Cambodia is at a transitional point almost like a family at the early stages of building
Most Cambodian people would agree that in starting to build a house, the foundation
is the first step. The foundation represents the bottom of the house as much as a
trial does for the modern process of reconciliation.
I use this analogy because Cambodia's future can be very exciting and prosperous.
Cambodia has a certain openness that very few countries in Asia possess or allow.
This openness can be positively translated into Cambodia's eagerness and commitment
to learn and improve.
On the contrary, Cambodia's openness could also be cynically attributed not so much
to a practical and efficient learning attitude, but more a reflection of the country's
paralysis after the destruction of its communities and institutions.
Most people would like Cambodia's openness to be sincere - a serious and wise effort
at learning and growing in order to regain a stable and legitimate position in the
region and world.
What all Cambodians understand is that something terrible has happened over the past
Some people from the international community as well as from Cambodia feel that Cambodians
are now presented the overwhelming responsibility of preventing such senseless death
and suffering in the future by accounting for what has happened in its past.
This duty can be one of a higher calling to national duty or a practical approach
to preventing another possible revolution for which I may become just another value-less
skeletal remain littering Cambodia's countryside.
Do we not now have an obligation to declare that this will never happen again? At
the same time, do we not have an obligation to take steps to ensure that this never
The easiest thing to do is to just declare that this will never happen again without
lifting a hand to build the social, political and individual awareness and understanding
necessary to make it real.
Perhaps, an extra apology for the countless livestock and other animals that died
during the 1970s and 1980s could represent a starting point but by no means should
that be the end.
I fear that if Cambodia does not make a sincere attempt to reconcile its past, we
shall all be doomed to repeat it. But, you along with the rest of the country must
be asking yourself how do we start?
Uncle, a trial is an open forum where all accused are brought along with the evidence
collected to determine the truth.
Before the eyes of a legitimate legal system, everyone accused is innocent until
proven guilty by a court of law.
I agree with you that Cambodia has achieved a certain level of peace that has not
existed for a long time. However, I disagree with your observation that Cambodia
has achieved reconciliation.
I look into my own heart to find that not true, and I am writing to ask you to do
I write to plead and challenge you to support an open fair trial. I feel that you
will exercise your wisdom and recognize the need for personal sacrifice for the betterment
of the country in order to strengthen Cambodia's future. Your very life and career
was dedicated towards these perceived goals, and now you may have a real opportunity
to contribute to them.
Today as you and other Khmer Rouge leaders grow older and Cambodia tries to reconcile
its past trauma and pain, I, and other Cambodians, are calling on you to explain,
account and justify your own past actions.
The Khmer Rouge was supposedly born among the Cambodian peasants - a dream to make
Cambodia a more equitable and just society.
The party has always advocated for the poor and disadvantaged. The struggle for a
more equitable and fair Cambodia was pushed even at the high cost of great personal
The Khmer Rouge leaders always spoke of the sacrifice of the individual for the betterment
of society. In some respects, moral leadership did hold value within the basic principles
of the Khmer Rouge's movement. Keeping these basic guiding principles in mind, the
top Khmer Rouge leaders should ask if Cambodia is not calling on them once again?
Holding true to the Khmer Rouge's principle of self-sacrifice, and to clearly demonstrate
a strong sense of national love and feeling of higher duty to country, it would only
seem natural that the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders would once again look into their
hearts and conscience and make this personal self-sacrifice to support an international
A Cambodian in Search for Reconciliation,
Chivariak Khus, Silaka, Phnom Penh