by the elites to paving way for land speculation and concession has become unbearable. National dept has been increased while the pay-back interest is at low ratio.
The social gap and disparity have been so worried during this 23 years after the Paris Peace Agreement!