jeudi, novembre 15, 2007

Errors of Sihanouk (Part 2 of 6)

News From Cambodia N° 0706


Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
February 20th, 2007

2/. Problem: Sihanouk has never assumed any policy to gather Cambodians.

Sihanouk did not apply any policy of gathering people as de Gaule has done after the liberation of France. This gathering can be possible only by making the people involve and challenge in any available national competence of all fields. On the contrary, Sihanouk prefers to use rather the foreign competence in all domains, including training his army’s officers. Among the Cambodian personalities, in many governments under the first Sihanouk’s administration, how many are worthy to serve the country ? Sihanouk thinks wrongly that to preserve only the monarchy is essential for the independence of Cambodia. The history of the world shows that a Monarchy or any other regime can last only while serving the interests of the people and the nation. The intellectuals, choosing by Sihanouk, according to their competence are only Van Molyvan and Hang Thun Hak.

To gather can be based only by:

a/. The history which unites.

It is the objective of the history in all the developed countries. The conflicts of the history's interpretation between China and Japan are the clear witness. Then the Cambodia's history can be written only by Cambodian historians committees formed in historian's profession fields from the great universities of the world or by self-taught. This committee of Cambodian historians can get assistance of foreign specialists and not in the opposite way. It is thus necessary to base on the methods using by the modern historians. Because historian's profession evolved a lot since the end of the XIXth century and especially since the end of the Second World war.

Nowadays, the Cambodian’s history must be a history of a whole : political, military, cultural, economic and social of Cambodia evolving in the history context of the world. A history freed from the legends and the imaginations. The history of Cambodia in this extensiveness was in the projects well elaborated by Bernard Philippe Groslier, in his meticulous researches, on the spot, in Cambodia as well as in the world starting from Great Britain to China by way of the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, India, Burma, Thailand and Indonesia. B. P. Groslier had the project to publish a history of Cambodia since the Prehistory. The prehistory of Cambodia is known since the first years of the colonization, with Samrong Sen's polished stones reported by J. Moura in the middle of 1870s[1]. During that time the prehistory’s study have just been recognized as being a part of the mankind’s history by the works of Jean Boucher of Crèvecœur de Perthes (1788-1868).

B. P. Groslier put thirty years to collect all the necessary documents in this regard. Regrettably he died prematurely on May 29th, 1986 at 60 years old. It is desirable that Cambodian historians form groups to study all available[2] B. P. Groslier papers and if possible to have access to B.P. Groslier's archives. Because B. P. Groslier is one of the rare historians who likes Cambodia and Cambodian people. Thus this history of Cambodia by Cambodian historians still remains to be written.

“In his study on the religion chapters of former Cambodia, we shall retain especially of the perspective moved adopting by Groslier. While previously they were essentially interpreted from the Indian facts. He underlines the strong originality of these religions in the way inflecting the direction of their origins or more often of giving to these originality a dimension which they did not have in their country of origin (to see especially both examples that he handles: the concept of god-king and the barattage's subject of the Sea milk becoming omnipresent in the Angkor statuary). But especially, he puts in evidence the fundamental role playing any time, in Khmer country, the cult of waters and land.”[3]

P. B. Groslier also selects all the documents available of the Europeans witnesses who were in Asia and in Cambodia in the XVIth century and also on the business connections between the West and the East. In one of his last articles, otherwise the last one we raise :

" Whatever it was there, the origin of this business remain vague even prior the imperial Rome. Really nothing allows to say that it came to establish of the West to East. Many chinese texts are precise and clear. From the former Hans, in the IIth century BC, Chinese tampered in the South seas. The archaeological proof is given by Hans ceramic found in Java, prior of four centuries to the first Indian vestiges. The relations of China were naturally active with close countries such as Burma and Vietnam, in the point to lead in 111 BC to the conquest of the North-Vietnam. If we base on these data, indisputable and coherent, we can think that the Chinese and the peoples in their direct contact, were in connection with India, giving their spices and their silk: we know that this one arrived by sea in the South Indian. From this point of view, the Indian themselves would have only been following lately, the same roads, but this time by the West to East.

" The chinese texts are also formal: the native peoples of the South were the fearless navigators, to the point that the heavenly storekeepers used rather their boats. It implies that the societies are technically advanced and socially organized. To study the bronze Age of this region - roughly the first millennium BC - prove their existence. It is thus evident that civilizations or at least very advanced foyers existed in this region and traded actively by sea. On the theoretical plan, it was an error of the first historians of the indianisation for having neglected the "recipients" of this one, or for having considered them implicitly as "primitive" one. A civilization so complex as that of India was able to be likened then developed only by already advanced societies - especially without conquest of populating. Doubtless the hiatus between historians and philologists on one hand, prehistorians and archaeologists, on the other hand, shows this reasoning's fault."

Let us notice that the Chinese have a very long tradition of sea navigation. In the middle of the XVth century China was the most major power of maritime of the world.

“In 1405, the second emperor Ming, Yung Lo, confides to an eunuch admiral namely Cheng Ho to organize the naval expeditions to visit all the lands around China. Visit; neither conquer nor colonize. Cheng Ho heads thirty seven thousand people distributed on three hundred and seventeen enormous vessels. The flagship is the nine masts of one hundred and thirty metres long and fifty five metres wide; the smallest one is five masts of forty four metres long and twenty metres wide. This tremendous squadron visits Java and Sumatra, then Ceylon and Calicut. During the six following expeditions, Cheng goes farther westward: he reaches Siam, Bengal, makes the tour of India, approaches Maldive Islands and gets Ormuz. But only a visit, without settling nor conquering. In the death of the emperor Yung Lo in 1424, Cheng Ho launch into a new expedition, and, for two years, visits thirty six States, of Borneo in the South of Africa. In 1432, in a seventh trip, he makes diplomatic relations or the vague suzerainty with about twenty countries, from Timor to Zanzibar.”[5]

Of course the chinese boats did not float too far from coasts. The Chinese ignored the concept of the earth sphericity and did not know Almagest of Claude Ptolemy.

It is not the case for the Indians. All the wrecks of flowed boats or castaways, found until now under waters of Southeast Asia are all the chinese, without exception, as the one found recently off our coasts last year. This wreck dated XVIth or XVIIth century is that of a chinese junk. A chinese team of submarine archaeologists is operating to determine the date and the destination of this boat.

To be followed…

Note : Cet article est aussi disponible en Khmer et en français sur demande.
[1] « Préhistoire du Cambodge » by Roland Mourer, article the Archeologia magazine, march 1988.
[2] A collection of interesting articles of B.P. Groslier in « Mixt on the Archaeology of Cambodia » collected by Jacques Dumarçay, Edition Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris 1997. This book contains in particular the very important article « La Cité Hydraulique Angkorienne : Exploitation ou Surexploitation du Sol ?» (The Hydraulic Town Angkorienne: Exploitation or Overexploitation of the Ground? (1979) and « Prospecting of Sites Khmers in Siam » (1977).
[3] « Bernard Philippe Groslier (May 10th, 1926 - May 29th, 1986) the Man and the work », by Georges Condominas, article in « Crossed Disciplines. Hommage to Bernard Philippe Groslier, Editions of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris 1992, p. 25.
[4] Bernard-Philippe Groslier in « Archéologie des échanges commerciaux », article in « Le grand Atlas de l'Archéologie », Edition Encyclopaedia Universalis, Paris 1985, page 254.
[5] In « 1492 » by Jacques Attali, Edition Fayard, Paris 1991, p. 192-193