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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rainsy's Bravery Might Produce Devastating Consequences

Rainsy's Bravery Might Produce Devastating Consequences

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Editorial by Khmerization

Sam Rainsy's offer to swap jail term with Mr. Dam Sith, an editor of the Moneaksekar Khmer newspaper, who was arrested on the 8th of June on charges of defamation, has sent shiver down my spine. My worry has not so much focussed only on his brave offer, but much on the possibility that his offer might be accepted. I admired his courage and bravery but I also feel that his offer will result in devastating consequences for his political career and the survival of his party, if it is accepted.

First, let's look at the real scenario that might come out of this deal. And let's look at the negative side first. Rainsy must realise that he is dealing with a brutal regime and a dictatorial prime minister. Should Rainsy's offer be accepted by the Cambodian court, aided and abetted by Hor Namhong, Rainsy could be sent to jail in no time. In retrospect, Rainsy should look at the Aung San Suu Kyi's case in Burma very closely. Suu Kyi is a classic case. She has been in jail for over 18 years. And even with strong protest and sanctions from the international community, the junta regime in Burma refused to budge.

The worst case scenario that would come out of this daring deal would be the future of his political party. If he is jailed , and after international outcry Hun Sen still refuse to budge, what would the future hold for his party? A possible scenario would be that, if Rainsy is jailed for as long as Suu Kyi then his party would surely be weakened and disintegrate to the point of not being salvageable. And that would be the end of his party and his political career. No one, myself in particular, wants to see this scenario happen.

Now, let's look at a positive scenario. If the offer is accepted and Rainsy is imprisoned and he is released immediately after the international outcry, then Rainsy and his party can claim to have won a moral victory over evil. If this scenario occurred, Rainsy and his party surely has achieved public and voters' sympathy that would translate to increased electoral chances for the upcoming election. And Rainsy would be hailed a hero upon releasing from jail.

But one has to admit that Rainsy is dealing with a brutally undemocratic regime that is facing electoral defeat in the upcoming election. It will take any opportunity to sabotage Rainsy's chances of an electoral victory. And the ruling Cambodian People's Party, especially Mr. Hun Sen, would see Rainsy's offer of going to jail on behalf of Mr. Dam Sith as a great opportunity to thwart Rainsy's chances.

Lastly, I wish that this defamation suit would be resolved in a civilised manner, with Dam Sith and Rainsy exonerated unharmed.

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