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31 janvier 2010 7 31 /01 /janvier /2010 15:26

The draft of the republican spirit. 

When the intellectuals wanted to establish the Khmer Republic in their country, reader, how did you they did not think of all the Republics of France after 90 years under its protectorate. During those long years of common life, the Khmers had probably heard the story of their protector, but not enough that their country because that was the major mode of thought at the time. Which means that every intellectual Khmer, eventually, had fashioned a kind French culture in its image. It happened as his guide and represents the type of thought ideal, offering the most perfect example of social success and the hallmark of men grown. Thus was born the modern Kampuchea new social stratum within the class Montrey (dignitary). Let us say: the intelligentsia Khmer. In Cambodia, the symbolism of modern life came straight from Paris. When someone was distinguished by its culture, were compared immediately to a French. Thus the word "French" was equivalent to the Khmer word "Best or Superior. But in general, intellectuals Khmer marvel easily from the foreign culture. For them, the best products always have a foreign background and bad are Cambodian. The republican spirit is in this concept? The events of March 1970, beginning they idea flagship or the chance over the republic? In any case, this idea probably privilege the path rather than the objective. So the Republic is a path towards progress and freedom. It remains far horizon of Khmer history, the transition required by the emancipation of oppressed people, pre-democratic society. This issue was raised in 1959 by Prince Norodom Sihanouk in the journal "Cambodian Reality" - October 23, 1959 : Cambodia will he a Republic? The prince is said to be ready to introduce itself the Republic if it proved popular in line with the wishes and the national interest. But for him, the Khmer people did not want because that ideology is of foreign origin and fate of the soul's lower "traitor" Son Ngoc Thanh. The people have only one wish: to enjoy the highest good, that is to say a big prince possessing possibly virtue ethics. That, according to Prince Sihanouk, who was the main purpose of the happy life of all Cambodians.

As for General Lon Nol, in 1970 he wrote in his report to the moral frameworks of the country that the Khmer people walking forward is a natural evolution in the history of mankind. Humanity has evolved primarily into tribes, then feudalism, then a monarchy and then republic.

Pierre Joxe, former French minister, said during his visit to Phnom Penh in September 1992 that "democracy can not be easily transplanted rice. The republic is it in the same case? Is it a universal idea? Before going into this great debate, it is interesting to ask a question: The proclamation of the Khmer Republic was there a tinkering for the occasion? or it was born of a contract of Republican thought that took root in Cambodia before the events of March 18, 1970?

August 9, 1945: Coup de force of Son Ngoc Thanh: Seven young people, Mey Pho, Nath Laing Say, Mom Koun, Mao Sarouth, Hem Savang, Kim Doré An, Thach Sary, were burst in full evening gallant King Norodom Sihanouk and declared that he want to see the King. However, Mr. Nong Kimny, loyal to the king, irritated by the noisy intrusion, would intervene and was immediately shot in the arm several balls. The King took panic and began at once knees before the insurgents who threatened him, gun in hand. King implored them and promised to abdicate. Seven had heated the royal palace before calling White Son Ngoc Thanh to take power. The latter had agreed with the king to save the throne. Seven young men were then arrested and jailed. All after their invasion of the central prison in Phnom Penh, had remained highly activists until death. What was Son Ngoc Thanh? Let us say, a Khmer of Cochinchine and anti-French republican stammering and combining liberal ideas with the pragmatic. Founder with Pach Chhoeun the newspaper Nagaravata. A smart conservative with a simple principle: "Everything must change so that everything remains the same." As the foundation of his nationalism, he was even simpler: "That the country is granted independence by any means." This principle led with the Japanese arrived in Cambodia to support them against the French. In 1942 Son Ngoc Thanh believed the time had come to demand independence and his friends preparing a coup. He organized a mass demonstration (two thousand monks) to protest against the arrest of a prominent monk, Hem Chiv. But the momentum of this movement was quickly broken by the French authorities for the support of Japan, where Son Ngoc Thanh had counted did not come. He was then sentenced to Pach Chhoeun December 19, 1942 by the Martial Court of the Saigon. With the help of the Japanese, he could flee to Thailand, then to Japan where he was a two-year course in the School of the Greater East Asia. On March 9, 1945, the Japanese army stationed in Indochina presented to Admiral Decoux, Governor General of Indochina, an ultimatum in which she asks him to bring the army under his control Indochina. Decoux it had refused to yield. Its resistance forced the Japanese army to use force to end French rule in Indochina. On March 12, 1945, with the agreement of Japan, the Kingdom of Cambodia had proclaimed its independence. In early May knew the Japanese were back to Son Ngoc Thanh Tokyo. June 1st, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the wish of the defeat of the imperial army, Son Ngoc Thanh had prepared his coup to take power whose purpose was to prevent the return of French colonialism in Cambodia. He gave perhaps the performance of the coup plotters in September dilettantes already mentioned. As for his role, he was making the dress policy event. This operation enabled him thus to become Prime Minister of the Kingdom of August 16, 1945. But this daring cost him the colonial prison because when French troops arrived in September 1945, Son Ngoc Thanh was arrested September 16,  for anti-Allies on the orders of General Leclerc and transferred to a prison in Saigon and then sent to France. The question now arises: Son Ngoc Thanh was it the spearhead of the Khmer Republican? According to Professor Keng Vannsak that had happened in France more than a month with Thanh during his visits supervised by the French police: Thanh never spoke of Republic. His major concerns were more on the draft country's liberation from French colonialism. But we must admit that in the contemporary history Khmer Thanh appeared as a prophet of the republic, not by his involvement in the ideological struggle, but rather by its radical opposition to Prince Sihanouk. Image that his supporters called "Danrêk”, contributed twenty-five years later, to build during the Khmer Republic.

