jeudi, novembre 15, 2007

Errors of Sihanouk (Part 4 of 6)

News From Cambodia N° 0710


Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
February 20th, 2007

(From Part 3)

Jayavarman VII is a warrior chief. He fought with his people to chase away the invaders Cham. Then he began successfully to conquest Champa. Until now no any documents was made on this expedition. Once in the power, he was surrounded with the most competent intellectuals of the time. His wife, Indra Devi, was a great scholar. Jayavarman VII starts to take charge of repairing damages caused by the Cham occupation and also of feeding the population. The hydraulic system does not answer any more the necessities needs. It is thus necessary to gather any best competence of the country, in particular the best hydraulic engineers to build of new barays confronted with geographic and topological configurations extremely difficult.

« We have just noticed that the « cup was full » and that we could not hardly make more than fit so-so into a saturated space in Angkor. I shall resume the description of the hydraulic system of Angkor Thom which was already made. It is remarkable exactly by its use of the previous works and will admire its success in spite of the various difficulties.

« This remains that it is a failure, from the irrigation point of view. It is true that we could practically add nothing more because of the other streams to be taken away. The only possible solution that was retained: go back up upstream to Yasodharapura II and III. It is what served the baray of Preah Khan and the network of staves and dikes of this sector.

« Angkor Thom is the last angkorian hydraulic town, in fact the last one of the Khmer cities. After that - and although up to the definitive desolation of Angkor, it is there that concentrated the ultimate demonstrations of this civilization - nothing more will be begun, not even modest one reservoir. The system died. »

So according to B.P. Groslier, even nowadays, no any engineer would have made better. Is it not a direct honoring by paying homage to Jayavarman VII and to the engineers of the Angkor era? The current Cambodians would be capable of such exploits if the education was made in national language from the maternal to the university. If the education was the priority of the priority and accessible to all the children of the people with adapted programs and with teachers paid suitably ?

« The knowledge are the most precious possessions, nobody can steal them from you, the more one use it, the more they value » Cambodian Sloka.

This verset is valid and applicable for a person as well as for a society or a nation. The educated peoples are never dominated durably.

On the other hand, it is important to note the importance of angkorian bronzes. Are not angkorian bronzes the heirs of the civilizations of the antique bronzes of Samrong Sen and the other bronze civilizations of the Northeast of the current Thailand ? Region where actually occupying by Mon-Khmers ?

Thus this history of Cambodia written by Cambodian historians still remains to be written. We would like that our fellow countrymen take into consideration and inspire a thought of the kind below:

« Is not the forgetfulness ( ignorance) of one own past, is that alienatrice in a big part of oneself ? All the troubles striking Africa today, as well as all the calamities happen here, is the result from uncountable forces propelled by the History. And as well as the treatment of a disease is the first stage of a rational enterprise of diagnosis and a therapeutics, then the first task of global analysis of this continent is historic. Unless opting for the unconsciousness and the alienation, how one would able to live without memory, or with the memory of others ? The fact is that the History is the memory of the peoples. »[2]

In this history of Cambodia written by Cambodians, it is important to place our history in the context of the world history evolution, in particular to take into account of the European's arrival in our region: the Portuguese and the Spanish from the beginning of the XVIth century, following by the Dutch, the English and the Frenchmen. The Europeans bring with them their civilizations, their knowledge, in particular firearms, clock, the concept of the sphericity of the earth confirmed by the first journey circumterrestre begun by the Portuguese Magellan in 1620, but financed by Spain. This first journey also discovered the rotation of the earth around herself. It is a revolution in the European and human thought, with Copernic, Galilee, Kepler and Newton and the discovery of the solar system. On the other hand Europe exported the concepts of the logic and the abstract mathematics invented by the Greeks, the heirs of Middle-East and Egyptian civilizations. Are these new concepts now known by all Cambodians? Are these new concepts taught to our children ? Why the education of the history and the geography does always remain untidy and neglected ?

To know the world is also a way to know her own country, because everything is comparison. The child acquaints at first with the outside world by his/her mouth, then by the hands, but always by comparison. All knowledge are the matter of comparison. The Europeans were the most educated because they had at their disposal all the documents of the world.

It is however necessary to note in the credit of Sihanouk, confirm by the International Court, that the temple of Preah Vihear is belong to Cambodia. But the access of the Cambodian side remains always difficult. Another one credit is the publication in the "Etudes Cambodgiennes" magazine on the " National Uprisings of 1885-1886 » researches. It would be interesting to republish them. We are told that this magazine "Etudes Cambodgiennes", is available at the Library Mitterrand in France.

(To be followed)…

Note : Cet article est disponible en cambodgien et en français sur demande.
[1] B. P. Groslier in « La Cité Hydraulique… », p. 186 – 187.
[2] « Introduction Générale » Article of J. Ki-Zerbo, in « General Histoire Générale de l'Afrique », Edition Unesco, Paris 1980, page 23. Ki-Zerbo, died in December 2006, was the aggregated by history and professor of French university and president of the association of the African historians. Now the Africans elaborated a writing of the African main languages and begin to teach the children in primary classes with as objective at universities in 10 years.