|SRP MPs prevented by Vietnamese authorities from checking out a border marker in 2010|
|Hun Sen: Vietnam is Cambodia's brother and best friend anyway?|
|Va Kim Hong: Like I said . . ., we still retain everything on the map!|
by School of Vice
So finally, Mr Va Kim Hong has something slightly more concrete for the public to chew on after so long having indicated that Cambodia would have to cede some villages to Vietnam in a swap deal or “compromise” agreement whilst declining to say just what exactly Vietnam would be bound by that same agreement to cede to Cambodia in return. Until now the failure by Mr Va to disclose the details contained in that “compromise” settlement had given some observers at least a measure of hope that, perhaps, at any rate if the border committee led by Mr Va is too lazy or too incompetent to remap the entire border with Vietnam even with the help of GPS and instead opted to draw a straight line across certain districts and villages on a map whilst sitting in a hotel suite somewhere to eschew the inconvenience [like what European colonial powers once did for most of their African colonies] Cambodia could at least take some comfort from knowing that she is compensated by the terms of the agreement i.e. adjacent Vietnamese villages or farmlands handed over to Cambodia.
Now this is not at all what the public had been led or misled into believing. First we learned that 2 Cambodian villages will be ceded to Vietnam if Cambodia wishes to retain other two Cambodian villages along the border because these latter villages stand on Vietnamese soil according to colonial map. This is most interesting on a number of counts.
First, the Vietnamese authorities have been forcing Khmer farmers and villagers off their lands and farms since the 1980s alleging that these people were living on Vietnamese lands, and a number of Khmer nationalists who had opposed these encroachments had been promptly silenced one way or another. So the charge or claim that these 2 odd Khmer villages are still there today inside Vietnam seems rather mystifying indeed. And if they are adjudged to locate inside Vietnam by indication of the French map, the question is: how long exactly have they been living and tilling the area until today? Have they been there since the colonial era like what we have been led to believe by Mr Va and his mysterious demarcation colleagues? If so, shouldn’t the villagers be entitled to remain there by virtue of ‘historical occupancy’; a legal loophole [I understand] the Vietnamese authorities have otherwise always been so keen to invoke in their piecemeal usurpation of Cambodian lands down the years [i.e. Vietnamese folks have been living here and there “for generations”]?
Second, why would the Khmers – so sparsely populated in their own country since time immemorial and a demographic minority alongside their Vietnamese neighbours - deem it necessary to squat on or till foreign soil for all these generations? Indeed the Khmers are almost universally frowned upon as being “lazy”, not least by their Vietnamese neighbours, for failing to make use of every available square inch of arable land as is the paramount economic necessity in densely populated Vietnam?
So after all these years of secret negotiations and dealings behind closed doors, the Cambodian people are told that not only must Cambodia cede more of her dwindling territory to Vietnam without any due compensation whatsoever, but that she has as a matter of obligation and decency to do so entirely out or on account of her own historical transgressions, ignorance and shame for having knowingly or unknowingly violated the national sovereignty and dignity of her neighbour! It is as if all of a sudden two thousand years of history experiences a u-turn; a complete role reversal whereby a Sinitic [Sino-Confucius] people become Indianite, and vice versa. But, perhaps, as Mr Hun Sen once remarked with reference to the same issue, within a generation or two people will not care about international boundaries anymore. And it is all because, yes you have guessed it, there will be no more borders and boundaries to care about, and it’s all thanks to Mr Va, Mr Hun, Mr Sok and co. I would kindly suggest that Mr Heng Samrin looks into applying for a Vietnamese passport now [if he has not done so already] if only he might feel the need one day to pay homage to his ancestors at their burial grounds in his native village.
PS: If and when we learn that any “Vietnamese land” is ceded to Cambodia it is likely that the land is already part of Cambodian land but has been held by Vietnam in ransom or through illegal/technical map concoction of some nature. After all, both sides’ border Committees are manned by demarcation ‘specialists’ and ‘experts’ in their own field, and seemingly in exquisite ‘collaborative’ harmony with one another; hence the exclusion and secrecy from independent observation and verification?