mardi, janvier 29, 2008

Mark Twain Library (suite)

News of Cambodia N 0810-E

The Mark Twain Library (MTL) and books in Cambodian (suite)

Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
January 28th, 2008

We diffuse below information about the responsible for Mark Twain Library (MTL) of Los Angeles in Cambodia. With some 7 000 US dollars, they were able to buy and send to the United States more than thousand books in Cambodian language among which the translations. The translations of books in French for example, also have translations into English.

We wish that the responsible of MTL open a class of Cambodian language to incite the Cambodian young people to learn reading and writing their mother tongue. It does not bother by any means the English language learning. On the other hand we strongly wish that the MTL finances translations of the American books into Cambodian. There are Cambodians in the United States able of doing it.

The experience of the MTL shows that with 7 000 US dollars, more than one thousand books in Cambodians including the freight costs can be reached the United States or Europe. Why, in the United States and in Europe, Cambodians or organizations wishing to help the Cambodian people do not inspiring by this experience establishing Cambodian book libraries of almost everywhere ? Why not to finance bookstores selling books in Cambodian with the good prices? Now there is a possibility of communicating in Cambodian on Internet with a searching engine into Cambodian with free software. The Cambodian language is now called to develop quickly.

The written language and the history are both indispensable pillars of all the nations of the world, including the Cambodian nation.

KI Media
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Library unpacks a treasure:
1,105 Khmer-language books

Susan Taylor, a librarian at Mark Twain Library in Long Beach, views a photocopy of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, translated into Khmer, at the library Monday during the unpacking of 1,105 books she and employee Lyda Thanh purchased on a trip to Cambodia.
(Kevin Chang / Press-Telegram)

Expected to be ready for check-out in April, acquisitions double Mark Twain collection.

By Paul Eakins, Staff writer
Long Beach Press Telegram (California, USA)

LONG BEACH - A small crowd tore with delight into eight tightly sealed cardboard boxes Monday at the Mark Twain Library, pulling out the first of 1,105 new Khmer-language books recently arrived from Cambodia.The new acquisitions more than double the size of the library's Khmer book collection, which had numbered 1,094, library officials said.The additional books will give Long Beach's sizable Cambodian community some much-needed new reading materials that will serve both young and old, according to library officials, local Cambodian leaders and others who had gathered for the opening of the boxes. Gary Ung, a library donor and Cambodian immigrant, said the new books will help Cambodian-American children retain their native culture and language.

“Some of them can read (Khmer), but some of them can only speak it and not read it,” Ung said. “I think this will give them a key.”After struggling to find Khmer books in the United States or even through Cambodian publishers, branch librarian Susan Taylor and library employee Lyda Thanh went straight to the source this month, spending almost two weeks scouring Cambodian book stores.There they discovered a surprising variety of books, said Thanh, whose official title at the library is homework helper. Thanh is the daughter of Cambodian immigrants, speaks the language fluently and catalogues all of the library's Khmer books.She said groups such as nongovernmental organizations have stepped up production of Khmer texts.

“It's developing at an exponential rate,” Thanh said. “Just from two years ago to now, the number of organizations that are publishing high-quality books has grown.”The two women bought the books from six bookstores and other sources, often astounding those around them in the process, Thanh said.Taylor said the Cambodians were surprised the women had so much money to spend on books and that they were buying so many.

“We were scooping them up and scooping them up,” Taylor said.Especially amazing to the locals was that the books were going to be put in a public library where people could take them home for free, she said.

“The libraries there are either research only, or you have to pay an exorbitant fee that no one can pay,” Taylor said.The library paid $3,500 for the books and almost as much, $3,100, to ship them back to the states, Taylor said. All of the travel expenses for Taylor and Thanh were paid for by the Helen Fuller Cultural Carrousel committee, which is part of Friends of the Library.Councilman Dee Andrews of the 6th District, which includes Cambodia Town, spoke briefly at the event, joking that he was disappointed he didn't get to travel to Cambodia as well. But for the children of Cambodian immigrants who haven't visited their parents' homeland, books can be a great alternative, he said.

“I didn't go to Cambodia, but remember, a book can take your mind anywhere you want to go in the world,” Andrews said.Taylor and Thanh brought back a wide range of books. The new additions to the Khmer collection include traditional Cambodian children's books with illustrations, translations of books such as “The Little Prince,” children's books in Khmer and English, and a variety of adult books ranging from “Life of the Buddha” to instructional books about computer programs.The women also obtained a photocopy - Cambodia doesn't have copyright laws - of the only existing Khmer translation of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” Taylor said. Another popular book series, “Harry Potter,” was more difficult to come by because all of the copies had been sold, but Taylor said she is working to get that, too.After unpacking the books, Nancy Prerk, project manager for the annual Cambodian New Year Parade, and other women recited aloud the letters of the Cambodian alphabet on an educational poster made for children.

“It brings back memories of being in school,” Prerk said. “Some of the novels I used to read when I was little I'm definitely going to check out.”Before that can happen, Thanh must catalogue and organize all 1,105 of the new books. Library officials said the books will be available for check-out in time for the Cambodian New Year Parade on April 6.However, on Saturday, the public will get a chance to see the books firsthand, even if they can't be taken home. Visitors can browse through the books, hear about the library's Cambodia trip and see photos from the journey beginning at 2 p.m. at the Mark Twain Library, 1401 Anaheim, 562-499-1278
posted by Socheata

Note : Cet article est aussi disponible en français sur demande.

samedi, janvier 26, 2008


(KI Media) Friday, January 25, 2008

KhmerOS selected as one of the two best projects using ICT to improve economic development
Javier Solá

Open Institute
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- The KhmerOS/Open Schools Program initiative - a Cambodian collaborative project - was selected as a finalist for the Stockholm Challenge/GKP Award. It was nominated as one of two projects that best use information and communication technology (ICT) to produce economic development. The Sweden-based Stockholm Challenge Award is the most prestigious award evaluating projects that make use of technology to contribute to the advancement of developing countries.

The Khmer Software Initiative (KhmerOS) is based in two simple beliefs: there is no economic development in countries that do not use technology; and, there is no widespread use of technology if it is not available in the language of the country.

As there was no commercial software in Khmer (Cambodian) language, Spanish engineer Javier Solá started the KhmerOS initiative in 2004, translating and producing free computer applications in Khmer language (word processing, spreadsheets, internet software, e-mail, etc.), as well as training materials and large amounts of documentation. The Linux operating system was also translated to Khmer.

Several thousand private and public sector teachers, as well as government officials, were trained on the use of the free and open source applications. This was done together with the Cambodian National ICT Development Authority during 2005 and 2006.

Many of the central and local administration bodies started using the software in their everyday work, as using software in English was not a viable option.

In 2007, the Open Institute - the non-profit that houses the project - and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport signed an agreement to start-up the Open Schools Program - Cambodia. This new programme aims at integrating the use of ICT in the field of education. The first activity of the programme consisted in training teachers in pedagogical centres and all the high schools that have computers (28% of total) in how to use and teach Khmer language free software. A textbook was produced and is being distributed to all participating schools. Cambodia thus becomes the first country to only use free software applications throughout the education system.

