Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amb. Julio A. Jeldres' rebuttal letter to the Nation regarding the article "When Cambodia cries wolf"

5 August 2008

The Editor
The Nation

Dear Editor:

May I respectfully suggest that the opinion piece by Bangkokian “When Cambodia cries wolf” (The Nation, August 1, 2008) is both regrettable and undermines the efforts of the new distinguished Thai Foreign Minister to settle the problem existing over Thailand’s claims on some overlapping zone near the Preah Vihear Temple.

At the outset, it should be made clear that your recent reporting, concerning the Preah Vihear issue, has not been based in historical facts but rather on domestic political considerations of the people who have prompted this new episode of tension between Thailand and Cambodia over the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple.

Cambodia has not cried wolf at all but as a member of ASEAN and the United Nations, it has the sovereign right to appraise those organizations of the problem and to seek, if Cambodia sees fit, their auspices to solve the problem peacefully and without violence.

Bangkokian is mistaken by stating that Cambodia has raised the issue with the Non-aligned Movement. To my knowledge it has not but should it be necessary to do so, it is perfectly appropriate for Cambodia to appraise the NAM of the historical facts and events concerning the Preah Vihear Temple.

The misguided nationalism showed by certain political activists and some politicians in Thailand (in particular some appointed Senators), as well as the troop build up at the border is both dangerous and not conducive to productive bilateral discussions to settle the problem and it may be necessary for ASEAN and, preferably the United Nations, to step in as the broker in these discussions.

In all fairness, Cambodia did not begin the current dispute over Preah Vihear Temple. It was began in Bangkok by the activist opposition to the current democratically elected Thai government and then taken on as a cause to overthrow the government by some luminaries of the Democrat Party and some appointed Senators, who seem to be more concerned by their own personal agendas than the interests of the people of Thailand, who are going already through a very difficult time because of a weak economy, the disunity and lack of leadership of the political elite.

What Cambodia has been trying to do, since 2001, is to get the Temple of Preah Vihear inscribed as a World Heritage site, in order that the Temple can be properly restored and preserved for posterity. This was done in proper consultation with Thailand and when the latter asked Cambodia not to include the overlapping zone near the Temple which Thailand claims as part of its territory, Cambodia agreed to do so and left the overlapping zone out of the World Heritage nomination.

May I also point out that Preah Vihear is not an “Hindu temple” as stated in your newspaper on several occasions over recent weeks, more recently in the article by Supalak Ganjanakhundee “Tej’s background should let him cool nationalistic fury” in your issue of 1 August 2008.

Preah Vihear is a Khmer sanctuary, built by Khmer kings and dedicated to Shiva the Hindu god. Indeed, construction of the temple was began under the rule of the Khmer king Jasovarman I (889-910 AD) and completed during the rule of one of his successors, king Suryavarman II (1113-1145).

It should be understood that for past Khmer kings, a sanctuary was first and foremost a cosmological recreation. Thus, the construction of Khmer sanctuaries in the form of multi-tiered Pyramids meant that the place was considered a sacred cosmic mountain. This was particularly noticeable in the temples dedicated to Shiva, because of the association with the god’s mountain home –Mount Kailasa-. A mountain or a cliff top location, as in the case of Preah Vihear, was always the first choice for the Khmer architects building these major temples.

It should also be pointed out that the ruins of Preah Vihear form part, without any possible question, of the Khmer artistic and historical patrimony. The name “Preah Vihear” signifies “the holy, the Venerable monastery” it comes from the Sanskrit word “vihara”.

As far as the architectural style of the temple is concerned, all the characteristics of the sanctuary i.e., ground plan, building technique, decorative themes, sculpture, belong specifically to Khmer art, without borrowing of any kind from any foreign art whatsoever.

When it comes to the epigraphy of the temple, all the inscriptions are written in either Khmer or Sanskrit and do emanate from Cambodian sovereigns or high dignitaries ranging from Jasovarman I, the founder of Angkor, to Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Vat II. Some of these inscriptions are of exceptional importance for the history of Cambodia.

