A Change of Guard

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Friday, 30 October 2009

Rainsy’s publicity stunt carries a powerful political message

Ed-Op by Khmerization
29th October, 2009

“Mr. Rainsy’s theatre was without a doubt a publicity stunt, but one that carries a powerful political message that have far-reaching effects in raising national and international awareness about Cambodia’s border problems with its powerful neighbour to the east.”

With Khmer-Thai border dispute at Preah Vihear to the west dominating national and international media headlines for the last one year, which had overshadowed all other issues of national importance, there needs an urgent redress and a dramatic stunt to regenerate national debates about the more pressing Khmer-Vietnamese border issue to the east.

Mr. Sam Rainsy’s theatrical performance of uprooting six border demarcation poles on 25th in front of national and international media has certainly achieved that.

Many people questioned whether Mr. Rainsy was more interested in a theatrical publicity stunt or was he more interested in taking concrete measures to address the border issue. Mr. Rainsy’s theatre was without a doubt a publicity stunt, but one that carries a powerful political message that have far-reaching effects in raising national and international awareness about Cambodia’s border problems with its powerful neighbour to the east.

Since time immemorial, especially during the reign of King Chey Chetha II (r. 1618 - 1627) in the 17th century, Vietnam had secretly forcibly annexed vast territories of Cambodia, known today as Kampuchea Krom, after King Chey Chetha II married one of the Vietnamese princesses. Cambodian republicans, in particular supporters of the Khmer Republic regime of Marshall Lon Nol, have wittingly drummed up powerful anti-monarchy sentiments by accusing King Chey Chetha II of ceding large territories of Kampcuhea Krom to the Vietnamese emperor at the request of his Vietnamese wife. Twenty one provinces have been annexed and the Vietnamese drive for annexations were only cut short with the signing of the French Protectorate in 1863 between France and Cambodia.

Many Cambodians, who are very wary about Vietnam’s past hegemony and expansionism, believe that the Vietnamese leaders still harbour ambition of swallowing Cambodia. They still believe that the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia in 1979 was not to save Cambodians from being massacred by the Khmer Rouge, but it was an invasion and hegemonism with the aim of turning Cambodia into a second Kampuchea Krom. Many treaties, with all of them favouring Vietnam, were signed between the puppet Cambodian regime and the invading Vietnamese government. These unequal treaties had reinforced their scepticism of Vietnam’s real motives for their intervention in Cambodia.

Critics of the present Cambodian government believe that treaties such as the 1979 Treaty, 1982 Treaty and 1985 Demarcation Treaty had favoured Vietnam and had ceded large parts of Cambodian frontiers to Vietnam. The ratification of the 1985 Supplemental Treaty in 2005 had caused a stir in Cambodia among Mr. Hun Sen’s critics. Many people and border activists who had expressed their oppositions to this particular treaty had been jailed or forced to flee the country. They have alleged that the 1985 Demarcation Treaty and the 1985 Supplemental Treaty, ratified in 2005, have ceded large chunk of Khmer territories to Vietnam. Many Cambodian villages (Phum Dong, Bavet in Svay Rieng, O’Yadao in Rattanakiri) and lately a rice-field near Ang Romdenh Pagoda in Samrong commune, Chantrea district of Svay Rieng province where Mr. Sam Rainsy had just waged a campaign of theatrical publicity stunt to uproot the border poles illegally installed by the Vietnamese authority, had been encroached. Many Cambodians believe that the border poles were illegally installed because they were installed in the middle of Cambodian farmers’ rice-fields. Most Cambodian borderlines with Vietnam, the same with Thailand, have been demarcated using natural features such as natural creeks and mountains as the borderlines. On the contrary, the present borderlines with Vietnam have often cut across Cambodian villages and rice-fields, causing Cambodian villagers to lose their homes and farmlands. As a result, Mr. Rainsy’s theatrical stunt in Samrong commune has generated publicity and reinvigorated the national debates about the fate of Cambodian borders with Vietnam once again.

I have drawn a long list of facts above because I want to highlight the importance of publicity, or a publicity stunt if one wants to term it that way, particularly international publicity, regarding border violations by Cambodia’s neighbours, especially Cambodia’s borders to the east which had been almost forgotten since the invasion of the Preah Vihear areas by Thai troops in the middle of last year which had dominated national and international headlines.

To this effect, Mr. Rainsy’s theatrical publicity stunt by uprooting the six border poles illegally installed by Vietnamese authority had certainly regenerated debates and had drawn national and international attention to the Khmer-Vietnamese border problems once again.

Mr. Rainsy’s action, if anything at all, is just a symbolic gesture but one that carries a political weight and a powerful message to national and international audience about the plight of the Cambodian border issue with Vietnam.


Anonymous said...

Whether Mr. Sam Rainsy conduct was act of publicity stunts or an act of courage, at least he is someone who has the balls to step up to the plate to defend Cambodia's territorial sorveignty. I hope this send a clear message to Youn and Ah Q-wak(Hun Sen) that there is someone with political powers that actually gives a shit about Cambodia. Youn is quietly sneaking up behind Cambodia's back to take many small bites of Khmer land, yet Ah Q-wak(HUn Sen) and his CPP club play blind about it.

Youn will never give up its ambition of obtaining the rest of Khmer territory. If they suceeded in obtaining Champa, Khmer Krom, and Koh Tral( the latest), we Khmer must not be fooling ourselves to assumed that Youn stop the expansion. Yuon psychology of Nam Tien(southward expansion) will never end. Youn is a creature of selfishness and a master of manipulation. It will used the most dirtiest tricks in the book to achieve its goals to expand itself. Khmer Rouge was one of its most sucessful tool used against Khmer to do the dirtiest jobs of reducing Khmer populations for "easy walk in the park" invasion. Many Khmer are fooled into thinking that without Youn helped, all Khmer would had been killed. This is axactly how Youn want Khmer to think. Youn's agenda was to add Cambodia to its collections of provinces, a grand prize of collections that is. That is the way of the Youn, learn it, remember it, and never trust it, because Khmer-Youn history told us so.

Anonymous said...

nothing new about this shit!!!! shut up and shoot the fucking yuon!!!

Anonymous said...

Khmers must act now or never. Khmers been fooled by Youns to kill it owners people. The Youns using us for their own interests.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rainsy's action might be a stunt but, like the author, I believe that his action did reminder Khmer leaders and Khmer people that Khmer lands have been robbed everyday by the Viet.

Hun Sen and his cronies, because they got into powers by the Viet, will never protest. They are still indebted to Vietnam for helping them to come to powers and stay in powers for 30 years. To say in short, they are Khmer traitors!

It needs a courageous act like what Mr. Rainsy had done to publicize the Viet territorial violations to the Khmer people and the world at large. Good on you, Mr. Rainsy.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rainsy's leadership and patrotism have a lot to prove. His real motives remain unclear and one would wonder if there is any tangible difference between Mr. Rainsy and other past and current rulers.

Anonymous said...

Well, he is not a ruler yet, just an opposition leader. Considering all the obstacles and the dangers that hinder his role as an opposition leader, Rainsy has done what many people would not dream of doing.

Rainsy nearly get killed many times because of his brave and daring attempt to help the people's and the nation's cause, yet he still persist despite putting his life in the firing line. He has done a good job.