The project has also produced Khmer script keyboards and several books in Khmer. In order to approach sustainability, the technology for the keyboards has been transferred to local computer vendors, who are already manufacturing and selling them. The content of the books is licensed to anybody who wishes to print it for profit. Other aspects of the project are also looking for interested third parties that will turn aspects of the project (that now require funding) into businesses that make the system sustainable.

The KhmerOS initiative has reached its 2004 goal of allowing Cambodians to use computers in their own language. It has meanwhile refocused its efforts on the education system. As part of the Open Schools Program, the Ministry of Education and the Open Institute will develop a master plan for ICT in education this coming year. It is expected not only to expand the use of computers to all high schools over the next four years, but also allow the use of ICT to improve the quality of education by using multimedia and open and distance education, all in Khmer language.

For Javier Solá, founder and coordinator of the NGO side of the project, "the most important success factor of the KhmerOS project has been the ability of bringing together the development know-how of NGOs with the technological expertise of the free and open source software community.” Solá also enthusiastically mentions “the experience and vision of the Cambodian government, creating a project that has interested commercial stakeholders, leading to the sustainable low-cost use of local language ICT in education, government and local society, strongly reducing the digital divide."

For more information, please visit:

Posted by Khemara Jati

mercredi, janvier 23, 2008

The Basque language

News From Cambodia


Dear Khemara Jati,

I recommend you to read an article of

I found this article [below] interesting, but please also see the last paragraph. We could say that it is difficult to compare the case of the Basque (language which is coming by far) and the Khmer (the unique official language of Cambodia), but I think that if the Khmer does not know how to use the technology, the future of the Cambodian language will be dark.

I noticed during my recent visit in Cambodia that English becomes at the point that it is more and more useful... In Siem Reap, I can see by myself that now the taxi or « remorque » (tuk-tuk) drivers use regularly the word « airport » in their conversations in Khmer instead of « prolean », in restaurants (where the clientele is especially foreigners), the employees, by speaking between them, use in Khmer of the words as « order » or « recip » (for receipt) (while we had integrated the French words commang into competition with hau, or resuy in competition with bangkan day)....

I even noticed that the tuk-tuk drivers of more than 50 years old has now a mobile phone... Vow! It seems to me that in Cambodia, we cannot send of sms into Khmer language and writing because technologically we still have no this option [yet], while in Thailand, we can send sms in Thai, in Japan, in Japanese, etc. Maybe the Cambodian market is too small so that it does not interest any big firms? In that case, it is worrying...

Some years ago, the young Cambodians of Cambodia spelt in (bad) English on chatting and internet forums... I notice for some time, there are forums where we use Khmer (Unicode), but at the moment it has nothing to do with the dimension of the usage of the Thai on chatting, forums, Internet sites.

Other example, go on the site of the Cambodian Interior Minister Office: It gives me a hard time because I found in vain the interface in Khmer, I found only some files in Khmer in PDF format​ or if need there are some Khmer Unicode (!65). It is rather stunning, but let us hope that it is temporary hoping that they are building [soon] an interface in Khmer. On the other hand, the site of the royal government indeed has both languages: English and Khmer ( Also look at the Royal University of Phnom Penh website: <> there either, I do not find any interface in Khmer, while if I type in research word " sakalvithyealay phumin Phnum Penh " i Khmer Unicode, we fall on the site of the American embassy with an interface in Khmer:

Surprise, no.

Annexe : The article of of January 21th, 2008 on the Basque language

Les Basques tirent leur langue
Interdit sous Franco, l’euskara est désormais promu par le gouvernement régional et connaît un nouvel âge d’or dans les médias, l’administration et l’enseignement.
Envoyé spécial à Bilbao FRANÇOIS MUSSEAU
QUOTIDIEN : lundi 21 janvier 2008

Comment dit-on gardien de troupeaux en basque ? Astazain pour celui qui garde les ânes, urdain pour les porcs, behizein pour les vaches… Au total, dix mots, selon le type d’animal. Dans un article paru en novembre à la une du Wall Street Journal, le journaliste Keith Johnson se gaussait ainsi d’un archaïque jargon rural dont l’Euskadi, le Pays basque espagnol, se bat pour imposer l’usage devant le castillan, l’autre langue «co-officielle» de la région. La plus vieille langue d’Europe est incapable de s’adapter à la modernité, affirmait en substance le journal de la finance américaine.

«Archaïque ? Mais nous sommes la preuve que le basque est une richesse qui développe l’agilité mentale des élèves !» s’enflamme José Maria Ziarrusta. Cet homme dirige une ikastola sur les hauteurs de Bilbao. Dans cette école, où tout s’écrit et se parle en euskara, on se targue de 96 % de réussite au bac.

Coups de fouet
«Cet article insulte notre combat !» s’insurge une enseignante. Les ikastolas, explique-t-elle, sont nées dans la clandestinité sous la dictature franquiste. Durant les trente-six années du règne de Franco, il était interdit de parler basque et, à l’école, cela valait des coups de fouet. Trois décennies après la mort du Caudillo, la défense de l’euskara a conservé cette dimension éminemment politique. Menacée de disparition, la langue basque a été sauvée des oubliettes et connaît même un âge d’or. En l’espace de vingt ans, les Basques bilingues sont passés de 20 à 30 % de la population. Mieux, la moitié des moins de 25 ans le lisent et le parlent sans peine. S’agissant d’un idiome non indo-européen aussi complexe, sans parenté connue, et noyé dans un continent de langues latines ou saxonnes, tous saluent la prouesse. «Zer moduz zabitza ?» (Comment vas-tu ?) «Zer egin nahi duzu asteburu honetan ?» (Tu fais quoi ce week-end ?). Parler basque ne va pas de soi. Même compter jusqu’à cinq - bat, bi, iru, lau, bost - ou invoquer Dieu - Jainko - dépasse les compétences du polyglotte moyen. Et pourtant, «on enseigne en euskara la biologie moléculaire et la physique nucléaire», se targue Andres Urrutia, président de l’Euskaltzaindia, l’Académie de langue basque, à Bilbao. A la fin des années 60, cette dernière a jeté les bases du «batua», un euskara unifié qui sert désormais de norme, avec sa grammaire, son orthographe et son lexique. «Notre modèle a été l’élaboration et la mise en place de l’hébreu moderne en Israël», précise Urrutia. De dialecte rural de tradition orale, l’euskara est devenu un véhicule de communication usuel et académique.

Pour récupérer une langue aussi singulière que minoritaire, «il faut trois choses : une demande de la société, une forte volonté politique et beaucoup d’argent», résume David Crystal, un linguiste gallois que le succès de l’euskara impressionne. Les trois ingrédients ont, semble-t-il, fonctionné : aujourd’hui, 53 % des parents inscrivent leurs enfants dans la filière d’enseignement tout en basque, contre 15 % en 1983.

Sans la volonté farouche du gouvernement régional basque, aux mains des nationalistes modérés depuis vingt ans, rien n’aurait été possible. «C’est notre identité qui est en jeu. Nous ne lésinons pas sur les moyens», admet Patxi Baztarrika, en charge de la politique linguistique au sein de la Communauté autonome d’Euskadi. Dans le budget 2008, l’exécutif basque consacre près de 2 % de ses dépenses (soit 188 millions d’euros) à la promotion de l’euskara, sans compter les fonds alloués aux médias publics en basque, Radio-Euskadi et la chaîne ETB 1. Municipalités, ikastolas, entreprises, crèches sont inondées de subventions.

