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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The work to be done

The work to be done

The Editor,

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

likely!

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

sight.

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

Cambodia.

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.

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