The Cambodian left and the republican spirit: For the unprecedented gesture of Seven young Khmers, in 1991, Professor Keng Vannsak has commented in writing in his paper "Bah Bone": The Republic does not build a coup or by improvisation or with the apparatus of the former regime. The tragic end of the Khmer Republic, which proves that installs without a "national thought Republican anti-royalist" and without a struggle, overall, to uproot the very essence of the monarchy, will eventually succumb to either the restoration of monarchy or totalitarianism to another.

However, the coup of August 9, 1945 allowed, six years later, a catechumen of the Church Marxist Khmer seize the ball and attempt an attack on two fronts, one of King Sihanouk and of the ideological struggle. In Paris, in August 1952, in the special issue of the journal of "Khmer student", an open letter was published to criticize the King Norodom Sihanouk, Prime Minister, and denounce the Khmer monarchy for treason National and oppression of people. Two objections were raised:

1.     Collaboration with the French power for its own interests at the expense of national independence, its maintenance to the throne;

2.     The evils of the Khmer monarchy causing the Khmer people in the river of hell and keep them in slavery.

The second point is interesting to consider because it relates, perhaps, with the republican spirit Khmer. Was there a poisoned drink as said Prince Sihanouk ? or virgin honey, a symbol of "renewal" as the alleged author of this address ? Here is the abstract:

"The suffering of the Khmer people is born of corruption in the Cambodian monarchy. The royal palace is the place where reigns supreme administration dishonest sucking the country's wealth and property of people. We can deduce that the survival of the monarchy depends only on the practice of peddling influence. The King has no need of moral knowledge. Just have the strength to be able to wage war for its maintenance as long as possible on his throne. If it is threatened by the other pretenders to the throne, his solution is to go seek help from foreign countries to crush opponents. If the King thinks so, it is normal that his Montrey also think like him. Prostrations and bows are considered the only way to get a promotion. Dishonesty is a common practice in the Kingdom. It is rooted from the top of the state until the terminal base. The royal policy is that of oppression and destruction of national interests and people.

In the resumption of the same theme, Pol Pot wondered about the evils of monarchy in his article entitled "Monarchy or Democracy," published in 1952 by the journal of Khmer Students in France.

