The letter to the editor (June 16 - 29, Phnom Penh Post,
"Positive or Nothing") criticizes Nate Thayer for being "Mr Negative" of
Cambodia. I am shocked. The objective of my letter is not to defend Mr Thayer
but rather in response to Sao Volak's attitude toward the current Cambodian
issues and foreign journalists.
Sao Volak is an intellectual but has
rather childish views and is shortsighted.
I too have read the works of
Mr Thayer and other journalists about the situation in Cambodia. I understand
the positive and negative, the constructive and destructive reports very well.
They are just reports on events created by others. Mr Thayer has chosen to use
his skills to inform the public about Cambodian issues and almost all of the
situations in Cambodia today are not very rosy. Everywhere we look there are
challenges: corruption, human rights, social, economic, political and security
issues. What do we want Mr Thayer to say about Cambodia? Should he say he is
positive that the situation in Cambodia is negative? The truth hurts. We must
accept the facts.
Sao Volak says that Mr Thayer "never liked the
Cambodian ruling system because of some elements from the former communist State
of Cambodia". Is Volak asking Mr Thayer not to care about Cambodia and let it be
isolated so that its leaders can rule with the support of "all the constructive
critics". Does Volak mean that Cambodian leaders should be surrounded by
"Yes-men"? Does Volak mean that Cambodia must be ruled unchecked by the current
authorities. Is it healthy to give any government blank checks?
contradicted him/herself in claiming to hate communism, authoritarianism,
corruption and violations of human rights and freedom of speech, while
appreciating the performance of the present government. According to the track
record of this administration, the above statement is laughable but confusing.
Sao Volak supports freedom of expression but wants to stop Mr Thayer from
exercising his rights of free speech.
Mr Thayer has the right to question
the world communities whether they should pour more money into a country of
little strategic and economic interest if it's government is not interested in
democracy, and we should be grateful, for he is doing so to benefit the
Cambodian people in the long run.
I personally congratulate Mr Thayer and
other reporters for their courage to speak their minds. It is not easy to tell
the truth about Cambodia. Any attempts to suppress reporters from doing their
job is not only unacceptable, but could be a time bomb for the present
government and Cambodia. I might not like what Mr Thayer has to say, but I will
defend his right to say it. I do not believe that Mr Thayer or any other foreign
journalists are seeking to destroy Cambodia, but are merely reporting the
results of the Cambodian leaders accomplishments. We don't need Yes-men. The
real enemies of Cambodia are not the reporters.
- Name withheld, New York.