The Dirty Dozen + Others

My dear Kacvey,

Two dates in June 2018 had shaken the confidence and serenity by which the autocrat has been behaving himself amid the institutional and political storm that he voluntarily created since September 2017 to protect his personal and despotic ambition and the economic and financial interests of his tribe in view of the legislative elections scheduled for 29 July 2018:

  • On 12 June 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in its Press Releases, publicly identified the commander of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit (PMBU) for being the leader of an entity involved in serious human rights abuse.
  • On 27 June 2018, Human Rights Watch, in a scathing and unsparing 213-page report, publicly and nominally identified 12 generals in the security forces who form the backbone of an abusive and authoritarian political regime who are responsible for serious and systematic human rights violations in Cambodia.
  • On 13 July 2018, Al Jazeera aired a YouTube by ⁩ and ⁦⁩ identifying a corrupt official in the tax department.

Keeping track of numbers with new total: The Dirty Fifteen.

When truth speaks, its voice is louder than the thunder and carries beyond the horizon.

So far, the autocrat has not made any official comments yet, his barking dogs doing the dirty work for him in lieu of his silence. Let him brew his reactions in his own heart and mind, but whatever he feels his autocratic machinery will certainly have no ability to rebut the issues point by point, line by line, or item by item. The revelation is like a sharp arrow piercing the heart of the wolf to bleed in its loneliness.

Kacvey, there must be some children or relatives of the Dirty Dozen + One among your law school students. How would they hold up their face in front of their friends and peers whose parents are law-abiding, honest and accountable? The burden that corrupt fathers impugn on their children’s shoulders is so heavy and the shame that those children have to endure in years to come is so devastating that even history could not save them.

Ask Lon Nol’s or Pol Pot’s children!

 

“No leader is forever”

My dear Kacvey,

Reuters reported that on 7 June 2018 in Montréal, Canada, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, said, inter alia, that “No leader is forever.” Although the tweet was made in the context of the G7 meeting, it could reverberate to mean that everything has a time limit, even for president, head of state or elected officials.

As far as post-French colonial Cambodia is concerned, “No leader is forever” is so true: gone were Sihanouk, Lon Nol and Pol Pot. On the international arena, also gone were Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh.

Any Cambodian leader who thinks that he is a leader forever is a fool who fools himself about his ephemeral grandeur and vanity. A leader whose ears do no longer ring with the voices of the people has reached the end of the path to the cliff.

No leader is forever and leader who doesn’t know when to quit will certainly lose the bet against his own sorrow.

Post scriptum
Text of Emmanuel Macron’s tweet:
“Aucun dirigeant n’est éternel. Nous héritons d’engagements qui nous dépassent. Nous les portons. C’est la vie des nations.”

“No leader is eternal. We inherit commitments which are beyond us. We take them on. That is the life of nations.”

The Old Fox and the Nineteen Cockerels

My dear Kacvey,

You and your students will face a difficult choice on 29 July 2018:
– to vote or not to vote?
– to vote by casting a void ballot or to vote for which party?
– how could conscience dictate?

Damn you vote, damn you don’t.
Damn you vote, damn the autocrat wins (by predetermination).
Damn you don’t vote, damn the autocrat still wins (by predetermination).
It’s a lose-lose situation, for the voters and/or non-voters.
When citizen’s sovereign rights and freedom of choice are trampled by autocracy that disguises itself as a democracy, crass as it is!

What a difference since the communal elections on 4 June 2017! Polyphemus, being rejected by the people spit fire and burned democracy to death. And he’s trying to disguise his gullible acts by promoting his autocratic democracy through multiplication of new parties that have never ever proven that they have done anything to Cambodia and its people: 11 parties at the 4 June 2017 communal elections, and now 19 parties for the legislative on 29 July 2018. Numbers are phony in their democratic meaning.

