Wednesday, December 18, 2013

[repost] Honorable Exit Strategy for Hun Sen -- still a glimmer of opportunity, if he is wise

Honorable Exit Strategy for Hun Sen
in the Season of Cambodia Flourishing
Theary C. Seng

Phnom Penh, 17 September 2013
On 22 July 2013, I had written that it is in “Hun Sen’s long-term personal interest of survival for himself and his future generations” to step down, that it is the “most face-saving option, and potentially most honorable in salvaging their goods and legacy”. 

My belief has been deeply strengthened by the ensuing two months of the crescendo-ing defiance of the Cambodian people.  This is home-grown democracy that will not recede.  

The people’s fearless defiance cut across the country, through the urban centers to the provincial outposts, and this in the face of threats and intimidation of weeks-long military build-up, reported and known.  The threat finally culminated in the clashes along Phnom Penh’s touristy riverside during the first of 3-day mass protests and the execution of a young man and other injuries, under the cover of darkness, away from the protest site, near the headquarters of the Cambodian National Rescue Party.  

The people were undeterred.  To the contrary, the violence enraged further the aggrieved voters who passionately believe they have been robbed of their votes and fortified their resolve for leadership change.  Remember the people voted for CNRP Sam Rainsy as well as against Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party, loudly and unquestionably.

It is untenable for Hun Sen to continue to be prime minister.  The people will not allow CNRP to negotiate otherwise.  The question then becomes: what are the alternatives that provide adequate modicum of saving face for Hun Sen to step down?   

The natural inclination is for Hun Sen to continue with the defensive reaction.  After all, he has been accustomed to 28 years of unrestraint dictatorial power.  But he and the CPP must ask themselves, does it serve their interests?   

I am banking on an enlightened moment of wisdom for Hun Sen: he acts proactively and steps down “voluntarily”.  Just think of the consequences which we know would naturally flow: in one deft, difficult, surprise move, Hun Sen instantly transforms himself into a statesman, an icon.  In the annals of world history.  The front page headlines of every newspaper in the world would herald the transformation: Former Khmer Rouge, Cambodia Strongman Steps Down as Statesman.  

All notable great leaders and statesmen act with an element of surprise when greatly tested.  

This is Hun Sen’s test.  This is Hun Sen’s moment: 

Leave us Cambodians and the world awestruck, seeing him anew as a courageous Statesman—moving himself from the ignominious Club of Dictators (of the likes of Mugabe, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi) to the rarefied Club of Statesmen (of the likes of George Washington, Gandhi, South African F. W. De Klerk) who voluntarily stepped away from power in order to facilitate a peaceful transition of government.

Or, keep his current legacy of violent, life-long dictator who sold his country and his people to foreign interests, and confront the deepening hatred and unending protests of the people.

It is Hun Sen’s last and best grandstanding moment.  The window of opportunity for him to act is only within this period, when he still can spin and proactively shape the event.

Obviously, I am not a fan of Hun Sen, but I do not believe anyone is pure evil or pure good.  We are all a combination of both, different only in degree, full of contradictions.  I really do pray Hun Sen will act with wisdom.  I really believe he has the potential to do so and awe us.  And secure himself a legacy of statesmanship.  And in one brilliant instant, clean his image and those of his younger generations from one of violence and blood to honor and statesmanship.

And we the Cambodian people, under the wise leadership of CNRP Sam Rainsy and a moderate CPP Sar Kheng, for example—where being a CPP or CNRP matters less and less—can shock the world and transform the Cambodian killing fields into a healing, living fields.

The current situation cannot be likened to any other period in Cambodian history: Sam Rainsy is not Prince Ranariddh; it is not to Kem Sokha’s interest to break the CNRP union; Hun Sen and the CPP have been chastened; the people, comprising of a youth bulge, fearless and riding the wave of the social media age, are more than just “subjects” and “survivors”; they are becoming “citizens”—knowing as well as exercising their rights with responsibility. 

