Monday, December 30, 2013

Hun Sen in Hanoi to Get Political Tactic Advice

Hun Sen visited Hanoi during crisis at home

 protesters in the heart of Phnom Penh demanding Hun Sen to step down

By Khmer Wathanakam

The largest protest ever took place on Sunday December 29, 2013 demanding Hun Sen to step down brought a political tsunami and grievances to the regime that has oppressed people over three decades.  Albeit multiple protests took place at the same time, there were few polices presented at the scenes.  Hun Sen, an apathetic leader, seems ignore the demand, and he may try to outlast protesters, allowing them to exhaust and to fade out by themselves.  On the other hand, Hun Sen may use a Hanoi taught tactic, tricking his enemies into a trap and ambushing. 

Now our visible conjecture based on a pattern in the past, smaller protests were met with violent crackdown by polices, but mass protests gained more respect from them.  Furthermore, Previously, mass or small protest must get a permission from the City Hall or Interior Ministry and arranged several meetings between protest organizers and city officials, but now those restrictions seem no longer fallow or impose by anyone.  All protesters from different groups got free hands to march through the city streets as long as they are organized and peaceful.  It is the first time that protesters were allowed to march or to stay in front of government power structure facilities--prime minister office building, defense ministry, economic and finance ministry, and several other facilities.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Hun Sen Will Face Dilemma if War Break out in South China Sea

China Navy

Vietnam Navy

By Khmer Wathanakam

Vast reserves of natural resources in South China Sea have attracted many countries to claim their shares in the area ,and it has become the most potential hot spot of armed conflicts in future. China claimed that its right to the area come from 2,000 years of history where Paracel and Spratlys Island Chains were parts of Chinese nation.  But Vietnam counterclaimed that it actively ruled over both island chains since 17th century and had documents to prove it.  However, in 1992, China passed its law declaring the entire of South China Sea as its territory.  Accordingly, China has issued a number of strongly-worded statement, warning all its rivals to stop any mineral exploration in the area.  Nonetheless, a fresh visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Vietnam and Philippine has put a brake on China's threat and reassured that the U.S. still maintains its "status quo" in Asia-Pacific.  Any war between China and Vietnam over South China Sea dispute will force Cambodia to take side clearly as Hun Sen has faced his dilemma to serve his two rival masters--Vietnam and China.

A row in South China Sea has dragged on for decades, involving occasional armed conflicts among the claimants especially between China and Vietnam.  In 1947,  China officially divulged its map covering most of the area.  In 1974, a navy clash between the two traditional foes killed at least 70 Vietnamese sailors, and China seized control Paracel Islands from Vietnam.  The next armed clash on Spratlys Islands in 1988 when Vietnam again came off worse, losing about 60 fighters.  After these two major battles, frequent skirmishes has occurred since then.  To strengthen its position over the area, in 2012 China formally created Sansha City, an administrative body to administer Paracel and Spratlys Island Chains though Vietnam fiercely protested against this move.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sovereignty Dispute Over Koh Tral

Koh Tral map

Koh Tral natural beach

By Khmer Wathanakam

Koh Tral is a beautiful natural island located just 12 km from Cambodian coastline and 50 km from Vietnam's.  Koh Tral has land area 574 square km and population about 85,000 in compared with Singapore with 750 square km and population about 5 million.  Although Koh Tral never have been controlled by Khmer government at least from French colonial time, all Khmer leaders in the past still claimed it as part of Khmer territory except from 1979 until today when the current government was installed by Vietnam to rule Cambodia as its proxy power officially recognized Koh Tral as part of Vietnam through an illegal 1982 border treaty and a controversial 2005 additional border treaty.  Today as Khmer won the second case over a promontory of Phreas Vihea Temple from Thailand in the international court, a loss of Koh Tral has become another hot topic of debate though Hun Sen has tried to whitewash it as his fault.  Based on history and physical location of Koh Tral, it clearly belongs to Cambodia.  Thus, what the current Khmer leaders should do for a loss of this precious gem?

Albeit Koh Tral history was not well documented in Khmer history, we did find some documents related to it.  In 1856 King Ang Duong, the most respectful Khmer King after Angkor Era, informed French envoys in Bangkok intended to yield Koh Tral to France in exchange for military alliance to thwart a threat from Vietnam.  But France which had already eyed on its preys of the whole Cambodia and Laos had no reason to respond with King Ang Duong's small gift.  And in his previous letter to Napoleon III, King Ang Duong warned France to stay away from Khmer territory including Koh Tral which had been controlled by Vietnam for several decades.  In 1939, Governor General Jules Bravie had drawn a line to delimit administration boundaries: north of the line were placed under Cambodian protectorate; south of the line were managed by Cochin-China Colony.  Based on Bravie's line, Koh Tral was under Vietnamese protectorate; however, Bravie decision only addressed police and administrative tasks, no sovereignty decision had been made.  After Cambodian independence in 1953, a sovereign dispute over Koh Tral was raised since there was no colonial decision on the island's fate.  In 1957, Sihanouk referred to Lon Nol, a defense minister, to protect Khmer islands including Koh Tral.  In similar note, King Surrarit reaffirmed that Cambodia had a historical right over Koh Tral.  In 1972 the Khmer Republic reiterated that Khmer had sovereignty over Koh Tral and its surrounded water, and it warned all oil exploring companies to stay away from that area.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cambodia Needs Credible Mechanism to Settle Crisis