The scenario designed and orchestrated by the autocrat resembles a field controlled for more than 30 years by an old fox with 19 newly hatched chicks. Since all parties-chicks seem to be male, let call them cockerels. This reminds of a Latin phrase ‘Ovem lupo commitere’ that could be interpreted as “foxes sneak in chicken coops and eat the chickens.”

To push the pretense to an absurdity level, through the politicization of Buddhism, they set up a drawing ceremony on 29 May 2018 to attribute number to the 20 parties. Calculated fortune is that autocracy gets number 20 so that the autocrat’s sycophants could bark that democracy is well served. What does that type of number serve anyway, since victory for the ruling party has been already schemed, designed and planned since September 2017!

Boo! Boo!

Kacvey, your students might ask:
– what if the predetermined victory would not turn out to be glorious or glorified, under the heavy pressure of international opinion, the autocrat decided at the last-minute to open the gate of Thbong Khmoum jail and release the falsely-charged prisoner?
– would he postpone the election so as to allow the opposition to organize the campaign or would he not postpone it and argue on the 5-year ban?
– in June 2017, there were 7,107,395 voters, out of which 3,540,056 went to the ruling party, and 3,056,824 to the opposition. You do the math, Kacvey. What if 4 or 5 millions of combined ruling or opposition voters did not show up on 29 July 2018?! A tsunami of non-voters! Khmer electorate understands better and better the power of their voices and secret ballots since UNTAC elections in May 1993, and it continues to learn and appreciate it as times go forward;
– what if millions of voters show up at and flood the polling stations 15 minutes before the poll closing time or sunset?
– what if those millions voted for the party numbered “21”, like playing golf’s “19th hole”?
– would the autocrat be happy or satisfied with a victory with 99.99% ballots in his favor, or would he play false modesty by allowing some parties (such as for example the scum party that sits in the opposition seats in the national assembly and the senate after the opposition was annihilated) to get 10 to 15 seats out of the total of 123?
– what if the autocrat politics through Facebook that he feeds many, many hours per day has a negative return despite his (authentic or otherwise) millions and millions “likes”?
– in the mean time, what if Hypnos could re-play the trick against Zeus on the esplanade of Angkor Wat?

A lot of stuff to think about, Kacvey!

The Phnom Penh “G”host

My dear Kacvey,

So, on 6 May 2018, the Phnom Penh Post which was owned by an Australian company was sold to a Malaysian company for an undisclosed price. A foreign press in Cambodia changed hand between foreigners. And all of this in the name of press freedom in Cambodia! Any bigger BS?

With the above sale, the last bastion of independent journalism in Cambodia is buried in the same grave as the victims of the KR genocidal regime, the opposition party and The Cambodia Daily; from such grave rises the specter of The Phnom Penh “G”host. Genocidal KR killed Khmer, ex-KR-turned-tyrant continues to kill what is the essence of Khmerness.

Kacvey, please tell your students to read and learn about the history and activities of the new owner with regards to their relationship with the corrupt and dictatorial ex-KR in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk. Please also cancel the subscription as there is no place in our library for a sycophantic press serving autocracy to the destruction of Cambodia, present and future. There still are plenty of materials of different and opposing views to read in the world of web.

 

“The Hungry Dragon”

My dear Kacvey,

This is a book which is co-authored by a Cambodian-American, Sophal Ear, that your students MUST read and reflect on the issue of China’s influence on the current autocratic leadership in Cambodia:
The Hungry Dragon – How China’s resource quest is reshaping the world
by Sigfrido Burgos Cáceras and Sophal Ear.
ISBN:978-1-85743-624-6
Published by Routledge, United Kingdom and USA

A “Country Case Studies” on Cambodia runs from page 97 to page 118.

From the opening page of the book:
“This book explores China’s quest for energy sources, raw materials and natural resources around the world, with a specific emphasis on oil. China’s ubiquitous presence in Africa, Asia and Latin America is reshaping the world with regards to economics, politics and national security. It offers a comprehensive examination of China’s energy security strategy.