Trois ans de congé formation
Mais la part du lion revient à l’administration, où le moindre formulaire doit être rédigé en euskara. La plupart des 40 000 fonctionnaires étant tenus de parler basque aussi couramment que castillan, on leur alloue jusqu’à trois ans de congé de formation pour apprendre l’euskara, sans perte de salaire ! «On oblige même des pompiers, des policiers ou des agents d’entretien à apprendre l’euskara. C’est absurde. Le pire, ce sont tous ces médecins, dont on manque tant, obligés de potasser leur basque au lieu de soigner !» s’énerve Iñaki Oyarzabal, député régional de droite, membre du Parti populaire, aussi réfractaire à l’indépendantisme basque que l’est son principal adversaire national, le PSOE socialiste. La politique de «basquisation» laisse des victimes sur le bord de la route. «Des dizaines de profs non-bascophones sont contraints de quitter Euskadi, de partir en préretraite ou d’accepter des tâches subalternes», dénonce Oyarzabal. La socialiste Isabel Celaa, ex-vice-ministre régionale pour l’éducation, acquiesce : «Les nationalistes voudraient qu’on parle l’euskara partout. C’est impossible. La langue relève de l’intime.» L’analyste Joseba Arregi renchérit : «C’est contre-productif. Plus on impose une langue, moins vous l’utilisez.»

Reste qu’en 1982, seulement 5 % du corps enseignant parlait basque. Contre 80 % aujourd’hui. Tandis que l’euskara grignote du terrain dans les facs, les hôpitaux ou les médias, le pouvoir régional veut passer à la vitesse supérieure à l’école. Un récent décret définit l’euskara comme «la langue principale et véhiculaire» dans l’éducation, ce qui fait craindre à certains que le castillan soit un jour relégué à un statut inférieur. Pour qui veut - ou doit - apprendre la langue sur le tard, il y a les Euskaltegis (109 au total), ces centres pour adultes, calqués sur les «oulpan» israéliens. Dans les années 80, on y venait pour des raisons idéologiques et militantes, aujourd’hui,elles sont plus triviales. «Les trois quarts des élèves sont chômeurs ou fonctionnaires. Parler l’euskara est un atout, et c’est subventionné.» Patxi Agirregomezkorta dirige une des plus grandes euskaltegis du Pays basque (2 450 élèves), dans le centre de Bilbao. Mais, il l’admet, l’apprentissage de cette langue agglutinante, divisée en douze niveaux, est ardu. «Beaucoup le font par-dessus la jambe, la qualité s’en ressent. Au mieux, la langue est connue mais, hélas, pas vivante. Après la classe, s’ils s’invitent à prendre un verre, c’est en espagnol qu’ils le font.» Joseba, 43 ans, fréquente cette euskaltegi deux soirs par semaine. Il n’est ni chômeur, ni fonctionnaire, ni nationaliste. Le souhait de ce publicitaire : comprendre ses deux jeunes fils, parfaits bilingues, «en particulier lorsqu’ils se paient ma tête», rit-il. A son grand désespoir, il a un mal fou à s’exprimer de façon fluide. «Y’a rien à faire, ça ne me sort pas des tripes !»

Son cas illustre la difficulté à faire du basque une langue aussi vivante que le catalan ou le galicien. Dans les villes, c’est le castillan qui domine. Euskaltegis et ikastolas organisent certes des colonies de vacances linguistiques ou des séjours dans des familles bascophones, mais cela ne déplace pas les foules. «L’euskara est de mieux en mieux connu, mais résiste à entrer dans le champ des émotions», s’inquiète Andres Urrutia, le président de l’Académie de langue basque. Selon une enquête officielle portant sur les conversations de rue, l’euskara est parlé par seulement 14 % des gens, à peine 4 % de plus qu’en 1989. Il faut être en zone euskaldun (bascophone), comme dans les bourgades autour de Saint-Sébastien, pour entendre l’euskara partout, dans les squares, les cours de récré, les bars… A Zarautz, par exemple, où Jon, 17 ans, se vante de «faire presque tout en euskara. Boire des coups avec mes potes, la discothèque, la drague, et jusqu’aux chats». Sur le front de mer, même les immigrants sahraouies et sénégalais le baragouinent, pour ne pas rester en marge.
«La réussite, pour moi, c’est que beaucoup de gens voient cet idiome comme une richesse propre, comprennent un discours, un bouquin, dit un journaliste. Le reste prendra des générations.» Comme le souligne le linguiste Juan Uriagereka, plus de la moitié des langues sont en danger. Seules une bonne douzaine ont un avenir assuré. On peut se tromper sur la manière de faire, et c’est fréquent dans le cas basque. Mais, si on veut agir, la seule solution passe par la discrimination positive.» Même dans le camp non-nationaliste, l’euskara est un trésor linguistique, un patrimoine qui valait le coup d’être sauvé.

Arme de combat
Pour les nationalistes, c’est bien plus : l’essence de la «basquité», difficile à définir en fonction de la race (la majorité des Basques sont des «sang-mêlé») ou l’onomastique (la plupart des noms basques figurent hors d’Euskadi). «Notre sang ne se voit pas, nos vieilles lois n’existent plus, mais notre langue, elle, s’entend», lit-on dans une revue scolaire. Les séparatistes radicaux, très présents dans les milieux culturels et musicaux (rock surtout), en ont fait une arme de combat. Dans ses coups de boutoir contre la nébuleuse contrôlée par ETA, le juge Baltasar Garzon s’est ainsi attaqué à des journaux bascophones (Egunkaria, Egin), de même qu’il accuse certaines ikastolas d’alimenter les caisses de l’organisation terroriste.
«Ils défendent la langue comme un domaine réservé !» enrage le député Parti populaire Oyarzabal. «Notre langue n’exclut personne», rétorque Patxi Baztarrika, en charge de la politique linguistique au gouvernement. Deux défis majeurs restent à relever. L’alphabétisation en euskara de la population immigrée qui ne peut que croître dans une région aussi riche et prospère - pour le moment, il n’y a que 5 % d’étrangers en Euskadi, contre 10 % dans toute l’Espagne. Ensuite et surtout, l’adaptation aux nouvelles technologies dans lesquelles baignent les jeunes Basques, forces vives de l’euskara. L’exécutif investit donc massivement pour que le basque se fasse une place sur les écrans : jeux vidéo, logiciels de traduction automatique, encyclopédies on-line, systèmes opératifs en euskara (avec Microsoft), publicité sur Internet… «Il faut que les chats et les SMS s’écrivent aussi en basque. C’est vital pour l’avenir, assure Patxi Baztarrika. Je ne veux pas qu’après avoir rejoint la tour de Babel, l’euskara connaisse le sort du latin.»

Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
le 23 janvier 2008

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For the Cambodian Finland Friendship

News of Cambodia N° 0807-E


Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
January 20th, 2008

1/. The facts

For more than a decade, Finland agreed to welcome all the Cambodian accusing falsely of crimes which they never committed. Let us note that Cambodians refugees in Finland are intellectuals knowing perfectly at least two languages: the Cambodian, English and now probably Finnish. They are able of translating without dictionary from English into Cambodian.

A very important case is Heng Pov, a high dignitary police who reveals in Singapore, the low case of crimes committed by Phnom Penh regime, in particular on the massacre of March 30th, 1997 intended to kill Rainsy and who injured a citizen of the United States. It is interesting to note that the American government always refuses to publish the FBI report to the public in that case.

Heng Pov, took political refugee somewhere, would thus risking to make revelations which would collapse the regime settled in Phnom Penh by Hanoi since January, 1979. It is not thus in the interest of any major powers at all. The current regime of Phnom Penh holds so many secrets affairs which can tarnish the reputation of certain major powers.

In these conditions, Finland is the only country agrees to welcome Heng Pov as political refugee. Finally, “one” settles to bring Heng Pov back to the Phnom Penh prison, preventing him from making cumbersome revelations.

Few months ago, the Finnish national airline company, FinnAir, inaugurates the first direct connection between European capitals, in this particular, Stockholm in Sweden direct to Phnom Penh. Until now, from Europe to Cambodia, it is necessary to pass through Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tai Pei, even Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul. It is hard to understand this ostracism of Phnom Penh, capital of a country welcoming more than two million tourists a year. So Finland has just broken this exclusion in the destination towards Cambodia's capital. It is important to note also the incapacity of Phnom Penh regime to even manage a Cambodian airline company. We wish that our fellow countrymen use rather FinnAir to go to Phnom Penh.

Finally more recently Helsinki has just granted 5 million euro to improve the education system in Cambodia.

2/. Histoire de la Finlande (Suomi in Finn).

« In the XVIIIth century, the official language of current Finland was the Swedish. After the territorial union of 1809 with the tsarist empire, it was Russian. But in the 1820s, the interest « born » for Finnish and Finnish past, which has born at the end of the XVIIIth century by texts in Latin and in Swedish, more and more to the vernacular language. The leaders of the Finnish nationalist movement in full excitement were « peoples whose profession consisted widely in managing the language: writers, professors, ministers and lawyers. The folklore study but also the rediscovery and the compilation of grammars and dictionaries, and ended by the magazine publication to normalize Finnish literature [in other words, the printing office language], justifying in his turn stronger political demands. »
In « L’Imaginaire National Réflexions sur l’Origine et l’essor du nationalisme »
by Benedict Anderson, Ed. La Découverte, Paris 2002. pages 83, 84. Translated unofficially by Kjti.

a/. The recent history of Finland is still very complicated and painful.

Under the Russian domination, the 1st czar Alexander opens the diet of Porvoo in 1809. Finland serves repeatedly as battlefields and as stake between the Swedish and Russian empires. In the Napoleonic time, Sweden had to abandon Finland to the 1st czar Alexander by the treaty of Hamina or Frederikshamm of September 7th, 1809. Finland became then a grand duchy of the Russian empire. Helsinki becomes the capital of the Grand duchy in 1812 and from this date the influence of this city begins to grow. Contrary to the Swedish time, Finland is not a separate territory of the empire, but an autonomous region. The czars showed themselves more or less respectful of this autonomy, and especially tempted all, in the considerable exception of Alexander II, forcing this region to become Russian. It is this autonomy which was at the origin of the movement for the independence of the country from the XIXth century.

Alexandre II shown a remarkable generosity towards the Finnish people (as more generally of his other subjects) and favored the emergence of a national literature. It is then notably through the culture and intellectuals that Finland develops its movement for the independence. So a collection of thirty two songs published on February 28th, 1835 inspired by the traditional tales of Karelia under the name of Kalevala (the Country of the heroes) by a Finnish country doctor, Elias Lönnrot, became the foundation of the Finnish culture. Later on this work inspired the other great Finnish artists, as the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931) and the composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), and on February 28th is still commemorated as a national holiday in Finland. The papers of Johan Ludvig Runeberg also instigated the movement for the independence. The gratitude of the Finns for the « czar liberator » is still lively, because his statue thrones always today on the place of the Senate.

b/. The entry in the independence [to modify]

July 20th 1906, Czar Nicolas II, props up in difficulties, grants liberties to the Finns (the right to vote for the women). Finland also obtained a symbolic international recognition, while it was authorized to participate, under its own colors and not those of Russia, in the Olympic Games of Stockholm in 1912. On December 6th 1917, taking advantage the disorder caused by the Bolshevik revolution, Finland declares its independence, recognized by the Soviet power on January 4th 1918. It is then the beginning of the Finnish civil war between the Red, allied in the Soviet Russia, and the White allies in Germany. An energetic Finnish general, a baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim commands the White governmental troops and takes advantage of the German troop’s reinforcement. These take him on the Bolshevik red troops in Vyborg on April 30th, 1918. The independence of Finland is henceforth declared.

Hardly one month before the German defeat, has the Finns chosen German prince, Frédéric Charles de Hesse as king. This one quickly disappeared and Mannerheim becomes regent before giving up the place in his turn with the proclamation of the Republic on July 17th, 1919.

c/. The Second World War

In November 1939, by virtue of the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Soviet Union puts an ultimatum to Finland, and then attacks it in front of the refusal of this one to grant the basic « loan », against the Hanko peninsula. It was the winter war of 1939-1940. The Finnishline of defense, namely Mannerheim lines in reference to the line Maginot in France, is supposed to resist one-two weeks to the aggressor according to the marshal Mannerheim.

In spite of the Finnish soldiers success (they invented then the famous become « cocktail Molotov »), a lot short in term of number than the Soviet citizens, Finland bows by the treaty of Moscow of March 12th 1940, and gives up to Stalin 10 % of its territory (the oriental province of the country, Karelia, which still belongs in Russia today), but remain independent, contrary to Baltic States.

In 1941, when Germany attacks the USSR (Barbarossa operation), Finland revenges and joins its troops to those of Nazi Germany to attack the USSR and get back the lost territories or more if possible. However the offensive stops in the Onega Lake, and never cut the railroad line of Murmansk or attacked Leningrad, in spite of Hitler's pressing demands.

In 1944, the red Army drills the front, and the Finnish army curls up until the ancient border. She signs then an armistice with the USSR, stipulating the departure of the German armed force stand in the North of Finland. The failed evacuation leads to the war of Lapland against the Germans. Finland escapes then from annexation by the USSR. By the treaty of Paris of February 10th 1947, she recovers her independence, amputated not only by Karelia but also by supplementary territories (the region of Petsamo and the isthmus of Karelia), pay a heavy levy to the Soviet citizens and has to resign to subordinate her foreign policy to the USSR in exchange for the conservation of her democratic institutions (what we called till the end of the Cold War the « finlandisation »). The paradox of this debt is because it becomes a source of prosperity for the country. The obligation to pay repairs to Soviet Union, forced Finland to become industrialized country. Finland, main western partner of the USSR, is going to move in a rich state with one of the best levels of life to the world.

