National Holiday – Victory over Genocide Day – Thursday, 7.1.2010

Posted on 8 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

As every year, the memory of the 7 January 1979 shows that there is deep disagreement what this day in Cambodian history means. Of course any memorial day may have different aspects. But different statements in Cambodia show that there are fundamental differences in describing what has happened, related to this day.

What follows are some brief reports, reflecting different voices.

The speeches of the representatives of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party see the significance of the day in what the official name of this holiday says: a commemoration of the victory over genocide. The end of the Khmer Rouge regime brought also an end to the tremendous loss of life and the suffering of the people of a degree never experienced in any other country. It initiated also a decade of Vietnamese presence – a decade of reconstruction after the devastation suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The former King Sihanouk had expressed the meaning of this day some years ago in a very concrete way: Without this event, innumerable more Cambodian people would have lost their lives. This is a factual description.

Other voices state interpretations – this day initiated a Vietnamese presence for a decade. This is also a fact.

What is surprising is not that there are different opinions. Surprising is, when only one of the two elements is mentioned.

“French Indochina turned to Vietnamese Indochina.”

“Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the Vietnam invasion on Cambodia which consequently ruled over our country for 10 years and still continues its influence until today.” – There is not one word in this statement which would indicate that this day brought an end to a sequence of murderous years.

An anonymous blogger on the Internet wrote, in response to another voice: “You are stupid to say that: 7 January was an invasion not liberation.”

As the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany said 40 years after the defeat of the German state by the allied forces at the end of the Second World War in Europe, initiating the division of Germany and its occupation under military rule of forces from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America: “First of all, this was a day of liberation.”

It is also surprising that in the different reflections on the 7 January 1979 we did not find any reference to the fact that the Khmer Rouge regime received considerable support from the People’s Republic of China.

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There Is Concern about Gem Depletion while Pailin Expert Official Claimed 50% Still Remain – Thursday, 8.10.2009

Posted on 9 October 2009. Filed under: Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

“Pailin: Valuable gem ore in Pailin is facing depletion at present, because wicked merchants are using machinery to aggressively extract large amounts of gems, while expert officials said that they did not know anything, but now they will take action.

“According to officials of the province, merchants deploy machinery to extract gems at two sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region in Teuk Chenh village, Stung Kach commune, Sala Krao district, Pailin. According to that source, there are two groups of merchants who use gem sieving machinery to extract large amounts of gems in that region. The Stung Kach commune chief, Mr. Kang Chheng, told Koh Santepheap via telephone in the morning of 7 October 2009 that he did not know that merchants are extracting large amounts of gem in an area under his control by using such machinery. This commune chief said that he is at present busy with checking the election voter name lists. Therefore, he has not gone to check the sites where merchants are extracting gems.

“But an official, who asked not to be named, said that the two groups of merchants have been running their operations for many years, and they always move to every place in Pailin to explore and extract gems. But they set up also permanent sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region since January 2009. Among the two merchant groups, one is controlled by Sreng Kong Sri, and this man lets Dy, called Ta Sak Sar, lead the group, but who is controlling the other group is not known. The same source said that the authorities should not say that they knew nothing about the use of the machineries and the merchants who actively explore gem, because they have operated for many years, and if there were no permissions from the authorities or from expert officials, how could those merchants have done so?

“Regarding the above issue, the head of the Department of Industry, Mines, and Energy of the Province, Mr. Ea Hoeun, told Koh Santepheap in the morning of 7 October 2009 that before, he had known that there were really merchants who extract gems, adding ‘But we summoned and told them to stop their operations, and to remove all machineries a few days ago already.’ Anyway, according to citizens living in the Phnom Teuk Chenh region, in the morning of 7 October 2009, all machinery was not yet removed, but it was just seen that the operations were suspended, simply because those merchants had been informed to remain quiet temporarily to see the situation. It is believed that the operations will start again after there is green light from expert officials.

“It should be noted that many types of gem ore in Pailin, especially in the town, were almost totally exhausted by Siamese [Thai] merchants during the wartime in Cambodia. However, Mr. Ea Hoeun claimed that there still might be 50% of valuable gems remaining, except in the area of the town itself, where there is little left.

