|A Symbol of Khmer Nationalism|
|Khmer National Identity|
The words nationalism and racism are completely different in meanings and in practices, but some people have still confused the meanings of these two terms. Nationalism is always being promoted and glorified by all the leaders around the world while at the same time, they have rejected racism. If the leaders lose sense of nationalism, those leaders are easily manipulated and swindled by the others. Nationalism is the covert agenda in international relations among the leaders around the world. Conversely, racism is totally nixed and condemned by all world leaders even though it had been practised in the past by some countries.
Literally, nationalism shortly means: devotion to national interest, unity, and independence. And racism means: a belief that some races are by nature superior to others or discrimination based on such a belief. Since the Vietnamese invasion in Cambodia 1979, the word "nationalism" has never been promoted and glorified by the government at all. Instead we have repeatedly heard the words solidarity, traditional friendship, brotherhood, and cooperation that never have been used in the western Society. When the opposition leaders and some people try to promote and extol nationalism among Khmer people, they are stigmatized of being racists. Khmers, who have struggled to survive from Vietnam's domination for years, have been branded by some foreigners as practising racism toward the Vietnamese. In the contrary, the Khmer people are the real victims of racism policy imposed by Hanoi over Cambodia for centuries.
Evidently, Khmer Krom, who have lived in their homeland for generations in Vietnam, are being discriminated and persecuted by the Vietnamese government and authority indefinitely. they have not been allowed to form the association, to open their own schools, to openly practised their religion, to promote their culture, and so on. In contrast, the Vietnamese immigrants, who have lived in Cambodia legally and illegally, have been freely allowed to form their own associations, schools, openly practised religion, to promote their culture and businesses including the rights to vote even they are illegal immigrants. In addition to these basic rights, they have more privileges and special rights over ordinary Khmer people; they are well protected and accommodated by the Cambodian government and authorities-- issuing citizenship card, voter IDs, business licences, resettlement and so on while many Khmer people have been disfranchised from vote on their own country, faced forceful eviction from their homes without proper compensations and other numerous social injustices. In such a condition, who are the real racists?
To survive from this imminent threat of the Vietnamese's domination and their unfair treatment on the Khmer people, we need to promote and extol nationalism among our people. If all Khmers can live in unity, work together to protect our own interest, and safeguard our own independence, we will be able to free ourselves from the Vietnamese's yoke in the near future. Without sense of nationalism, we are prone to be manipulated and swindled by the foreigners. For example, Hun Sen is a leader without sense of nationalism by always placing Hanoi's interest above Khmer's interest--border treaty, economic and land concessions, free flow in of Vietnamese immigrants, grand voting rights to them, and so on. Eventually, He has led the country to self destruction.
In short, all leaders in the world have tried to promote nationalism among their peoples in order to strengthen their national unity against the outside plots. Fundamentally, all leaders must have sense of nationalism as their moral and political guide to lead their country toward peace and stability on internatinal stage. However, they must not promote or encourage racism among their own people because it will be incendiary resentment and inflict injury physically and emotionally to other peoples without any reason. The terms nationalism and racism never have the same meaning in any circumstance and should not be confused by anyone.