Week 543 – 2008-01-20: Intentions – Contradictions – Results

Posted on 21 January 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

Everyone who regularly observes personal relations or public developments – be it on the local, national, or international level – is made regularly aware of the fact that not all intentions lead to the intended results. And it is a constant challenge to reflect on this relationship between causes and effects which are – in human society – not at all predictable and firmly established, different from the relationship between cause and effect in the physical nature.

It is possible to roughly discern three different patterns: the intended goal is reached – or there is not much of a result to be seen – or, surprisingly, the original intention leads to unexpected side effects, or even to some surely not intended reactions.

To point to some such events during the recent past is mainly a reminder that in human society, whenever we take any action, we do not always have control about the results. Once we have spoken a word, it depends then on the listeners how they understand – or misunderstand it.

The Member of Parliament Mr. Cheam Yeap pointed to this situation that intentions are not always leading where one wants them to lead: “We always apply the Constitution very strictly. However, sometimes we meet difficulties and shortcomings that cannot be avoided.”

This week we carried also a report how the personal disappointment with the courts, which had not acted for years on a case of land grabbing, tragically led to wrong actions. – Land was taken away from one family – and we do not even know whether this was based on a justified legal action of if it was just a case of misuse of power. The victim of this action tried to get the problem sorted out legally by appealing to the court. But as nothing had happened for years, he finally acted criminally by hitting a person so that he had to be hospitalized, and he intentionally damaged the car and the house of the person he attacked. But this revenge was not even targeted at a person who had actively been involved. As a result of the fact that the organs of the state – the courts – had not acted for years, he started to have a grudge against all high-ranking representatives of the state, and finally he acted against a person who was actually elected to represent the people. The police said that the attacker had confirmed that he never had a personal anger against the person whom he attacked and wounded. – A tragically confused violent act. But it was triggered by justice violated without hope of redress.

Information about plans to start filling up a large section of Boeng Kak lake have been in the press for weeks, together with the grave expressions of concern about the environmental impact – even the President of the National Assembly was reported to have expressed his concerns in writing. But on the other hand, these plans seem to proceed, though neither the environmental impact study, nor an agreement with the many people affected seems to be in place. This seems to be so – not more can be said, because the authorities in charge have not spoken recently about a solution found. It has to be hoped that this will not lead to any kind of emotional reactions on a much larger scale than in the case referred to in the previous section.

We have mirrored since recently a series of reports which the allegation that substantial financial irregularities have happened at Telecom Cambodia. To mirror such reports does not imply a statement that the allegations are true; to have such allegations publicly repeated over an extended period of time indicates, however, that the public is concerned, and suspicions – justified or not – are growing, the longer there is no clarifying action: either confirming the allegations and initiating correction, or removing the allegations by providing transparent information. After all, the allegations relate to considerable amount of public money.

On Thursday we mirrored a report that an international effort, to ask the government of China to help to persuade the government of Sudan to take protective actions in Darfur, where probably 200,000 persons lost their lives during recent years. This is being done by a symbolic action of moving a torch like the Olympic torch already through Chad, Rwanda, Armenia, Germany, and Bosnia. Cambodia was intended to be the last station on the way to China. And the organizers had intended to organize the last action on the way here, because Cambodia had also suffered the death of a large number of people. As the Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia said: Khmer people know the value of life more than all other people, because the Khmer people lived through a regime of mass killings.

At the time of this writing, there are already more than one hundred press reports on the Internet, from many different countries, that the Cambodian authorities prevented, today, this symbolic act by deploying a large police force, blocking the streets and the access to the Genocide Memorial in Phnom Penh.

The different arguments have been publicly stated. Whatever they are – Cambodia is again negatively in the media of the world. This is always again sad.

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