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“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison
Clip above critically talked many things happening in Khmer society after disarming and resettling in Phnom Penh of those soldier. Sovanna is truly recalling pains and traumatic memories during his warfare in the jungle. His revelation shows PTSD syndromes like many other military around the world after returning back home, with complete survival or disability. Sovanna is not different from many Vietnamese soldier who battled in Cambodia during 1979 to 1990. One of them who left their painful memos is Nguyen Thanh Nhan. His book titled “Away From Home Season” described many things that Cambodian people and the world should grasp their sorrow and regrets in waging war within Cambodia soil. In the news reported by BBC, Nhan said:
“American soldiers thought they helped Vietnam. Then their illusion was broken” , “We were the same in Cambodia.”
Sovanna is ashamed as he is still alive while many friends of his were dead; and he is absolutely ashamed by the new situation he has been experiencing in Phnom Penh.
Sovanna is from a farmer family and his friend Maly and Phal are also from farmer family. Nhan is also from a farmer family. He crooned a children song reflecting his life “My dad goes to plough in early morning. My mom goes to plough in early morning. My dad is a peasant. My mom is a peasant…” [chapter 10, page 89]
Three disarmed soldier, Sovanna is considered luckier while Maly has been overwhelmingly traumatized after his wife sold out all land to feed children and married a new husband, Phal has become disable person with one limp lost by mine. Maly has taken advantaged from the current social corruption by allowing himself to flow along the stream. He can do everything to get money, fearful social status and power. Sovanna, by good companion of his Uncle, he has worked hard to strive against the social stream. He tried to seek family happiness with his beloved girl friend, Srey Peouv, and to remain in moral conduct and ethical behavior. But social compelling and its surrounding pressure destroyed all his efforts. Finally, Sovanna was shot to dead by his friend, Maly. His beloved girl friend, Peouv, remained the job as Srey Bar or Sex Worker woman. Maly bought his Police Commander in Chief position in which it is powerful, admirable and fearful status in the society after Sovanna died.
Freedom that is rightly articulated by Sovanna’s Uncle, it requires sacrificing…it is like a man is running through the minefield…the persons who are fighting for freedom is like a child who is already severely battered. Or freedom like a birth in a cage, or frog in the well. Cambodian feet are soaking in the mud…every step is a mud step!
Paris Peace Agreement (PPA) is a new hope to get away from that mud step. The effort of the international communities is the huge external help for FREEDOM. Each state and country has their own problems. Our problems and freedom are our own feet. PPA is an instrumental tool for us to raise up ourselves high, higher than the dream we all have dreamed for, for not such existing “Peace and Freedom”. Jim Morrison already reminded us (with above saying) that Peace and Freedom demands our collective effort, individual participation, and subconsciousness.
After the first article was sent, I got many emails back. Among those, I would like to select wisdom sharing from Dr. Long Mong Hay and questions from So Munin of Campro.
I am going to try to answer So Munin questions one by one, but be assured that this is my personal view from my own researches into the matter.
1. Who are the parties to the Accord? What are their respective obligation?
Those 19 countries are the parties namely “the Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, the Japan, the Republic Lao, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”
The obligations to the treaty as assigned within the agreement in article 4 as stated “The Parties to this agreement ask all other States to recognize and respect in all respects the sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia and to refrain from any action incompatible with these principles or with other provisions of this agreement.”
2. What is the validity period of the Accord?
It shall be lasted forever until some unpredictable circumstance(s) occurred. I am saying this, previous accords such as Independence Day of Cambodia (9 November 1954) or Geneva Agreement on Cambodia at the same year resulted different outcomes. While French didn’t violate the Independence Day, but Vietnam violated the Geneva Agreement not to interfere internal Cambodia or invade Cambodia etc.
It might be because of the world changing or powerful bloc had taken sides etc.
But up to today, the PPA is very essential and it is a task in the action.
3. When one or some of the parties breach its/their obligation under the Accord, what can other parties do? What roles would/could UN do when the Accord is violated?
I think it is already clearly stated in article 5 with three bullets:
1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty,
independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity
of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.
2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .
3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.
4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.
Thank you very much,
Today is 18 October 2014 and it is on Sunday. I would like to dedicate this weekend holiday to reflect and perplex the 23rd Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement that was signed in Paris on 23 October 1991.
For the world, the Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia is one of their products to avoid further sever consequences from the World War I & World War II. Political scientists called its “Post Cold-War” movement in which major powerful countries such as USA, Russia, China and others were making their way from bloody confrontation towards diplomatic negotiations. But as this severity is too overwhelming, its effects are still fragile in many countries especially in Cambodia. Many Cambodian fractions were still waging war under the supports of China, Russia and USA etc. The outcomes from fighting caused deaths, famines, conflict, and human rights violation towards Cambodian citizens that is in contrast to the new world order effort of peace crafting. The calling for peace and democracy of Cambodian people were in coincidence with the pressure from all major powerful players towards all Khmer conflict fractions, the crafting of Paris Peace Agreement were made in order to conflict resolution, peace settlement, and vibrant political framework allowing the United Nations to exercise full authority to supervise ceasefire, to repatriate the displaced Khmers along the Thailand border, to disarm and demilitarize all factional armies, to prepare the country for free and fair elections, to comply by the international laws and UNs’ mission to protect human rights, to develop democracy and inclusive economy.
