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King Father's bequeathal of documents to France shows lack of trust

King Father's bequeathal of documents to France shows lack of trust

Dear Editor,

I would like to post this comment about the archives donated by the former King Norodom Sihanouk.

Of course, it's great these invaluable documents hopefully can be accessible for all.

But beyond this collective satisfaction, I see one thing that has been saddening me since I was born.

That thing is called trust, or more accurately, absence of trust. In fact, since the decline of the Khmer Empire, Khmers never trusted Khmers.

Khmers have been relying on foreigners to resolve their own problems: Thai, Vietnamese, French, American, Japanese, Chinese, UN, etc.

Just have a look at tourists' booklets. You often see "Western management" mentioned, as if it was a quality label. And it is, in fact.

The reason why the King Father prefers to donate his archives to a French institution rather than to DC-Cam would reflect the same scheme: not enough confidence in Khmers.

Considering the high value of these documents, the motivations are surely legitimate, though DC-Cam is certainly capable of handling the duty as well.

What really dismays me is the missed opportunity. As one of the most prestigious personalities of Cambodia, the King Father has missed the chance to tell everyone: "OK, this is an extremely important inheritance of our History. And I give it to you, DC-Cam, as a Cambodian keeper of history. And I trust you will do your best to bring light on Cambodia's future from the darkness of our past".

Instead, the message to be heard is that "Western management" is better, and mistrust is still as strong as ever.

In my opinion, DC-Cam merits trust. It's sad. It says Cambodia must expect a long wait before restoring real prosperity.

 
Somanos Sar

French-Cambodian author

Send letters to: [email protected] or P.O.鈥圔ox 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

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