Monday, January 4, 2010

Moving in Circles

The SRP issued a press release today saying that now the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities had quietly removed unofficial border markers similar to the ones Sam Rainsy and the villagers removed in October.

But the conclusions the party officials draw from this are somewhat odd.

As Sam Rainsy has exposed, the poles he pulled out were planted on Cambodian farmers’ rice fields that are private properties with the farmers holding legal land titles to justify ownership of their land. Therefore, since the wooden poles were planted on their private properties without their consent, the farmers were entitled to remove them (the poles) or to ask somebody else to do it for them, which Sam Rainsy did at marker #185.

Now realizing they are on weak legal ground in the prosecution of Sam Rainsy and the concerned farmers, the authorities have surreptitiously resorted to do the same thing as Sam Rainsy did, i.e. removing illegally imposed border markers, which is leading to a judicial imbroglio illustrating the political nature of the charges levied against Sam Rainsy


If authorities put markers on your land, regardless of whether you have a legal title or not, you cannot simply go and remove those on your own. Under normal circumstances, however, the authorities would notify the land owners of their actions beforehand and not after the fact. But this is Cambodia. Nevertheless, the correct way to handle this on the farmers’ part is to meet with the authorities to voice their grievances, and then follow the appropriate procedure in pursuing their claim. And it doesn’t matter whether or not the judicial system in a country is flawed. One still needs to abide by it.

So now the authorities removed other markers because their case against Sam Rainsy is on shaky legal grounds? I don’t get that logic. And now this is leading to a judicial mess? No wonder their political opponents can only laugh at the SRP. With arguments like these they won’t get far. The charges may be politically motivated but are not political in itself; racial incitement and destruction of public property just isn’t – as farfetched as they may seem.

I am just making these arguments for the sake of showing the ineptitude of the SRP in their handling of pubic relations. I think this whole affair is ridiculously overplayed on both sides. Sadly, though, the way it plays out it might involve prison terms for some poor farmers. Sam Rainsy didn’t think ahead of what this might entail, and the authorities were simply given another arrow in their quiver; eventually he will be sidelined so much that his position in Cambodia will become negligible. By staying away from Cambodia he is just helping them do it. Who is Sam Rainsy trying to fool offering himself up in exchange for the release of the farmers? He knows this will never happen in the first place. Or perhaps, the King will step in once more and all charges will be dropped after a letter of apology was accepted by the government – déjà vu. Is this constructive in making an impact on the country as a whole? The man on the street doesn’t think so. They don’t even care any more. It is just as well whether Sam Rainsy is in or outside Cambodia. Perhaps, Sam Rainsy and his followers should rename their party the ‘Don Quixote Party’, a much more apt name for them.

On another note, Kem Sokha of the Human Rights Party called for unity among the opposition parties in fighting the CPP. He sure has a point there, but the Sam Rainsy Party quickly countered the door is open for any other party to join the SRP. Like, hey, we were the first to come up with this idea and, after all, we got more than 20% in the last election - déjà vu. How silly can they get? Is this all they can offer for establishing a united front?


Anonymous said...


The fact is the farmers has meet with the authorities to voice their grievances.

The fact is the farmers who defend their farms and border in this case are in jail.

That the facts that you choose to ignore.

KJE said...

I don't ignore the facts, but it seems you can't read.

It was a government that put the markers there. They can't just remove them, even if they are wrongly placed there. That's the fact, my friend.

Anonymous said...

This is the case of vulnerable, disadvantaged, and powerless Cambodian farmers against the state machinery of two countries Cambodia and Vietnam.
The states took the only small plot of farms they have and sent the owners to jail.
While civilized world detests such practice, some regimes (Cambodia Khmer rouge and Germany Nazi come to mind) adopt it.
Unfortunately in the 21st century, there is some uneducated people who choose to side with the abusers.

Anonymous said...

Cambodia politics is not all about the CPP and SRP. There is LDP.

KJE said...

Yes, I agree it is the poor who are suffering. If you mean me with your reference to uneducated people who side with the abusers, I take exception to this statement. First I am not uneducated, second I don't side with the abusers. The farmers were led by a self-absorbed, conceited politician who is celebrated in some circles as a charismatic leader and a fighter for the poor. He is anything but. He is a politician who thinks of himself first and foremost. I only criticize a politician who won't recognize the consequences for the farmers and then conveniently flees to France leaving the farmers in the lurch. But I guess you applaud that. I call that cowardice, no matter in what words you choose to clad the flight, the facts don't change. He is doing the opposition no favors with his actions and least of all the poor. He has a high profile in the Western media but no profile with the people in Cambodia.

KJE said...

Unfortunately, only the SRP has managed to move into the opposition's role in Cambodian politics. The HR with only 2 MPs is too inconsequential, and the also rans have not achieved any tangible recognition with the population at large.

Anonymous said...

Educated people protects and defends the abused (not the abusers).

Anonymous said...

The fact is that the thieves are free and the owners are in jail.

Uneducated people justifies the injustice.

KJE said...

But educated people also see the true facts. Sam Rainsy didn't. This is why there is this mess right now.

Anonymous said...

Is the true fact "the thieves are free and the owners are in jail."?