Cambodian government in post-conflict management by the United Nations must comply by the agreement they have signed within those 8 chapters as stated within chapter 5 that:
- In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.
- These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .
- Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.
- In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.
It marked the first time that Cambodian people have discussed about “Peace”. Many disarmed solider returned back home with limbs lost, moral lost, and PTSD syndromes etc. Many of them are happy to see the new sign of UNs’ peace keeping effort but they were hijacked by new arriving social corruption.
I could not abstain myself from introducing you to Rithy Panh whose works on films about Cambodia has been very realistic and persuasive. He could be considered modern social engineering of Cambodia. He brings real life into the screen for many Cambodian generations to view it, to reflect it, and to comprehend its truth.
This first clip is the description of a social victim Srey Peaov on her role as the key Actress of the film about the returning back of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and the processes to reconstruct this country. Like the picture speaks itself, his movie filmed in 1998 titled ” One Night after the War” will entertain you with tears, sadness, truth absorption, and light for the future.
I am deeply intrigued by the leadership statement of “leadership is about to produce more leaders, not more followers”. Cambodia is in contrast by its embedded culture of vertical leadership and we are used to with ordinary political communication such as ខ្លប klob (bending down), ខ្លាច klarch (fearful), កោត kot (admiring), ក្រែង kraeng (avoiding) etc. These cultural attitudes have always converted humility into humiliatality or hostility and self-hostaged phenomena. The hunt for position and the hunger for power is an embedded belief to show off personal materialism and social praise rather than to intend for goodness and positive changes of the society. Foreign experts called our culture as “face supremacy” as power, money and fame to maintain “face” that have always overcome reasons, rationales and collective interests of the nation.
- As family is known for the primary social fabric of Cambodian society, government must create and safeguard the courses on parenting, child)ren protection, and domestic violence etc.
- As school is known for the secondary social fabric of this society, the teachers’ pedagogy must be trained in student-centered methodology, and the achievement of student mean they received their real soft skills and hard skills talent in real market and working places by adopting competency-based education system.
- Government that is considered very important third social factor for this society, must conduct in-dept reform of all fields to develop genuine democracy.
I think the show off you have observed on the CNRP’s leaders with those luxury cars/SUVs has impacted so much on the penny supporting from the members. Hence, it is incomparable to imagine on the 14 millions USA of national budget for 2014 year assigned as “unexpected expenditure” by the PM and other top leaders in the government. This amount is not included other unexpected revenues earned by historical rampant corruption within this top-down domino effect administration.
Blogger’s Comment: The Age of Enlightenment (យុគនៃការត្រាស់ដឹង) emerged with the creation of the United Nations (UNs) to safeguard the world from annihilation and destruction. While the UNs have been twisted by each powerful country for their own gain, the effort to bring about just, impunity and peace is also unstoppable. When I was young, I heard a lot about the legend and fairy story of angel and devil, good and bad, Eisey and Eiso etc. This political myth has forever existed in our earth. UNs have been created to symbolize the good actor in which global citizens have embraced. The ICC has experienced huge challenges to convict the accused although its jurisdiction is prevalent. Since the creation of the ICC, not many events that this world’s court of justice has been successful. But as said, the Khmer proverb keeps reminding us: “ជង់មិនដែលភ្លេចកុក តែកុកទេដែលរមែងភ្លេចជង់ or snare has never forgotten the heron bird, but the heron bird itself has always forgotten the snare”.
Aid groups estimate that 770,000 people, or 6 per cent of Cambodia’s population, have been evicted since 2000, including 20,000 people in the first three months of 2014.
Cambodian military police stand guard as a bulldozer clears the Borei Keila community after the forced eviction of residents from a slum village in the centre of Phnom Penh on Jan 4, 2012. (AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)
THE HAGUE: Victims of land grabs by Cambodia’s “ruling elite” called on Tuesday (Oct 7) for the International Criminal Court to probe their mass evictions as a crime against humanity.
Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have been affected as part of a “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, pursuant to state policy,” said a complaint to be filed at The Hague-based ICC. “The ruling elite have illegally seized and re-allocated millions of hectares of valuable land from poor Cambodians for exploitation or speculation by its members and foreign investors,” said the complaint to be filed on behalf of victims by lawyer Richard Rogers on Tuesday.
What is your vision about political development in Cambodia? Are you optimistic that better change is on the way?