In particular the inscriptions of Divakarapandita, preceptor of the Khmer kings from Harsavarman III to Suryavarman II, were decisive in determining the main feature of the style of Angkor Vat.

The fact that the principal approach to the temple is from the North is of no significance: it was natural that the sanctuary should be oriented to suit the lie of the ground, on a site that was entirely Khmer in the Angkor period.

It would be particularly useful for new generations of Thais to appreciate that much of present Thailand and Laos used to be part of the Khmer Empire; that the Thai script is a simplified form of the Khmer language; and that Khmer architecture, classical dance and other aspects of the Khmer civilization were adopted by the Thai Court during the Ayutthaya period of their illustrious history.

This would contribute much to the restoration of friendship, trust and close relations between Thailand and Cambodia and, no doubt facilitate the work of the distinguished diplomat Tej Bunnag in defusing the current border tension.

Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres
Official Biographer of H.M. the King Father
Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia
Research Fellow, Monash University’s Asia Institute
Melbourne, Australia


Anonymous said...

Why hasn't (King) Sihanouk said/written anything about this to the Thai government itself at least as a private citizen of Cambodia if he no longer involves in politics - Has he? Isn't he the one that claimed the victory at the Hague a few decades ago?

As for Ambassador Julio - it's about time for you to do something for Cambodia Mr. Ambassador! And I would believe that the Cambodian people as a whole would greatly appreciate that too.

Karl Mec

Anonymous said...

I think Julio A. Jeldres has read my mind. I was (am) thinking the same thing even though I am a Thai citizen and a scholar. I hope next generation of our leaders, including the new king or queen should re-think and perhaps should educate our children the right way of the history. I also hope people of Cambodia, Loas, and Thailand, whom I think were closely related, would live in peace with each other and value what the Khmer Empire had on them.

Anonymous said...

And what have you done in this matter as a scholar Mr./Ms 4:50AM?
Have you written something to the Thai government itself? or is it just something that you think writing something here can and will fool the Cambodian people to calm down and just forget about it and let the Thai walk all over Cambodia? ...Awaiting your response and thank you from a thai citizen to another...

Anonymous said...

The Siamese are own conscience killers. And they no longer possess any conscience in their mind. Thus when dealing with their criminality these Siamese have shown no slightest shame what so ever. And therefore, the Siamese can accurately be equated with any animal life forms othet than human because their conscience, a human possession from birth, has long been absent and no other human race can reason with animals in human forms, the Siamese. Death to Siam, a colony of the race of troublesome creatures.

Anonymous said...

5:08 AM, I think we should appreciate what 4:50AM said here. He is a Thai citizen and an academic. His hands are tight. If he writes something in support of Cambodia publicly he might be accused by the Thai people and media as a traitor. At least we got his sympathetic consolation here. Antagonising him will only alienate him from our noble cause, which is to get as much support from the Thai public as we possible can in order for them to influence the policy of the Thai politicians in Cambodia's favour.

Anonymous said...

The Stealing is a Crime !
The Greed make people drunk .The Drunk is poised in own mind that has been created the huge Crime.
Siem are buddhists ?

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

If a Buddhist is not retard or drunk,he/she would know the Panca Sila of Lord Buddha.

Note: It seems to me Siem have so much High Accadamics but almost of them have a very IQ ...cuz they're Greedy & Drunk in power.They try to forget Buddha said : Everything is Impermanence .

Anonymous said...

I am Khmer and I think his
Excellency Julio A. Jeldres got enough with those Thai retarded keep bitching about Cambodia while their Thai barbarian and uncivilized government go invading Khmer lands and Khmer temples.

All Thais need to do research and ask question why Khmer letters, Khmer vowels and Khmer numerals have been using by Thais as Thai official language in Thailand?


Anonymous said...

Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres,

Once again you have made an impartial comment based on the historical facts.

