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Shame on Thais

Dear Sir,

T hailand is a paragon of the really bizarre. It widely opposes lethal aid for Phnom Penh. Truly, bullets do not peace make. Except that the heaps upon heaps of Thai trickery in this regard is wholly rotten.

The Khmer Rouge are a pack of permanently war-bound freaks. Each month, they collect some $20 million from the gem mining and timber concessions that it has "licensed" to the Thais in Pailin. For this continuing thievery against what is legitimately our national wealth, the Thais are very quiet. Worse, the Pailin millions that the Khmer Rouge brigands loot with obvious Thai complicity, the Thais argue, are used entirely towards paying for the non-lethal noodles and chopsticks bills of Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan, Ta Mok "the butcher" and company. Horrible logic. Indeed, one minute, the Thais say they wish Cambodia genuine peace. Another second later, they would insist they had to trade with all the Cambodian factions, the Pailin swindle with the Khmer Rouge, therefore, a purely legitimate humanitarian "business as usual" deal. What factions are the Thais talking about? Cambodia has a duly elected government in Phnom Penh. Any coherent modicum of Thai respect here for both the people and government of Cambodia?

Thailand says that, one, the Cambodian conflict is purely a political question, leave the Cambodians alone to settle the issue between themselves. This is very decent. Two, that the war in Cambodia is not going to be settled by the Cambodians having to engage in more warfare. All right. Three, that Cambodia is better off receiving more social and economic rather than war material assistance. Fine. But how could the Thais have defined for us Cambodians the nature of, therefore, solutions to our own country's war? How could they have decided for us what to ask for our country? The Thais, with these pretensions, are not unduly interfering with Cambodia's internal affairs? All these are for humanitarian reasons, the Thais would like to dupe all and sundry to believe. Hopeless. And welcome to this fetid Thai doublespeak cum brazen insult to human intellect.

Of course, we could not expect sufficient integrity from a country that can mass murder its youth for expressing opposite views about democracy. One cannot expect dignity from a society whose leaders delight at the gross trading of its women in the country's ever-rising sex market. Leave Thailand alone, too, to wallow in its callous passion for money, money and more money.

That comprises the Thai's own value-system that is for them to mind. For peace in Cambodia, though, it is polite for the Thais to immediately quit as Cambodia's spokespersons. It is as well civilized if Thailand could quickly stop providing business opportunities, trade routes, even well-known and actual sanctuaries to the Khmer Rouge. Why, except for the Thai military and Thai government, everyone knows that Ta Mok, for example, operates several Shell and Thaioil sales and service stations inside Thailand! Long verified reports, too, tell about key Khmer Rouge leaders and functionaries either holding or, once necessary, continue to easily acquire Thai passports.

With its patrons in Phnom Penh, Thai money is massing absolute profits. With their Khmer Rouge partners, Thai capital equally drains Cambodia of its rich gem and timber heritage. During more than one decade between 1979 and 1992, as international aid truly poured for the Cambodian refugees, the Thais in Aranyaprathet and other border communities collected many millions of dollars for the "humanitarianism" that the Thai refugee camps allowed towards mitigating the miseries of our fleeing people. Certainly, Thailand have long been paid adequate salaries for their service to the Cambodian refugees. No, they need not have more. It is time they really and immediately stop preying on another people's suffering.

We Cambodians wish that, indeed, [want to] deny Cambodia any war assistance... It is the case that our people now desire for more plowshares to cut the soil for food instead of guns for more war. The conquest of widespread poverty in our midst makes up the priority battle that we, private citizens, now profoundly intend to wage and win. We must soonest improve our state of life in Cambodia. Towards that direction, so much Thai arrogance and duplicity regarding peace in Cambodia are without use. It is rather Thai transparency regarding its announced abhorrence of war and that war's principal runners in Cambodia, namely, the Khmer Rouge, that will serve the Cambodian peace purposes best.

In the meantime, as this letter is written, Thailand protests that, after one month, no result is yet in sight regarding the investigation of the 14 detained Thai nationals implicated in the failed early August 1994 coup in Phnom Penh. Well, since five years now, Thailand's whiz of investigators claim they are have yet to know who thieved the Saudi Arabian jewelry that the Thai police recovered from another Thai thief. This inept Thai wizardry in crime surveillance now, too, has to account for the accidental deaths that befall the family members of potential witnesses to the stinking crime. The Thai gumption, really. The Cambodian police facilities, at least, are yet in the state of ruins that owe to the ongoing war.

- Inayaban Tiilam, Phnom Penh

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