|Le Duc Tho - politician, statesman, diplomat, strategist all rolled into one [credit: google]|
"From 1978 to 1982 Tho was named by Hanoi to act as chief advisor to the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) and later to the nascent People's Republic of Kampuchea. Lê Đức Thọ's mission was to ensure that Khmer nationalism would not override Vietnam's interests in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge was overthrown."
|True or False?|
by School of Vice
In general people love a scandal as much as they love going to a movie or theatre if only to lose their selves or senses momentarily in a manufactured world of make belief where it is possible for them to step beyond the monotony and enclosure of daily life and venture into the exciting void of the unknown. The trick for a movie director or a screen- writer is to conjure inspirations and patterns found in real life, especially those of uncommon, fantastical varieties and then mould these elements together into a connected plausible story i.e. the kind of recipes required of a great scandal! Ordinary people live and die more or less ordinary lives; their vices range from sneezing, adultery, drunkenness to gambling addiction, and if reported and publicised are unlikely to make interesting news headlines. So any good scandal needs to centre on ‘exceptional’ actors and characters, be they kings, princes, state officials, Prime Ministers or politicians, declared sane or madmen. And how is a madman to know the pathological state, the clinical condition of his madness that so often consumes the soul and corrupts the character trait of every self-appointed tyrant known to mankind? All dictatorial and totalitarian states are mere adumbrations and reflected distortions or artificial enlargements of this deranged and corrupted personality trait, propped up to mirror the Madman and his unopposed egoistical flight of fancy. What’s wrong? Asked the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu as the crowds down below from the balcony where he was delivering his speech promising to raise workers’ pay began to agitate and heckle him. Why are the people [my people!] behaving in this way? Are there stirrers among them? Surely, this is abnormal and irrational behaviour! When a series of angry riots broke out in Phnom Penh against the Hun Sen regime in the late 1980s troops were called in to quell the rioters before Hun Sen himself declared his “love for the people”. As we all should know a true patriot’s love for his people and that of a tyrant are not the same, but being a tyrant you would not know the patriot’s love which the people expect of any patriot who by definition is one of their own.
"PRK government members, no matter how highly placed, who offended the Vietnamese, whether intentionally or not, were swiftly denounced and purged. Among these were Ros Samai, Pen Sovann and Chan Si. The latter, a founding member of the KUNFS who had reached the post of Prime Minister, died in mysterious circumstances in 1984 in Moscow."
Why are tyrants often so blind to the magnitude and gravity of the risks and dangers that emanate from the propagation of their own web of lies and fantasies? The answer is that a combination of engineered events and their own ambitions had conspired to place them in that movie theatre in the first instance and that is where they have and continue to live: make belief this world maybe, yet it is real and intoxicating enough for them that stepping outside of it and into the mundane world, now made diminishingly poorer and more miserable for the rest of us by their coma-like retreat and disengagement from all national causes except helping to spur their perpetual neglect and betrayal, is unthinkable.
This is where our puppet master Le Duc Tho comes in. As the extract below indicates, Tho was not only instrumental in setting up the “Indochinese Communist Party”, but also a key – if notthe key - to ensuring that this front for Vietnam’s own political and territorial expansion and hegemony succeeds at all costs. It is hardly surprising that Tho was assigned to direct Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia [DK] in 1979 and thereafter to oversee the process of Vietnamese administrative and political consolidation in Cambodia through the puppet personnel he had created to give credible facial gloss to an otherwise barely concealed master plan hatched by Hanoi and the Nguyen dynasties in centuries past. One of Tho’s best known observations is: “Our [Vietnam’s] position in Kampuchea is irreversible”. In this belief and conviction, sadly for the people of Cambodia, he is fundamentally right, for neither the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops in 1989 nor the brief UN intervention and electoral victory of badly organised non-communist forces would pose long term grievous threat to a master plan or groundwork he had already put in place in the country. On the other hand, Tho was not blind to the possibility of Cambodian nationalist tide resurfacing once Cambodians have recovered sufficiently from the trauma of genocide; a real life theatre with undeniable protracted historical roots, and Vietnamese subplots to boot.
