The political battles continue over the anniversary of January 7

Posted by: | Posted on: January 19, 2012

The game of the Khmer Rouge is a zero-sum game for Cambodians and their nation. 33 years have already passed; the Khmer Rouge regime will never come back again as the world is fast moving forwards.

It is a priceless lesson to learn in order to move forward and not dwell in the tragedy of the past, only to learn from it, as it was arranged to be the two crickets fighting against each other.

Click here to read the whole Lift Issue of 104 dated January 11, 2012

Seven January arrived and split
again the political parties
of Cambodia. While the Cambodian
People’s Party (CPP) wouldn’t
hesitate to call January 7 the day of
liberation from the brutal Khmer
Rouge, the opposition Sam Rainsy
Party (SRP) claimed it as the day
Vietnam invaded the Kingdom.
The CPP has never been reluctant
to emphasise the brutality of the
Khmer Rouge regime, painting the
Vietnamese troops as the life-savers
of the Cambodian people. For the
SRP, however, the arrival of the Vietnamese
troops in Cambodia marked
an invasion, as Vietnam violated
both international and domestic
law by crossing the border into the
country.

The debate lingers on, years after
Pol Pot’s collapse. While the CPP justifies
its historical view by pointing
to the present situation of political
peace and stability, the SRP dredges
up evidence of Vietnamese occupation
inside Cambodia.

But which side is correct in
their judgments? One must think
critically to come to am informed
decision.

Statistics show that nearly two
million Cambodian people were
executed, starved, over-laboured
to death, or had died from sickness
during the Pol Pot regime. On January
7, 1979, Vietnamese troops, in
alliance with Khmer Rouge defectors,
entered Cambodia and stopped
the Khmer Rouge’s operation.

But historians and political scientists
have demonstrated through
evidence that the power of the
Khmer Rouge came from Vietnam’s
support. In his article “Motives
Behind the Vietnamese Occupation”,
Marc Leepson quoted Vietnamese
Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, in
an interview published in Newsweek,
in which he said his government
“could not stand by in good
conscience and watch the Pol Pot
regime butcher millions of innocent
Kampucheans in cold blood”. However,
evidence shows that Vietnam
knew of the Khmer Rouge’s terror for
years prior to the invasion. Professor
Stephen Morris said, “Hanoi showed
not the slightest concern for the
fate of the Cambodian people while
most of the killing was actually going
on; on the contrary, Vietnamese
Communist Party and government
statements were lush in their praise
of Pol Pot and his regime.”

So are both sides right? Who can
we side with, and what can we do?
We must look to ourselves, instead.
We as Cambodians must write our
own history: that of national pride,
heroes, heroines, national unity,
self-struggles, self-determination
and preserving our cultural identity.
We Khmer should be proud of
our own endeavours and intelligence.

The game of the Khmer
Rouge is a zero-sum game for
Cambodians and their nation. 33
years have already passed; the
Khmer Rouge regime will never
come back again as the world is
fast moving forwards.

It is a priceless lesson to learn in
order to move forward and not dwell
in the tragedy of the past, only to
learn from it, as it was arranged to
be the two crickets fighting against
each other.