Well, I am certainly optimistic that the demographic trend of this country is pointing the way it is. Now whether the changes that are happening are in a way that the West would describe as democratic or not, I am a little less certain of. But I certainly think the future of Cambodia will be bright. I think that there is very good chance that whether Prime Minister Hun Sen remains in power in the medium or long term or not, there is going to be a need for his party to address the concerns of the people. I don’t expect Cambodia to become a democracy overnight, and I think it would be naive to expect that, but I do hope that the government in power, regardless of its political character, will create a system that is more just and fair to ordinary people.
Sebastian Strangio, an international freelance correspondent and former editor at the Phnom Penh Post, has recently published a book, titled “Hun Sen’s Cambodia.”
Weekly Political Analysis:
The drive of political environment of Cambodia has remarkably been influenced by the Khmers overseas supporters. As noted, the influx of Khmer refugees to resettling in third countries during the war between Khmer guerrilla and Vietnamese occupation in between 1979 to 1990, the resistance alliance stationed at the Khmer-Thai border was wholeheartedly backed by the in-place refugees and those Khmers overseas. Although, it was called the guerrilla group, but their combating discipline and sacrificing were recognized as the Vietnamese side must accept this reality. The war of this “sovereignty” triumph was significantly channeled by both financial and moral supports from Khmers overseas. The Khmer diaspora didn’t stop there. The negotiation of Paris Peace Agreement in October 23, 1991 led to the winning election of Funcinpec party was broadly seen the close engagement by the Khmers overseas. But when this party failed to take their leadership to account in rescuing the nation, the party was disappeared with the disapproval and condemnation of the Khmers overseas.
Continuously, the supporting channel was contemplated to more democratic, transparent and accountable party such as Khmer Nation Party evolved to Sam Rainsy Party and modern Cambodia National Rescue Party. While the name of Khmer Nation Party was hijacked, the prominent leader Sam Rainsy named the party as his own legal name aiming to avoid future hijacking. During that period of struggling, the tumultuous shakes by the Cambodian People’s Party was constant and repetitive towards Sam Rainsy Party. Its leader Sam Rainsy become the core figure to be amputated. His last incident was his brave action to uproot the border posts which anchored inside the Cambodian rice field by the Vietnamese authority. But Cambodian government took action over him rather than handling this trespassing issue with the Vietnamese government. He was convicted to put in jail several years while he was in a visit to foreign country. This action was planned to demote him or to intentionally stop him from politician career in Cambodia. During this transitional period, the overseas supporters were seen substantially increased.
Today, I am in a surprise to hear Mr. Meach Sovannara (see this facebook link) who stated himself as the Director of News and Information of the CNRP to explicitly denounce the Cambodia National Rescue Party of North America (CNRP-NA) on what this political body of Khmer diaspora is planning to launch their first convention on October 4th, 2014 at Long Beach. Personally, I think his speech and his approach is very immature. Of course, the genuine unity means inclusive, not exclusive at all. If his word on the central committee (Kanak Akchentray) decided this or decided that on the supporting rally of Khmers overseas from all walks of life and tendency is true, it is a ridiculous political maneuver of this very young CNRP. Why Khmers overseas who have spared their sweat and blood from hard earning penny to support the democratic party in Cambodia especially the CNRP must be directed, regulated, guided, lobbied, decided, or judged by the central committee (Kanak Akchentray) of the party? Those Khmers overseas especially this North America are living very different lifestyle from those in Cambodia. Their standard of living, knowledge of freedom, and democracy are very different. The donation and engagement with the Cambodian democrats are just part of their bonding in birthplace, nationalism, loving-kindness, and helping the Cambodian victims etc. Some might need to become one of the leadership members within the party, but it is very slightest percentage comparing to more than 700,000 Khmers overseas who donated the money and protested against all types of human violation with pure mind to seek justice, to help develop democracy and economic of Cambodia. Or even though, one acquires to be the law-maker candidate with the CNRP, she/he must go through the onsite activism, level of patronage system and bureaucracy, and satisfied amount of financial injection into the party etc. The party seems has no clear-cut policy to bring real candidate for long term effectiveness from Khmers overseas.
Contradictory, the merge between SRP and HRP resulted in maintaining CNRP-NA which has kept its life-span longer than any diasporic political body in North America. Its birth is likely happened since the failure of the Funcipec party. According to this source of information (Cambodianbrightfuture.blogspot.com), the CNRP-NA was fully endorsed and created within the same time frame of the CNRP creation. But it had some working conflict among CNRP-NA executive members (which is considered normal incident in working place), while the responses from the Central Committee has been seen irrelevant. The effort to solve the conflict is acceptable, but the guideline or directives to curb or to dictate them is very irrelevant. The Khmers overseas every where is very independent. Their daily life is seen as the government is asking people to direct or regulate them on what they should do and what they should not do. The government especially the United States of America and Canada have never issued guidelines or directives to dictate their own people. The people are their master. Those political leaders and parties are just the servant of the people. Hence, all the time, conflicts happened, the wise tends to act as the mediator by asking all parties to seek their common ground for solution. Both formal or informal, the conflicts shall be compromised in which both parties can accept those ends.