The danger of nationalisms

It is probably that somebody could say that I am impartial in the Cambodian-Thailand Conflict for the dispute area near the Preah Vihia Temple. It is true that living 11 years in Cambodia makes me feel more Cambodian than Thai, of course. It is true also that coming from a far country like Colombia gives me certain authority to say something. I honor also the beautiful Thai people, a great country where I have good friends and places to admire. With all these things in mind, I want to say something from my perspective: Respectful, it is the Thai army the agressor.

You have to study carefully the Thai and Khmer cultures to realize that both nations are actually brothers and sons of similar ancestors. Going through Bangkok, you can feel in the cultural atmosphere many Khmer elements – food, music, religion… As Khmer is oldest in the Indochina Peninsula than Thailand, at least as a political state, it is like Cambodia is Greece and Thailand is Italy. Cambodia is first and it is impossible to deny it. Thailand has been built over the Cambodian territory, history and culture. It does not mean that Thailand is not authentic or it is an invader, but Thai people should recognize it not in humilitation, but in brotherly afection. The proud European countries do not feel humiliated to recognize that they were built from the ancient Greece civilization and the Roman Empire. A first element of peace would be to honor the Khmer ancestors and respect their more direct descendants, the Cambodian people of today. Moreover, there is a meaninful Khmer population in Thailand and Vietnam, to mention only the nearest countries.

It is also necessary to study the history. Who and how somebody can deny that Cambodia has been reduced in its territory throughout the centuries? If a historian denies it, he would be inmediately a liar and not a scientist. Only politicians dare to do so and blind nationalists. Bad or good, the French colony saved the Cambodian territory from being distributed between Thailand and Vietnam. Before France, Cambodia was a permanent victim of Thai and Vietnamese invasions and encroachments.

Thailand has not legal evidences to claim the 40 kilometers sq. it is claiming near the temple. It would be also ridiculous to say that Preah Vihia Temple belongs to Thailand. The Temple was built during the 11th century, in a time when Thailand was inexistent as a state, by a Khmer Emperor… How can Thailand claim it is a ‘Thai temple’?

It is then a blind nationalist claim and a political-motivated agression that would lead only to disasters. There is not a small enemy. Cambodia comes from suffering and got a strong spirit. The Thai leaders should wake to lucidity, suspend any agression and sit down with their Khmer brothers, as they are, to build peace and common development for their peoples.

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

37 responses to “The danger of nationalisms”

  1. arjay stevens says :

    Thank you Arjan for this great comment and description. I made it an article. You can see it here.

  2. Vireak Dara says :

    Thanks Albeiro Rodas for sharing your though and let the world know the truth about Cambodia vs. Thailand.

    Like what you said, blind nationalist and a political-motivated aggression lead to disaster.

    Who will be suffer from this? It’s people for both countries.

  3. សណ្តែកបណ្តុះ​ (bean sprout) says :

    Almost of the replying are Cambodian?

  4. hello says :

    I really appreciate with your comment. And I hope this story should be sprite out to the wold include Thai people.

  5. Vikwad says :

    It is totally true!

  6. sophirom says :

    That is the great idea and great comment on the border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand. Thai should read this and make more consideration between the nationalism and the real situation. I don’t mind for some Thai nationalism but nationalism should be based on history, and fact.

  7. Anonymous says :

    Thank you so much and really really appreciate of u, Albeiro Rodas. You are a real person but Thai leader are not real. Their body like human being but inside is devil. They never want peace for the countries but prefer blood, bone and soul.

    Albeiro Rodas
    please accept my highest consideration.

  8. Vichet says :

    Thank for you give justice to Cambodia and clearify the confusing of the world

  9. David says :

    Thanks Albeiro Rodas for expressing the truth and fairness about Cambodia history in relation to Thailand. I believe many more of our friends would share the same view as your.

    Through out the history of Cambodia Cambodian are the victim of greed of our neighbors especially Thailand. Recent war is surely another aggressive act of greed of Thai people over Cambodia territory.

    I praise the Cambodian army for sacrificing their lives for our land.

    GET OUT FROM CAMBODIA THAI SOLDIERS!

  10. មហោសថ says :

    Thank you for this text.

  11. Richard Tan says :

    My fellow Cambodian, Please go to our Tevada Stand and pray for the death of Thai king name “Bhumibol Adulyadej” cuz he is the one who behind the conflict between khmer-thai!! cuz of this reason! most thai people love him and if he told them to stop they will but he is not!! he let his yellow shirt and puppet PM attack us! so the sooner he and his family die we will see peace!! and we don’t have to see any lost of our troop!! Their life is more important than that fucking evil king!! wish him death with me guy!!!!

    • Vireak Dara (Dara) says :

      I wondering if the act from the queen with her fellow. Anyway, he should know what is right or wrong and what are the shameless act.

  12. សេន រ៉ន says :

    Thanks father,
    Good job for young journalists like BBC (Baby Boy of Cambodia).

