I am writing purely out of personal concern for Cambodia.
What concerns me most is the deterioration in the Kingdom since the UN-organized
elections in 1993. I fear that all the hard work and effort of the world
community and the Khmer themselves will be lost, and the Khmer society will
return to the "dark age".
It is much easier to destroy than to build. The
Khmer Rouge is a classic destructive example of Khmer society as a whole. The
problems facing Cambodia today are ruining the best chance for full recovery
after a long nightmare. What are the problems? Corruption, abuse of human
rights, abuse of power by the few. The list goes on. When will it end? Till the
Khmer society or nation is wiped out from the face of the earth? Most
Someone said "you can't survive in Cambodia if you are an honest,
patriotic, uncorrupted person". From what I have witnessed first hand in
Cambodia (between 1991-95) I have no doubt that it is fact. There are many
classic examples to prove this, but would be too embarrassing to mention here.
The Human Right groups and the people know this very well, especially those in
rural areas. Cambodia is similar to the American West in the 19th century where
people with guns made the rules. One must have "connection" or "know the right
people" to get anything done in Cambodia, and of course that all requires money.
For over two decades Cambodia has been ruled by people with guns. Thugs with
guns, authorities who abuse power, corruption, fear, threats and intimidation
still exist in today's supposedly democratic Cambodia. The end is nowhere in
There are many good people in the government. Their voices,
however, are silenced by threats and intimidation. The few loud voices do not
last long. Those who dare to speak out better get ready to leave the country or
face jail or worse yet, death. Some have been charged with "high treason" - a
term which should only be used for the armed thugs and corrupted officials.
There are plenty in Cambodia and in the government. They are the ones who will
destroy Cambodia, besides the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer society must change in
order maintain a decent existence. However, with the same few people in control
of the government in Cambodia, one can not be optimistic about the future. Power
hungry people have no place in governing a country, even in a poor nation like
I would like to end with praise for the Royal Government,
particularly both Prime Ministers for their lead in fighting corruption. I also
hope that they have enough courage to deal with other problems in Khmer society,
such as human right abuses, thugs with guns (especially in rural Cambodia where
the majority of Khmer people live and work). People only ask that they do the
best job possible without compromising their morality as human beings. Best
wishes to the Royal Government. There is much work to be done.
- Ronnie Yimsut, Oregon, United States.