«គឺខាងគាត់អ្នកបង្កមុនណាស់ ខ្ញុំថាបាតដៃទី៣ហ្នឹងតែហ្មង អ្នកបង្ក ដឹងអាវុធអីរុំក្រដាសឈើរឹង ហើយរុំក្រដាសកាសែត ហើយយកមកដាក់បន្លំប៉ុន្មានបាវ ហើយយកមកសម្រាប់វ៉ៃសង្គ្រោះជាតិ គឺអ៊ីចឹងតែហ្មង។ បាទ! បើមិនដោះលែងទេ ខ្ញុំថារឿងរ៉ាវកាន់តែវែងឆ្ងាយ គឺប្រជាពលរដ្ឋទាំងអស់មិនសុខចិត្តទេ ប្រហែលជាបាតុកម្មធំហ្មង ។»
Prey Veng citizen Chab Seng Ly, 17 July 2014, Radio Free Asia
“No lawmakers were arrested, police only arrested three crazy people [Mu Sochua, Men Sothavrin, and Keo Phirum]. Lawmakers would not act crazily at Freedom Park.”
Deputy municipal police chief in charge of the operation to clear the protesters Chuon Narin, The Cambodia Daily, 16 July 2014
“I had no baton or wooden stick in my hand to defend myself when they beat me. I was hit on the shoulders and was brutally kicked in the forehead. I promise that I will beat them in revenge if they ever return to protest here again.”
Injured Phsar Chas commune security guard Sorm Sochhoeun, 16 July 2014, The Phnom Penh Post
"Because of the culture of violence, previously security officials beat demonstrators and now the demonstrators beat the security in revenge.”
Licadho technical adviser Ath Sam Ath, 15 July 2014, The Phnom Penh Post
«ហើយចំណុចចុងក្រោយ គឺរដ្ឋាភិបាលគាត់មិនចង់ឃើញនៅកម្លាំង ឬចលនាមហាជនបន្តទៅទៀតនៅក្នុងសង្គមខ្មែរ។ ប៉ុន្តែសមរភូមិថ្មីដែល ហ៊ុន សែន គាត់ជ្រើសរើសនេះអាចមានគ្រោះថ្នាក់ខ្ពស់ ហើយជាសមរភូមិដែលគាត់ពុំមានបទពិសោធន៍ អាចនឹងទទួលបរាជ័យក៏អាចថាបាន ពីព្រោះសត្រូវកាន់តែច្រើន ហើយចំណងការទូតក៏កាន់តែចង្អៀត ហើយសហគមន៍អន្តរជាតិក៏ទម្លាក់ការយល់ឃើញច្រើនមកលើរដ្ឋាភិបាលកម្ពុជា បច្ចុប្បន្ន ។»
Analyst Kem Ley, 17 July 2014, Radio Free Asia
“I’m completely surprised that it has taken this long for a violent reaction from the CNRP supporters or the people frustrated by the government’s response to expression [sic]. You look at the injustice [in society], there must be a lot of frustrated and angry people out there . . . the security forces have not been behaving themselves anyway, and they’ve pretty much acted as thugs as well. It’s pretty upsetting to see how this has all played out.”
Cambodian Centre for Human Rights chairman Ou Virak, 16 July 2014, The Phnom Penh Post
« ... អញ្ចឹង ខ្ញុំសូមផ្ដាំ បើសិនជាករណី [ហ៊ុនសែនដាច់សរសៃឈាម] មានអញ្ចឹងមែនណា គួរតែវេចបង្វេចត្រៀបឲ្យស្រួល ក្រែងលោថាមានយថាហេតុអីមួយកើតឡើង ងាប់ខ្លួនឯងណា៎» ៕
CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen, 10 June 2014, TVK
They seem ready for a showdown. At the CPP corner, are those who are committed to keeping peace and order; at the CNRP corner, there are those who do not value peace and order on offer. The violent response of protesters on 15 July 2014 confirms both sides are prepared to make their opponents bleed.
Why do peace and order mean so much to the CPP and their personal interest groups, and yet mean so little to the CNRP and their supporters?
Perhaps, an obvious answer is that dividends from the peace and order in the past 20 years are not anywhere equitably distributed. Dividends to CPP beneficiaries are embedded in a continuation of their power and wealth accumulations from logging, land grabbing, mineral exploration, and infrastructure development, which have gone rather well with corruption, weakened institutions, and growing national debts.
However, the wealth accumulations are at the expense of the rest of the population. The CPP plays a zero sum game when their peace and order leave in the dump those a CPP minister Sun Chanthol refers to as their shareholders. The CPP economic land concessions forcefully displace landowners without acceptable compensations. Public servants’ wages must be supplemented with corrupt monies or moonlighting incomes. Garment workers work long hours for wages that barely make their ends meet, building up an industry that produces extraordinary profits, from which the CPP beneficiaries take a cut. The list of victims has been growing.
In short, the peace and order the haves enjoy become oppressions the have-nots must endure. Eventually, it is the widening gap that needs narrowing, in one way or another.
There is always a limit to all enjoyment and endurance. The CPP success in accumulating personal power and wealth for Hun Sen and his personal interest groups on the back of their victims may have reached the point of no return. When Hun Sen asks what he has done wrong to the country, it becomes clear the only reforms he ever needs are those that protect, if not strengthening, the status quo. Meanwhile, wide-spread land protests and industrial unrests in the past year, despite violent crackdowns, indicate the victims’ endurance may come to an end with the 15 July violent reaction.
Hence, violence suddenly appears to be the only option left, which at first glance best suits those with arms and mercenaries on command. Hun Sen may shed more blood in the street and win some battles in the short run, but history and time are on the side of popular uprisings. No one – that includes the Khmer Rouge – can increasingly do violence to their people without, sooner or later, succumbing to the victims’ power.
Any last minute scramble among opinion leaders for some cool head solution to a looming consequence of the CPP fundamental defects resembles rushing back to the drawing board to save Titanic after it has already hit the iceberg.
Thus, Hun Sen gives his best warning yet: “pack up and be ready, you may be dead”.
Ung Bun Ang
(Pseng-Pseng is published on the first, tenth, and twentieth day of every month. Previous issues are archived at pseng-pseng.blogspot.com.au)