Cambodian Royal Armed Forces

Cambodian Royal Armed Forces

By Khmer Wathanakam

 Most Western countries solve their political crisis through judicial system while other countries around the world solve their crisis with other mechanisms--monarchy, military, and even foreign mediators.  But in Cambodia, there is no credible mechanism in place to solve frequent fractious crisis.
Indeed, Cambodian constitution is among the best law in the region, for it derived part of it from the Paris Peace Accord in 1991 which fundamentally embraces democratic principle and respect of human rights; however the constitution seems have only on the paper.  In reality Cambodia still practices a de facto authoritarian or Communist political system when one man and one party control all aspects of the society, and at the same time they play democracy game to distort the public and the international community.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Two Crisis in Different Natures

Ms.Yingluk, the 13th Thai Prime Minister since 1985

Hun Sen, a Cambodian Prime Minister since 1985

By Khmer Wathanakam

After more than two years on power by landslide election victory, Thai Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra has faced a similar fate as her brother Tacksin who was ousted by military coup in 2006.   Two weeks of violent protest has forced Prime Minister Yingluk to dissolve her democratic elected parliament and called for a new snap election in order to avert bloodshed.  Nevertheless, her painful concession has not satisfied the protester conservative leader Suthep who has demanded her resignation and prosecution for unspecified alleged corruption.  Ms.Yingluk emotionally pleaded on TV to Thai people for calm and set a new election has struck hearts and minds of Cambodian people who are tussling with Hun Sen who had rigged the election which cost the opposition victory.  During election protest rally in Seam Reap, Sam Rainsey openly called for Hun Sen to resign or to fallow Ms.Yingluk's solution.  But every call and demand of the people seems fall on Hun Sen's deaf ears since he fears nothing but to lose his power.  Now many concerns have been raised whether the Cambodian opposition are tough enough to force Hun Sen to step down or to accept a new election.

To understand why Cambodian crisis has dragged on too long while Thai political crisis seems reach on its final stage, we should look into political system of the two countries.  Thailand is a true democratic country where all national institutions are very independent from political parties especially military, police, court, and national election committee.  When these power sources are neutral, they create balance of power that provides political parties the same playing fields to deter each other if any one dares to go beyond power limit.  Such political environment has enhanced and sustained democratic process to move forward.  Thailand and Japan have frequently changed their leaders more than any country in the world.  Since 1985 when Hun Sen was appointed as a prime minister by Vietnamese troops, Thailand has been ruled by at least 13 prime ministers, and most of them were on power for less than a year; only Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanon had the longest rule from 1980 to 1988.  He was well-known among Thai people as a fierce anti-Vietnamese invasion in Cambodia, and he ended Thai Communist insurgency in 1982 through an amnesty law.  A frequent change of Thai leaders is based on Thai political culture when people lost faith with their leaders, they come to streets to demand their leaders resigned or intervened by military.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Poor Choice of Words by Politicians

Sam Rainsey and his poor choice of words

A group of women right defenders
By Khmer Wathanakam

During a recent political rally in Seam Reap to celebrate a Human Right Day and a protest on election fraud, Sam Rainsey has accidentally become a victim of a poor choice of his own words when he said, "Hun Sen is weaker than female" in solving a political crisis in compared with Thai Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra.  But a poor choice of words that Sam Rainsey had used to denigrate Hun Sen turned out to be insulted on women instead.  Since a speech took place on a Human Right Day, and he is a human right defender, people have reacted to his speech in different ways.  When some people have ignored it; the others have even demanded for public apology.

A word "weaker than female" is commonly used by ordinary Khmer to insult or to tease each other for being incompetent and coward.  Now this old Khmer joke is no longer to be a joke, for people are struggling to demand equal right for all genders. Many Khmer women have shown their courage to defense their rights against the current repressive regime.  Over 90 percent of protesters against forceful eviction by the authorities are women.  At least one of them, Tep Vanny, was awarded as a champion of human right defender while other were jailed in different times for brave actions to protect their right.  These are just a few examples that Khmer women are courageous to fight against social injustice and to break a " status quo"

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cambodia and Thailand's Crisis, Two Different Political Cultures

Cambodian protest on October, 2013

Thai protest on December 03, 2013
By Khmer Wathanakam

Cambodia post-election crisis has dragged on over four months and no sign of political breakthrough.  Now CNRP plans a fourth mass protest in Seam Reap on December 10, 2013 to continue demanding justice for voters.  Meanwhile, CPP has revealed its new tactic of intimidation against the opposition leadership with two possible lawsuits and a plan of assassination attempt and replacing new elected CNRP members a long with a call for talk.  As Cambodian political crisis in a deadlock, Thailand has slipped into another crisis for just less than three years; the crisis has reached a tipping point for less than a week when protesters stormed and occupied many government buildings that nearly made the government paralyzed.  As the Thai protest has gained momentum, many questions have raised that "Should Cambodian protesters follow the Thai?"  Based on two different political cultures of the two countries, we should not follow them.