“In the morning of 7 October 2009, Koh Santepheap could not reach the two groups of merchants for comment via telephone. Commune officials said that they had all switched off their phones.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6773, 8.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #305, 8.10.2009

  • The European Union Granted More Than US$7 Million for Livestock Programs in Cambodia from 2005 to 2010
  • The Director of a Health Center Cursed Journalists [and human rights officials] when They Asked about a Dead Patient [whose body was put in a room together with other patients for many hours], and about Electricity Cut-Offs [Poipet]
  • Cambodia Will Investigate Alleged Organ Transplants and Human Trafficking [Agnes Chan – 陳美齡 and 陈美龄- Chén Měilíng; in Japanese: アグネス・チャン – a Hong Kong-born singer and a Good Will Ambassador of the Japan Committee of UNICEF, was quoted by the Japan Times as saying that in Cambodia, some babies are sold for adoption or for organ transplants for Yen 5,000 – approx. US$56, while some teenagers are bought for labor or for marriage for less than Yen 10,000 – approx. US$112]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2066, 8.10.2009

  • The Company That Has Sufficient Qualifications and Offers Much Benefit to Cambodia Will Win the Bidding to Explore Oil in Region 4
  • The United States of America Helps Train Officials of the Cambodian Mine Action Center [and grants US$200,000]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #504, 8.10.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin Said that Ms. Mu Sochua Has the Right to Express Her Opinion at the National Assembly [he said that some journalists and radio stations misunderstand that Ms. Mu Sochua would be absent because she does not have immunity, but actually, she has her other rights as a parliamentarian]
  • Twenty One Police Generals [over the age of 60] Were Sent into Retirement
  • Calmette Hospital Charged Money from an A/H1N1 Swine Flu Patient [claimed the family of an A/H1N1 patient who died recently, after Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Minster of Heath, Mr. Mam Bunheng, had announced that all A/H1N1 patients will be treated free of charge]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6773, 8.10.2009

  • There Is Concern about Gem Depletion while Pailin Expert Official Claimed 50% Still Remain
  • Worldwide Petroleum Services [not easy to identify on the Internet] Is Interested in Exploring Oil in Region 4 [in the Cambodian sea]
  • Samdech Euv [former King] and Samdech Mae [former Queen] Donate US$50,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross [to assist citizens suffering from typhoons and floods]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #21, 8.10.2009

  • Six High Ranking Officials [the president of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, and two more senators] Are Summoned by a Foreign Investigating Judge to Testify over Case 2 at the Khmer Rouge Trial
  • An Article to Protect Underage People Was Adopted
  • The Price of Rubber Increased by 37% within the Last Nine Months [from US$1,419 per tonne in January to US$1,950 in October 2009]
  • The Philippines Needs Aid of US$74 Million [for about one million people who suffer from typhoons and floods]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5015, 8.10.2009

  • Samdech Euv [former King] Wants to Die as Soon as Possible [he said that living too long is difficult]
  • Five People Died of Drowning on the Same Day [Kompong Cham]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1803, 8.10.2009

  • [Illegal] Football Betting Is Thriving like Mushrooms after [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Ordered the Cambosix [gambling] Company to Close

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National Holiday – Wednesday, 7.1.2009

Posted on 8 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

40 Years and 30 Years Later

Forty years after the defeat of the German state – the German Reich – at the end of the Second World War, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker, spoke on the anniversary, 8 May 1985. Many commentators said that this was probably the most important speech ever given in Germany on the topic.

Thirty years after the defeat of the Cambodian state – the Democratic Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge – the President of the Cambodian People’s Party spoke on the anniversary, 7 January 2009.

In both countries there had been great disagreement over how to regard their historic dates, since it marked both the end of a terrible period of history and the beginning of a period in which other countries wielded power over key aspects of life and government.

We document here some abbreviated sections of statements about these two historic events.

From the 1985 speech of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in the German Parliament:

It does not help to move into the future if we or others are too reluctant to hurt feelings. We need, and we have the self-confidence, to face the historical truth, without hiding the facts and without favoritism.

The day of 8 May is for us, above all, a day of remembrance of what people had to suffer. It is at the same time a day challenging us to openly think about the course of our history. The more honestly we are prepared to really acknowledge what happened, the more we may be open to face the consequences responsibly.

All who lived through the day of 8 May 1945 consciously have personal memories and thus quite different experiences. Some returned home, others became homeless.

It was difficult to orient oneself immediately and clearly. There was uncertainty in the country. The military defeat was complete. Our fate was in the hands of the enemies. The past had been terrible, also for many of those enemies. Wouldn’t they make us pay for what we had done to them?

Most Germans had believed that they were fighting and suffering for a good cause for their own country. And now it turned out: all that was not only futile and useless, but it had served the inhuman goals of a criminal leadership.

We had to think back to a dark abyss of the past, and to look ahead into an uncertain dark future. But it became clearer, day by day, what we all must say today: The day of 8 May was a day of liberation.
We all have good reasons to recognize the day of 8 May 1945 as the end of a period of German history when we went wrong.