“The first two chapters delve into Chinese relations with energy markets and the world, and the global geopolitics of China’s resource quest. This introductory section is complemented by three in-depth country case studies: Angola, Brazil and Cambodia. The two concluding chapters cover opportunities and risks to China, and examine how strategies can be developed into tangible actions.

“This book offers a number of overlapping debates regarding the varieties of capitalisms (autocratic vs.democratic), the urgent need for rebalancing as the world undergoes global financial crises and contestations to traditional powers, and the issues surrounding natural resource extraction in the context of global governance, neoliberalism and poverty traps.

Key Features
· Offers an in-depth analysis on the geopolitics of China’s resource quest.
· Assists students and scholars in understanding the Chinese model of autocratic capitalism and China’s novel ways of securing resources across three continents.
· Explains China’s energy security strategy and its implications on US national security.
· Explores the links between international relations and the geopolitics of scarcity.

Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres works at the University of South Alabama and is a consultant specializing in international development and foreign affairs. From 2007 to 2012 he was based in Rome, Italy, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He lives in Mobile with his wife.

Sophal Ear is an Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press).”

“Three Kingdoms”

My dear Kacvey,

What a day, Friday 27 April 2018! A new page of World History is being written in the Korean Peninsula!

Thank You, CNN, for your reporting that we selectively archive for future use:
Full declaration of North and South Korean summit, and
Kim Yo Jong: The only woman at the summit table
– In pictures: The historic Korean summit

Kacvey, to encourage the discussions you would have with your law school students on probable issue of “reunification of Korea” that has been worldwide dissected/projected/critiqued, you may wish to inject one historical element into their analytical and critical thinking.

The first 3 lines of the Chinese classic and historical novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” (三国演义) read: “Here begins our tale. The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” (话说天下大势,分久必合,合久必分.)

In 1945, at the end of the Japanese occupation for 35 years, Korea was divided into North Korea and South Korea through a mutual agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in South Korea, and  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in North Korea. Both Korea claimed sovereignty over the Korean peninsula and with the backing of the United States and the Soviet Union, both Korea made war between themselves known as the Korean War from 25 June 1950. The Korean War ended on 27 July 1953 with the signature of an armistice. To this date, North and South Korea remain separate and occupy almost the same territory they had when the war began.

Would the North and South Korean Summit lead to a “unification” in the not-too-distant future? Well, let the world of all tendencies debate and advance their different view, but your students should be aware that “division” and “unification” have always been part of human geographical history since time memorial when men made wars against other men in the name of any ideology that men have created to suit their territorial ambition and power.

  • In ancient time, how many times Greece was “divided” and “united”, until what it is today?
  • In ancient Roman empire, how many times was it “divided” and “united” until it becomes today’s Italy?
  • In 1983, the once “united” Republic of Cyprus was divided de facto into Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Northern Cyprus, separated by a United Nations buffer zone.
  • In more than 5,000 years of history, how many wars of “division” or “unification” has China gone through?
  • In the British Isles, how many wars between kingdoms until they become united, and later to be known as the United Kingdom?
  • And how about the referendum on Scottish Independence from the United Kingdom on 18 September 2014?
  • In 1776, in North America, 13 states were unified to declare their independence from the British colonial rule and formed the United States.
  • In tsarist time, there was no Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that was established in 1922. But after its dissolution in 1991, it becomes Russia again, and the “Soviet Republics” recovered their original status and independence.
  • In the Balkans, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was “united” in 1867 and “divided” in 1918. Yugoslavia was “united” in 1918 and “divided” in 1992. Czechoslovakia was “united” in 1917 and “divided” in 1993.
  • After the Second World War, defeated Germany was “divided” in 1949 into West Germany known as Federal Republic of Germany, and East Germany known as Democratic Republic of Germany. After the collapse of Berlin Wall in 1989, West Germany and East Germany were “united” in October 1990.
  • The once “united-but-geographically-separated” Pakistan was “divided” in 1971 when East Pakistan (also historically known as East Bengal) became independent and took the name of Bangladesh.
  • The Federation of Malaysia which was formed (“united”) in August 1963 was “divided” in August 1965 after the separation of Singapore.
  • In October 1961, in Cameroon, once known as “Africa in miniature”, the colonized French Cameroun was “united” with the British Southern Cameroons to form an independent state known as Federal Republic of Cameroon.
  • In July 2011, South Sudan was separated (“divided”) from Sudan to become the independent Republic of South Sudan.
  • How about the short-lived United Arab Republics (UAR) “uniting” Egypt and Syria between February 1958 until it became “divided” in September 1961. Also, how about Federation of Arab Republics (FAR) “uniting” Egypt, Libya and Syria between January 1972 until it became “divided” in November 1977?
  • How about some contemporaneous and repeated threats of “division” in “united” countries such as Québec from Canada, Catalonia from Spain, Biafra from Nigeria?
  • How about past Cambodia where territories were “divided” and taken by both, the Western and Easter neighbors? How much longer Cambodia can remain in its current borders with continuous massive influx of both Chinese and Vietnamese?