Although the two countries share a common religion, similar culture and language originated from India, they have two distinct political cultures.  Historically, Thailand is more stable politically and economically than Cambodia.  Albeit Thailand has gone through at least eighteen military coups hitherto, Thailand has still managed to maintain civilian democratic elected governments over past decades in compared with Mayanmar which has been ruled by a military Junta since 1962 until 2011.  Thailand is among the most democratic countries in the region along with Philippines and Indonesia.  In 1932, a Thai military's bloodless coup had forced King Prajadhipok to give up an absolute monarchy power and embraced a constitutional monarchy ceded most power to parliament that has been practiced until today.  Furthermore, Thailand is a true sovereign and independent nation, and no any country dares to meddle with its own internal affairs in contrast to Cambodia.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

December 2, 1978, Hanoi Approved a Plan for Full Scale Invasion

Pen Sovann, a Khmer Vietminh later turned against his boss

Hun Sen, a Khmer Rouge Defector has become a dictator

BY Khmer Wathanakam

December 2, 1978 is a day that Khmer history repeated itself when Hanoi created a Khmer polity to serve its own interest in the third time--the Unified Khmer Issarak 1946, the Khmer Revolutionary Communist Party 1951, and the Khmer National United Front for National Salvation (KNUFNS) December, 02 1978.  A creating of the KNUFUS based on two factors: a historical fulfilment and an urgent need of Hanoi.  Historically, Vietnam at least failed three times to conquer Cambodia--a failure of Vietnamization in Cambodia by Emperor Minh Mang and his successor Thiev Tree in 1848, a failure to create an autonomous zone for the Khmer Vietminh after Geneva Conference 1954, and a forceful withdrawal of Vietcong troops from Khmer Rouge liberated zones in 1973.  Urgently, Pol Pot's troop's reckless and anarchic behaviors along Cambodia-Vietnam borders, created a serious security threat to Vietnamese civilians along the borders.  Pol Pot's purge against his own party members created exodus of Khmer Rouge defectors and refugee into Vietnam.  After series meetings of the Vietnamese Politburo members chaired by Le Duan, Vietnam solemnly declared that it could no longer coexist with a hostile regime of Democratic Kampuchea ( DK), and it officially set up the KNUFNS on December 2, 1978 to overthrow Pol Pot's regime by fomenting uprising from inside or launching a full scale invasion.

In Summer 1978, Vietnam set up training camps for the former Khmer Vietminh: Pen sovann, Chan Chi, Bou Thang, Chea Soth... along with the Khmer Rouge defectors: Heng Samrin, Chea Sim, Hun Sen, Pol Saroeun, Sar Kheng and so on.  An intensive program of military training and indoctrination was introduced to make sure they have enough skill to fight alongside "brother-in-arms" with the Vietnamese troops and still faithful to Hanoi and the Communist camp led by the Soviet Union.  By late 1978, a new strong Khmer Rouge defector battalion was commissioned and capable to engage in a tough battle abreast with their Vietnamese comrades.  As every thing set ready to go, Le Duc Tho told them that Vietnam would launch a full scale invasion on Cambodia in the upcoming dry season.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Globalization in Cambodia, Cured or Cursed?

Sovanna Six-Story Shopping Mall, Phnom Phenh

Slum Areas on Mekong River

By Khmer Wathanakam

Globalization is a process of international integration arising from the interchanging of economic and cultural activities.  The term originates from the European age of discovery, but it has rarely used until mid-1990 when this term has been heavily used by the IMF and many academics, and it became a study course of the International Relation Major.  Since the end of Cold War 1991 causing by a collapse of the Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union,  globalization has sped up in a remarkable pace.  Separately, globalization has spread into Cambodia in full scale since the UN-organized election 1993.  As Cambodia abandoned the Communist central planned economy and embraced a free market economy, eventually, the country has opened its door to the world in the first time since 1975.  Through globalization, Cambodia has thrived with fast economic growth and modernization: it brings more jobs, increases incomes and standard of living, improves health care and education, and finally brings in technologies and new ideas to the people who have deprived for decades of war and economic embargo from the West.  However, based on a real condition in the country, dose globalization help or hurt the people in Cambodia?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How Fair are the Media in Cambodia?

