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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Stop being intimidated by the KR

Stop being intimidated by the KR

C AMBODIANS must stop being intimidated by the Khmer Rouge and must also stop helping

the Khmer Rouge intimidate Cambodia and her people.

Last week, news of Pol Pot and his brutal comrades has shaken Cambodia again, even

though at a different degree compared to the day of April 17, 1979, when the Khmer

Rouge took over Cambodia.

A photo of the assassinated Son Sen's body has appeared worldwide. No second sources

have confirmed his death. The news of Pol Pot has been printed on the front page

of world famous newspapers such as the New York Times almost every day. The sources

of the news are contradicting themselves every day, too. To help stabilize Cambodia

society is to take news of Khmer Rouge as it is. Son Sen appears dead in the photograph.

We have not seen his grave. We have not examined his ashes.

I recalled 22 years ago, when the Khmer Rouge evacuated my family and me from Phnom

Penh to Trapeang Veng village of Region 5, Battambang province. The village consisted

of approximately 1,200 families from Phnom Penh. We were targeted by the Khmer Rouge

as "the enemies of Angkar" because we used to live in the city. Our village

chief was a base person but was later replaced by a young female Khmer Rouge cadre,

aged about 12. She was Comrade Oun, from the southwest zone. We were afraid of her,

especially when she told us that "Angkar" had sent her to look after us.

When, almost four years later in 1978, the Vietnamese came to Cambodia to eliminate

the Khmer Rouge, only 13 families in my village survived. I could not explain to

a Western reporter how things happened in my village and how Comrade Oun took care

of us. Any Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge times had the same experience. But now

I know that it was an intimidation that led to the executions of my relatives and

people in the whole village: "Angkar" had given orders to comrade Oun to

kill us.

Cambodians should not fear the Khmer Rogue any more. Cambodians should not be afraid

to face them. We now live in a society where law rules. And we have learned from

the past. We need to take political events of the Khmer Rouge based upon facts or

evidence. It is the only way to stop politicians fooling us and to stop the intimidation

from the Khmer Rouge. It is also the only way to help build Cambodia to be a better

place for all of us to live.

If the news stated that Pol Pot has surrendered, lets believe that the news said

Pol Pot has surrendered. But we should also believe that we have not yet seen Pol

Pot surrendered on the TV yet. We have not seen Pol Pot at the courtroom yet. Samdech

Hun Sen has said that we should be extremely careful with these Khmer Rouge games.

Pol Pot, Ta Mok and their comrades are not so stupid as to give up their lifetime

treasure and submit themselves to their enemies, the Cambodian people. They will

try everything until their last breath to survive and to gain control in Cambodia,

because they know that they are criminals. They know that they are responsible for

the crime of genocide they committed between 1975 and 1979. They also know that they

will be put on trial for the killing of nearly 2 million Cambodians, if they surrender.

Otherwise, they can just come to the Central Market at any time and do not need to

ask for an amnesty from the King.

The Khmer Rogue is afraid of us now. For God's sake, we do not need to be intimidated

by them. We do not need to take a bloody revenge on them, but let the law of the

land judge them accordingly.

- Youk Chhang is Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

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