THE shift from bullets to dialogue - as intriguing and muddied as that might be
- has raised the prospect of an end to Cambodia's simmering civil war with the Khmer
Soly Vannpok and Chhun Phaveng sought a reaction from the people on the streets
of Phnom Penh. What they discovered from their small sample was a keen desire for
peace and a lack of confidence, according to some, in Cambodia's political leadership.
Ta Ghan, 65: I don't know if Ieng Sary will join the Royal Government -
let the creators of this problem sort it out themselves. I am not a politician, I
don't want to play political games. During the Pol Pot regime I spent 16 months in
prison because I was a soldier for the Khmer Republic, but now I want to live in
peace. I hope peace will come to Cambodia soon. But I think all [political] murderers,
especially the Khmer Rouge leadership, should be put before a United Nations tribunal.
Kay Ry, 65: I am a Buddhist so I don't want revenge and if you think about
Khmer politics you'll have a nervous breakdown. Some leaders don't have ability so
bad things happen, but I am too busy trying to feed my five children to think about
Heng Ngoun, 55: Ieng Sary is said to be a mass murderer, but now I don't
know if he is a patriot or a traitor. I don't know if someone is good or bad, but
as the proverb says, judgment will be made at the end of their existence. I think
a political solution is a good result. I don't have a narrow mind which would stop
the Khmer Rouge from joining the Royal Government, even if the Khmer Rouge did kill
37 of my relatives. Anyway, politicians should stop their games because political
games have killed so many honest people.
Kim Thach, 58: I cannot believe politicians any more. Ieng Sary must be
put to trial. I lost three children and a husband to war. I think politicians like
war because they like power and money. I just wish they would stop betting against
each other and stop war.
Kim Syna, 48: The civil war can only end with the end of the Khmer Rouge
and the Khmer Rouge will only be finished with the pen and by talking. But Ieng Sary
and the Khmer Rouge leadership should be put on trial before they are allowed to
come back and are given any rank. I do not believe Hun Sen when he says Ieng Sary
is a patriot because I always heard he was a murderer. But I love peace more than
revenge and we can't have peace when we need peace and reconciliation.
Cheng lon, 43: I think that we have to forget about revenge for the past
because if we do not forget then the war will continue without end. I think the war
will end if the Khmer Rouge leadership enter peacefully back into society, but I
am afraid that if they do they will gain power and take the country back to the bad
days of 1975.
Touch, 50: The Khmer Rouge coming back to society does not mean the end
of war because we don't know about their character. They did very bad things in the
past. I don't want to talk about the Khmer Rouge leadership because even though we
know they did bad things some people still say they are patriots.
Van Horn, 52: I want the Khmer Rouge to come back because today there are
a lot of robbers and Vietnamese in the country. So if the Khmer Rouge come back we
will have no robbers, Vietnamese or corruption. I cannot say who is right and wrong
because since 1980 there still has been a lot of people killed, maybe more than during
the Pol Pot regime.
Kim Chray, 50: If the Khmer Rouge come back we have to control their activities
because they are full of trickery. I think if they come and join the government they
will call on their friends and make more war.
Bun Nara, 23: I think the war will not end soon because some Khmer Rouge
are still in the forest. One of Mao's theories said a revolution needs only one revolutionary.
So I think that the Khmer Rouge will continue their fight against the government.
Ma Nith, 24: The re-entering of the Khmer Rouge through national reconcilliation
is good for our nation, but we have to condemn Ieng Sary because he is a high ranking
leader in the Pol Pot regime and he is responsible for the killing of Cambodian people
between 1975 and1979. Pol Pot's forces still live in the country and fight against
the goverment so the war will not end, but I think the Khmer Rouge will lose step
by step and in the future we will have peace.