The CPP's propaganda machine
By Khmer Wathanakam

There are at least ten TV stations and hundreds of radio stations and news papers In Cambodia, but only few of them broadcast and distribute reliable news for people.  Although the constitution fully guarantees  free press but most media are tightly controlled by the ruling party, especially the TV stations that monopoly gripped by the CPP.  All ten TV stations broadcast the same news and speak the same language of the CPP's propaganda.  If they choose to cover the opposition and people's activities, they try to manipulate and distort the news from black to white and white to black.  As news on the government controlled media are not reliable, now most people turn to social media and Internet networks that mostly are free from the government restriction and very popular among the youths.  To attract more audiences, recently, many government controlled media started to cover some opposition activities, and now Mr. Khanharith, a minister of information, ordered to cut off tedious news from the state-run TVK covering government officials' activities.  However, all these measures fall short to gain trust from the public, for they don't change contents of the news and still heavily bias toward the ruling party.

Nothing unusual, during the election campaigns, every prime time of all the TV stations fully covered the CPP campaigns finished with negative images or distorted news from the opposition.  More than this, there was very appalling to the public when Sam Rainsey returned from his nearly four-year political exile with ten thousands of cheering people came to welcome him from airport without a minute of news coverage from all TV stations in the country while many prominent foreign news reporters flew thousands of miles to cover this historic event such as ABC, BBC, AFP, Kiodo, and so on.  In a true democratic country, such a great event is a live broadcast to people throughout the country and the world.  The media coverage in such a great event mutually benefits the people to receive true and vivid news as well as the media businesses which make more profit from their advertising sales when they can attract more audiences on their air time.   But no TV station in the country is brave enough to break the CPP's media grip, since losing license to operate the TV is more serious than losing the audiences.

Nevertheless, after election time, the CPP's controlled media started to change their tactics of distributing  news in order to compete with the most popular social media that are independent but bravely devoted to  divulge all truths to the public such as I love Cambodia Hot News, founded by a young brave student, Thy Sovantha, and numerous websites that fiercely speak against injustice in society. The CPP's new tactic by providing some air time coverages to the opposition activities and the people protests make no differences, for the contents of the news on TVs are still very distorted and heavy bias.  For instances, during many major opposition mass protests against election fraud, all the TVs did not broadcast the important news about the number of protesters, speeches and grievances of the people or showed large crowds of protesters on the Plaza, instead they focused on traffics and police protecting safety and showed few scattered protesters walking on the sidewalks.  Recently, in an event of violence at Wat Steung Meanchey, the TVs failed to air horrendous pictures of police violence but to show burning police trucks and blamed the protesters as opportunists.  But those police brutalities against innocent onlookers and monks were fully exposed by numerous social media and some foreign networks.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe Want in the Visit

Hun Sen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The Japan-China dispute Island Senkakus
By Khmer Wathanakam

There are two central themes that the two leaders, Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe want during the two-day visit in Cambodia.  Shinzo Abe naively asked Hun Sen, a close Chinese Ally, to support his effort in dealing with China on an altercation over an uninhabited island Senkaku while Hun Sen scares to dead to talk about a dispute over Kah Tral with Hanoi.  However, it is a fresh remind for Hun Sen to learn that this how a sovereign country conducts its foreign policies even a small uninhabited island is still very value for them, but Hun Sen's foreign policies involved with national sovereignty with the neighboring countries is totally submissive especially with Vietnam.  On the other hand, when Hun Sen's new unilateral created government is in question about its legitimacy, Hun Sen sees Abes's visit as a stamp of approval of his new dubious government.  To avoid criticism from Mr. Abe over election rig, Hun Sen pretends to ask him for Japan's expertise on the next election.

Japan and China fierce confrontation over a dispute island of Senkaku is fuelled by both historical animosities and nationalism.  Japan annexed this unclaimed island in 1895 when China maintained that this island is part of its "inherent" territory over hundreds of years.  A tangible value of this island is not much important to both countries but heavy political and historical value.  The New conservative Japanese Prime Minister Abe relentless effort to thwart Chinese aggression over Japanese claimed sovereignty seems produce little fruitful result but add more tension to the region while many countries in the region have already faced a rigid pressure from China over the South China Sea dispute that pushed Hun Sen into an awkward position in his clumsy foreign policies.  Last year, during ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen eerily made most ASEAN members dismayed  and upset even his own patron Hanoi over a controversial code of conduct in dealing with China on the dispute of South China Sea when he tried to appease China which is a main bank rolled supporter of his regime.  Now he seems make China a bit upset when he verbally supports Japan's policy dealing with China on the dispute based on  maritime and international law.  Coincidentally, is Hun Sen brave enough to confront with Hanoi over Kah Tral based on this maritime and international law?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How Khmer Leaders Deal with Their Traditional Enemy

King Sihanouk, a Khmer Leader Without Principle
Marshal Lon Nol, a Khmer Ultra-Nationalist
By Khmer Wathanakam

After independence from French Protectorate 1953, Cambodia again has faced a continuous threat from its neighbors, at this time not Thailand but decisively by Vietnam.  Facing this wily and powerful enemy, many Khmer leaders have chosen their own strategies based on their personal vengeance and chutzpah without deep insight and flexibility.  Consequently, our country has become weaker and almost paralyzed until today.  As most of us know that Vietnam has a 100-year plan to conquer our land after successfully took over our big chunk of territory Kampuchea Krom.  Now Vietnam final goal is to swallow our current land, Cambodia which already has been indirectly ruled by its proxy power, the CPP.  To win this historical battle against our traditional and powerful enemy, our current leaders should learn from past experiences and mistakes that our previous leaders had committed and use them as a guideline to avoid a repeated mistake for the current struggle.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Khmer Independence, Part of Untold Story

