Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Don't call it 'Liberation'

Don't call it 'Liberation'

Don't call it 'Liberation'

Dear Editor

I would like to congratulate your esteemed newspaper for starting to raise the very

important and sensitive issues of Vietnam in Cambodia. I studied with great interest

the article on this subject entitled "Vietnam: the View from Cambodia"

which appeared in your paper dated December 24 - January 6, 2000. In that article

the following paragraph caught my attention:

"From the period of Vietnamese colonization in the 1830s, right through to Vietnam's

liberation of Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge oppression in 1978, Cambodian attitudes

to their eastern neighbor have been mixed at best."

It seems inappropriate to me for your paper to use the word "liberation"

in that article, for two reasons.

First, it is difficult for me to reconcile in my mind that a former colonizer (your

own word) would want to liberate a country that it once colonized and on which it

continues to have hegemonic designs.

Second, how can Vietnam be a "liberator" when that country continues to

enslave its own people.

Having said that, Cambodia must do everything possible to protect all Vietnamese

(legal or illegal) from any physical or psychological harm until such time as the

issues of Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territories, as your paper so well

described, be res olved legally and peacefully.

Naranhkiri Tith, Ph.D. Prof. of International Economics and Asian Studies

Johns Hopkins University Washington, DC

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