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Dear Fellow Cambodians;
First of all, we should pray for those Cambodians who are under fear of flooding. During this unusual flooding, many farmers claimed death, many claimed homeless and many claimed starvation. Not counting the rice paddies which those young seeds are devastated by water, live stocks and commodities are in danger and scarce.
What could we describe on this natural disaster in Cambodia? And what measures are we going to gauge for?
Natural resource is substantial source for national development. Human capital, financial capital and social capital is among important capitals to lift up national prosperity and dignity. Otherwise, natural capital has been debated in recent political dialogue among political scientists.
Political scientists pointed out that there are many countries in this world which leaders have used natural capital as tool to step up to power or maintain their power. The uses of natural capital for personal wealth and power have happened among ancient kingdoms and it has continued to modern day in some countries. Scholars called “failed states” for those countries that have misused natural capital or they have used it for personal wealth and power by allowing their citizens who is the owners of that natural capital live in a dirty poor and indignitary situation. Among those scholars, James Scott named it “predatory states”.
Cambodia’s unrealized peace promise
By Ou Virak
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.
PHNOM PENH – Twenty years ago this week Cambodia entered a brave new dawn. The four Cambodian factions that had fought a protracted civil war since the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979 came together with signatories from 18 countries in Paris to sign the Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict, otherwise known as the Paris Peace
Agreement. It was a document that promised the Cambodian people peace, stability, democracy and human rights after decades of war and hardship.
On paper, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has followed through on some of the Paris Peace Agreement’s promise. It presided over the ultimate disintegration of the Khmer Rouge after more than three decades of war, slaughter and widespread suffering; it established the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in an attempt to provide justice to the victims of the genocidal regime; it signed various international human-rights covenants and treaties; it oversaw Cambodia’s entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and it has achieved a fair degree of economic prosperity and development.
In the fields of democracy and human rights, however, its accomplishments are less clear. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government has routinely flouted many of the covenants it has ratified; further entrenched a pervasive culture of corruption and impunity, allowed the wealth gap between the elite and vast majority of poverty-ridden Cambodians to widen alarmingly, and waged a sustained legislative and administrative campaign to control every aspect of the Cambodian people’s lives, showing scant regard for the rule of law, democratic institutions and human rights and freedoms.
Real politics focuses on real factors and current changes of a country. It doesn’t give much value to the past or the ideology of politics. Real politics is contradictory to the politics of memory but it is a base of future politics.
If we talk about real politics in Cambodia, we might concentrate on how we can encapsulate self-reliance on key national fields such as heuristic political domain, economics of sustainable development and development for all, and the independence of judiciary system which can provide trust and just for all Cambodian people. Social security or social wellness needs trusted and just judiciary system.
At the moment, as a younger Cambodian, I can see that Cambodia cannot lift up its dignity as once it proclaimed a great empire in the region if Cambodian leaders and some Cambodians are still using the past trauma, genocide and previous regimes as their tools to measure the current development. It is very impossible to say that Cambodia today and Cambodia last several decades is in the same pace. Last few decades, economists didn’t use GDP to measure growths. Last several decades, we didn’t have iphone or broad band internet to watch online TVs or all visual video clips etc.
Wisely speaking and straight to the beneficial points for Cambodia, we must focus on improvement at the present for a better future. The past is just a lesson. It is incomparable to proclaim dignity for current Cambodians by comparing its present capacity to the past.
Hence, Paris Peace Agreement is a fact that we must remind to maintain our progressive conscience. PPA is the foundation for Cambodia. Cambodia can build other important parts of this nation-house because of this foundation. It is not wise to uproot or renege this foundation. Millions of dollar have flowed into Cambodia because of this PPA. The one who has received benefit most from the PPA is the one who has rejected this important foundation. Do you think they are an “ungrateful person” or Khmer called “Akattanno” or not?
Khmer Youth Association of Alberta
7011 Ogden Road SE
Calgary, AB, T2C 1B5
October 23, 2011
Dear members and participants;
First of all, I would like to sincerely express my deep gratitude and thanks for your volunteering and attending on the commemoration of 20th Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement. It is a very successful gathering day. We are very proud on this collective effort to make us more aware and knowledgeable on this day. This 20th Anniversary gathering is mainly expecting to achieve education for our youths, adults, seniors and main stream local people. As a result, every one has learnt a lot from this day. Other goals for us is to ensure that community members have been aware of this day, the United Nations and the government of Canada have persistently paid attention with the current Cambodian government to abide by the stipulations it has signed with the international communities in making this Peace Agreement successful. Among rigorous issues in Cambodia, the need for the genuine democracy of pluralism, the enforcement of the rule of law, the judiciary independence, the sustainable development and the independence of Khmer Rouge Tribunal are imperative for engagement from all signatory countries.
In summary, we are enlightened by the speech by Mr. Doug Page who is delivering a message on behalf of Canadian government. As quoted “Today, Canada and Cambodia work together on a variety of issue, such as strengthening democracy, promoting human rights and rule of law, development cooperation in sustainable economic growth, food security, and global and religion security”; “I am impressed, although not surprised, to see the Khmer Youth Association of Alberta take the time to remember and honour the work that was done to bring about stability, peace and democracy to Cambodia. Although you have made Canada your home, you retain your ties to your first homeland”. Mrs. Amtul inspired us by her thought on the common ground of religion in building peace and understanding. Mr. Roeung greatly reflected on the importance of involving ourselves with politic as quoted “if we don’t do politics, others will do politics; when others do politics, they will take everything away from us”. Mr. Pheng made us clear on the violation of Paris Peace Agreement by the government of Cambodia who has re-instated all illegal agreements made between Republic of Cambodia and Republic of Vietnam during the occupation of Vietnamese troops in Cambodia. Vicheth initiatively called for the attention of Canadian government to open its embassy office in Cambodia, so it could accommodate many Cambodians to easily apply for visa to Canada. Mr. Len reminded us on the importance of engaging with politics by youths of Cambodian-Canadian origin and the narratives of his experiences in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Southeast Asia is very encouraging for all of us. At the end, the Venerable Chief Monk, Preah Krou Keo Hong urged us to commemorate such event consistently and we must unify all Khmers together regardless of Khmer Leu, Khmer Kandal or Khmer Krom in the purpose to rise up the fame and reputation of the Khmer people.