Through many years of civil wars, khmer rouge genocide, poverty and threat and violence , poor education. We, Khmers, the younger generation know very little about who Khmers were and are.

I personally thank you very much for your efforts. Please continue your contribution to the modern khmers.


Anonymous said...

To Thais who keep bringing Khmer genocide in exchange with your Thais plundering Khmer temples and Khmer lands today, no matter what you have tried to hide your Thai crime against humanity, your Thai crime is not different with your Thai Nazi in Thailand.


Anonymous said...

I am very happy to see the first common sense coming from a Thai like 4:50AM. Really appreciate this.

Peace is most important to every citizen of each country but power is most important to every leader.

People like 4:50AM is not bound and fooled around by politics in his home land - Intelligent people would not perhaps do crazy thing. We as Khmer should appreciate him - not all Thais are bad...Some of them are of Khmer origins, some of them are good Thais.

Are we very sure of ourselves that we are not bound by politic in relation to the Preah Vihear Temple? Patriotism is in everyone but what if....?

Anonymous said...

With the similar Culture tradition, and civilisation, Khmers almost forgot the past issues with Siams e.g wars invasion etc..we loved siams.. as we had many reminders in the past 3 decades of civil wars, some khmers as refugees are camped in thai territory prior to fleeing to 3rd countries, thais had some support to cambodia to restore the country after the wars and internal turmoil....
But sine July 15th, Siams obviously have waken up all khmers to remeber the historic tragedies occured ......and nationalistic Moral;
war is unavoidable "the must.." patience/peaceful means are limited..
No one can stand quietly to watch the Siam & (perhaps) Khmer current leaders to play like this.......
Patience is always limited only Buddha or M. Ghandi who are always..always patient with their ennemies.....

Excellency Bandit Phd. Dr. General Oknha Achar Knoy(= Phd. from Prahok Chamroeurn Avichea Univ. PPenh)

Anonymous said...

Dear Khmer Poster

Toh yoeung niyeay khmer kom ouy pouk siem deung chea piseh pel yoeung che khmer knea eng. heiy yoeung niyeay english pel yoeung sor sei khmer and pel che siem only.
Example: Fuck Siem! Good Khmer! but me dek noim yoeung yab dal heiy. Oun kbal oiy siem choin.

soum meta kit mel tao.
General Dy

Anonymous said...

General Dy
Kgnom ok. Our troop is very brave and alway hungry to kill all thai army from our soil. but Hun xen yab choy mray heiy. mindeng vea chang twe eiy.

poi pet.

Anonymous said...

Poor Khmer soldiers. No shoes no money eat like animals. How come sdach dek chhork hun sen don't see or talk about? Why his government try to raise the money from all Khmers people why not his cabinet take a good care of poors Khmer's army? Widraw all of your corruption money and provide to the troops. So shame as Khmer citizen. Don't you see siamese's soldiers? Eat good sleep good dress up nice with the best armunitions. Of course we are Khmer people who love our troop but we can only do so much to help.
Sdach dek chhork you must take a good care of our troops that is your responsibility also it is your first priority to act. You must not act bad thing to your own people. Who will praise you if you only know how to kill you own nation? Hope you change for your own sake.

Anonymous said...

We are mighty glad to have someone like Mr. Ambassador Jeldres. There is no doubt that a lot of Thais are still in the dark and many are following the PAD blindly. Thanks God! for being who you are Mr. Ambassador! and thank God! for King Sihanouk! Your wisdom and true knowledge about our beloved Preah Vihear is priceless. Without both of you, very few and may be none of us would know all this. Thank you from the buttom of our hearts & God Bless!

Ordinary Khmers

Anonymous said...

The fucken Thaicong are using the diplomacy of speaking softly and carrying big stick! And I can’t believe that AH HUN SEN mother fucker falls for this fucken Thaicong diplomacy piece of shit!