3/. Contemporary Finland

During the Cold war, the Paasikivi line of strict neutrality makes of Finland a moving plate of the East-west relations. She cannot indeed line up in the one or the other block by virtue of the agreements crossed at the conclusion of the Second World War. Contrary to ideas sometimes spread in France, Finland was not communist, but actually could not join the western block at the risk of annoying her powerful neighbor. The Finland policy turns so determinedly to the neutrality allowing her to cross this delicate period without block excess. Today still, the Finns hesitate to adhere to the NATO by respecting their political neutrality.

Finland becomes quickly a very prosperous country. The development undergoes nevertheless a major crisis in the 1980s and 1990, while the unemployment gets 20 % of the active population. During this period, Finland concentrates all its efforts in training engineers and high-level scientists. It is the policy of picking up the new technologies sector (Nokia, F-Secure and of biotechnology laboratories for example). Finland reties with the growth and reaches an unemployment rate lower than the average of the European Union. Finally, Finland adheres to EU in 1995 and participates in the euro zone in which its notes represent only approximately 2 % of the total put in circulation.


In this short history of Finland, there are of course involuntary errors or missing. We wish that the Finnish government finances the writing of a history of Finland in Cambodian with the cooperation of the Cambodians living in Finland and on Finnish historians. It is the history which looks like to a certain extent of the Cambodia history obliging to fight for protecting independence and sovereign power, between the two powerful neighbors, in the situation of the conflicts of the geostrategic interests of major powers. Does not the policy of Cambodian neutrality call back the policy of Finnish neutrality?

We wish that the Finnish government finances translations and the publication of the European literary works and in particular, Finnish literary, into Cambodian. We also wish the translation and the publication of the school, university, scientific books and the popularization Finnish into Cambodian allowing the Cambodian young people to have documents accessible of openings themselves towards the outside world in fast evolution.

As the Finnish people experience, the culture and its support of the language are the solid and long-lasting bases of the national unity.

By the last word, we express our very profound gratitude between the people and between the Finnish government for their demonstrations of helps and supports to the Cambodian people.

Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
Le 20 janvier 2008

Note : Cet article est disponible en français sur demande.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
P.O.Box 17600161 Helsinki
Tel: +358 9 160 05 or 578 15

Ambassade de Finlande
55 Metcalfe Street, suite 850
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6L5
Tél:+1-613-288 2233
Télécopieur: +1-613-288 2244

Consulat honoraire de Finlande,
Place Sherbrooke,
1010 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 602,
Montréal, Québec, H3A 2R7, Canada
Tél. +1-514-282 9798
Télécopieur: +1-514-282 9899

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jeudi, janvier 17, 2008

Message to Sipar

News from Cambodia N° 0806-E


Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
January 15th, 2008

Following article posted by Khemara Jati « The library Mark Twain Library of Long Beach tries to buy books in Cambodian language » we received the message following by Sipar, with Hoc Sothik as President. We publish it below :

From: siparpp
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:38 AM
Subject: Fw: Tr : Mark Twain : Cambodge aux livres

Nous avons reçu votre message par intermédiaire d'un réseau d'amis.
Le SIPAR a un grand plaisir de vous proposer ci-joint un catalogue des ouvrages édités en langue khmère et une plaquette résumant ses missions dans le cadre du développement de la lecture au Cambodge.

Pour nous contacter :
9 rue 21, Tonle Bassac, Chamcarmon- Phnom Penh
Tél : 023 212 407.
E-mail :
Site web:

Hok Sothik,
directeur du Sipar.

Pièces attachés : Plaquettes SIPAR Fr07 et Catalogues SIPAR Nov07.

We publish a very interesting paper wrote by Claude Lévi-Strauss « Conservation, constraint and culture » following our message to Sipar. In this paper Claude Lévi-Strauss, a great well known ethnologist, enlightens us his observations on the ways of perpetuating a culture, a writing, while facing invasion of the strong cultures. It is a very instructive article for us Cambodian, now confronting permanently with the invasion of the other cultures which are very powerful, among which those of our neighbors.

I / Situation géopolitique actuelle du Cambodge

Cambodia is located in the center of Southeast Asia, very important region, in the center of the conflicts of the major powers geostrategic interests, mainly the United States, China, Japan, France and now India. Cambodia is lining on the East and on the West by two neighbors who were able to benefit Western knowledge long time back thank to the ports allowing the first European since the beginning of the XVIth century. Which is not the case for Cambodia unfortunately. The first Cambodian seaport was in service only since 1969. More the colonial regime made everything for vietnamizing Cochinchina, then gradually Cambodia. How? Louis Malleret (read, the one who discover of Oc Eo thanks to the indications back by Cambodians of the region. Malleret left a very important statement, showing how France favoring the Vietnamese at the cost of Cambodians by a discrimination policy in favor of the Vietnamese language's education. In his statement Malleret explains how this discrimination allowed the Vietnamese to chase away Cambodians legally of Cochinchina from their ancestral lands. We shall return for more details on this question in another articles.

II / Social, financial and cultural situation of Cambodians.

Cambodia now is moving on a significant transfer. For the first time, in our history, the Cambodian women play a role more and more important for social and economic point of view. The Cambodian women now are pragmatic. They have an obligation to think about the future of their children instead of spending time complaining about the past. It is exactly what Raymond Aron is saying in his thesis:

« We often confuse the historic direction with the cult of the tradition or the taste of past. Really, for the individual as for the communities, the future is the first category. The old man who does not have more than souvenirs is also foreign to the history as the child absorbed in a present without memory. To know oneself as to know the collective evolution, the decisive act is the one who transcends the reality, who produces in what is not any more a kind of reality by giving a continuation and a goal. »
Raymond Aron
In « Introduction à la philosophie de l’histoire »,
Ed. Gallimard, 1er Ed. Paris 1938. Ed. Citée 1986, page 432

The Cambodian women are often in charge of the family alone and rule the business to support it. For the first time in our history more than half million workers, most of them are women, work in factories. Let us mention that these factories use, for the moment only the muscular force. These women workers work outside of foyer. They acquire then a big autonomy. More their salaries contribute to help and to maintain their family in the village. Be noted that the women workers save more money that men. They do not smoke and spend less in gadgets. The workers salaries are about 300 to 400 millions of US. Several hundreds of millions of US dollars are on the other hand sent or brought by Cambodians living abroad for their families in Cambodia and regarding the salaries of the Cambodians working in the NGO are a little less. All of this makes a billion of US dollars directly to the pockets of the Cambodians of Cambodia. This money contributes in a considerable proportion to the economic development of Cambodia. Also let us note that many young Cambodians while graduated from a great School and great Universities of North America and Europe and the other engineers and university professors of high-level, while retired help the country under NGO or schools to form technicians high level diploma, in particular in data processing in order to supply the technical staff of the industries level higher than the current textile factories.

On the other hand, by returning home in the village regularly, the workers spread information and knowledge from the city. At the same time new perspectives for other women living in the village is then open. So, in spite of the road condition, they return to village regularly keeping permanent connection with the cities and then with the outside world as well. A big majority of them are going to do everything so that their children grow with education. The women's emancipation in Cambodia is then on the big move. The development of a country and the fight against the diseases as the AIDS for example, depend greatly on the education and the women’s emancipation. It is also necessary to note that Cambodia is originally and traditionally a matriarchal country.

