Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Monday, February 21, 2005

Open letter to: Pro-Viet scholars

February 17, 2005
By Prak Hap FLUS

Subject: Luke Hunt ruffled scholars’ feathers with his book review” Cambodia after Khmer Rouge by Evan Gottesman”

Let me started with E. H Carr’s definition of history: as a body of ascertained facts. What’s a historical fact? What passes as a fact of history is in fact made into such by a historian’s conscious decision. However, for a historian attempting to write a history of the Third Indo China War the problem is more basic than that of exercising subjective judgment in choosing facts from a plethora of events. There simply may not be enough relevant information to choose from. Other than relating self-serving selections of confidential documents, the communist governments of China, Viet Nam, and Cambodia are unlikely to open their archives to independent historians,” (Enemy Brother book, by Nayan Chanda p.ix).

Historically since 1700 Viet Nam has not been a grateful neighbor to Cambodia. This letter is to voice out the conflicting history done by Non-Khmer scholars. Among few alive on the planet, Mr. Michael Vickery was recognized as an absolute authority on Khmer tragic history but Mr. Michael Vickery has not been nearly candid about the situation. There is no such thing called anti-Viets. The gentlemen had points of arguments but yet the truth remains. It is self-rule and respect. Let’s be honest, how well that Engle live with Gaelic or Scott descendants? How about people of old Palestine presently called Israel? Viets disliking anyone referring them by their ancient origin, Yuan. Apparently Mr. Vickery was bias for that matter.

I recalled Dhammasad elite University students in Bangkok (Ly Beng Long aka Nuon Chea or Loeuth old school) shared their views and reference of krieat bak ha khi kong Yuan as non-trustworthy back biting or a lot worst. Generally Thais or Laos share the same feeling toward Viets. It is blatantly irresponsible that the perceptions were laid on Khmer such as General Lon Nol heavily uneven as racist, lunatic, and inhumane. He was a good and leveled head person who believed in and defended his people. . This makes me wonder how the Mr.Vickery makes out of US present occupation in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reviewer, Mr. Luke Hunt a journalist attempted to provide non-bias cheering opinions and academic measured praises on the recent published book namely, Cambodia After Khmer Rouge by the young zealous author alias barrister, Mr. Evan Gottesman. Pointedly Mr. Gottesman book might have skirted up Mr. Vickery’s self-serving selections of confidential documents of the PRK government. Adversely, Mr. Vickery did not think so he categorically put Mr. Hunt book review as non-sense and discriminatory.

He went on to say in 1979 there was nothing as “elite” but I say Mr. Vickery can’t tell the difference, which is serpent or snake. The same scenario goes for those PRK or DK. There were plenty of them. Again and again in Cambodia where everything relevant to cultural root, as elite is not necessary mean in western view. It is an inheriting badge of namesake. That might have embarrassed Mr. Vickery that some one else has more courage to speak the truth.

As for “Rape or violence against women”, the absolute and gross human rights violation. Remember there was no explicit distinction between PRK and DK. So does the North and South Viet Nam. All are in the same mentality. Viet soldiers raped many young women at gunpoint whom I knew parents. I am stunned that Mr. Vickery seemed to vigorously defend such abusers. Cambodia women were bound by their traditional value and norms “face.” The victims may not speak about such disgrace openly especially if her life is in jeopardy.

Further, Mr. Vickery claimed to see voluminous literatures on the period I find that hard to accept. All books were valued as cigarette papers. Worst no one dared to write anything for publishing. As far as the Constitution matters, I don’t believe Mr. Luke Hunt needed approval from Mr. Vickery to conclude Goats-man (although Gottes-man knew it) book review as Mr. Vickery was edging his denigration. Not all Khmers were brain-dead. In a nutshell that’s proved E.H. Carr synthesis. I rest my case.

Foreign language options for students then were not French or English but Viet, Russian and elective Cuban’s Spanish verse. My relative who later admitted that medical school was no medical training but political indoctrination with Russian instructors. French-Russian-French dictionary was a rare treat for students in Faculte de Medicine then. I had no doubt my relative and others made up thing. They were there. I hope Mr. Vickery is familiar with French Fables’ Monkey vs. Goat dispute over Farmer Lunch by Mr. Lafontaine.

Pen Sovan matter- No one surprised that former Premier Pen Sovan was stripped from power. Also Mr. Pen Sovan was one of the major PRK historical facts. He knew Viet Nam true intent. But Mr. Vickery claimed to know more than the natural never mind Mr. Gottesman and the rest. In this case his claim proved he has accesses to voluminous false documents.

In Chan Si’s death warranted strong credibility of Viet Nam intent with help from its young –naïve client. This reflected Mr. Sihanouk conspiracy in 60’s claiming Khieu Samphan, Hou Nim, and Hou Youn were executed and buried at Pich Nil Pass. Is Khieu Samphan still dead yet? Mr. Vickery claimed on one of his old friend visited Chan Si in hospital. Had he not thought if that friend was a convenience? Or how long will it take for KGB and Hun Sen men to transport Chan Si to Moscow?

