Friday, October 30, 2015

Both sides should restain from verbal and violent attacks on each other

[Image Sam Rainsy's Facebook Page]
By Khmer Wathanakam

A violent mob organized by the ruling party, beaten up two CNRP's MPs severely injured has stirred up more political confrontation between the two leaders.  After condoning violent protest against CNRP's vice president Kem Sokha, Hun Sen also warned that Sam Rainy will face jail term , for he had allowed Hong Sok Hour who was accused and jailed by Hun Sen's court for forging a document about Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty, publishing on his Facebook Page. Sam Rainsy when seeing his party members were beaten up viciously by a violent mob set up by Hun Sen, as a leader of the party, he strongly condemned that brutal attack and demanded the government to bring those perpetrators to justice. Additionally, he compared Hun Sen's tactics of violent intimidation against his party to the fascists in Italy before the World War II in order to delay the two critical elections in 2017-18.  Such an analogy even made Hun Sen more furious, and he demanded Sam Rainsy to apologize him publicly or a culture of dialogue between the two parties will be ended.  Now Sam Rainsy has faced two more imminent threats from Hun Sen--to face a jail term and to apologize him publicly for comparing him to a fascist. A question is whether Hun Sen's threat to put Rainsy behind bar real? And should Sam Rainsy apologize Hun Sen publicly? Sam Rainsy may face an unpleasant choice. A short answer is Sam Rainsy must deny any wrong doing involved with Hong Sok Hour publishing a so called forgery.  And he doesn't need to apologize Hun Sen publicly either.  And another question, does Hun Sen allow Rainsy out of hook? It may or may not, but only a political dialogue between the two parties will solve this continuous political confrontation by tuning down their political rhetoric and violent threat.

[Som Rainsy welcomed by all people during Pchnum Ben, image Sam Rainsy Facebook]

Now Sam Rainsy declared that he would return to the country even receiving a double threat from Hun Sen.  He may want to show the people and the world that he did nothing wrong and had no fear of jail term.  He even warned that if Hun Sen orders his court to jail him, it would aggravate the already tense situation.  In such a political game, both of them will face similar risk, but Sam Rainsy is more likely to face the highest risk comparing to Hun Sen in term of personal safety while Hun Sen may face more pressure from the people and the international community, and more isolation from the world. In such a scenario, any Hun Sen's action against Sam Rainsy, the only main and viable opposition leader who can unseat Hun Sen in the next election, will draw strong reaction from donor countries: the EU, the US, and Japan.  As Cambodian economy grows stronger, it also depends heavier on foreign trades, investments, and tourists.  If the key imported countries such as the US and EU cut their imports of garment and farm products along with slowdown in foreign investments and tourist arrivals, Cambodian economy will slip into recession.  And it poses a great impact on both the rich and the poor.  The poor may lose their job from related exported industries while the rich hit harder from their lost in stock market and decreased property values.  At the end, the whole country will bear a big brunt of economic downturn.  When people are unemployed, more social and political chaos will occur inevitably.

Along with a double threat against Sam Rainsy, the CPP dominated parliament removed Kem Sokha from the vice president post of the National Assembly with 100 percent support from 68 members.  The CPP's senior member Cheang Vun claimed that the parliament has to consider the people's proposal to remove Kem Sokha according to a democratic principle or [according to Hun Sen's order?]  And even not Hun Sen's will, is it possible for a thousand of people to call for a removal of an elected official in the parliament post.  It sounds too good to be true that the CPP respects the principle of democracy like this.  But during post election protest in late 2013, nearly a million people protested to demand Hun Sen stepping down; did Hun Sen listen or consider their demand?  Now only about a thousand protesters most of them Hun Sen's body guards and police and government officials, based on many witnesses' accounts, and many drivers were hired to transport Hun Sen's bodyguards to join the protest that led to bloody violent against the two innocent parliamentarians.  Hun Sen is too much paranoid about people and his opponents.  He got mad with the people protesting against him in New York and in Paris, but he took those events as a pretext to accuse the opposition inciting or organizing those protests.  He forgets to think that those people living in the real democratic society, and he should understand that such protests against his regime have been happened for more than 30 years, ways back from CNRP's inception.  Did the CNRP always stays behind those protests? Evidently, both protest organizers in New York and in Paris strongly denied Hun Sen's accusation on CNRP because they did on their own will for years.

Another paranoia that Hun Sen has for Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy is when Kem Sokha echoed Hun Sen's words about if his party lost, it would be war, confirming that Hun Sen knew that he would lost.
For Sam Rainsy who dared to compared Hun Sen to the fascist in Italy when he saw the pro-Hun Sen mobs attacked his two MPs brutally on the street without police intervention even made Hun Sen more outrageous.  Waste no time after violent mob against Kem Sokha, Hun Sen quickly ordered his party's MPs to remove Kem Sokha as he had warned from Paris a couple days ago.  Sam Rainsy may also face even more serious consequences than Kem Sokha when he will return to the country in week.  He has to apologize Hun Sen publicly and may face charge from Hun Sen's court for providing his Facebook page to Hong Sok Hour publishing a so-called forgery about Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty that costs his lengthy jail term.  However, if Hun Sen dared to jail Sam Rainsy for such a framing case, he risks pushing the country into a more political and economic chaos, since the people and the international community may not sit quietly and let Hun Sen did everything unchecked, especially when Cambodia still relies on foreign aids and its economy heavily benefits from foreign investments, trades, and tourism. Hun Sen has to think twice before moving to arrest Sam Rainsy.
In conclusion, to place national interest and honor above politics, both parties should resume dialogue as encouraged by French President, Francoi Huland, after Hun Sen returning from his three-day state visit. Also, all Cambodian people inside and outside the country want to see the two parties solve their differences in peaceful manner and respect each other as equal partners.  Hun Sen should renounce his traditional violent mean in dealing with the opposition, and Sam Rainy and Kem Sokha should tune down their political rhetoric against Hun Sen or avoid responding to his threats or paranoid actions in order to avert all political repercussion as happened to their MPs recently.  CNRP should focus on building its strength through visiting their grassroots and avoiding direct personal attack on the ruling party.  There is no gain from such attacks, but it a counterproductive for the party. CNRP's leadership should raise and expo only problems relating to government's incompetence and its failed policies, and let the people to judge them on their own.  As a weaker and poorer partner, CNRP needs to walk carefully in order to avoid falling into its opponents' trap.  It's not a good time to confront with the powerful CPP now, wait until the election day.  For Hun Sen, he has ruled the country for over three decades; he should feel enough and gives some spaces and freedom to his political opponents too if he wants to maintain a culture of dialogue with CNRP.  Stop accusing Sam Rainsy of shaking your hand and step on your feet because most people don't see it as you thought.  Actually, a goal of Hun Sen's culture of dialogue with Sam Rainsy is to break up Sam Rainsy with Kem Sokha while the CNRP's goal is to maintain peaceful political atmosphere in order to protect its supporters from violence and jail term.  Now Hun Sen still fails to break up CNRP, and the CNRP also fails to secure its members' personal safety.  Now it is a time for the two parties to resume
dialogue in order to build trust and avert more political violence in the future. Both parties should agree with each other to cease all political and violent confrontation from now on in order to create a more peaceful political environment for the next election.

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