To strengthen these experiences, it would be necessary to guarantee, as a priority, the stability of the land, private property, more particularly that of the land by guarantying its inalienable for a while, at least for twenty years for example with a good service of the cadastre / land registry as well. Then stabilize the family by a good administration of the family status registry office which registers strictly the births, the marriages and the deathes.

Finally to strengthen all these acquisitions, to make them propser and finally to perenise them in the future, it is better to educate the whole people and not only a bunch of intellectuals. A good system of education is thus needed:

a/. Schooling all the children, in particular the girls, up to the secondary school, with the national language which is the fundamental base of the national cohesion.

b/. Have a good program to return our children proud of their country and of their past while preparing them for the scientific domains necessary for the current world.

c/. Use gradually the national language in Universities as in all the countries of our region, in particular our two big neighbors. Of course with one or two foreign languages. It is possible now to use the Cambodian language in the Universities of Law and Medicine. We have all means to materialize it. What is missing is a political will. For other disciplines only a small effort for using our language is need.

d/. Create a real Cambodia Institute of History, Archaeology and Geography, the fundamental bases of our national cohesion.

III / Of the fundamental importance of the national language in the world.

The beginning of the Nation France starts when François 1st decides to use the French language in the administration by his prescription of Villers-Cotterêts in 1539. Now the French language is one of the fundamental bases of the unity of France. It is interesting to see the importance of the World French-speaking (la Francophonie) in the cultural policy of France. It is better to see a little farther how France can defend the Francophonie otherwise in Cambodia.

Another base of our national unity is the History, our History placed in the context of the World's history of the world, the only way which can be understandable. On the other hand, it is necessary to write our history by taking into account the economy, the techniques, and the archaeological researches. It is what had tried to make it Bernard Philippe Groslier, who is regrettably dead at 60 years in 1986. He had the project to write a History of Cambodia since the prehistory. It is likely that there are documents concerning this project in archives, regrettably very difficult of access.

« As soon as she becomes aware of herself, a nation wants to justify her present by her past. Nothing proves better her existence than her history. This way, only the historians who create nations. »
Colette Beaune: « Naissance de la Nation France» (Birth of the Nation France)
Éd. Gallimard, Paris 1985, p. 9-10.

Of course, it is important that the young Cambodians feel a vocation for the history. For it, it is imperative to begin by learning historian's profession before dashing into the history of Cambodia. Later it is necessary to know the history of the world, before naking any approach to the History of Cambodia. We shall come back later on for more reasons by analyzing some Cambodia history books written by foreigners.

Many Cambodian intellectuals are retired at 60 years old. Nowadays, they are full of life a this age. Why do not use his / her activities to read and meditate on the problems of the history and on the history of the world, as well in English as in French. Then read theCambodia History books, especially the books of the authors who rarely or never evoked in Cambodia history books written by foreigners.

Let us return to our language. We quote some examples just to show how foreigners like the culture, the literature and the French language in the point to become member of the French Academy. Let us quote at first the case of François Cheng. Here is what he wrote in his book « Le Dit de Tanyi » :

« The works of Roman Roland and Gide, Jean Christophe, the life of Beethoven, the Pastoral Symphony had created in our country the desire to hear the western classical music. If the literature and the painting were more or less accessible to us by the translation and the reproduction, the music remained to us almost unknown, beside the one gleaned here and there of American films or old discs by accident. »
« Le Dit de Tianyi » by François Cheng, of the French Academy, Ed. Albin Michel, Paris 1998. In small format, page 97. The Western knowledge by the Chinese in the 1930s.

Works of François Cheng :

· « L’Ecriture poétique chinoise », Ed. Du Seuil, Paris 1977, 1996.
· « Vide et Plein, le Langage Pictural Chinois », Ed. du Seuil, Paris 1979, 1991
· « Cinq Méditations sur la Beauté » Ed. Albin Michel, Paris 2006
· « L’Eternité n’est pas de trop », Ed. Albin Michel, Paris 2002

François Cheng thus begins to know the French literature by translations. It is necessary to notice also that Cheng is a scholar of the Chinese culture as shown the books on the calligraphy, the painting and the chinese culture. The article of Claude Lévi-strauss below summarizes this amtter :

« A culture constituted during the centuries cannot evolve any more nor even to question about it, because we do not know any more what is it. »

And a little farther:

« Because we cannot decide where we shall go if we do not know ahead where we come from . »

And farther:

« There are here lessons that we can take advantage from them. The organization that the Unesco called the participants to the World Conference on the Cultural policies is also a creation: creation of the conditions the most favorable to the creation itself. The danger would be to believe is only a question of eliminating barriers, of releasing a spontaneity which would lavish inexhaustibly its wealth since it would not be any more hindered: as like, in order to create, first one should not learn ahead; as if, finally, the problem of the contemporary societies was not for some to look for, for the others to protect an implanting-root of traditions and disciplines which, negative and despicable towards the only systematic, expressing the fact that we never create that from something that it is necessary to know deeply and of which we have to be free first, it would be then able to oppose to it and exceed it.»

Another example comes from the Chinese Dai Sijie who wrote the novel that the title shows that she already read Balzac in a Chinese translation:

« Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise » written by Dai Sijie, Ed. Gallimard Paris 2000. This novel is later on adapted to the cinema. Later on she wrote : « Le Complexe de Di », Ed. Gallimard, Paris 2003.

Let us recall that before 1920, at least the following books were already translated into chinese :

· Thomas Huxley : « Evolution and Ethics » (translated in 1898)
· Adam Smith : « The Wealth of Nation » (translated in 1901)
· John Stuart Mill : « A System of Logic » (translated in 1902)
« On Liberty » (translated in 1903)
· Herbert Spencer : « Principles of Sociology »
· Montesquieu : « De l’Esprit des Lois » (translated in 1906)
· E. Jenks : « History of Politics »
· W. S. Jevons : « Logics »

In « Histoire du Parti Communiste Chinois, 1, des origines à la République Soviétique Chinoise », by J. Guillermaz, Ed. Petite Bibliothèque Payot, Paris 1975, page 31.

In « Mao » written by Philip Short, Ed. Owl Books, on 1999, Mao Tse Toung (in December 26th, 1893 to 9 sept. 1976) read and discussed with his professors and classmates the subjects of these books, Marxist books and Marxist papers by Chinese authors.

About the mathematics, the first translations dated since the XVIth century:

In « History of Chinese Mathematic » by Kiyosi Yabuuti, translated into Japanese by Kaoru Baba and Catherine Jami, Ed. Belin-Pour la Science, Paris 2000, pages 123 – 124 :

« In 1498 the Portuguese navigator Vasco de Gamma doubled the Cape of Good Hope and reaches Calicut in India, six years after the discovery of America by Christophe Colomb: it was the eleventh year under the reign of emperor Hongzhi of the Ming. At the beginning of the XVIth century the Portuguese crossed South China Sea starting from Goa, and based in Macao for the business with China and Japan. It was the first Europeans arrival to China (by the sea, before, there were maybe one or several messengers of Antonin le Pieux in the IIth century which money was found in its effigy at the Fou Nan port in Oc Eo. They used Arabic boutres to go to India, then Chinese junks whith stopover at Oc Eo).