The outcome of the political negotiation must reflect truly this changing landscape.  The people, under the strong leadership of Sam Rainsy, will no longer stand for empty promises of the same “politics as before”.  Any coalition government, whatever form it takes, must have the confidence of the people because it has trustworthy checks-and-balances in place to realize the demand for change.  Change/reform not only in the National Assembly.  But change/reform across the board—yes, including the government—in all ministries, all institutions, all agencies, at all levels of society.

Hun Sen can proactively shape this process truly and substantively.  Let me emphasize “truly” and “substantively”.  The people will not be fooled and this time will not stand for political chicanery.  

The degree of Hun Sen’s transformation (stepping down) will be directly correlated to the degree of healing and reconciliation.  I believe in the enlightenment of Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha to embrace reconciliation over retaliation.  I believe they can lead the people to forgo revenge.  Sam Rainsy in particular has shown that he can in his reconciliation with the late King Sihanouk, believed to have brutally killed his father Sam Sary.  

I believe in Sar Kheng to be the acceptable public face of the CPP to replace Hun Sen.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, so too, I have a dream.  Far from wishful thinking, I dream and I believe.  I believe in Hun Sen.  To soar and not miss his moment.  I believe in Sam Rainsy.  I believe in the Cambodian people.  Spring flourishing is here!  Let us embrace it together!


Theary C. Seng

US-trained Lawyer, Founding President of CIVICUS Cambodia

* * *

CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education ("CIVICUS Cambodia") is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy and reconciliation in Cambodia and the larger, globalized world.

Up to now, Cambodia has had only a society of "subjects" and “survivors”, not of “representatives” nor “citizens”.   We have been "subjects" of French colonialism, Japanese/Vietnamese occupation, neo-colonialism, the monarchy, and now fascism/anarchy under the guise of liberal democracy; the Khmer Rouge made us "survivors".  A Cambodian as a survivor is either a “survivor-authoritarian” if the person is in a position of power or a “survivor-subject” if  the common person. 

CIVICUS Cambodia defines a "citizen" as a Cambodian who possesses both rights and responsibilities, and our focus starts with young children in educating them not only of their inherent rights but of their civic responsibilities to each other.  We also engage with the rest of the population to inform about and encourage them on exercising meaningful citizenship.


Anonymous said...

ឣ្នកកីឡាករល្បីៗខ្លះ ឣ្នកជើងឯកប្រដាល់ល្បីៗខ្លះ ឣ្នកនយោបាយកំពូលខ្លះ ក្នុងសកលលោក បានចូលនិវត្តន៍ លាលែងតំណែង ឬ​ឈប់ប្រលូកនយោបាយ ទៅទៀត
នៅឧិកាស ខ្លួនកំពុងខ្លាំងពូកែ ឬកំពុងល្បីដល់កំពូល ឬកំពុងពេញនិយម។ ភាពល្បីនេះ នៅមានជារៀងរហូត​ ជាឣមតៈ។
គេមិនក្រាញរហូតទទួលបរាជ័យ ខូចឈ្មោះសិន ទើបចូលនិវត្តន៍ លាលែងតំណែង ឬ​ឈប់ប្រលូកនយោបាយ ​នោះទេ។

Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing indeed. Keep up with the good work. I'm with you.

An ignorant man does not see far.

Anonymous said...

they say you can get rich by working and earning lots of money or by being frugal. which way you choose is up to you all, really! same concept with finding a sound solution to this election conflict. the goal is to win all and take all or find a middle path so everyone can be happy. and of course, must take the law into consideration because nobody wants to see them killing each other over this!

Anonymous said...

Uruguay's president José Mujica: no palace, no motorcade, no frills.
The 'world's poorest president' said:
"The world will always need revolution. That doesn't mean shooting and violence. A revolution is when you change your thinking. Confucianism and Christianity were both revolutionary."

Apsaravideo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apsaravideo said...

Majority Khmers would agree if Hun Sen cares about Cambodia he must leave his post. Fade into retirement while he still has little of his dignity left in his life.

Anonymous said...

