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Elections not enough

The Editor,

Elections are not enough to bring peace and democracy to Cambodia. We should learn

the lesson. Even if there are free and fair elections in 1998, who will enforce the

rule of law? Didn't we witness what has happened since 1993? Without neutral police,

military police, the military, courts, and public administration, law-making does

not make much sense since there is nobody to make sure that the law is implemented

properly. Indeed we need a neutral armed forces and police as the draft Cambodian

electoral law and political party law state. We need neutral public institutions

before, during, and after the elections. Without this, there will be no peace nor

democracy in Cambodia.

How can we know that public institutions are neutral? One way to prove that they

become neutral is to bring the people responsible for the recent murders of Funcinpec

officials, for the March 30 grenade attack, and for the murders of journalists to

justice. It is easy to say that political freedom exists but words do not count,

deeds count. Making things transparent will help all sides since people make wrong

decisions and misbehave if they do not know the truth. As Buddha teaches, we need

to see things properly, to think properly, to speak the truth, and to act properly.

Without knowing the truth, one can easily end up believing lies and misbehaving,

sometimes even killing people.

Foreigners who talk about "realpolitik" and support "stability"

by force, should please remember that most Cambodians want "peace" and

do not want "violence". If democracy really existed in Cambodia, there

would have been no coup d'état. Cambodian soldiers did not need to murder

and injure their fellow Cambodians. Please listen to what ordinary Cambodians are

longing for. They want peace and they don't want bloodshed. If democracy is a way

to rule a society by majority consensus, Cambodian people's consensus is "peace".

Please support democracy and peace, not violence.

- Tanaka Tomomichi (alias), volunteer worker in Cambodia.



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