Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged all state institutions and schools to promote the “Thank you peace” slogan so that Cambodians will appreciate how precious peace is when it is attained.
He said the slogan was not meant to oppose any group but rather to show love and to protect peace.
“I would like to thank my compatriots who support my message ‘Thank you peace’. I believe it has long-lasting value, not only now but also in the future.
“All human beings need peace, except for terrorist groups that want to destroy it. ‘Thank you peace’ has become the slogan of peace lovers. Thank you peace,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.
In an audio message The Post received on Thursday, Hun Sen requested the authorities to place the slogan at ministries and other State institutions, including schools, across the country.
He said the national achievements accomplished thus far were all born out of peace. With peace, he said, others would not look down on Cambodia.
“This New Year, we should have a movement throughout the Kingdom to promote the slogan ‘Thank you peace’. And since it is not against any individual, we can put it up at the workplace or even at the entrances of buildings.
“I urge everyone to appreciate the ‘Thank you peace’ slogan as the key to encouraging all of us to love and protect peace,” Hun Sen said in the audio message.
Some institutions in some provinces had already started spreading the message by putting ‘Thank you peace’ banners at the entrances of buildings and to their provinces.
Svay Rieng provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith told The Post on Thursday that his province had adhered to Hun Sen’s call and had spread his message of peace through the slogan. Some institutions, he said, had already hung the banner in strategic places.
“We put the banner ‘thank you peace’ at the entry to departments and other state institutions in the province to reflect that our development and prosperity is possible only because of peace.
“Without it, there is nothing. So, we need to come together to protect peace to continue our national development under the leadership of Samdech Prime Minister,” Pharith said.
He said similar slogans, such as “The presence of peace brings everything we have today” and “We all love and protect peace” could also be put up.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on Thursday that there is nothing wrong with the prime minister calling for the slogan to be promoted since it is indisputable that peace was the root cause of and a prerequisite for development.
“The ‘Thank you peace’ slogan reflects the value of peace. But a stable and lasting peace requires the government to pay attention to social justice and people’s rights. When there is social injustice and a large gap between the rich and poor, peace is hard to sustain,” Phea said.
He recalled the Cambodian civil war of the 1970s which, he said, was born out of social injustice and the large gap between the rich and poor.
He said at the time, the communists and revolutionaries (Khmer Rouge) exploited the negative aspects of the Lon Nol government to cause a war. Their slogan was “Revolutionary movement against the social classes”, Phea said.
“Therefore, to have lasting peace, we should not only spread the slogan ‘Thank you peace’ but also forge a healthy society, encourage the people to live happily and reduce the rich-poor gap. Social injustice should be solved equally before the law, and without applying any unequal standard,” Phea said.
However social analyst Meas Nee said the government seemed very proud of having destroyed the opposition without facing any challenge. But he said peace encompassed a wide meaning and included mental, physical and political peace.
“The way I look at it, peace seems to be only for the rulers and the ruling party, but not for the people. I think people might define and value peace differently from the government.
“Whether it is peace, social justice, democracy or human rights, it is not the government that measures it but the people. Therefore, if the public feels that ‘peace’ has not been fully achieved, then the government’s definition is mere political demagogy,” Nee said.