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Cloud of silence

Dear Editor,

The trials of the First Prime Minister, and several of his aides and compatriots,

are as much "show trials", as that of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot were.

No one with any awareness of the conditions within Cambodia since the coup can honestly

believe that such trials are anything resembling "justice".

The audacity to bring the spirit of Madame Chau Sambath's husband to trial is sickening,

it reflects very well the lack of any trace of humanity within the current regime.

Almost every move by the current regime seems to be staged for their own self-glorification,

as if they are writing their own history, which of course will not be fit for any

library history section due to the "fact" that all of the actions taken

by this dictatorship are little more than pages of "fiction" for people

who want to be seen as powerful and benevolent. We must remember that Hitler also

thought that he was doing good for his so-called cause.

I, as an American, am ashamed and disgraced by the relative hush emanating from Washington,

D.C. Hun Sen is no less than Saddam Hussein, or Slobodan Milosovic, yet the world

community seems content to watch as opposition party members continue to be slain

throughout Cambodia in a well-orchestrated plan of tactical intimidation.

As I read in one report, it stated that almost 40% of the Cambodian population suffer

from some type of lingering mental trauma related to the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

It is my belief that Hun Sen is purposefully capitalizing on this past trauma to

give his current charade a veneer of legitimacy. For him, it is advantageous to see

a Khmer Rouge face on all of his political opposition. But isn't it quite odd that

when he holds hands with Khmer Rouge figures such as Ieng Sary, he sees only the

portrait of reformed "patriots"? For this, Hun Sen should receive an Academy

Award for Hypocrisy.

No one should expect that the upcoming elections, if they are held, will be anything

near "free" or "fair", without massive participation of sincere

international observation. As has been noted before, the much praised United Nations

effort that led up to the 1993 elections was a great publicity stunt for the United

Nations. It has now been disclosed how half-hearted some of the participants were.

The upcoming elections must be monitored by those who understand what is at stake,

not by persons who want nothing more than a Cambodian stamp on their passport and

a souvenir from Angkor Wat. The Cambodian people deserve more from the world community.

The free world has betrayed the Cambodian people twice in the last 25 years. They

cannot stand to be betrayed again: to do so would be to condemn them to virtual extinction.

Why is it that the Cambodian people have suffered so much, for so long, in such a

cloud of silence? I believe that the free world is unwilling to acknowledge its crime

of ostracizing the Cambodian people.

It is wrong!!! The Cambodian people are as deserving of liberation as the Jewish

people were in World War II; they are as deserving as the people of Kuwait were in

"Desert Storm"; and they are as deserving of intervention as the Bosnians

were in the former Yugoslavia.

You, the champions of democracy, are obligated to assist those who struggle to return

democratic evolution to the country of Cambodia. To fail the Cambodian people now,

after they have sacrificed as no other people on earth have, would be to surrender

to evil, and you can be assured that other despotic leaders are watching Cambodia

to see what will happen. What happens in Cambodia will determine, to a large degree,

just how commited we are to a true expansion of democratic ideals around the globe.

Cambodia must be a success, lest we condemn ourselves for generations to come.

- Jim Yost (via email), United States.



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