    Now I translated this topic in Khmer language.
    and I posted it on the board for the students in Social comm and Journalism section…

  13. Monrada says :

    Sorry my comment is confusing my phone changes some word through it’s correction program

    • David says :

      Hi! I think you may be Thai right? hmmm, I want to tell you that although Cambodia had lost a lot of lands to Thailand but Cambodia never want to claim those land because we think that it’s a history! I don’t hate Thai people but I hate your govt and the ministry of education that always have taught the fraud history to Thai people.

  14. Monrada says :

    I would like to say that I have never been ashame that we gave built country over Cambodia territory. Although u have not look into the document that two countries are using as evident to claim the possession o the temple but your point is not legimate. You should then rethink how many other countries claim to process territory of other country ? It is a part of territerial expansion. It is indeed a progression of change! otherwise why dont you turn to China and tell them tk step of Tibet? I would have been more convince with your point if you can clarify the document that I used in legal term to claim. Besides that I would to clarify that some siamese could have two faces but not all of us. There should be some fair justice for us because being two faces doesnt derive from ethnic background but anyone can’t be two faces… Thank you

  15. sok bunso says :

    As i noticed, Siam people has 2 faces. With western tourist, they are friendly, lovely, kind.. soft like silk but with people from poor countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar..etc they are cruel, rude and they always look down on poor nation.

  16. molyka says :

    Thanks for being balance.

  17. Tommy says :

    Good analysis without flaw. That’s the fact that all people (especially Thais) should know.

  18. Phil says :

    This is a peaceful and accurate message. Thanks for writing it.

    Thailand is trying to find a way to re-unify its people. With a failing government, on the edge of a civil war, this (far too) proud country has to fight a common enemy to bring all people together towards the same goal. What’s better than attacking Khmer people, that they consider as inferior and stupid ?

    We must not forget that Preah Vihear ‘s belonging to Cambodia was also argued by Unesco, created mostly by America inside the UN organization. Once again, America is trying to set this area on fire to get a chance to hold Cambodia and Thailand under their diplomacy : like in Iraq, Vietnam or Afghanistan, they divide people in order to own these countries’ wealth. American people like diamonds, don’t they ?

    Medias emphasize the problem as well and make Cambodia look like a war country again. Tourism has slowed down these last days, people cancel their holiday trip. Now is the time for Khmer and Thai Brothers to turn their weapons together in the same way : towards American embassies, UN offices, and Western medias in South East Asia. This business and politics system cannot be accepted any more, people running it need a good threat.

    “Get up, stand up ! Stand up for your rights !”

  19. Chea Dalin says :

    Thank you so much with my honest sicere from heart to the way you are thinking on Cambodia. Yes, it is true more than everything the history can show reality of Khmer and Thai from the beginning of countires were built. The world, all politicians in the world should take time to read history of Cambodia and Thailand not just stand on one-side (Thai-side) by closing their eyes and let Thai deos every cruel invasion and encroachment time to time…

  20. W says :

    Just to confirm the spelling: Preah Vihear is the correct one! many thanks for the article.

  21. Sokha says :

    It is a great to see how people look at one thing from different perspectives. Bravo!

  22. Anonymous says :

    Great understanding of foreign culture, especially to distinguish who is whom!

  23. Po says :

    Thank you and well done Albeiro Rodas.
    Although I wanna add something… Cambodia never complain about losing its territory to Thailand nor do we ever try to mention about some of those provinces within our border; we want peace. But if Thailand is going against the International Court decision and keeps claiming that Preah Vihea belong to them, then I say we will claim our ancestor’s territory back too… Hmmm… kinda feeling a little bit too emotional here…

  24. Outhanvatey By says :

    What a very well-written article. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

    • Reach says :

      Many Thanks Albeiro Rodas for expressing the truth and fairness history between Cambodia and Thailand. Through out the history of Cambodia Cambodian are the victim of greed of our neighbors especially Thailand. Recent war is surely another aggressive act of greed of Thai people over Cambodia territory.

      May I wish to have a good person like you in our world in order to bring the peace for people.

      I hope the god will be bless you good luck and suceess in your wonderful life.

      A person like Apisit, Thailand PM and his colleagues will be disloved from the World.

  25. engsokunthea says :

    Some Thai people might feel very angry with the blog but they need to face the truth. Thai education itself never taught its people the reality, but they taught the wrong history and from the book that they made by themselves how they feel and wants territory from others country. Cambodia is small and poor country compare to Thai but we saw the sun before them and have gone through war and experience of suffering. If Thai believe that they could use war to invade Cambodia easily then, they are wrong. Current has enjoyed their state of peace and bullying others countries, especially their poor neighbor like Lao, Myanma and Cambodia so it is their kama now. ‘They reap what they sowed” It is not too late so please wake up and build peace with neihgboring countries. Otherwise, Thai will be getting worse and worse

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