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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - An Open Letter to World Leaders

An Open Letter to World Leaders

Thank you for sending United Nations peacekeeping forces to Cambodia in an effort

to save Cambodian lives, and the country from being swallowed by its neighbors. By

allowing foreign countries to use Cambodia in the past two decades, Cambodian leaders

have accepted the killing of their own people. The result of this has been that Cambodia

became famous as the land of the Killing Fields. Now, the Cambodian people have a

chance for true democracy.

For many years Cambodia has been isolated from the world. The world did not want

to see, to hear, to know the Cambodian atrocities during the Khmer Rouge regime,

and no one ever tried to help save their lives. This is the chapter for Cambodian

people to believe in the new world order, because the former Soviet Union and communist

China no longer exist in the way they have in the past. Both are deteriorating. Vietnam

also can no longer afford to dominate Cambodia anymore.

At the beginning of the negotiation for peace in Cambodia, the Cambodians were told

to accept the Khmer Rouge faction as a partner in rebuilding their country. They

agreed to listen to the United Nations, but the Khmer Rouge are refusing to cooperate.

The current situation makes them worry again. The United Nations has been threatened

by the Khmer Rouge. Refugees are still not secure because they are fleeing the fighting

once more and their rice fields still have landmines.

Are you going to abandon the Cambodian people again and allow the Killing Fields

to come back? Are you, the world leaders, going to try a new strategy in order to

change the Khmer Rouge attitude and bring them back to the peace process?

The Cambodian people are very worried about the Khmer Rouge refusal to comply with

the peace treaty, especially since all the weapons are still in this faction's hands.

The time for the United Nations to be in Cambodia is running out, and the Cambodian

people are hanging on to the hope that the world will not let the holocaust happen

again.

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

the 1985 film "The Killing Fields."

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