If Korean people decided to “unite” themselves through their common ethnicity, blood line, culture and language, resources and know-how, and mutual understanding and tolerance, nothing can stop them.

Let bear in mind these words of political wisdom from:
Kim Dae Jung, ex-president of South Korea: “Unification is not our present goal. That is a future program.”
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: “At German unification, we were lucky to get so much help from West Germany. Now, we have the good fortune of being able to help each other in Europe.”
Lee Hyeon-seo, a North Korean defector and writer: “This is a divisive issue, but I really hope for unification. Even though we have been divided for a long time, we are all Koreans, so we should live together in a united Korea.”

Mère et Fils

Mon cher Kacvey,

Voici un bouquin que vous pourriez fortement recommender à vos étudiants comme lecture informelle pendant les grandes vacances (titre du livre envoyé en courriel privé pour éviter d’être taxé de publicité indirecte!)

Pour ne pas trop divulguer, dites à vos élèves que:
– c’est un livre écrit par un cambodgien sur sa vie depuis son jeune âge jusqu’à l’âge de 27 ans à Prey Lovéa (province de Takéo) et Phnom Penh;
– sa ténacité et son endurance à s’accrocher à ses études malgré la pauvreté et les malheurs familiaux qui surgissent continuellement les uns après les autres;
– l’amour et le suport support familiaux dispensés à tout moment important par sa mère et sa grande tante sous les larmes constantes de la mauvaise fortune;
– la lutte contre la méchanceté de l’inconnu de demain perpétrée soit par les évènements hors de leur portée ou soit intentionellement par des gens sans vergogne;
– comme une étoile, son amour platonique qui scintille sous les nuages des fois noires ou ravageuses, et
– malgré tout ça, un dénouement qui récompense joyeusement.

Kacvey, vos étudiants devraient prendre connaissance de la vie de ce “caractère” khmer et litéraire. S’ils ignoraient les quelques fautes d’édition et d’impression, ils pourront tirer de très bonnes leçons de la vie de ce protagoniste exemplaire.

Bonne lecture!

29 April 2018?

My dear Kacvey,

Just a small guessing game for fun’s sake: If Goddess of Chnam Chkèr were consulted by Nostradamus on the erratic political situation in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk, what would the Goddess foresee that would happen on 29 April 2018, exactly 3 months to 29 July 2018?

A gypsy palm reader would venture to prophesy that the key to unlock the imbroglio is in the hands of Polyphemus, unless the latter has already thrown it away into the shoal of South China Sea.

=====
Update:
Well, Goddess of Goddess of Chnam Chkèr let 29 April 2018 come and go without thunder, lightning or flood, and with Polyphemus in his comfort zone.

