I’m gonna take a short break from Doctor Who gifs and Harry Potter quotes, and also, I’m gonna ask for your attention, as I have to tell you a little story, it’ll only take a couple of minutes and I’ll try to make it as short as possible.
This is my home, the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Also known as the Pearl of Asia, and for me and many others, a small paradise on earth.
Unfortunately, 39 years ago, one the biggest tragedies of the 20th century took place there when the communist Khmer Rouges took over the country, slaughtering over 2 million people in only four small years.
What was left was an unstable, civil war torn country all throughout the 90’s until very recently.
Now, this is Hun Sen.
Between 1985 and 1993, this man regularly tried to grab the power to keep it to himself. In 1998 he succeeded and became the one and only Prime Minister of Cambodia.
He hasn’t left ever since and only owes his status to corruption, violence, threats and murder. It has always been a well known fact in Cambodia that if you are in his way, you are as good as dead.
Among other things, he likes murdering and imprisoning his opponents, kicking people out of their homes to sell their lands to rich foreign companies and faking the ballot papers on election days to make sure to be re-elected.
Oh, did I mention he was a former Khmer Rouge himself ? Well, there’s that. You probably understood it by yourself, he is indeed so mean he probably wears pink on wednesdays like these girls:
So, congratulations, you knew about Kadhafi, you knew about Al Assad, Regina George and Voldemort, now you know about our very own dictator, Hun Sen.
And now we have this guy.
This is Sam Rainsy, the strongest and biggest opponent to Hun Sen’s CPP. For as long as Hun Sen has been in office, Sam Rainsy was there to fight back for democracy, for the basic human rights that we wish we could all take for granted.
Needless to say, Hun Sen was never too pleased with Sam Rainsy. Indeed, the latter has been targeted many a times by violent attacks. The most memorable to this day remains the grenade attack of March 30, 1997.
Sixteen people died that day but Sam Rainsy survived. This merciless and gruesome attack on the opposition remains unpunished to this day. And though never charged guilty, the person to whom we owe that is pretty obvious (hint: it’s not Regina George).
Having his life permanently threatened by the regime, Sam Rainsy went into self-exile and sought refuge in Paris.
The story is not done yet.
2013 was a historical year for Cambodia. Indeed, in july, the elections took place in the country but this time, defying the threats of imprisonment and murder, Sam Rainsy decided to return to face Hun Sen.
Many of us feared for his life, and saying goodbye to him, knowing what he was throwing himself into was hard.
It was almost a miracle when we found out upon his arrival that he had received royal pardon from his highness King Sihamoni. Of course, Sam Rainsy had committed no crime but to dedicate his entire life to Cambodia, but the royal pardon meant one thing, it was lifting any threat of imprisonment off of his and our shoulders.
And when he returned, men, women and children were there to welcome him home. We were not afraid anymore. Or rather, we were, but silence wasn’t okay, it wasn’t an option anymore.
On July 28th, the people of Cambodia went to their polling stations and voted as if their lives depended on it, because it was the case.
But Hun Sen was not ready to give up power so easily. All through election day, reports from all around the country arrived en masse. People who had registered to vote were being kept away from polling stations.
Non-cambodian citizens had been granted the right to vote by the regime, and they did, not only once, but several times, countless times.
People who hadn’t voted yet would show up to the polling stations only to hear that someone had voted for them.
This sparked a revolt among the people who turned against anything representing Hun Sen’s authority and his taking away their fundamental right to vote.
This went on until August 9th.
The real elections results were later on proven to be a landslide victory for Sam Rainsy. Which Hun Sen ignored (I hear you wanna say “duh”, go ahead.)
Sam Rainsy has ever since kept throwing peaceful protests, gathering hundreds of thousands of people every time.
And ever since, the people of Cambodia have hoped to receive any kind of help from the United Nations, or from the supporters of human rights in the International Community, or really, from anyone.
Even more recently, garment factory workers gathered many times to protest against their abominable work conditions. All they were asking for was 120 $ a month. What Hun Sen had to say to this was no, his government only offering a mere 90 $ a month to the people literally dying while making your clothes.
It is very naturally that the garment workers and the people protesting for freedom became one, against one enemy, Hun Sen.
But yesterday, on January the 3rd, Hun Sen once again crossed the line when his army opened fire on the garment workers protesters, with real ammunitions, shooting to kill with AK-47s.
So here. You know a bit of our story, and as you can see, our beautiful home and people are in danger and the world doesn’t know.
How can you help protecting those people you’re gonna ask ? It is easy, spread the word. Share it on you Facebook wall or whatever, tweet about it, sing about it if you want.
I’m not going to give a speech about what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m actually being quite selfish here, my nation is not the only suffering, not the only one needing attention. But this is my home and I care and love it so much.
If you think that spreading the word is not doing much, let me stop you right there. Bringing attention to a dictator can only weaken him and the world needs to know about that one.
And then there’s us cambodians, we need to know that somewhere, someone cares.
In advance, thank you, have a beautiful year 2014.
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