My dear Kacvey,

Happy 63rd Anniversary of Independence, Cambodia!

Let start by revisiting the questions that were posed in last-year letter: “On the 62nd Anniversary of Independence of Cambodia

The questions were: “Do independent Cambodians have:
– the liberty to speak their mind and to criticize what is not right?
– the independence of their thought?
– the power to choose, to replace and to change?
– the freedom to use the power of the ballots?”

For 1 full year, “No” is the answer to the first 3 questions as autocracy still continues to hold a firm grip on repression and oppression of civil liberty and right through prohibition of public meetings, wiretapping, brutality by security apparatus, police ineptitude in investigating Mr. Kem Ley’s assassination, indefinite pre-trial detention, arrest with trumped-up charges, and corrupted and deplorable court system. The last question will float until the next commune elections scheduled for 4 June 2017.

Against the above background, what joyous expectations does Cambodia have to celebrate during this 9 November 2016, 63 years after the departure of the French colonial administration? Nothing much to enjoy though, if one had to go over the followings:
– the legislative and judiciary branches function as a private property of the executive, or in other words the head of the executive branch dictates his orders to the 2 other branches for execution;
– the national assembly is underemployed, unapplied and unengaged;
– the interpretation and application of articles of constitution and laws are subjective and always politically oriented toward the hardening of autocratic grips;
– the foreign policy is dictated by the interests of the regional powers against massive and un-programmed monetary exchange or compensation, in defiance of the ruling by high international judiciary instance;
– millions of mourners serenely, meditatively and conscientiously followed Mr. Kem Ley’s coffin in defiance of the imposed politics and injustice, and corrupted governance;
– citizens wearing black can’t even congregate on Monday in public places;
– the daily mobilization of security apparatus and masked bodyguards, police force and military arsenal in the streets and the river to scare and to threaten the people or the opposition is part of the landscape of life;
– the increasing influx of military arsenal from foreign governments into the army, police and bodyguards when threat of hostilities or war with foreign neighbors is below zero level;
– the solicitation made to ex-communist and revolutionary foreign powers for their guidance and advice to prevent so-called and imaginary “color revolution” and to redress the judiciary system;
– on the Western borders, nothing has been done to implement the ICJ verdict in favor of Cambodia, and on the Eastern borders the violation of Cambodian territorial integrity continues through the building of military posts on Khmer lands;
– the national budget is on respiratory cord with massive amount of foreign aids, and about US$6 billions (and counting) of foreign debt on the shoulders of future generations;
– the leader of the opposition still self-exiles legally and comfortably with his family, in his own residence in France, his 2nd homeland, and
– the entire country is the prisoner to one-man’s mood, his Facebook account and his proclivity for tyranny.

Kacvey, if you go to watch the military parade, bear in mind that this is only a show of domestic military power built on foreign donations the purpose of which is to extend and to reinforce the autocratic stranglehold on Khmer democracy, freedom and liberty. To cheer such a display is to encourage tyranny.

So, for the next 364 days, let add 1 more question to the pending ones carried over from 2015: Can Khmer build true democracy and rule of law on Khmer independence in order to free themselves from the yoke of corrupted autocracy?

A nation is independent when it has no political indebtedness to foreign nation(s), and only independent citizens with independent mind who work together and hand in hand can make this happen. Any alienated independence, no matter how small is its size, is a disguised form of neo-colonialism.

Susan B. Anthony, once, said: “Independence is happiness.” Are Khmer people happy during this 63rd Anniversary of Independence of their country? The overwhelming majority don’t.