I say if the fucken bilateral talk between Cambodia-Thailame fail and Cambodia should go to war to reclaim what belong to Cambodia and drag these fucken Thaicong mother fucker to hell! I would rather see Malaysia, Myanmar, and Lao advance economically than the fucken Thailame!

Anonymous said...

12:01. Your speech look like what Sun Chai said before the jeneral election. I think you are also one of those members. When your both eyes are blind you can not see every thing clear. Don't bring the spite between you and him to break the whole khmer nation.
Do think about the nation first. Do think about 14 millions people first.

Such kind of comment is very negative for those who love their own nation.

Always think twice before you write. People will see your negative comment around the world not only in cambodia.

I am a real black skin khmer in Kampong Thom province.

Anonymous said...

I am a real white skin Khmer from Surin province. I love Khmer!

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you. We can't hide the truh right?

Fisrt time post.

Anonymous said...

I feel 4.50 AM is not siem.

from my exact sense.

It's alright anyway

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 9:38PM.

Anonymous said...

thank you, ambassador jeldres. i agree with you analysis. thailand and laos should apreciate that they have inherited some of cambodia's ancestral's legacy instead of being negative and against it, especially if they want to have a friendly and good neighbor like cambodia. thank you for your deep understanding of historical facts. god bless you and cambodia of which you fell in love with. thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I am half a half Cambodian US citizen, I would like to thank Mr. Jeldres for his effort in telling the Thai people his opinion. I fully back his opinion and agree 100%. Hopefully, this letter will be publicized to more and more people to show the world the what is going on. I hope this will end this conflict as soon as possible without any violence.

Anonymous said...

I'm Khmer, All Khmer people Hate very much with war including with Siem. I donnot know Siem why always make prolem? Pls stop ur Overnationalism. It is not good for your nation to do that. Siem cann't hide you bad ambition on Cambodian. You will meet disaster and regret with your ambition. Please read history again. Khmer and Siem which one first? If Siem can answer this question you will live by peace.

Anonymous said...

Preah Vihear "not Hindu"? It was built by Hindus under order of a Hindu king, is a model of the Hindu cosmos, and is dedicated to Hindu gods. I'm sorry, but from a logical and historical point of view being "Khmer" does not necessarily mean it was "not Hindu".

Preah Vihear belongs "specifically to Khmer art, without borrowing of any kind from any foreign art whatsoever"? Ahem. This is totally false and meaningless on a general level, since no artistic tradition evolves in total isolation from others; it's also demonstrably false in the specific case of Angkorian art, which borrows substantially from Indian artistic traditions and also shows a degree of cross-pollination with neighbouring civilisations (for example Cham influences in some Angkorian temples and vice-versa).

Mr Jeldres' confused and ill-informed rendering of Angkor-era history reflects poorly on the Institute whose authority he invokes in his signature and, unfortunately, obscures a number of important observations about the contemporary situation in relation to Preah Vihear.

Anonymous said...

The question of "how Khmer" a given temple was is completely irrelevant anyway, considering that (obviously) Khmer temples are all across Southeast Asia and no-one is considering giving all of the region back to Cambodia.

The bottom line is that both Cambodia and Thailand recognised the jurisdiction of the ICJ to decide the ownership issue. The ICJ ruled that since the original French map of the border had become the de facto demarcation, it would be passed into law as the de jure demarcation. The ICJ has no court of appeal. Thus, both Preah Vihear and (contrary to what the Thais claim) a very specific and well-defined area around the temple belongs unequivocally to Cambodia.

Logically and legally speaking, who built the temple, why, when or what for has absolutely nothing to do with anything in terms of the issue of ownership.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:00 PM

How can Khmer borrow Indian art when Khmer owned Indian art?
Khmer ancestors were Indian-Khmers, even my grand grand father was Indian married to my grand grand mother Khmer, so I owned both heritage Indian and Khmer.
The first Khmer King Kadinya was Indian, the second Khmer King Kampu was Indian and even the name of Khmer nation is Indian Kampuchea.