« Among many missionaries taken up aboard the Portuguese vessels, the Jesuits had scholars' monks reputation. The Jesuit François Xavier arrived to Japan in 1549; he returned from there to Goa, then sailed towards China to evangelize it. However he was not able to get in, the country being closed. After him, Matteo Ricci (in chinese Li Madou) was the first one, in 1582, to be able to get into China where he succeeded to spread mission. He brought in his luggage objects of the European culture, where he had also introduced the scientific knowledge, all of this in order to gain the respect for the Chinese.

« In his young age this Italian Jesuit had studied at the famous Roman School, where Clavius, nicknamed the « Euclide of XVIth century », taught the astronomy and the mathematics - two subjects which were going to turn out very useful in his mission. Thanks to the eclipse of the moon observation, Ricci succeeded in calculating the longitude of China; he then published an entitled map of the world called complete map of all the countries of the earth, and taught the theory of the Earth sphericity. His reputation was then gained with the Chinese scholars. With their assistant he translated into Chinese some works of Clavius, known in China under the name of Mister Ding (As Clavius in Latin, Ding means "nail" in Chinese).

« From 1601, Ricci is authorized to settle down in Peking and allowed to create a mission there; Chinese scholars with the opening mind came then to associate with him. By means of high-ranking servant Xu Guangqi, he translated the first six books of the geometry elements, then were published in 1607. Jihe, who appears in the Chinese title (Jihe yuanben), is the phonetic transcription of geo; the chinese term (resumed later in Japanese) indicating the geometry comes moreover from this work.

« The translations were made from Latin version with Clavius comments of Euclide's Elements. Although this volume included fifteen books, only six first ones were then translated at the end of the Quing by Alexander Wylie and Li Shanlan. As seen, the type of Euclidian geometry was totally absent in the chinese mathematical tradition; therefore is it for this reason that Xu Guangqi pay a particular interest for him. »

But Japan is the first Asian country which understands the importance of the knowledge and the western culture and begin, in 1868, to translate systematically all the papers and the important documents of the western civilization. It is only after its defeat in front of the Japanese armies equipped and entailed with the Westerner in 1895 and more particularly after the destruction of the Russian fleet in Tsushima battle, in 1905, that China understood the importance of the western knowledge acquisition.

However it is necessary to note that in Europe, czar Pierre 1st the Great (1672 - 1725) is the first Russian who understand that Russia needs to acquire the Western Europe knowledge, by translations, allowing Russia to confront triumphantly against his neighbor's power such as Sweden at the North, Poland on the West and Turkey in the South. It is him who created the port of Saint-Petersburg and the Russian fleet. His work is pursued by his successors particularly by Catherine II the Great (1729 - 1796). The great names of the music and the Russian literature date of this time. Let us call remind the memorable defeat of the Napoleon's Great Army during the withdrawal from Russia, the name of Berezina remains memorized by the French people. This Napoleonic defeat is the subject of Leon Tolstoï's novel (1828-1910) « War and Peace » often adapted to the cinema. After Waterloo, the Russian armies march in Paris. Pierre 1st the Great and his successors allowed numerous and very important western objects art exposed now in the Russian museums, in particular at Saint-Petersburg. Nowadays Russia, Japan and China are among most major powers of the world.

IV / The situation of the national langue in Cambodia.

Now the national language is the administrative language. It is a very important step. But still our universities use the foreign languages as the vehicle languages. Why ? Because these universities are managed by foreign powers. And naturally they privilege the foreign languages. The foreigners finance the publications of dictionaries Cambodian-English and Cambodian-French. Their policy is to favor the translations of Cambodian texts and documents into English or into French. Now Cambodians need dictionary of the Cambodian language as that of Chuon Nath published in the 1960s and of good dictionaries English - Cambodian and French - Cambodian in order to facilitate the translations of the English and French books and documents into Cambodian. A dictionary of the Cambodian language has just been published in Cambodia base on Chuon Nath dictionary and by adding the new words using since the 1960s.

Regarding the translations, it is necessary to underline the numerous translations made before 1975 such as,

· Reatrei nimitt nai vassantarodov (A Midsummer Night's Dream of Shakespeare), 1968 by Hang Thun Hak with the collaboration of Kong Orn.
· Krou pèt bet mukh (The Doctor in Spite of Himself of Molière, translated by Peouv You Leng),
· Cinna of Pierre Corneille, translated by Vong Phoeung, P. Penh, Librairie Koh Kong, 1967.
· La Petite Fadette (vol. 1) (vol. 2) of George Sand, translated by Ko Youk Ho, Librairie, Khun Thai Sang, Kraceh, 1968.
· Tartuffe (The Hypocrite) of Molière, translated by Chan Mom Phavy under the title of Kamnanh kraov damra, P. Penh, Seng Nguon Huot, 1965,
· Ben Hur, translated by Mitt Sakhon, P. Penh, Librairie Banlii Bejr, 1967.
· Notre Dame of Paris, translated by Vong Phoeung, P. Penh, ed. Rasmei, 1967.
· Saramani of Roland Meyer translated by Chan Bophal, P. Penh, 1971, 2 vol.
· Animal Farm of George Orwell, translated by Pan Sothi under the title of Kal Nouss Pakdekvoat Muoy, P. Penh, 1972.
· « Le Cid » - Cinna - de Pierre Corneille with the collaboration of Im Ponn (1969).
· « Écrivains et expressions littéraires du Cambodge au XXè siècle » by Khing Hoc Dy, volume 2, Ed. L’Harmattan, Paris 1993. This book is published in Cambodia into Cambodian version.
· Snêha Muoy translated from Love Story of Erich Segal by Yi Chheang Eng, published by Nokor Thom, Phnom Penh June 1973 with the preface of Sgnuon Kathorn (Nokor Thom).
· Min Choss Samrong Ning Chivit from “L’Étranger” of Albert Camus, translated by Yi Chheang Eng, published by Nokor Thom, Phnom Penh.

On the other hand the Edition Apsara of Montreal published

· « Antigone » tragedy of Sophocle, translated by Putry Toth, Montréal 1995.
· « Ulysse » Epic of Homere, translated by Putry Toth, Montréal 1997
· « Krong Phnom Penh » A political history of Phnom Penh City, by Kèo Bounthoeun, Montréal 1995.

These books are now republished in Phnom Penh.

Since then, the translations of books and BD: « The Little Prince » of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, «Le Horla» of Guy de Maupassant and «Harry Potter» of Kathleen Rowling.

Why this extinction of the translations? In Cambodia, there is a wild war between the languages: French, English and Chinese including the languages of our neighbors.

Does this contempt of our language explains largely our difficulty to unite, to speak about the same language in all sectors of society of our country? Nevertheless our language is an indispensable base of our national cohesion.