The real practical and honorable exit strategy to Prime Minister Hun Sen are:

1- Go to your rat holes in 'Toul Krasing', in which you feel so secure, you are surrounding by top Chker yuons and all 5000 thousands of bodyguards known as top dogs or the best hunting dogs in the country in term of tactical counter attack training and the very sophisticated weapons they armed themselves. You can make a peaceful exit from this world by just simply commit your suicide in there. Aim the barrel of your gun to your head and then trigger it. It is nothing complicated people do all the time especially person like you who enjoys to have all sort of weapons surrounding in public to show muscle and power the same way as all dictators in the world do namely your best friends Momar Khadafi and Sadam Hussein. It is a quick and fast solution to exit out of these mess that you and your confidants have created in the past 30 years.

2- Get off from your throne and pack up your dirty money to live
abroad. If there is no countries in the world accept you, because they are afraid of you, negotiate to buy a small island somewhere in pacific and then found your own kingdom there as the run away criminal, Russian billionaire man had bribed you to have his 99 years old contract island, which indeed you had sold out that island for a very large sum of money. And make sure you get all your gangs, known as your hunting dogs, and all your corrupt officials and thugs with you if you leave them behind they all would be facing tragically dead by the court of public opinion . The noose are getting tighter and tighter around your neck and also to their necks." Ants eating fishes when there is flood; and when the flood water is receding fishes are in turn enjoy eating ants," this is the natural law, isn't it.

Any way this last recommendation would not be guaranteed of your last departure with safety from the country Cambodia, once you have thought that you have the right ownership to claim this property as your land in the past 30 years and now every thing is up side down; make sure you call Kem Sokha if he still keeping his promise that he wouldn't never take any individual Khmers as his enemy, remind him that, and also beg him, and make a pledge with him to have a secret, safe and secure your final EXIT from your own fiefdom Scambodia. And also get your puppet baby king with you to, please. The new regime wouldn't let the useless man enjoy his heaven lifestyle in that palace any more.

Anonymous said...

Hun sen has too much pressure from hanoi to step down. They have him on a leash.

Anonymous said...

Same Rainsy want re_election, does he really know what he talking about? With out any reform the advantage to win is very low for his party. With out any real reform no body going to except the result of the election, so khmer going to protest over and over again never end. Election cause money, peoples and obvser from many nation, that not going to happen in the next three months if you want the real result that each party can except. What I trying to say is before any new electection both's party need to talk to each other, they need to work thing out that every body can agree on, or else the election will be use less again. The party that control the government will always have the advantage over the election without the real reform, so Same Rainsy going to except the result if he loose again?

Anonymous said...

Sam rainsy did not lost the election. The election was stolen. If the election is stolen again, the people and him just keep fighting. Never to give up for he country sake. Hun sen never got out to campaign. How is he just sitting at home watching sam rain did campaign on tv and hun sen won the election?

Anonymous said...

Hun sen need to reform voting irregularity. Not sam rainsy becaus e he does not have the power to run the voting station. It was run by the cpp and cheat by the cpp.

Anonymous said...

If Prett minister Hun Sen agree for new election, CNRP will talk about voting reform.When take out all youn vote and multiple vote and put back all the missing name back to vote,CNRP will win. That why Prett minister and all youn dogs refuse to allow for new election.

Anonymous said...

Yes darling Theary,
only exit tragedy that Hun Sen agrees is YOU and I [Kmenhwatt] akes honorable EXIT out of Nambodia to live in the Garden like Adam and Eve in the oldtestement of your bible love each other ever after.....But we will not eat the fruit of [knowledges] of good and evil this time,okay darling? Hun Sen told me to write this for you my love!....Hun Sen said;He'll stay,you and I can EXIT now!...
I agree with your statement above,you're at the top of your game,beautiful suggestion for ah kwaq to leave with peace,ah kwaq won't listen.Keep on trying darling!...


Anonymous said...

Because khmer hate them(YOUN&SEIM) so much forgot to do anything else, that why they get richer and more power full every day. Right now khmer got nothing to match with their power, if the real full scale war broke of between khmer and those nation who going to suffer more? You should "love thy enemy" before they kill you all, if you want to win right now is not the time, the time come when you have strong military power to match them and friend with the super power nation before than you should "love thy enemy".

