Journey equality far from over

<B>A. Gaffar Peang-Meth</B>

The American journey in democracy that began with the election of George Washington in 1789 never stopped.

The founding fathers’ 1776 declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” saw America’s once-excluded blacks, women, and the young translate the framers’ vision into reality on Nov. 4 by electing the first non-white male to lead the once-white nation. Yet, the journey is far from over.

Democracy, from the Greek word “demokratia,” refers to a system of popular (demos) government (kratia), or government of the people — the “demos” govern. It operates through the rule of law, not of men, based on the principles of equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal treatment.

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G8 Leaders Statement on the Global Economy

15 October, 2008

We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the President of the European Commission, are united in our commitment to fulfill our shared responsibility to resolve the current crisis, strengthen our financial institutions, restore confidence in the financial system, and provide a sound economic footing for our citizens and businesses.

We welcome and commend the recent decisions and actions taken in support of implementation of the G7 Plan of Action, adopted by finance ministers and central bank governors and endorsed by the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, which set forth a concerted framework for individual and collective action. These measures will help financial institutions gain access to needed capital, support systemically important financial institutions and prevent their failure, unfreeze credit markets, restart secondary markets for mortgages, and protect savers and depositors. We will implement these measures on an urgent, transparent, and non-discriminatory basis. We pledge continued close cooperation and coordination.

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Cambodia’s New Intellectuals

by Geoffrey Cain

After France granted Cambodia independence in 1953, an impassioned renaissance swept Phnom Penh in the 1960s, a resurgent Angkorian nationalism alongside a potpourri of foreign influences tha included Beatlemania and existentialism. Many saw the city— once called the “Pearl of Asia”—a neutral safe haven from the havoc that rocked neighboring Vietnam and Thailand. Artists, writers and scholars frequented Phnom Penh’s beautified universities and cafés, discussing the great works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Picasso, while musicians and dancers revived traditional Khmer styles from the country’s Angkor-era height. Even then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the movement’s figurehead, was a filmmaker and singer who led a jazz band.

Fast forward a few years. Bombing campaigns, military coups and civil war rip the country apart. Intellectuals are targeted and wiped out under the Maoist Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-79 and their works​​​ destroyed. A former Khmer Rouge cadre named Hun Sen bullies his way into power in 1993 against United Nations-backed election results, and then orchestrates a coup against his co-Prime Minister Norodom Ranarridh in 1997. His ruling Cambodian People’s Party consolidates power in the media, and rampant corruption rankles the universities. Debate and discussion are left dead and a country is in ruins.

Yet today a brimming young movement of intellectuals resembling those of the 1960s is quietly—and sometimes anonymously— creating change in Cambodia. They mostly draw on the same inspirations and discuss the same topics of culture, politics and romance—the latter remains a highly taboo topic. Some even listen to the same music, writing about the classics of Simon and Garfunkel. Yet unlike their predecessors, these intellectuals do not mingle in French-style cafés and art galleries, but in the new wireless Internet cafés springing up in Phnom Penh.

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My Recommendations to SRP

Sam Rainsy’s words have wholly based on empirical observation. Academic analysts have previously found that decentralization and good governance reform in Cambodia is just a step for controlling party to renew their power.

Culture of communist politics is to strengthen its power at the grassroots level, so the introduction of governance/decentralization from aids donors have been helpful to this basic concept. Aids donors have mismatched the concept of governance and decentralization in Cambodian context.

SRP would be the very important party to reveal the misbehavior and unwillingness of the controlling party. Now Sam Rainsy has his inspiring words but it might not be effective at all. To ameliorate the shortage of this genuine decentralization, civil societies and aids donors are the most effective drive.

Considerably, there are some few factors for SRP to develop itself to become the strong opposition party as well as to prepare itself to become government leader. 3 things to consider:

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