Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Recent News

The good news today, of course, was that the Thai crisis is at a preliminary end – preliminary as the PAD vowed to return if Thaksin ‘nominees’ come back to form the government. At the same time the former PPP members said they will regroup under a different name. 57 executives were banned from politics for 5 years. Let’s wait what the King has to say on Friday or whether he will stay silent on these matters as before. An important factor in the Thai court’s decision was that no new elections need to be held, only by-elections for the seats vacated by the court’s decision. The successor party will most likely still hold a majority with its junior coalition partners. Will that signify the return of the PAD? If yes, then there can be no doubt that these people – and despite their name they are anti-democratic to begin with – are out to ruin their own country.

I heard that all mail sent with the regular Cambodian postal services have been suspended as it was all routed through Bangkok. There is a huge backlog, I would guess.

The impact on the tourist sector will hopefully lessen after Dec. 15, when Bangkok’s international airport reopens. According to the Ministry of Tourism 30% of all arrivals come via Bangkok.

On another note, the oftentimes somewhat irrational and erratic Prince Thomico gave an interview to the Phnom Penh Post, in which he stated that he thinks the money spent on the KRT is wasted. The invites the deeper question whether or not the surviving leaders of that regime should be brought to justice at all? Thomico says that except for Duch they will all most likely die in prison. He indicates the tribunal is just a way of the West cleansing their conscience as they surely looked the other way in 1977 when they knew full well what was going on in Cambodia, just as they are doing nothing to alleviate the situation in Darfur now. Well, he certainly has a point there, doesn’t he?
The KRT is reminiscent of the Nuremburg trials after WWII. By that reasoning the KRT is justified and the money spent comes from mostly Western donors anyway. The problem is its handling of those trials. After two years in the making one would think they would at least have started on all of them, regardless of illness. For most of its participants, it’s again a nice way of securing a cushy job, isn’t it? So there is no interest in speeding things up, is there? At least that is an impression one might gain from the snail’s pace, at which things are happening, and from the allegations of corruption and overspending.
One interesting snippet was that dear old Thomico, whom I once met personally for a business discussion, was an ultra-leftist in Paris. What he also left out was a better explanation why Sihanouk allied himself with the Khmer Rouge in 1982, also knowing full well what had occurred from 1975 – 1979. The end justifies the means?

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