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To Cambodia's Leaders

To Cambodia's Leaders

Editors:

Virtually since the dawn of our lives, we have been away from our homeland, Kampuchea.

We miss our beautiful country that our parents describe in glowing words to us. Their

words give us beautiful images of Angkor Wat, museums, the land, the rivers, and

the trees. All of this makes us sit back and dream far away deep in our hearts and

our souls that "there is no place like home." Yes! There is no place like

home, but our dreams have always ended up with an insurmountable obstacle of war

and violence.

We are Khmer youth born in Cambodia during the holocaust caused by the Pol Pot regime.

Luckily enough we survived through the kindness and strength of our parents and our

friends. But many Khmer people were not as fortunate as we were. Many died due to

starvation, brutal killing, land mines, and lack of medicine. We have seen everything

that has happened during this period of our lives.

Today in 1993, we have resettled in this strange new country, the United States of

America. So far, life has treated us very kindly and peacefully. But as for our parents,

they have not adapted well to this new culture. They feel frustrated with this new

and more modern system of living. Living here for them is an everyday struggle to

survive. As for us we have everything that we ever wanted such as peace in our home,

and peace in our lives, but one thing we have never had is to see Peace & Loving

in our Homeland.

After all these years living in the United States we have no direct contact whatever

with Kampuchea.

The only sources of information that we find are from the newspapers, magazines,

and the television news. Everytime we watch or read the news, there are only disappointments

from seeing or hearing about Kampuchea, such as Khmer fighting against Khmer, Khmer

leaders against Khmer leaders. And the result from all of this is that people are

getting killed, disabled, and left homeless without food. One question that always

tears at our hearts is "WHY?" Why must this happen to Khmer people? For

so long Khmer have been struggling and fighting for peace and serenity. We long for

the Khmer people to lay down their arms and fight no more.

The election to choose new leadership to govern Kampuchea has just ended. This should

be the new beginning for Khmer people to rebuild their strength and rebuild their

country to become a new reality. After all the disappointment that we have heard

from the past, this news makes us proud that Khmer people will soon recover from

the devastation that almost destroyed our country.

We are praying and hoping that those of you who have been elected will lead our country

to a brighter and more enlightened future for Khmer people, for generations to come.

We understand that being a leader and taking responsibility is not easy, but we hope

that you would pledge that as new leaders you demonstrate compassion, love, and care

for Khmer society. We beg you not to take power into your own hands for your own

personal gratification but please let others take part in the rebuilding our country.

Khmer have suffered long enough, it is time to join hands once again to make a glorious

country for the future of Khmer. Please do not contribute to the further destruction

of our beautiful country and its people. As John F. Kennedy former president of the

United States of America once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you,

ask what you can do for your country."

As we all know, our country is what we make of it. We, as Khmer people, do not want

to see precious parts of our beautiful land taken away bit by bit by our neighbors

and outsiders. We want to see Khmer land remain forever in peace.

We, our friends and parents are anxious to see that all Khmer people that have been

separated and away from their homeland for so long will be reunited once again in

one national family, "The Reunion of Khmer". We also hope that some day

we can return to visit our beautiful, peaceful, and loving Khmer country. Even though

we grew up in this country, our hearts, souls, and memories long for the Kampuchea

imprinted in our minds. Khmer land, Khmer people, and Khmer traditions are so unique

that we can never be replaced in our being by other cultures.

- Rattanak Yin and Toan Keo, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A

PS: This is just our personal concern about our country. We wish that we could

write in Khmer language. Since we came here when we were so young, we never had any

education about our language. If any of this writing is inappropriate, please excuse

us.

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