How Le Duc Tho [or is it someone else?] became Hun Manet’s biological father, or the rumour of it being so, is evidently a source of much angst and annoyance to the foul-mouthed Prime Minister who spent part of his 5 plus hours denouncing the Opposition as “despicable” or “beneath contempt” [choose whichever version you prefer!] . When someone in the audience [the camera turns in the direction of MP Son Chhay and MP Kem Sokha] protests [inaudible] that their opposition party is not the source of the story, the PM congratulates them for denying their culpability for or knowledge of it. Yet his denunciation of ‘the Opposition’ in these unflattering terms and his questioning the wisdom of anyone casting their vote for the same Opposition leaves one in no doubt as to his wholesale animus for and habitual lumping together all who criticise him or his conduct as being in the same camp as the Opposition! As always, MP Son Chhay’s poker face whenever he questioned Mr Hun Sen or his yes-men in moments of tension and national gravity serves only to highlight his un-assumed talent for dark humour. Not that the PM would find it amusing; he himself has lied countless of lies to keep himself in power. Often people believe these lies [for example, Cambodia has not ceded an inch of land to Vietnam, or that Cambodia’s territory has in any case “expanded” under his watch, even if this is to do with smart measuring technology in use, and against the protestations and misery of Cambodian farmers who are losing their ancestral lands as a result of these “amicable achievements” of the joint border committee!], but more importantly he needs to believe in his own lies, so that the lies as such can be told more convincingly! And if people are gullible enough to fall for his lies, there is every chance that the ‘lies’ told against him or his name would also be bought. Therefore, in his theatre the sound and amplifying effect is paramount, and it is he who stays closest to and monopolises the microphone that is King of the Show.
Nevertheless, the real King is someone like Le Duc Tho who pulls the strings that give movement and physical expression to the Puppet from behind the scenes. Politically, Hun Sen, his immediate family members, clans and his ‘ruling’ CPP hordes owe their respective births to Hanoi in general and to Le Duc Tho in particular. So strong and central is this historical role performed by Le Duc Tho that 7th January is de facto granted far more significance and importance than any other dates in Cambodia’s national calendar. Indeed, the CPP [offspring of the “Pracheachon Party” –PP- in the 1950s and 1960s, hatched by Tho and Hanoi to enable the “Khmer Vietminh” to anchor their presence within the mainstream of semi-parliamentary politics] propaganda machine hails it as the Date that marks the “Rebirth” of all Cambodians; homage to national awakening and salvation that places Cambodia in inexhaustible debt and gratitude to Vietnam for eternity. . .
Lê Đức Thọ (October 14, 1911 – October 13, 1990), born Phan Đình Khải in Ha Nam province, was a Vietnamese revolutionary, general, diplomat, and politician. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973, but he declined it.
In 1930, Tho helped found the Indochinese Communist Party. French colonial authorities imprisoned him from 1930 to 1936 and again from 1939 to 1944. After his release in 1945, he helped lead the Viet Minh, the Vietnamese independence movement, against the French, until the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954. In 1948, he was in South Vietnam as Deputy Secretary, Head of the Organization Department of Cochinchina Committee Party. He then joined the Lao Dong Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party in 1955, now the Communist Party of Vietnam. Tho oversaw the Communist insurgency that began in 1956 against the South Vietnamese government. In 1963 Tho supported the purges of the Party surrounding Resolution 9.
From 1978 to 1982 Tho was named by Hanoi to act as chief advisor to the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) and later to the nascent People's Republic of Kampuchea. Lê Đức Thọ's mission was to ensure that Khmer nationalism would not override Vietnam's interests in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge was overthrown.
He was the Standing Member of the Central Committee's Secretariat of the Party from 1982 to 1986 and later became the Advisor of Party's Central Committee.
An administrative infrastructure functioning under the Marxist-Leninist KPRC was more or less in place between 1979 and 1980. With the promulgation of the Constitution in June 1981, new organs, such as the National Assembly, the Council of State, and the Council of Ministers, assumed certain functions that the KPRC had provided. These new bodies evolved slowly. It was not until February 1982 that the National Assembly enacted specific laws for these bodies.
Despite the presence of Vietnamese advisors, the government of the PRK was made up entirely of Cambodian KUFNS members. Initially the Vietnamese advisors, like Le Duc Tho, had promised that they would not interfere with Cambodian internal affairs. However, as soon as the PRK was formed and the KUFNS was in power, Le Duc Tho, acting as liaison chief between Hanoi and Phnom Penh, broke his promise. Henceforward the members of the Government of the PRK had to walk a narrow path between Cambodian nationalism and "Indochinese solidarity" with Vietnam, which meant making sure they didn't irritate their Vietnamese patrons. PRK government members, no matter how highly placed, who offended the Vietnamese, whether intentionally or not, were swiftly denounced and purged. Among these were Ros Samai, Pen Sovann and Chan Si. The latter, a founding member of the KUNFS who had reached the post of Prime Minister, died in mysterious circumstances in 1984 in Moscow.