King Sihanouk and French Officers

King Sihanouk and his militias searched for Vietminh troop
By Khmer Wathanakam

Cambodia was bestowed under French protectorate when its leaders were unable to safeguard it from continuous onslaughts of its two powerful neighbors--Vietnam and Thailand. "The colonial era began without a shot and in a very tentative way" said, David Chandler, an Academic Historian.  King Norodom, a Thai's protege, concluded a treaty with  French officers in 1863 without Thai's knowledge, and the treaty was ratified by the French Government in Paris early 1864--it was too late to react when Thailand found out later.  Under the French protectorate, Cambodia received both positive and negative effects.  Positively, the French provided Cambodia full protection, introduced land reforms, ideas of democracy, judicial system, technology, and abolished slavery.  However, there were much more negative effects than positive ones: the French ceded parts of Khmer territory to Vietnam, imposed heavy taxes on people, plundered Khmer natural resources to enrich themselves, destroyed Khmer Language, new democracy, and refused to grant full independence to Khmer Nationalists.  Cambodia independence was not easily and freely granted by the French but by relentless struggles of our Khmer Heroes and most of them left out without recognition.

After the end of World War II, independence movements sprang up all over the world.  In Indochina, the struggles for independence spread throughout the three countries from many different groups of nationalist, Communist, monarchist, and democrat. In Cambodia, the combined forces of nationalist and democrat group was a spearhead of a struggle for independence followed by the communist and monarchist groups. When the World War was over, the French started to loosen its power grip to all people in their colonies.  exclusively, in 1946, the French allowed a first democratic election on our country to choose the constituent assembly. Three political parties were emerged led by three princes: Prince Sisowat Yuthevong, a father of Khmer Democracy, was a honored president of a Democratic Party, the most popular party in that time; a Liberal Party led by Prince Norodom Narindeth and a Progressive Party led by Prince Norodom Monthana.   Although the three princes had different political ideologies, but they shared the same loyalty to a throne and the same concern to  the growing power of Khmer Vietminh (the Communist party created by Ho Chi Minh in1930 to liberate the whole Indochina from the French).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Leadership We Should Trust

CNPR's Leaders

CNRP's supporters

By Khmer Wathanakam

A resumption of negotiation between the two parties--the CNRP and the CPP this week--has attracted numerous reactions from both supporters and civil society along with many political analysts. Some supporters have believed that the CNRP's negotiation with the adamant CPP would eventually create a coalition government or an inferior partnership with the CPP as the Forncinpec had practiced in the past, and others would even think that to negotiate means to join with the CPP.  For the civil society, some have expressed doubt about a success of negotiation while many political analysts have expressed optimism, and some even have forced both parties to speed up negotiation to end the current crisis by bestowing  national interest above every thing [national interest can be interpreted based on individual favor].  Whatever everyone demands will push the CNRP's leadership beyond its limited leverage in dealing with the apathetic CPP which always places personal power and Hanoi's interest above Khmer's interest.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What does the International Community Stand for the Current Crisis?

The people march to UN office and other embassies
The rally at the Democracy Plaza

By Khmer Wathanakam

After the third mass protest, the two main political parties will reckon a possible way to end a political impasse that has crippled the country over three months.  The CPP has eked its rule as usual business without paying attention to what the mass of people are demanding for. The CNRP is still facing its dilemma: to stand firm with the CPP or to resort to some degree of flexibility in negotiation with the CPP in any future rendezvous. This fresh mass protest along with over two millions thumb prints petition to the UN and other signatory countries in the Paris Peace accord will add more leverages for the CNRP in the next negotiation. However, the CNRP's momentum gets a setback recently when some leaders of the key signatory and donor countries have openly congratulated Hun Sen for his dubious re-elected new term, namely France, Australia, and Japan. But these countries have also insisted that the two parties must continue negotiate to end the current crisis peacefully.

The CNRP has not much room to move besides staging a mass peaceful protest and boycotting the new legislature. To stand firm with the CPP in such a current strategy is unlikely to work in a long term, but according to Mr. Kem Sokha, a vice president of the CNRP, said that his party still has some unrevealed strategies to deploy in the future if needed. Now the party needs to demand the freedom space for the supporters first. And this primary step seems work, as Kim Sokha mentioned that there were no massive troop deployment, no road blocks, and no security forces' intimidation despite the number of protesters in the rally and march far exceeded the authority's limit.  But based on the people's actions and will, they want to do more than just peaceful protest if their demand for justice is not considered by the ruling party. Most protesters openly demanded Hun Sen to step down and to proclaim Sam Rainsey as their sole prime minister. They have been perturbed by continuous repression and social injustice over the past 34 years under Hun Sen's rule, and another five year-term rule of the same old face is unbearable for them.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Growing Community in a New Promised Land

