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IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF? - Cambodian police are aggressive in their abuse of its citizens. They don't serve and protect its poor populace they serve and protect the interests of the powerful and wealthy - Tim Sorel photo

 

 

 

D. J. Ken - National Radio Text Service

 

 

Is displaying a strong military presence the way to appeal to tourism? Apparently the Cambodian government is beefing up its military in what appears to be a training session of young troops along Norodom Boulevard near the residence of the boss of the nation. New guns and police cars are overtly on display

 

 

Monday, February 29, 2016

IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?

Is having a strong armed military presence appealing to attract tourism? It may not be a good thing. It raises the question would tourists feel safe or threatened and concerned about their security?

While walking along Norodom Boulevard between the Pencil Markey and the boss of Cambodia's residence a foreigner encounter three soldiers. Two were young and one older who had a brand new sparkling gun.

The foreigner was amazed at the sight of the weapon given that Cambodia's military were normally equipped with the standard AK 47 weapons that were used during the Khmer Rouge genocide of its people. Being curious about the sparkling new weapon the foreigner tried to engage in conversation with the man holding the gun.

Being the friendly type the foreigner has communicated with the military in the past with no problem BUT this encounter would prove to be different.

The Foreigner has superb broken English skills and applied it to his inquiry with the soldier. At that time the two you unarmed soldiers moved forward and raised their hands to the foreigner and motioned for him to move on. The clearer thinking older soldier blocked their progress and encouraged them to back down and leave it alone.

The foreigner looked intently at the bad ass youngsters and suggested for them to calm down and moved on his way. In his walk he came across more of the same military presence on every corner with the added sight of a brand new white police car. The foreigner's thoughts, were is this a training session? Is the US State Department being generous with US taxpayer's money... AGAIN?

The point being is for some strange reason at this time Norodom Boulevard has soldiers on most every corner with a trio of soldiers of which one is older than the two youngsters.

Having been out of town for a few months the foreigner asked a Cambodia Daily reporter if there were any problems in the realm while he was our of the country. The answer was no.

The foreigner noted that there was a similarity of the attitude applied by the military in 2012 when the government evicted residents surrounding what was then Beoung Kak Lake.

That area has since been filled in and the residents homes were bulldozed down and many residents were displaced or left homeless. In the process of the eviction some brave young soldiers were forcefully carrying off elderly women without regard of injuring them as depicted in a video on You Tube.

As noted in out column in JULY 2012 we pointed out: Recent Cambodian history demonstrates the suppression of the right of free speech in what is supposed to be a democracy. An example was the almost immediate jailing of 14 women one in her 70's while they were protesting the eviction from their homes and one disabled man according to the NGO Licadho video on You Tube @: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PikgYI52YXA&feature=relmfu

The situation raises the question why is there such a show of force by the military when there are no problems to be dealt with? Could this be a training session for young troops. Is the government preparing an aggressive assault on its people AGAIN?

The young soldier's attitude was disturbing. In reality these youngsters are in a situation where they come from poverty, have a job and want to impress their superiors in order to advance in the military pecking order. The point being is this the message the government wants to send in their effort to attract tourists? Think about it.


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