Greeting the Chaul Chnam Khmer, Year of the Dog

My dear Kacvey,

The Year of the Rooster ended dramatically for Cambodia, and what a long list of outstanding and disastrous items that the Rooster has to hand over to the Dog:
– democracy was murdered;
– constitution was trampled and rule of law massacred;
– freedom was shackled;
– opposition was not only outlawed but annihilated;
– opponents were ruthlessly and arbitrarily threatened, accused, arrested, jailed or forced to exile;
– press, radio stations and NGOs were forced to close;
– corruption was aggressively multiplied;
– nepotism reached a level higher than the Everest;
– leadership irresponsibility and unaccountability was exponentially accrued;
– Kg Som, one among many other places, has become a Chinese town for mainland Chinese gamblers;
– debts towards Vietnam, China and Japan became epidemically rampant;
– 1991 Paris Peace Accords were thrashed, and
– the ex-KR has crowned himself the sole and uncontested autocrat by putting all state institutions in his hands or under his feet.

Nevertheless, there was one particular moment when the Rooster shared the joy of the people who, at the June 2017 commune elections, voted heavily in favor of change and to reject the old order of the ex-KR autocracy. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived joy and hope as the autocrat, sensing the wave of popular rejection and dislike of his corrupt regime, reverted to old political playbook of neo-Stalinism that is associated with terror and totalitarian rule.

Farewell Rooster, and Thanks for being there!

Welcome Chnam Thméy, the Year of the Dog, and if, as traditional saying goes, dog is indeed a man’s best friend, the questions for the next 365 days would then be:
– whose best friend the Dog will be? the Khmer people or the ex-KR autocrat?
– would the Dog be a leashed one to protect the corrupt villa or would it be a K9 helping to sniff out drug, firearm or explosive at the airport?
– would the Dog be a stray or vagabond dog that is infested with vermin, roaming the garbage fields and could be savagely caught for ugly gastronomy purposes?
– would the Dog be the one that could be a serious contender to win the National Dog Show? or
– would the Dog be a puppy fed with Purina or a bitch living off human excrement?

Whatever breed the Dog will turn to be, Cambodia warmly welcomes you as we are bound to live together during your 1-year stint. Contemporaneously and in unison, we will work to change Cambodia to be a truly democratic state where rule of law and respect of human rights and freedom are paramount.

My dear Kacvey, may the good spirit of the Chnam Châr be the bright lodestar guiding your endeavor throughout.

A nihonto for the tyrant

My dear Kacvey,

Three flat news reports came out from the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk after the visit by the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Kono Taro 河野 太郎  on Sunday 8 April 2018.

Reuters wired an article: Japan, Cambodia sign $90 million aid agreement, Australian abc NEWS reported: Japan’s foreign minister seeks free and fair Cambodia polls, and Japanese NHK World had a short and soporific article: Kono urges Hun Sen to hold fair election.

You may wonder why did Mr. Kono Taro bothered to fly from Narita down to Pochentong just to repeat the same sitting-on-the-fence or watching-China-move stand like his Ambassador Hidehisa Horinouchi or the advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Kentaro SONOURA have so far done, i.e. urging Cambodia to hold free and fair elections. It seems that the Japanese definition of “free and fair elections in Cambodia” is not different from the one given by the ex-KR autocrat, albeit diametrically contrary to the philosophical and traditional democracy, respect of rule of law and intellectual integrity in the land of the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Furthermore, Japan keeps on saying “Japan will keep monitoring the situation.” Then, how much longer Japan keeps on doing that if after 60 years of diplomatic relationship, Japan has not succeeded to find out how Cambodia has navigated under 33 years of the ex-KR rule? Maybe Japanese electronics giants could provide a bigger central government database under a free-interest loan agreement to monitor Cambodia’s political pulse!

One could just wonder how foreign affairs conducted by the land of the Rising Sun toward Cambodia have become in the current rise of those of the Middle Kingdom.

Kacvey, should Khmer people thank Japan for the gift of an imaginary nihonto 日本刀 to the ex-KR autocrat to slaughter the remnants of Khmer democracy?