Salute the flags of the US, Cambodia, and Buddhism

Prepared for Buddhist Monks' sermon

Reported by ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

Minnesota, a land of ten thousands lakes and a home of the Mall of America ( the largest shopping mall in the nation) is also a promising land for a Cambodian Community in the US. About 10,000 Cambodian Americans settled in the state, the coldest place in winter but the most beautiful place in summer. Minnesota's size is slightly bigger than Cambodia (about 220,000 to 180,000 square km ), but it has population roughly about five millions as compared to Cambodia about 15 millions, which is one of the most spacious states for its small population. Such a natural endowment has contributed to a sustainable livelihood of the people in the state. A wast green land has provided people with many great activities during summer time: from camping, fishing, hunting, picnic, and  numerous activities that help people releasing their stress from urban life and work places. Also Minnesota is a leading state in agriculture as well as the high tech-industries; many US giant companies are originated here such as 3M, Delta Airline, Metronic, General Mill, BestBuy, and so on. These high-tech companies have provided a great employment opportunity for the people from different backgrounds. For Cambodian Community despite it's smaller than Spanish, Hmong, Somalia, India, and Vietnamese Communities, but its unique culture and adherence to Theravada Buddhism have made it more visible than the other minorities in the state.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Paris vs. Geneva Peace Accords

Four Cambodian Factions 

By Khmer Wathanakam

The Paris peace Agreement officially ended a protracted war between the Vietnamese invaders along with their communist satellite regime and the Khmer Tripartite Resistance Government on October 23, 1991. But this agreement seemed officially legalize Hanoi's proxy regime which had isolated from the international community over a decade rather than fully protected Khmer's interest. In fact, the Paris Peace Agreement is fair enough for Cambodia, and it is the second political instrument or thwart after the Geneva Peace Accord in 1954 for Cambodia to protect itself from all potential enemies, especially Vietnam and Thailand. Unfortunately, this agreement has been hijacked by the current regime which has repeatedly violated the Paris Peace Accord--unfair border demarcation, bloody coup 1997, human right abuse, election fraud, and so on. If this accord is fully respected and fallowed by Hun Sen's regime, Cambodia will become a master of its own destination and the most democratic and developed country in the region.

The Paris Peace Agreement has provided Cambodia all political and economic means to defense and to develop itself to its potential capacity.  But Hun Sen has not only ignored it but repeatedly violated it. There are many important parts of this accord, but we pick only two crucial elements as examples: (1) part II, article 12 explicitly spells out the guarantee of the people's rights to determine their future based on free and fair election, but so far all elections have not been free nor fair except the UN's supervision election in 1993. (2) part IV, article 18 clearly spells out about how to maintain, to preserve, and to defense the country, and how the other signatories recognize and respect the sovereignty, independence, and the national unity of Cambodia. In this article, Vietnam and Thailand  (the signatory countries) grossly violated it. Vietnam forced Hun Sen to sign an unfair border treaty in 2005, which severely violated Cambodia's sovereignty and independence. And Thailand's claim over part of the Preas Vihear Temple's vicinity is also another violation over the Cambodian sovereignty even in a smaller scale vis a vis Vietnam which has covertly controlled Cambodia via its subservient Hun Sen's Regime.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Opposition's Exclusion from the Power Mechanism in the Legislature will Creates a Resolute Political Battle

Hun Sen, an unpredictable leader

An insincere handshake

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

After the negotiation between the CPP and the CNRP has faltered over the past two months, the CPP which has created the new government on its own will, has planned to finish its final work of creating the power mechanism in the parliament unilaterally again without showing any interest to solve the problem with the opposition except leaving a fractional power for the opposition to get it or to lose it. Such a brave move by Hun Sen and his CPP is very unacceptable to any party in the dispute. Hun Sen and his CPP are using their tons of leverages to force the opposition to succumb in order to end the crisis on their own will.  This offensive act cannot end this crisis quickly but to prolong it without a foreseen future. Hun Sen and his CPP intend to create more crisis but claim they don't have the crisis, and they intend to break up the national unity when they always talk about the national reconciliation. This is a hypocrisy that the CPP has preached over the past 30 years. So far, the CPP has not made any considerable concession that help to end the current crisis but to ignore and ignite it. when Hun Sen and his CPP complete their final work of creating the power structure in the parliament on their own will this week, there is nothing left for the opposition to talk with them any more but to prepare for the riskier and resolute battle with the CPP in the future. The CNRP still possesses more leverages against the CPP but not fully guaranteed of its success.The opposition have no more room to move but to fight for their survival to the end by using all their available leverages at this final stage of the crisis.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hun Sen and the Opposition's New deployed Strategies

King Sihamoni and the CPP's entourage

Tear Banh the longest serving defense minister with his officers

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

As the CPP and the CNRP prepared for their final push to end a prolonged post-election crisis, Hun Sen has deployed his new strategy by using the King and the constitution as the final shields to legitimize his new created government without any input from the opposition. Hun Sen has publicly called for the armed forces to protect the King and the constitution later echoed by Tear Banh, the longest serving defense minister in the country. Meanwhile, the CNRP has renewed a call for another mass protest including the people congress and petitions to the UN to intervene into the election dispute. These are the new strategies that both parties are deploying before any final possible agreement can be reached.

