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Hun Sen compares modern Cambodia to post-war era

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Prime Minister Hun Sen arrives at an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Cambodian Army’s headquarters on January 24. Heng Chivoan

Hun Sen compares modern Cambodia to post-war era

Prime Minister Hun Sen has again used Facebook to compare the Kingdom’s current state of development with that of the post-war era. On Tuesday, he posted six photographs – one of a large bombed-out building and five showing current views of Phnom Penh featuring its recently built skyscrapers.

“Cambodia must have peace forever. The [first] image you are seeing is a partial view of Phnom Penh that was destroyed and abandoned by the 1975-1979 Pol Pot genocidal regime. Cambodia has [enjoyed] full peace for more than 20 years, and Phnom Penh has been constantly developing to be more prosperous."

“We must jointly safeguard peace so the nation will not be able to return to the flames of war and destruction,” he wrote on his Facebook page alongside the images.

It’s not the first time the prime minister has compared images of modern Phnom Penh with those of the capital after the war.

On Sunday, Hun Sen also posted an old photo of himself and his wife, Bun Rany, on Facebook to compare the past and present.

“Looking at photos of me and my wife, it is incredible that Cambodia has grown so fast! It was very difficult to get through the Pol Pot regime’s war and genocidal regime."

“These days, you can see with your own eyes, [the] eye-catching low-rise and high-rise buildings, impressive roads, bridges and sky bridges and factories, schools, hospitals, gated communities, hotels and shopping malls which are emerging one after another in Cambodia.

“Cambodia has been through a war and a genocidal regime, so we have to prevent it happening again."

Long-lasting peace

“Under my leadership, I guarantee that Cambodia will continue to live under the umbrella of long-lasting peace, the only wish of our nation,” he wrote.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said there was nothing new in what Hun Sen posted, as he has been using peace and development, rather than popular support, to legitimise his power for some time.

Mong Hay did not disagree with Hun Sen regarding the country’s development, but he said Phnom Penh was not abandoned because of war but because of Pol Pot’s genocide.

“Forced evictions of people out of Phnom Penh and other cities were caused by the Khmer Rouge’s inability to control the people who were seen as hostile to it, to its desire to annihilate enemies, and to its communist egalitarianism – not by war as claimed,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch said as a politician, Hun Sen always wants to disprove his rivals’ claims that Cambodia is a poor country. He wants to show that Cambodia has developed because of peace, he said.

“Secondly, the youth did not go through that period and they don’t like reading books but they like Facebook. So, Facebook can reach them with history,” he said.

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