[For the full text of the German original: WEIZSÄCKER-REDE 1985 – “8. Mai war ein Tag der Befreiung” click here.]


From the 2009 speech of the President Cambodian People’s Party during the 7th of January Celebration of the Victory Over Genocide Day

“The victory of 7th January saved the fatherland and the people of Cambodia from the harsh regime of genocide in a timely manner,” and the anniversary marked the end of “the dark chapter of Cambodian history” – he thanked Vietnam for “saving the country from genocide.”

While the former King Sihanouk had initially pleaded Cambodia’s case before the United Nations against the new Cambodian government installed by the Vietnamese in January 1979 after they had dismantled the Khmer Rouge regime, he later evaluated the Vietnamese invasion of 1979 differently and positively [quoting a translation from French]:

History
The January 7, 1979
By N. Sihanouk

Beijing, December 18, 2006

Some very senior (CPP) Officials recalled (with good reason) that “without the January 7, 1979,” I would – with (the future King) N. Sihamoni, Samdech N. Monique Sihanouk – be dead in the hands of Pol Potists (Khmer Rouge).

This is strictly conformed to the historical truth.

In this regards, I pay tribute and I express my deepest gratitude to H.E. Samdech Heng Samrin, H.E. Samdech Chea Sim, H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, to the Heng Samrin Khmer Armed Forces (Front), and to the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] and its armed forces.
It is certain that, without them, Pol Pot, and following my death, Pol Pot’s Angkar of the “Democratic Kampuchea” would have been still leading an ultra-infernal Cambodia.

(Signed) Norodom Sihanouk

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Monday, 21.7.2008: The Great Heroic King Samdech Euv Issued a Letter to Respond to Critics about the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime

Posted on 22 July 2008. Filed under: week 570 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 570

“Phnom Penh: A Royal Letter of the Great Heroic King dated 19 July 2008, which was published [on his Internet website] for all compatriots who are his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, is his response to a not named political dignitary who accused the Sangkum Reastr Niyum [often translated as “People’s Socialist Community” or “Popular Socialist Community”] to have eliminated all political parties, so that there remained only one party: the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party. Without making any comment, this Royal Letter is made know also here:

Royal Letter
Norodom Sihanouk
of Cambodia
to his most Beloved Compatriots, Brothers and Sisters, Children, Grandchildren, and Great-Grandchildren

Phnom Penh, 19 July 2008

Yesterday night, a political dignitary said that the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime eliminated all political parties and made Cambodia to have only one Party – the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party – which started from 1954 to 1969.

Responding to this very unjust accusation, I would like to correct it and to tell the truths to our compatriots and to history as follow:

1.The Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime started in 1955, not in 1954.

2.The Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime did not eliminate other parties. In 1955, there was a national election to elect a parliament, monitored by the International Control Commission (officially called the International Commission for Supervision and Control [to supervise the cease-fire at the end of the French-Vietnamese military confrontation in Vietnam at the end of French colonial rule in Indochina, the withdrawal of foreign troops, the release of prisoners of war, and the overall compliance with the terms of the agreement]) in which there was India as president, and Poland as a representative of the communist block, and Canada as a representative of the democratic block as members.

“The triumph of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party was a sign of multiparty democracy, and the elections were 100% fair, as monitored by internationals.

“The results of the national election were announced by International Control Commission as follows:

  • The Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party won 82% of the citizens’ ballots
  • The Democratic Party got 13%
  • The Khmer Vietminh People’s Party got 3%

“Mr. Sim Va, who opposed Sihanouk 500%, was not happy with the 100% Sihanoukist Assembly. He got the permission from Preah Karuna Preah Bat Norodom Suramarit [Sihanouk’s father] (who reigned as King after me) to dissolve the Assembly which supported Sihanouk very much. I resigned from the throne in 1955 and created the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party, in response to requests of citizens who were Sihanoukists, in order to participate in the national election to choose a parliament, monitored by internationals.

“In 1958, there was another national election to elect a parliament. The result was as follows:

“The Sangkum Reastr Niyum continued to gain more successes than before. As for the Democratic Party that did to want to be shamed, it did not dare to compete with the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party. The Khmer Vietminh People’s Party dared to join the competition, but it received only 1% of the ballots from the compatriots.

3.Samdech Krom Preah Sisowath Monireth, my uncle, told Lon Nol and Prince [Sisowath] Sirik Matak of their National Renovation Party and the Democratic Party that the fortress of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum was very strong; anyone who wanted to destroy the fortress of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum by an attack from outside would not be successful. Unless enemies could get inside of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum, the fortress of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party could be ruined.

