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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Peace, not pieces...

Peace, not pieces...

The Editor,

It is always very difficult to be "civilized" when dealing with the

issue of the "uncivilized" Khmer Rouge (KR). It is especially difficult

when he or she, as a Khmer, has been victimized by this genocidal group in the past.

Nonetheless, having been a Khmer Rouge victim, I will try very, very hard to be as

"civilized" as possible in order to make my tiny voice be heard in the

Phnom Penh Post.

I recently read the argument between Mr Suong Sikoeun and Laurence Picq, the former

husband and wife, with great interest. If one is to follow their comments or arguments

closely, one can easily and clearly draw a conclusion about their involvement with

Mr Ieng Sary, as well as the connection to other KR leadership.

Since both were at one time or another deeply involved with the KR organization,

their current conflict or disagreement can shed some light about Mr Ieng Sary's responsibility

for genocide in Cambodia. The more these two publicly argue their opposing views,

the more the truth can come out in the open about the KR in general. They, having

been so close to the KR, probably know a great deal about the group especially during

those dark years. Such insider's information about the KR and its leadership can

be exposed and quite useful to all Khmer who have been victimized and suffered under

the KR regime. We'll have to wait and see how far they will go on this matter.

Personally, I found their argument very helpful to understand a little more about

the group that was responsible for the death of nearly my entire family and millions

of my fellow countrymen during their reign of terror. I have no doubt about Mr Suong

Sikoeun's boss (Mr Ieng Sary's) responsibility and guilt for the senseless cold-blooded

murder of my family members and millions other Khmer. Sadly, I was unfortunate enough

to have witnessed the entire ordeal some 18 years ago. The tragic event still vividly

replays in my memory on a daily basis.

There is no denying one simple fact. People, such as Mr Ieng Sary can run, but they

can not hide from their responsibility for crimes against my family, against the

Khmer people, and against humanity. I only wish that I could personally bring them

all to justice on behalf of the millions of dead Khmer and my dead family members.

Can anyone blame Mr Suong Sikoeun for defending Mr Ieng Sary after their 40 year

association? His loyalty to his boss is like that of a dog being loyal to his master,

the one who fed and cared for him through all those difficult years. Mr Suong Sikoeun

was even compelled to leave his wife and children behind in order to serve under

Mr Ieng Sary and the KR organization. He would probably even kill for Mr Ieng Sary

and the KR's behalf, if he was asked. After more than 30 years of being a proud KR

cadre and having Mr Pol Pot as his "hero", I am most certain that both

he and Mr Ieng Sary had their hands stained with gallons of innocent Khmer blood.

Their guilt is just as much as other KR leaders. Without a doubt, there is no such

a thing as a "good" KR as Mr Suong Sikoeun is now trying to portray Mr

Ieng Sary to the world. Mr Suong Sikoeun's former wife, Laurence Picq, can very well

testify to this fact.

Let's assume that KR, such as Mr Ieng Sary or Mr Suong Sikoeun for that matter, did

not actually do the killing. We must give them both the benefit of the doubt since

we don't have yet "tangible proof", or the "smoking gun", needed

to prove their guilt. Yet, after more than 30 years of being KR, after holding top

positions in the KR regime, with millions of dead Khmer under their noses, how could

they not be responsible? How could they show no remorse? No apology? No responsibility?

No regret whatsoever? How dare they deny these facts? Have they no shame? No conscience

at all?

As the saying goes, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." The KR

rank-and-file may have been the ones who did the actual killing, but they are simply

the "gun" of which others pull the trigger. They are in fact under direct

order or control of the top KR leadership. People such as Ieng Sary and perhaps even

Soung Sikoeun himself were part of this KR leadership. They are in fact the "people

who kill the millions of innocent Khmer." Innocent people such as my family

and others who were tragically killed in a ditch at the hands of the KR. I was there!

I survived the massacre. I am here only to bare witness to this massacre some 18

years ago. Am I to forgive and forgot all that happened? Why should KR's victims,

such as myself, be so forgiving of mass murder? How could the Royal Government now

be so forgiving of the serial killers? No, there is no denying it. All the KR top

leadership, including Mr Ieng Sary, should get whatever they deserve. Their victims,

dead or alive, simply deserve full justice.

I have already forgiven the KR rank-and-file simply because they were "just

doing their job". They were simply "brain-washed" not to value human

life, especially Khmer life. However, the top leadership, such as Mr Ieng Sary, should

not escape from their crime(s) against humanity. I, in my own way, will try to make

sure that the KR atrocities will not be forgotten. It is the last thing that I do

in my life. Make no mistake about this, I live only for such a purpose.

Mr Suong Sikoeun and Laurence Picq's quarrel could be a great asset as we could learn

so much from them. It is especially true for the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC).

Why? Simply because this case is similar to that of the communist KR (the hardliners)

and the capitalist KR (DNUM/Ieng Sary). Both were comrades once, but now they hate

each other's guts and will fight against each other until death. They will eventually

self-destruct or at the very least be weakened considerably. Let them fight each

other for a while. The RGC could just simply wait and reap the benefit. It is simple

and very easy with just a little patience. It is a better move than trying the forced

"integration." Does the RGC realistically think that these mass murderers

can be "integrated" or "reformed?" Can the RGC trust their loyalty?

Some of them have had over 30 years to reform themselves and they have failed miserably.

What about "Peace and reconciliation?" It will come, be a little patient.

Cambodia has been at war before the time of Jesus Christ, not to mention the past

26 years; surely the Khmer can last another few years.

By the way, the two Royal Governments of Cambodia (CPP and FUNCIPEC) better stop

fighting with each other or the KR will instead "reap the benefit" without

having to do anything at all. They are waiting and encouraging the two parties' quarrel.

Leave other opposition parties alone. Remember that they are harmless compared to

the KR. Cambodia desperately wants and needs "peace," but certainly not

"pieces."

- Ranachith (Ronnie) Yimsut, Oregon, USA.

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