Kep Province, rising from the ashes

The official opening of a residence for young women studying at the Don Bosco Vocational Center in Kep City was the opportunity to remember that the tiniest Cambodian province was few decades ago a scenery of violence under the action of the Khmer Rouge guerrilla. ‘Our province was sadly a place of violence. We remember for example the regrettable fate of three foreign young men kidnapped and murdered by people without mercy in 1994, not far from this place, where now we see the growing of this technical school for a more peaceful and progressive future of our nation,’ said Kep Province‘s governor Ken Satha during a ceremony at the school last Wednesday 7th November. Continue reading

King Norodom Sihanouk… who could be like him

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The government expected more than 10 thousand persons to wait the funeral convoy bringing the body of late King Norodom Sihanouk to Cambodia. It is possible to say that almost all the Phnom Penh inhabitants, a city of near 2 million people, went out to the streets, under the tropical sun and wait for their king’s remains to make his last journey to the Royal Palace.  Continue reading

The best of life is under

 

Exactly here there is one of those old French abandoned houses to see in Kep Province. When I have visitors to Kep, the tiniest and amazing Cambodian province, I bring them to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), the Crab Market, the hills, Kampong Trach District (although located in the Kampot territory), the Vietnamese border to Hatien and the Ramoh Caves (also in the limit with Kampot.) But there is something I enjoy to show: the old French abandoned houses. Continue reading

Khmer English

A Cambodian ad in a female students’ resident. Khmer ads with English translations are becoming a part of the urban views of Cambodia.

If we have to make an updated evaluation on the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC, 1992-1993) legacy to modern Cambodia, researchers probably will conclude that English language is one of them. Saloth Sar (alias Pol Pot) was educated in Paris where he set the conditions to evolve the Khmer Rouge movement. However he was fluent in French language, as many of the middle and high class Cambodians of the French Protectorate of Kampuchea, the eradication of foreign languages was included in the extreme policies of the Khmer Rouge Era (1975-1979). Thus French language became one of the deadly victims of the regime. Although French was widely used during the UNTAC time, it is true that English was used as the official language. It creates the need of several Cambodians to serve as interpreters to UNTAC officials. Continue reading

A Modern Historical Novel

Is a Cambodia a novel inspiration country? Evidently yes, with its troublesome past as a victim of the domino theory during the Cold War. Devastation, nightmares, terror and… Pol Pot. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia did not see an end to an even more complicated conflict, once more touched by internal and external interests, elements that molded what is Cambodia now. This political novel of William MacDonalds mixes many elements of that legacy of conflicts in a modern context. An imaginary story that touches reality in several points.

‘Guilt swarms over Cambodia. It is in the billions of dollars of aid that flow into Cambodia’s struggling economy, in the thousands of foreign aid workers that labor in its tiny capital, in the countless charity offices in its provincial towns, in the endless efforts to improve its medieval politics. Emily has come as part of the guilt,’ – After Pol Pot, a Modern Historical Novel.

The hidden paradise of Kep

It is said that Kep was a city. It is most probably that it will become one. But despise its current official name as Kep City, it is not such a urban entity: it is just a paradise. A hidden paradise in Cambodia.  Continue reading

A Khmer Experiment

Sihanoukville. Raquel Vásquez has a Business and Law degree from Carlos III University, now enrolled in a postgraduate program in Defense and Communications. From her original Spain, she has been in countries like India, Singapore, France, Israel and Cambodia. Cristina Trenas is a filmmaker with studies in economics and journalism in the same University, but also in Paris and Washington. These two brave Spaniard girls made the team of a… Cambodian Experiment !!! Continue reading

A small Christmas celebration in Kompot

Kompot.​ A group of about 150 persons attended the Christmas celebration at the Kompot Catholic Church last evening. Fr. Son, the parish priest and one of the few Cambodian Catholic priests – most of the clergy is made by foreigners, – underlined the presence of ten persons coming from countries like Colombia, Japan, England, France, Italy, Greece and Vietnam. ‘Even in our small group, the Lord gives us a sign that He was born two thousand years ago for all mankind,’ he said during the homily to the faithful, most of them young people. Continue reading

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge four on trial

Euronews. The UN-backed trial of the top surviving members of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime has finally got under way in Phnom Penh. The four defendants include the now 84-year-old Nuon Chea, or Brother Number 2, the chief ideologist behind Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields” revolution.

Case 002 initial hearing of the senior Khmer Rouge began

Sihanoukville. Students of communication of Don Bosco Sihanoukville watch the CTN transmission of the Case 002 initial hearing for the prosecution of four senior leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea Regime: Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith – who is also the sister-in-law of late Pol Pot; Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea. The transmission began at 9:00 and it will last until 16:00. It is considered an historical date in Cambodia after a long wait of justice to more than 1 million 700 thousand persons who disappeared between 1975 and 1979 under the Khmer Rouge regime.

Ien Sary’s royal pardon is not obstacule to process, tribunal

The Royal Pardon that former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary got in 1996 is not a legal obstacle to the current process by ECCC, concluded the judges.  In the 1979 sentence in absentia by the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal, Sary and Pol Pot were sentenced to death, but King Norodom Sihanouk granted to Sary amnesty following a 1994 rule. This Monday the ECCC that is judging the surviving top leaders of the bloody regimen, declared that such amnesty is not an obstacle to proceed with the judgment of Ieng Sary.

 

Duch seeks to appeal his sentence

Kar Savuth, the lawyer of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, sentenced by the International Court of Phnom Penh to 19 years in prison as director of S-21, the infamous center for torture and execustions of the Pol Pot’s regime, appealed the sentence and said that such tribunal has not jurisdiction over the case because it was established only to process the top leaders of the regime. Duch, who is so far the only Khmer Rouge sentenced for war crimes in July 2010, was not a top leader in the murderous regime that is accused of the disappearance of 1.7 million persons between 1975 and 1979. Continue reading

Cambodia-US: Who Might Pays to Whom

The recent visit to Cambodia of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought out old ghost of the Cambodian history. We say ‘Cambodian history’, however, it belongs also to the US history in a very special way. The US Congress is enabling a new trade act for Cambodia under the code H.R. 5320. Now well, it happens that Congressmen Dana Rohrbacher and Bill Delahunt (find them in the collage I did with some prominent historical figures, down Lon Nol and at the side of Pol Pot) stated that ‘United States may not reduce or forgive any debt owed by Cambodia to the United States.’ (see csis.org.)  Continue reading