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Bong Theary Seng, you wrote a very interesting article. I read it from the start to the end. I felt that it was a good strategic exit for Hun Sen to take. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, words, "I have a dream", and that what I believe that Hun Sen will honorably step down. I also believe that Sam Rainsy will fulfill his duty to lead and serve Cambodian as he had promise. Khmer oversea

Anonymous said...

Bong Theary Seng, you wrote a very interesting article. I read it from the start to the end. I felt that it was a good strategic exit for Hun Sen to take. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, words, "I have a dream", and that what I believe that Hun Sen will honorably step down. I also believe that Sam Rainsy will fulfill his duty to lead and serve Cambodian as he had promise. Khmer oversea

Anonymous said...

Ah Kwak ACh kwek, you are so blindful and you can not find the way to walk off from your throne, someone will come to assist you by placing a noose on and arround your neck and then get all your hunting dogs such as ah chkers Phay Siphan ah Chiem Yeap and Ah Chker Chhean Vun pulled you down for good. And then we will send all your dead bodies and all your
Chkers' bodies to Hanoi to make a hot and sour soup for them to enjoy. All of you are useless to Khmers but even your dead bodies are still not a pile of decay for the yuon in Hanoi. If you are the real dogs, not just the brains washed dogs, he Hanoi will enjoy so much; as the matter of fact youns imported dogs from Lao and Cambodia to roast and sell in the market every day. Perhaps, it is one of their national dishes to display around the world. Make sure you make yourself or train yourself to be a real, real dog, so your youn master in Hanoi would enjoy your dead body soup so much. Ah CHker " khuor Yuon ,"
" Kluon Khmer. "

Anonymous said...

With or without Rainsy Khmer will live and move forward with the rest of the world. Rainsy please leave those poor Khmer alone, you have nothing to give them but leaded them to no where. Those poor Khmer slept in cold, rain and dirty place. They will get sick, cannot work to support their family and their life will ne miserable because of the leader like you that have no clue what you doing. Cambodia is not in the state of war, people are free to do what ever they want and work to support their family. I know most of Khmer are poor, the current government are corrupt, and that is your job to work with the government to change all that. We got to work together as Khmer love Khmer you don't turn Khmer again Khmer, don't advocate hate for other group of people, if you are a true leader you would understand. But if you only do this for your own fame and power you will not succeed, and you will judge by history as a traitor like all those before you.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Mr Samramm Sy Prime minister-elect of Wat Phnom and leave the poor people alone... Mike.

Anonymous said...

The same goes to Mr. Sam how to have exist strategy from as his bogged down with alot of promises that would be hard to full fil. CRNP majority supporters including big buck donors oversea want a radical changes to the current government, Hu n Sen wants to give part but not all he asked for. Hun Sen to leave, may not be going to happen. Asked for new election, it is like asking snow to fall in Phnom Penh. Wanting to chairmanship of Natinal Assembly, seemed to be likely to find a needle in the haze stacks but the supporters don't want the leadership of CNRP to do that, so what CNRP is going to do, keep demonstrating, making noices inside and outside, throwing somethings at Hun Sen, hoping they will stick.
What is the exit strategy to be taken for both Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen?

Anonymous said...

"We got to work together as Khmer love Khmer you don't turn Khmer again Khmer, don't advocate hate for other group of people,"

4:29 AM,

Really? You're just another Vietcong blame game with a brainless, clueless just like your father, Ah Chhker Yuon Hun Shit.

The problems still exist until today because your father never wants to give up power. Also did you heard Kem Sokha told re. proposing the law with CRIMINAL CPP, and shamelessly those thugs told him to wait until he became Prime Minister first.

So my question is: How the hell on earth can you work with the CRIMINAL CPP who's controlling mainly the judiciary system most of the military, and etc..? Stop being a looser and stop using your Vietcong blame game for your own benefit.