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Dear Editor:

I am not politician nor am I trying to promote any political philosophy, but Ronnie

Yimsut's controversy about Mr Ieng Sary published in your December 13-26 issue, causes

me some concern about the negative vengeance and selfish attitude of some Khmers.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest and most sincere sympathy for the

suffering and the nightmare that Ronnie Yimsut and his family members have been through

during those dark years. I do also sincerely appreciate his eloquent argument for

how criminal Mr. Ieng Sary and his associates have been. To reassure this, I can

only say that my family and I were in the same shoes that Ronnie Yimsut and his family

were in throughout those years.

It has been 18 years by now, but life in Cambodia has not yet been improved, at least

not to the least bit close to where Ronnie Yimsut is living right now. Why? Because

the obstacle that hinders Cambodia from moving backward and forward is war and its

legacies; poverty, disease, damages of psyche, etc.. The only solution to this, or

at least the prerequisite, is to reconcile as soon as possible; and real reconciliation

may not be as simple as Ronnie Yimsut said, and certainly it will not come by itself.

It may not be valid to compare, but just imagine the effort between the Jews and

the Palestinians - two people of stubborn opposing determination trying to share

one territory. If one truly wishes to find peace for Cambodia and to promote the

attitude and the mentality for peace as way of supporting the peace process and eventually

to ensure it be sustainable, one must dare to make sacrifice of some sort. Nothing

is for nothing. Obviously, this is not the time to bring up more controversy about

Mr. Ieng Sary. (The time for this is when the People's Revolutionary Court of Phnom

Penh sentenced him to death in 1979, or during the period when Democratic Kampuchea

was outlawed in 1994 by the National Assembly.) More controversy of this kind would

do nothing other than to rasp the old wound which still bleeds inside people in both

factions. Consequently, how about "peace, but not pieces"? The 'conception'

of this infant of peace may turn into pieces. I do not know whether it took too long

for Ronnie Yimsut's letter to arrive at The post, but I believe once His Majesty,

The King of Cambodia has declared the amnesty, once those Khmer Rouge (KR) rank -and-file

have already changed their uniforms, any controversy brought up at this point not

only disturb the peace process but could also harm it. As an old saying, " If

you're not going to help row, put no foot into the water to resist the boat's motion."

Of course, it is "simple and very easy" for people like Ronnie Yimsut to

make some noise from out there pointing out some arrogant recommendation of what

the Royal Government of Cambodia should do and what situation we should permit to

take place and watch it and so on..., but I think Ronnie Yimsut must bear in mind

that, perhaps he has left Cambodia to this day millions of other beings have born

to receive the legacies of the chronic war. Most of these young folks may not have

been born to witness the entire ordeal or have been through the experience that we,

the older generation, have but nonetheless they have been living their lives in the

terror of war and poverty. In fact, the country has been relying heavily on international

aid; and don't forget that half of the nation budget (I guess it may be even more)

has been going to the Defense. So, don't these people deserve a quality education,

a quality health care, a healthy living, etc? I am sure Ronnie Yimsut knows perfectly

what the standard of living in Cambodia was and is like.

Another thing that Ronnie Yimsut must not forget is that beside the top leadership

and the rank-and file, in the KR-liberated zones there must be thousands of other

men, Women, children, and elderly, the kind of folks like Ronnie Yimsut himself and

his family members and my family members and myself were during the control of the

Democratic Kampuchea. These people may be as innocent as Ronnie Yimsut and his family.

Now, suppose the scenario drawn by Ronnie Yimsut" let them fight each other

for a while... Cambodia has been at war before the time of Jesus Christ..., surely

the Khmer can last another few years." Would actually take place next year or

so. What would that war do to those hoi polloi? How many more Ronnie Yimsuts of the

1990s or of the 2000s who will '18 years' later still be haunted by the tragic event'

on a daily basis as our Ronnie Yimsut of the 1970s is still today? And when then

will the peace, but not pieces" be fully achieved."

We, human beings, all are selfish by nature, but will a father not sacrifice something

that he believes will be of benefit for his beloved children? Of course, 'accept

they suffering' in Buddhism and 'forgive thy enemy' in Christianity, both do not

sound encouraging. But accepting one's own past suffering to avoid making thousands

of other enemies or to avoid more and extensive bloodshed is not discouraging, is


How realistic could a person be when in the preceding paragraph expresses a desire

to see one people be in self-destruction, and then arrogantly urges for the 'desperate

want and need for peace' of those people? How could a person who once was the victim

of the bloody cornice war be so sadistic to wish for others would be victimized by

that same war? Clearly the contradiction manifested in this person's mind proves

that Cambodia needs not only 'peace' but also a piece' of the Brahma head for some

Khmers to ensure that 'peace' be sustainable: 'compassion', 'pity', 'joy at other's

happiness' and 'sincerity'.

"... wanting something badly will not make it happen. Hoping for something different

will have no effect. Working hard 12 to 15 hours a day is wasting your time. You

will always remain where you are unless-and it's a big "unless"- you change

your thinking.' -John Kehoe. 'To them that hath... more shell be given. To them that

hath not, even what little they have will be taken away.'

- Victor Keo, Education Project Officer



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