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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Comment: Violence, Intimidation and Graft Never Win

Comment: Violence, Intimidation and Graft Never Win

In reality violence, intimidation and corruption do not stop people from supporting the party they believe in.

If people cannot show their support for one party or another due to fear, what can the future hold for them? People

fear the harm the Khmer Rouge can cause by refusing to disarm. They don't trust anybody, including their neighbors.

Party members and supporters rights have not been protected and there are incidents of violence happening everywhere.

During the civil war, most Cambodians living inside the country did not deal with politics because their goals

were to find food for their family and try to stay alive. Matters became much worse when the Khmer Rouge took power

in 1975. Many Cambodians living overseas did not get involved in politics either because they enjoyed living in

their new countries which provided them freedom and happiness. They were busy working to pay their mortgage and

college tuitions for their children. If Cambodia was safe, these expatriates would love to help rebuild their native

homeland. They would advocate human rights and promote democracy for the Cambodian people.

The Cambodian people do not want war to continue but if the Khmer Rouge faction is still outside the election process,

they predict that the civil war will escalate. With the signing of the peace accords in Paris, the world has begun

to take care of Cambodians, but the war still goes on. People are getting killed and wounded everywhere, including

U.N. teams who are being evacuated like refugees from some areas.

After suffering for more than two decades, the Cambodian people would love to see their country return to peace,

freedom and democracy. They want to see their leaders walk away from the bullets and into the ballot box. Traditionally,

Khmers do not like to talk about politics, but they know how to use their power at the voting booths. They understand

human rights. They understand what it is to be free. And, they greatly desire to participate in the upcoming historical

election.

I salute any politician who believes in non-violence. I appeal to all political parties, including the Khmer Rouge,

to follow the principles of non-violence, non-intimidation and non-corruption.

- Dith Pran is a New York Times photographer whose story was told in the 1985 film

"The Killing Fields."

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