The Cambodian people believe the UN peacekeepers will defend and protect them from
being bombarded by dictatorship and genocide. They went through hell under the Khmer
Rouge leadership of the Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan which killed millions of people
and transformed Cambodia into the poorest country in Asia.
The Khmer Rouge leaders are ultra nationalist, more Maoist than Mao Tse-tung, and
more communist than the former Soviet Union and Red China, but the world has ignored
their reign of terror. The Cambodian people know Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan are worse
than Hitler but the world refused to believe there was a holocaust in Cambodia. Thank
God right now people are beginning to pay some respect to the Cambodian holocaust
victims by writing about the tragedies of the past.
In the last day of 1992, the Khmer Rouge succeeded in forcing UN peacekeepers to
evacuate from a post in northwestern Cambodia because they refuse to disarm and continue
to disrupt voter registration. The Cambodian people understand the Khmer Rouge strategy
well and know this faction only survives because the leadership has guns and money.
UN peacekeepers arrived to help Cambodia become safer and democratic. Why, then are
the Khmer Rouge leaders allowed to retain their weapons? People want Khmer Rouge
soldiers to join the UN teams. Cambodians want the UN to play not only a defensive
position in helping the country but also an aggressive one towards the Cambodian
political leaders. I believe the UN should be the boss in this peace process, instead
of playing a cat and mouse game with the Khmer Rouge. It seems that the Khmer Rouge
are becoming more and more the cat.
The world must find a new solution to deal with the Khmer Rouge leadership and bring
them back to the table without bloodshed. The continuing human rights violations
and the killing is tiring. Right now Cambodians must work together in rebuilding
a peaceful, democratic Cambodia.
- Dith Pran is a New York Times photographer whose story was told in the 1985
"The Killing Fields."