Cautious Cambodia - 2007

O UR G UIDE ’ S T OUCHING F AITH All of us were impressed with Mr. Seone's ideals, his practicality, his pursuit of education, and his selflessness. He is realistic in his recognition of the importance of education for his young compatriots and their hopes for the future. He is also realistic in improving his own education by studying law. He knows that only education and the rule of law will allow his country to escape the constrictor coils of a corrupt government. He works hard for his family and the young people in his life through his establishment and personal monetary support of a school for the teaching of English to those youngsters. He is proud of his country’s heritage and its natural beauty. He is optimistic about its future. His faith in the power and willingness of the UN to protect his country from further ruinous civil wars and invasions by more powerful neighbors however is not so realistic in our jaundiced eyes. We have seen the UN powerless to stop the slaughter in Darfur, the current unrest in Kenya, the ongoing catastrophe in Zimbabwe. Not only is the UN impotent, its most powerful members do not have the will to stop these tragedies. Yet Mr. Seone believes that because his country now has a government sanctioned under the constitution of the UN itself, stability and prosperity will ensue. We respected his trust and we can hope that he is rewarded for his efforts with progress in his lifetime towards the goals he seeks. Mr. S told us his own personal story of misery during the Pol Pot regime. He was a boy of 10 when Pol Pot emptied the cities. He and his siblings were separated from their parents as well as from each other. During that time as he struggled to survive, he had no way of knowing whether or not he had family any longer. He really could not explain his own survival except as “luck” because he cannot remember any methods he could have used to avoid death. It could have only been that his fate was not to perish then. When the Vietnamese conquered Cambodia and sent Pol Pot into rural exile, he was totally dumbfounded to learn that his mother and one sister had survived and that by some miracle his mother was able to find them both and thus re-unite what was left of the family. Perhaps it is that inexplicable “luck” that helps Mr. Seone feel such optimism today. If only we could sense the same intimations of success that he does. He and his people do deserve something better than a return to their past Angkorian Empire. They 45

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