“That was why Lon Nol, Prince [Sisowath] Sirik Matak and others joined the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party in order to ruin it, by making a coup d’état on 18 March 1970 when I was not in the country.

“Hence, the accusation which says that Norodom Sihanouk made the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Party the only party is very unfair. But it was Lon Nol and Prince [Sisowath] Sirik Matak and others who had merged their parties into the fortress of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum in order to destroy it from inside when I was not in the country.

4.As for Prince Sisowath Yuthewong [the founder of the Democratic Party], I took as good care of him as I could. He wanted to stay at a royal palace belonging to the King in Kep, and in Tonle Bati; I, on behalf of the King of Cambodia, gave him and his wife, a French national, everything he wanted. My uncle, Samdech Sisowath Monireth told my mother that Sisowath Yuthewong and his wife acted like King and Queen, that was not like democrats!

“I pray in the name of the three virtues of the Buddhist trinity [the Buddha, his Teaching, and his disciples], to the angels who protect Cambodia, such as the angels who hold the huge white protective parasol, and to the spirits of all former Kings and Queens of the Kingdom of Cambodia, to take care of our most beloved compatriots, brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, for the five Buddhist goods: Ayu [long life], Vannak [good complexion – having a good life], Sokhak [health], Poleak [strength], and Padepheaneak [wisdom] forever.

Thank you very much.

(signed) N. Sihanouk

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6402, 21.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 21 July 2008


Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #136, 20.7.2008

  • A Group of Attachés from the Embassies of the United States, of China, of Yuon [Vietnam], and of France Went to See Siem [Thai] Soldiers Who Steal Khmer Land Directly


Note: Please review the documentation presented yesterday – Sunday.

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1698, 20-21.7.2008

  • According to a Decision [of the government], Riel 20,000 [approx. US%5] Is Added to the Salary of Civil Servants, Police, and Soldiers Countrywide [starting from July 2008]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #, 20-22.7.2008

  • Hun To, a nephew of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, Ordered [three] Bodyguards to Hit a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian [Mr. Nuon Vuthy from Kompong Cham, regarding a minor problem of how to drive cars from a ferry in Prek Kdam, Kandal]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #54, 29-21.7.2008

  • Thailand Uses Unilateral Map to Send Soldiers to Invade Cambodia [in response to a letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen of 17 July 2008, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on 18 July 2008 that the area which Thai soldiers are going to control is Thai territory]
  • Two Economic Police Extorted Riel 4,000,000 [approx. US$980] from Wood Merchants [who were loading illegal wood – Kampot]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6402, 21.7.2008

  • Cambodia Reported the Invasion of Thailand to the United Nations [Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said the diplomatic representative of Cambodian in New York sent a letter to the UN]
  • Two 100 Millimeter Cannons Are Set up by Thailand in Front of Preah Vihear Temple
  • At the Western Borders, Thailand Promises to Send Khmer Laborers Home to Vote, and to Asks Khmer Soldiers Not to Get Involved [in the dispute] in the Preah Vihear Area
  • The Great Heroic King Samdech Euv Issued a Letter to Respond to Critics about the Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3517, 21.7.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party Announced [on 20 July 2008] to Give Cash Rewards to Informers Who Point to Evidence of Bad Ploys Which Affect the Election Results on 27 July 2008 [US$1,000 will be given for officials of Provincial Election Committees, and US$10,000 for officials of the National Election Committee]
  • A Government That Is Weak Makes Neighboring Countries Look Down On It


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4646, 20-21.7.2008

  • Thirty Five Organizations [members of a national council for justice] Held a Course to Train Election Observers [19 July 2008]
  • Some Areas in Five Cambodian Provinces [Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Takeo, Kampot, and Kompong Speu] Are Affected by the [Rice Pest] Brown Plant Hopper
  • Indonesia Will Sentence Men Who Lay Bombs with No Mercy to Death [reference to 2002 Bali bombing]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3364, 20-21.7.2008

  • A Research Organization in the United States [Cholana Khmer Machas Srok, ‘Movement of the Masters of the Khmer Country’] Said that Nearly Two Million Yuon [Vietnamese] Wait to Vote for the Cambodian People’s Party of Hun Sen

Click here – and have a look at the last editorial – The Cambodian-Thai border crisis develops while the Khmer public is not aware what the Cambodian government representatives had agreed upon, to get the Preah Vihear Temple listed as a World Heritage Site, on a most narrowly defined piece of land.

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