A few months before publishing the open letter to King Sihanouk in the journal Khmer Student, March 13, 1952, Thiounn Thioum had defended his thesis for a doctorate in Law at the University of Paris. His thesis topic was: The monarchy in Cambodia. His presentation was legal in nature rather than critical of the monarchical system, as he himself explained in his foreword that may otherwise entitle his work: "Studies of the sources of law, law and power in the former Cambodian public. The Khmer monarchy, Mr. Thioum knows very well because his father was a very powerful figure during the reigns of two kings, Sisowath and Monivong. The marriage between his experiences in the monarchical universe Khmer and legal knowledge enabled him to give weight to his thesis, which was seen thereafter, the left Cambodia as a scientific reference condemning the Khmer monarchy in decline. The open letter published in the journal Khmer Student "and the trial of Pol Pot were the vulgar version of the thesis Thioum. The taboo was broken for the first time. This time, it was no longer a rumor, but a university thesis which explicitly sets out a power system based on divine right. Power through which the king had the right to life and death over his subjects. Pol Pot was talking about the story Thmenh Chey to show that a child of the people named Thmenh Chey, can defeat a king ignorant Thmenh Chey dares to oppose the crown. The solution is called in his essay: The people's revolt against the divine power and people can overcome such Thmenh Chey.

The year 1952 seemed a crucial year for criticizing the monarchy since King Sihanouk, deprived of power in the constitutional straightjacket, trying to get an ending with a coup June 15, 1952. It was dissolved for the second time the National Assembly, whose Democratic majority was in conflict with it. Its purpose was ludicrous devolution of parliamentary power to him. As a result, he transformed the constitutional monarchy in one of his personal power. He practices a politics of cynicism: "Who is not with me is against me." This act had outraged the Khmer youth who was on loan at the time to defend democracy and the constitution. A severe agitation manifests itself in all schools. A kind of political earthquake in a country struck by the fear of the sacred person of the king. Was it really a plot by the left against the Khmer King Sihanouk?

To answer this question, we must first know the left Cambodia. It consisted of a handful of Khmer students in France. They met to study Marxism. They swallowing, in fact, that knowledge which transformed them into fake Marxists. Who were they? The names are not unknown today, such as, Saloth Sar (Pol Pot), the Thiounn, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Hou Youn, Hu Nim, etc. Were they Republicans at heart?

I repeat that there is no question of Pol Pot and his fellow pioneers of the republican spirit Khmer. I remember that things are so clear that I speak here of those sinister names, because I will argue that these people are only opportunistic short that explained the evils of monarchy in verbosity. And although ' they are not judged for their crimes now, I still believe in a different form of justice as Bernard Henry Levy said: Justice of the historian of the truth.

Poor left Cambodian born crossfire between Chinese and Vietnamese revolutionary, who deprived her of having its own national identity. It was left blaming the responsibility of the easement because of Mao and Ho and was used as a launching pad for Marxist ideology in Cambodia. This obedience put to sleep his nationalism. The saga of his birth in 1930 is ambiguous. It was then considered a branch of the Vietnamese Communist Party and had never succeeded in defining a policy consistently and regularly. His victory in April 17, 1975 was more like a Pyrrhus victory which still weighs the threat of Communist Party of Vietnam. In fact, Pol Pot sought to break the tender to touch his share of glory of Communism in Indochina. He received the green light from Beijing, Hanoi but did not meet this request. Instead of being cautious to silence, Pol Pot began a policy of revenge against his own people under the ironic gaze of the Vietnamese. This practice completely destroying the lifeblood of the country and the Khmer soul. A wealth of Hanoi for allegedly giving a lesson of solidarity between peoples Indochina to China and realize his dream of being the master of Cambodia. On January 7, 1979, the most resistant to the cause of Ho were driven from Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese soldiers to replace them with more docile. The break-up into two camps (the Maoists and pro-Vietnamese) was consumed as well. Despite this split, this left obliterated forever in the eyes of Cambodians commitment. In addition, in their history, both sides continue to need the monarchy to survive. They claim to endorse their choice justified by the context and circumstance. In fact, they are neither Republican nor Nationalist. They are opportunistic and have the opportunity doctrine. They always acted in the shadow of Prince Sihanouk and under the watchful eye of Beijing and Hanoi. Under the light of their victory of April 17, 1975 and January 7, 1979, we saw their true colors. This is the dark side of the Cambodian left and so ends the saga of their revolution reduced to dimension deadly. Certainly, one or both have a responsibility before history for more than two million dead innocent Khmers. 

Paris, April 1997
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