To defense his dictatorial power with all means, Hun Sen, who is a knave, has even used a mathematics theorem as his strategy to protect his power in such a vulnerable situation. As the majority of the people have shown their discontents to his long dictatorial rule and even demanded him to step down, Hun Sen has nothing to defense himself from this popular demand besides using violent forces to suppress the innocent people. Mathematically, in a theorem of Geometry if a line parallels to the first of the two paralleled lines, it also parallels to the second line. Based on this theory, Hun Sen forced the King to approve his new government, and any one or group oppose his government  means they also oppose the King. Then when they oppose the King, they oppose the constitution so they are subjected to be punished by all necessary means including violent forces. This evil strategy was reiterated by Tear Banh that he would use the armed forces to protect the King and the constitution. Literally, in such a scenario, the armed forces will protect Hun Sen directly under a banner of protecting the King and the constitution while the people have nothing to do with the King and constitution but to demand Hun Sen to relinquished his undeserved power. The opposition should take this Hun Sen's latest strategy in to their account before making any unpredictable move, but if the opposition just choose to protest as usual, Tear Banh absolutely has no excuse to use the armed forces against the peaceful protest. Any move by the armies against the peaceful protest will grossly violate the constitution that Tear Banh himself has declared to protect with all cost.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Possible Political Solution is in Sight

The CNRP 's elected lawmakers

The CPP's elected lawmakers
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

After nearly two months of defending their controversial election victory which has been officially rejected by the opposition, Hun Sen and his CPP have unilaterally wrapped up their wily game by creating the new government and the power structure in the new National Assembly without the participation from the CNRP. Such a bold move has put the new government into question among the people and the international community. However, this is a reality that the opposition have faced when the whole system in the country from village chief up to the King are under the CPP's control. There is no free and fair political atmosphere for the CNRP to move on but probably to capitulate with them at the end. Even though both sides have opened the doors for further negotiations, but the CNRP seem have not much leverages to maneuver against the heavy weight CPP any more. Any tough stand against the CPP will be more risky than beneficial for the party and the people, but to continue negotiation with the CPP may produce a more acceptable solution and benefit for the party in a long run. Now the CPP has divulged its offer while the CNRP has announced that any solution that protects the interest of the people will be considered.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The CPP See Its Strategy advanced with Uncertain Future

An uneasy smiling between the two rivals

the CPP Delegation

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

 Since it was installed by Hanoi as its proxy to rule Cambodia over 34 years, the CPP now faces a new reality for its invincible power for the first time. After the UN sponsored election in 1993, the CPP has continued to hold the power in the government without substantial opposition in the parliament, and now the balance of power has changed even the new government is expected to be the same as the current one. Even though the CPP has controlled nearly all aspects of the power structures throughout the country including the NEC and the CCC and massive efforts and extravagant spending on the election campaigns, the CPP has lost its 23 seats to the CNRP based on the current unfair election standard. But if it allowed the election to be free and fair, it would certainly lose its majority in the parliament undoubtedly. As most people suspected, the CPP had collusion with its controlled NEC to guarantee its victory no matter what. Now as the post-election crisis has reached its final stage, the CPP has used its new strategy by isolating and ignoring all the CNRP's demands and forcing the King to open the first parliamentarian session without the CNRP's participation. As the King faced an unpleasant choice to preside over the first parliamentarian session without the participation from opposition, who represent the majority of the people, has added another mess into the current crisis.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The CNRP Faces Its Dilemma But See Its Bright Future

The CNRP Delegation

Sam Raisey and Hun Sen's handshake

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

After two rounds of taut negotiation, the CPP and CNRP have some sense of optimism which can help them to break a post-election political stalemate. However, the two parties, in principle, are still far away from each other on the key issue that both sides have to compromise on the CNRP's demand of creating an independent inquiry for election fraud, which fiercely rejected by the CPP. In such a predicament, the CNRP has faced its final dilemma--to drop this demand will alienate itself from its supporters; to continue pushing for this demand, it will face with unpredictable consequences as the time is running out to form the new legislature and the government. The CNRP may not drop that demand but is likely to swap for what can be tantamount to it. To swap the independent inquiry with the full reform of the NEC and the whole election process including all important national institutions may be more acceptable to the CPP . Nevertheless, the CNRP must not join the coalition government with the CPP under any condition, but it must take the key committee chairmanships and the president position in the Parliament while the CPP still takes control the government. This simple but practical formula will create a check and balance of power between the legislature and the government. When one party controls the legislature and the other controls the government, it will create a check and balance of power system which has been practised in most democratic countries in the world, especially in the US. Without such a system, the current government will not be accountable to the people as we have seen over the past 20 years.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Post-Election Political Deadlock has Reached a Tipping Point

King Sihamony
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Opposition Leader Sam Rainsey

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

The post election crisis has reached its tipping point this week, when the urgent and short meeting under our majesty King Sihanomy's mediation has produced no fruitful result or reduced any tension while the new round of talk was accepted by both parties. The first parliamentarian session is one week away while the new round of mass protest by the people is just few hours away. Does our majesty King Sihamony has any leverage to bring the two parties close to their agreement? Can the two parties reach a final solution without their painful concessions?