As the matter of facts, did Mr. Vickery know how many times that Hun Sen had flown at night by Ieng Sary nephew-a personal helicopter navigator to rendez-vous with Ieng Sary or other DK leaders? Who is Ieng Sary ? He was comparably to Hitler’s SS commander of Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland during WWII. He was boss of Kaing Kech Iev aka Duch S-21 Cambodia 20th Century Dracula. After all Ieng Sary was comrade Van who was then Pol Pot’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister originally from South Viet Nam with a different identity (Brother Enemy By N. Chanda). He was assigned to watch every move of Sihanouk while in abroad to campaign for DK in 1979 at UN in New York. On Hun Sen behalf, Sihanouk granted amnesty to his personal sworn enemy, Ieng Sary. Please do not insult people intelligence.

I wonder what Viet Nam provided Mr. Vickery in exchange to libelously defamed Khmers. Viet Nam liberated Cambodia? It sounded familiar, US approved Ngo Din Diem and Nguyen Van Thieu regimes to do Cambodia over and over. The North under Ho Chi Minh disciples pitted its foster children such Son Ngoc Minh and alike to undermine one another. Viet Nam set out agenda to out maneuver Saloth Sar aka Pol Pot, Ieng Sary and alike since 70’s. Viet Nam annexation of Khmer land is obvious (Wicked-ry knew it). But many scholars shamelessly slighted Khmers for what they did to protect their rightful dignity and integrity.

Khmers refused to be absorbed by French culture. French never forgave Khmers for that. They purposely labeled Khmer race as lazy, incorrigible, can’t learn anything, unreasonable, unmotivated, and literally placed Khmer as Mien (forest people, uncivil, barbaric). French purposely discounted Khmer court credibility. It cannot prosecute criminal Viets. My parents lived to see that with their own eyes. It happened again during PRK. May be that was why the rapists got away. Some scholars gave no merit to the truth and unload bias on Khmers.

Historians said French saved Khmer land from Viet Nam and Siam annexation? That was a big lie.

In contrast Emperor Napoleon family abetted Siam to carve up more territories from Khmer least most of the eastern part of present Thailand. Then during World War I Siam carved up for more past present Battambang up to Svay Daun Keo creek as its imaginary frontier. Siam subdued Khmer revolts and mutinies with forced nationalization.

Viet Nam did no less for its Nam Tien plan. Viet Nam repeated its mass killings on Khmers during the course of its expansion. In 1949 at the whimsical of oscillated monarchist, French arbitrarily ceded Khmer lowland population and territory to the neo colonial Viet Nam. Viet Nam did not stop there yet. Some modern Khmer history authorities are in such selective memory for conveniences. Did Mr. Vickery know about Canal Vinh Te massacres or Koh Tral problems? Burning rice storage houses filled with Khmer Kroms in South Viet Nam then?

It is preposterous of Mr. Vickery to belittle fellow scholar Mr. Gottesman attempts to educate the world that Viet Nam invasion of Cambodia 1978 was not a justified compassion and mercy. How it be acceptable for Viet Nam to come in and rule Cambodia against the world condemnation. Then in contrast for the China who did barge in Viet Nam in 1979. China could have swallowed Viet Nam for breakfast if it was not for Viet Nam secret appeal to US with a note U O us. Due to self interest between China and US, Viet Nam got a break. In exchange China ignored people of Canton origins appeal for help to stop Viet Nam racially mistreatments and secret elimination for those standing up to Viet authorities. That goes for Chams (Montagnards) of FULRO as well. Is that not racial for Viet Nam? How would the justification fit only Khmer situation?

South Viet Nam territory belonged to Cambodia before French arrival in 1863. Strategically Both Viet Nam played cat and mouse game to subjugate Cambodia and its people. Both took turn to raid and encroach Cambodia territorial since 1700 up to1991. It is problematic. Yet the worldly scholars scolded Cambodia as the victimizer, the bad, the cruel, and the racist toward Viets. The West down played Cambodia pain. Mr. Kissinger-President Nixon had secretly bombed Cambodia that left gruesome scars and causalities to those lived along eastern border of Cambodia. In 1975 former Presidents Bush Sr head of US Mission in China then and Ford knew dawn well about the Khmer Rouge situation but turned the other cheeks. France warned President J. Kennedy not to be so involved in Indo-China and look at what happened to France then. Libel and slander of Khmer history continues with the help from people like Mr. Vickery.

As it seems everything comes at the last stop and worst condition. Without a doubt Khmer Rouge (PRK+DK) crimes against humanity are no excuse. As human and victims of Cold War, Khmers did not get much respect and committed agenda form UN main characters as opposed to other genocidal victims. It appears bias and selective when come to needs of Cambodia.

The situation is a wakening reminder for those of us who still care and dare to defend the not daring one. There is no end result to it yet but we, Khmers, cannot allow this to go on without our voice heard. For sure, both Mr. Evan Gottesman and Luke Hunt moral characters deserve respect from all.

SUBMITTED BY: Prak Hap Sunday, 20 Feb 2005

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