|អ្នកស្នេហាជាតិ គេចាប់ដាក់គុករហូត ២០ឆ្នាំ គឺដើម្បីឱ្យចាស់ជរាចេញមកវិញ|
by School of Vice
Re: Rainsy told ‘go to jail’ at US meeting with supporters
Pen Sovan, the late Chan Si [died under mysterious circumstances] among other former CPP leaders who had sought to defend Cambodian interests, or fell out of favour with Hanoi's leaders, had all suffered the same fate - one way or another. Sovan's case is particularly pertinent and indicative of Vietnam's meddling in Cambodia's politics given that the person who replaced him following his arrest and exile to Vietnam to face long term imprisonment there [where he was forced to eat left-over dog meat from Vietnamese prison guards] was none other than Hun Sen himself who continues to threaten and terrorize the country and its people to this day. By the time Sovan was released from prison and allowed to return to the country of his birth, his nation was already firmly consolidated under the grip of the CPP's single party rule, and more tellingly, his health and advanced age have ensured that he remains in a state of inactivity and limbo for the rest of his life.
Mr Rainsy's decision to live in exile or to return to Cambodia whatever the repercussions, is a matter of personal choice and conscience. It's interesting that neither his critics in the press, nor elsewhere, have bothered to criticise or question the late Sihanouk's decision to remain in foreign exile for much of his political life; the person Rainsy often mentions to explain his decision. These 'critics' have also been somewhat disingenuous in their conspicuous lack of interest over the personal risks Rainsy has taken over the course of his lengthy political career during which, at one point, he somehow miraculously survived a multiple grenade attack waged on a peaceful gathering he was leading in March 1997 by assassins of the Hun Sen regime who were, reportedly, linked to his notorious personal body guard unit.
Everyone knows the country as a whole is saturated with violence, from perceived slights, domestic issues and family feuds to political tensions and conflicts; all could be [and have often been] settled through violence. The country of Burma [Myanmar] may share this general culture of violence, but perhaps, not to the same extent, and Rainsy is also right to point out that unlike Cambodia, the Burmese military rulers are not under the yoke of a neighbouring power in quite the same way that the Cambodian regime is, or historically, has been.
The idea of a leader opting to remain with his own people and supporters in person, or returning to face his 'Aung San Suu Kyi moment' might have its romance and appeal to those observing from a safe and detached distance. However, let us all reflect on all these undercurrents and circumstances and have a bit of perspective and sense of realism or circumspection here. The Cambodian regime suddenly reissued Rainsy with an old court case whilst he was on a visit to S. Korea which would have resulted with immediate arrest and conviction had he chosen to return. The timing itself was obviously meant to nudge him into accepting another indefinite period of 'self-imposed' exile, thus sparing the regime from having to resort to taking what crude measures it would have had to take had he opted to go ahead with his scheduled return to the country.
An outbreak of violence on the scale of Veng Streng Blv crackdown of 2014 could have ensued, or possibly one exceeding it, culminating in a prolonged and protracted period of unrest and strife which in turn could have consumed more innocent lives and limbs. Just as in the tragic and bloody aftermath of the March 1997 grenade attack [when he faced condemnations from many quarters for "toying with innocents' lives"], whatever Rainsy chooses to do next is always going to be problematic for his supporters, and ‘cowardly' or unconscionable or wrong for his critics! It's a case of ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don't’! After all, it's not easy to please the 'critics'. As can be seen from the report below, they even mark him down for using the term "yuon" [Vietnamese/Vietnam in the Khmer language], insisting, wholly without basis or evidence, but merely on hearsay and innuendos, that this is "... considered derogatory by some"; a far more questionable [and in this writer's opinion, regrettably unethical for a well-known newspaper outlet] and "well-trodden line" than anything Rainsy himself could have thought of to justify his political and personal decisions.
Actually, in the final analysis, the waywardness, the convoluted paths and trajectories of Cambodia's politics, as much as that of the opposition CNRP itself, are all symptomatic of this nation's precarious ills and conditions that successions of its generations have had to grapple with over hundreds of years. If some people are only willing to allow themselves to look beyond the personalities, the petty behaviour of individuals, the delusions instilled in them by mass personal wealth and power, [the generating of which is an inextricable equation of these political patterns and legacy] etc. they would see the underlying forces and the actors that still shape and dictate the life and dynamics of the country and its people, including that of the political Opposition, putting them all on the back-foot, and in a position where they have to ‘react’, wrestle with threats and challenges, rather than behaving and moving on their own volition in an independent manner, as the Burmese people and their leaders of rival factions - for instance - are able to do.
In this sense, it isn't only Sam Rainsy who is being forced to remain in 'exile' [surely he, like all Cambodians, would rather be in a position to enter and leave the country freely?], but many of his party colleagues are also made to share this state of collective freedom curtailment and confinement, from senator Hong Sok Hour and MP Um Sam An, to acting CNRP president Kem Sokha, civil society activists and rights workers - along with all of Cambodia!
It is something of a sign of the Cambodian people's inherent trust in his political leadership and hence a marked gesture of support for, and vindication of, his public decisions that Rainsy's previous return from his 'self-imposed exile' abroad in 2013 had been met with hundreds of thousands of people turning up outside the airport to welcome him. This mass turnout was, to this writer's knowledge, unprecedented in this nation's modern history, and, perhaps, also his current predicament and trouble are, ironically, one of the main casualties, or the flipside of, this mass popularity and appeal that he has been able to engender among the Khmer people.