All the public eyes had focused on the first meeting between the two parties presided over by the King whose role is a mediator and a guarantor of national reconciliation and unity, but the meeting produced nothing beside the handling of the invitation cards to both parties' members to attend the first session of the newly elected parliamentarians, which is required by the Constitution. But the CNRP has strongly rejected the King's invitation, and vowed to boycott the parliament session until at least their minimum demand to find justice for the people has met. So far, the CPP have declared that the door of forming an independent inquiry to investigate the poll fraud has been shut, and they would be interested to talk with the CNRP merely on the procedure of forming a new government. How can the two parties reach their final solution if both sides insisted on their own terms?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Khmer Buddhism is Disgraced and Endangered by Tep Vong

Tep Vong Shows his friendship with Vietnamese head monk

Tep Vong visited Vietnamese Temple
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

Theravada Buddhism is one of the three denominations of Buddhism--Mahayana, Hinayana or Theravada, and Lamaism--has survived and prospered for centuries in only a few countries in the world: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Separately, Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia has prospered and practised by Khmer since the Angkor Era until today. But it has been endangered when The Khmer Rouge Regime had completely eradicated all religions during their rule followed by strictly controlled and interfered by the Vietnamese backed regime until today. Khmer Buddhism today has lost value and dignity, for this institution has been directly controlled by the ruling party (CPP), installing Tep Vong, an ignorance monk, as the Great Supreme Patriarch of the Khmer Buddhism for which he has absolutely not qualified or deserved based on his religious adept and merit.

Theoretically, the Communists have not endorsed or valued any kind of religions, for it is against their political ideologies; nonetheless, most Communist regimes in the world have not eliminated the religions but severely restricted and discouraged people to adhere them. The Russian Revolution under Starlin's rule and the Chinese Cultural Revolution introduced by Mao Se Tong had almost wiped out the religions from their countries before reviving by the new reform governments. Similarly, the Pol Pot Regime had persecuted and eliminated all forms of religion, especially Buddhism in which more than 95 percent of the people have adhered over centuries. After the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, the Communist Vietnamese while were persecuting their own religions at home, saw the revival of the religions from Pol Pot's eradication in Cambodia, namely Buddhism and Islam would provide them more political gain in their new land. Vietnam brought in a set up group of Khmer Buddhist monks and Khmer Islams to work along with the new Communist puppet regime in Cambodia including the current so-called  Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia, Tep Vong-- an unscrupulous and uneducated monk-- to propagandize for the new Communist regime as a savior of Khmer lives and Buddhism.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The CCC 's Credibility is in Question

The Cambodian Constitutional Council 

The opening of  safety bags "A"

BY ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

The Cambodian Constitutional Council's rejection of the opposition's litigations for invalid ballot's recount in krate Province, and other provinces; and  instead the CCC has preposterously ordered the NEC to reprimand themselves and to punish their local officials for damaging the so-called safety bags "A" that might affect the election results is another explicitly proof that their credibility is questionable. Without the UN involvement and an independent inquiry, there is nothing the opposition can get their justice from such a futile and flagrant institution.

The nine members of the CCC, virtually, at least six of them are the powerful members of the CPP: (1) Mr. Ek Sam Old, the President of the CCC, is a former CPP lawmaker from Prey Veng; he is the most arrogant MP the same as Chea Vun, when he disrupted and scolded the Opposition Leader Sam Rainsey in the past during a debate in the National Assembly without a reason. (2) Mr. Uth Chhorn, is a former CPP Auditor General; (3) Mr. Min Sean is another former CPP lawmaker from Prey Veng; (4) Ms. Chem Veiyrith, a daughter of Mr. Chem Snguon, a former CPP minister of Justice; (5) Mr. Prum Nhean Vichet, a former spokesman for the NEC; (6) Mr. Pit Taingsan is also a former CPP lawmaker. Along with these six CPP witch-hunts, the other three members are the quota from the Royal Palace, the three unscrupulous princes. Prince Chakkrapong, the most controversial politician who used to have close and odd relationships with Hun Sen. Prince Sirivuth, a former Forncinpec Foreign Affair and Interior Minister, and a close friend of Sam Rainsey before turning against him when he got position as the Co-Interior Minister. And Prince Sisovath Phandaravong, a hibernate and worthless prince. As we have seen, the members of this Constitutional Council, which have similar status and duties compared to the US Supreme Court, have done nothing to protect the rights and the will of the people but to manipulate the public in order to save the power for their Boss, Hun Sen who has increasingly become the most contemptible and controversial leader in Cambodian history.