My dear Kacvey,
Ouf! (or Fou!) What a hard and tumultuous year for Cambodia, a repressive land of awful, gruesome and harrowing political and police measures in a no-war time!
In the 57 letters we have been exchanging – beginning with “On the 1st day of 2016” and including the present one – you have witnessed how politics in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk have not put the democracy and the respect of rule of laws and human values and rights one single step forward; all regressed horrendously at the expense of regular citizens and women/men of conscience and rectitude.
The 1% that forms the politico-economico-despotism-nepotism-corruption tribe of Hostile Takeover continues to dominate the country in every branch of power, making a full and foolish derision and contempt of the kingdom and the constitution through the grip of one and only man, the autocrat or the tyrant of contemporary Cambodia. The 99% is struggling, on the one hand to survive and to live decently with the simple and fundamental desire that their constitutional rights be respected and, on the other, to recover what has been unjustly, illegally and abusively taken away from them by the 1%.
As yesterday creates the birth of tomorrow, let make our own report on the state of the country for 2016 as a basis for shaping and charting what 2017 would bring.
THE THREE BRANCHES OF POWER
The three branches of power are reduced into the power of one man who decides on everything that is Cambodia, by threat, Facebook, public speech or anything that presents fear and impendence to his autocratic regime: wiretapping, arresting and jailing, condoning incompetence and rewarding thuggery against political opponents, banning public demonstration or even wearing Black on Monday, or deciding on whom to pardon or not to pardon. He says “A”, the legislative branch says “Yes, Sir. It’s “A”, and the justice system also echoes: “Yes, Sir. It’s “A””.
When all the power is willingly concentrated in the eye, heart and hands of one man, and one man only, it is fair game to publicly raise the motion of the truth of life, political or otherwise, i.e. What would happen to the country if that man happens to be, for example, suddenly physically and/or mentally incapacitated by the failure of his own health? Leadership of/in Cambodia should not be in a moral chaos because of one man’s ambition or fear of his own future.
Kacvey, let not forget what Heraclitus said in his fragments LXVII: “Immortals are mortal, mortals immortal, living in their death and dying in their life.”
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The national assembly is a pure lame duck (un canard boiteux) functioning with one webbed foot of 68 claw-like toes; the other foot was earlier “out of service” and now heavily bandaged with some missing toes scattered or exiled around the globe. The broken foot is trying to show off that it’s front and center of the duck, but every time it makes half-a-step, the other foot tripped it, and it becomes handicapped again.
The autocracy has been using the lame duck as a springboard to show to the world that it is an effective symbol of Cambodian democracy, ignoring that democracy does not need a symbol to be effective; all it needs is the respect of the people’s will at the ballot box.
The government, reshuffled or otherwise, is a plethora of docile minions who get lost in the myriad of postings, sometimes contradicting each other, in the autocrat’s Facebook page. Is it a real government with responsibility and accountability to the people or it elected representatives, or is it a Facebook government where no one is responsible for anything or to anyone except to the autocratic head who, for lack of intellectual courage and prowess, has never dared to directly face the free and independent Fourth Estate? Corruption and nepotism are rampant in each ministry which uses nepotism and corruption for self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Anti-corruption slogan and so-called inquest is a pathetic public show to punish a few petty cases for the sole and ultimate purpose of hiding and protecting Hostile Takeover kinship group. Their motto is: sacrifice the small to protect the big.
The pain in the NEC is still there as one of its members has been arrested and jailed with bogus accusations. This is a case of “in flagrante delicto” of non respect of rule of laws and violation of human rights by the autocratic machinery. The NEC, being in the fold of the autocrat, tries to justify its continuous operations albeit against its own spirit that was set forth at the constitution of such body. It justifies its independence through its dependence towards the autocratic relationship.
It could, one day, be legally argued that all NEC’s decisions and actions are nonbinding and invalid because the NEC has not operated with full members.
Meanwhile, in order to put more pressure on the NEC to toe the ruling party’s line, the government has issued orders to post military and police personnel near the elections centers; currently military and police top brasses publicly and shamelessly are belting out threatening electoral campaign rhetoric and propaganda even before the official opening of the electoral campaign. This does not go unnoticed by the 7-million registered voters; if, wearing Black when going to vote on elections day, they voted en masse, surprised results could not be discounted.
Conducting world affairs are not just reduced to attending meetings in foreign lands without proposing or saying anything that defend the interests of Cambodia, or holding crossed hands with foreign leaders or shaking hand with other autocrats of similar kind, or betting on who’s winning the US elections, or lecturing foreign ambassadors on arrogance and incivility, or threatening international organizations with empty words, or begging for foreign money to fill up the annual national budget or for armaments to kill one’s own countrymen, or even inviting losing world pugilist to make campaign on traffic safety, or campaigning to have Phnom Penh or Siem Reap as international meetings place… or having corrupted or incompetent ambassadors posted in various world capitals behaving like dummy dolts the purpose of which is to protect Hostile Takeover’s foreign bank accounts.
Conducting proper foreign affairs is, for example: how to recuperate the Khmer land that has been recognized by the International Court of Justice; how to ensure that Cambodia frontiers are not violated or eaten into by aggressive neighbors; how to redress Cambodia standing in every international studies and surveys, from the pit upwards.
Conducting proper world affairs is to recognize that:
– history of the world is not a forgotten past,
– a small country cannot fool the world,
– the world does not always listen to a small country, and
– big and powerful country – whichever size it is – always tries to “USE” small country to serve its present and future interests, and
– to protect Cambodia’s interests in the world stage is not a play at the local theater with low caliber thespians.
In a sea of deep water where whales roam and make waves, sharks chase preys near the coast lines, a small fish could easily be swallowed up by the whale and careless and heedless swimmer could also easily become shark’s innocent prey. So, if the little fish swims in the South China Sea with the giant whale Jing Yu (鲸鱼) and suddenly a tsunami (海啸) occurs, what could the little fish do: gobbled up by the whale? or got caught up in the seismic sea wave and plunged towards the abyss of the sea?
The repressive yoke of autocracy on Cambodian’s shoulders is so heavy on the morale and conscience of the 99% to the point that Khmer society has been fearfully traumatized by:
– the systematic and premeditated assassination of Mr. Kem Ley, followed by the ineptitude of the autocracy to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation which is accentuated by the fear that itself is implicated in the assassination plot, and forcing Mr. Kem Ley’s remaining family to leave Cambodia and his tomb in Takeo for a safer life overseas;
– the constant combined politico-police-military threat against opposition leader and activists throughout the country;
– the arrest and bogus trials of human rights workers;
– the permanent banning of all public gatherings and the constant arrests of marchers or demonstrators who lost their lands/natural habitat/houses to big entities, opaque or real, operating under the protective umbrella of Hostile Takeover;
– the total sellout of the justice system to the gratuity dispensed by the autocratic ruler, and worst of all
– the abandonment by their elected representatives who do nothing for them, but do everything for themselves and their own interests and future.
Well, Kacvey, the night of 31 December 2016 will carry all the above to the morning of 1 January 2017 and throughout, and while the 1% would be bathing in expensive champagne bubbles, the 99% couldn’t even careless about the annual passage of the Gregorian calendar; instead they are preparing themselves for tomorrow that is not going to be less chaotic or horrendous than today.