Cambodian students arrive in France for training say that it is not easy to study in French. A lot of time is spent to learn French. It is not the case for the Vietnamese. Is it one of the reasons that make the French-Vietnamese Hospital of Prey Nokor better than the French-Cambodian Hospital, under the name of the illustrious scholar Calmette? Moreover are Cambodian professors needed to explain to the students the French medicine, aren’t they? Nevertheless in order to give better medical treatment to Cambodians the Cambodian language is necessary, isn’t it? Otherwise, the translators are then necessary. It is the same case regarding the Law.

Nevertheless Father François Ponchaud in his «Report of mission in Cambodia from 16 till 27 September 1990 » has concluded as follow :

« It is advisable for the Church to show itself watchful not to repeat certain errors of the past, while at the end of the XIXth and the beginning of the XXth century and in another context, the Church, being inspired by colonial plans, favored the Vietnamese settling in Cambodia. It was worth of being considered by the Cambodians as doubling foreigner, and by her previous history, and by her communities. The evangelisation of the Khmers was of this fact compromised during almost century. »

Ponchaud translated and published for the first time the Bible and other Christian books into Cambodian. Nevertheless according to François Cheng and Dai Sijie experiences, while reading books of the French authors translated into Chinese, both liked the literature and the French culture.

Does the translation into Cambodian goes on until nowadays ? From English, French as well as from Chinese ? For example "The Miserable" of Victor Hugo, "Carmen" of P. Mérimée, « The Lady in Camellias » of A. Dumas, Balzac etc.?

But so that the translation is easily accessible to the middle class Cambodian readers, the translation works done by Cambodians is wished. Because anyway, a translation it is always, in best an adaptation and in the worst a treason. Because it is a question of transposing one culture on the other one.

With all our great thanks for the Sipar's efforts to school the Cambodian children, in particular the most deprived and especially the Cambodian girls.

Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec

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Annexe :

Below is Claude Lévi-Strauss's article on the importance of the relations between the cultures and to showing the complementarity between “allegiance to oneself”, and the necessity of “the opening to the others”, nevertheless often forced. On the other hand, an “opening to the others”, without the will to stay “faithful to oneself”, is not it a way of living as amnesic ? For people, to stay “faithful to oneself” is first of all to preserve the spoken and written language, indispensable base to develop her culture, for its evolution by exchanges with “the other cultures and for its perpetuity”.

To read more please go on:

Claude Lévi-Strauss : Between Cultures

News from Cambodia


Below is Claude Lévi-Strauss's article on the importance of the relations between the cultures and to showing the complementarity between “allegiance to oneself”, and the necessity of “the opening to the others”, nevertheless often forced. On the other hand, an “opening to the others”, without the will to stay “faithful to oneself”, is not it a way of living as amnesic ? For people, to stay “faithful to oneself” is first of all to preserve the spoken and written language, indispensable base to develop its culture, for its evolution by exchanges with " the other cultures and for its perpetuity ".

Conservation, constraint and culture
(By Claude Lévi-Strauss)

It is good to raise problems, but we shall be careful not to believe that, by the way we raise them, they lead inevitably to a solution. Those formulated by the preparatory documents at the World Conference on the cultural policies are real and grave. We can, however, wonder if their statement does not cover contradictions seems on two plans. On one hand, « the allegiance to oneself » and « the opening to the others » are they really compatible, or is it necessary to recognize to it paradoxical terms? On the other hand, is there no contradiction to imagine that the originality and the creative power, which, by definition, have an internal source, can be aroused or stimulated by the outside ?

Let us consider both problems separately, before considering that both can be joined. On the first one, it is necessary first of all to call back some following points:

1). No any society nor culture can live in isolation any longer without ossifying or languishing, and in both cases decaying. The comparison between country of Europe and that of America in the XIVth century shows it well: on one side, a complex and enriched civilization by different contributions - rediscovered by the classical antiquity, the influences come from the Islam and from Far East following the crusades, tartar invasions, following the trade expeditions and the diplomatic missions; the other one, societies also produced by a long history, but since dozens millenniums had lived in closed vase on the scale of a continent. From where, in spite of a cultural development comparable to that of Europe and even in some respects superior, fragile blooms then fast failed, deficiencies and deformities, a social and mental organization without flexibility and less diversified, or we can see the causes of the collapse of the pre-Columbian civilizations in front of a few conquerors.

2). Nevertheless, the contacts and the exchanges between peoples, upon which we always have to call in order to take the blooming of the cultures, occurred in the past in occasional ways, and on a slow rhythm both by internal resistances and the mediocrity of the communications as well. In XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, when a cosmopolitan culture blooms in Europe, it took time so that the great thinkers or the artists of the various countries can meet; even the letters as they addressed took weeks or months before reaching their addressee. Was not this slowness of the communications a positive factor, in the same way as the communication itself? A balance that came true so spontaneously between both tendencies of which the Unesco documents said it is the necessity: allegiance to oneself, and the opening to the others.

3) It is this balance which breaks today the speed of transportations and communications; these became even practically immediate. As a result every culture is submerged by the other culture productions: translations in books, albums, temporary exhibitions with continuous jet, which come to irritate and dull the taste, minimize the effort, blur the knowledge. We could almost say that, for every society or every culture, the contact from the others is so massive and so accelerated that nobody would know how to create for own account or renew with the same rhythm. Furthermore, the way of controlling the means of transportation and the communication unevenly distributed between the cultures, puts someone, deliberately or not, in favorable position to invade and dominate the others.

Maybe this "hypercommunication" is a pathological way appropriate for the contemporary societies; but it is also a fact which it would be vain to be able to oppose it. But be conscious of the results at least : it transforms more and more the individuals to be consumers rather than to be producers of culture; and paradoxically, this culture, which they consume passively, becomes poor and poor and original less, because the foreign cultures arrive and deprived of their authentic coolness, already contaminated and crossed because they received from the others and, mostly, from ours. Instead of between the cultures exist distinctive distances as in past, differences of potential among which everyone extracted the necessary energy for self development, the cultures tend to become slack, because between ones and anothers it already happends and continues any kinds of hybridizations.

Claiming to remedy out of that way, by getting cultures that they agree to respect and even taste the originality of each, would only be remaining on the same hillside. It would be underestimate that, according to Nietzsche's formula, « a strong will for its own yes and its own no » stimulate any creative effort: because the faith in appropriate values implies inevitably a certain deafness towards other values, until even refuse them. Every culture can remain only of itself the force to persevere in her being and to be renewed according to hers appropriate genius, at the risk of remaining closed from the others. Nietzsche continued: because if the capacity to appreciate another culture is a conquest, this conquest will always dangerous.

We could quote about contemporary societies where the young generations have no more means to make a simple idea in their authenticity of it were the big works, let us say theatrical or lyric, of their past. Of claimed "creators", in fact the productions of a rudimentary syncretism do not see any more in these works than a raw material that they assume the right to model in their whim. A culture constituted during the centuries cannot evolve any more nor even to question it, because we do not know any more what it is.

Maybe the best choice - at least, the least bad - is it the one made by the contemporary Japan of a culture for two speeds or, for another way, for two sectors: first, where it authorizes, it encourages even the interbreeding and the adventure, and where the novelists, the artists and the musicians who write, paint, sculpture or compose with the Westerner style have the free field; second, wildly reserved for preserving of the traditional culture. So they are protected - but for how long? - the conditions of a sincere creation: because we cannot decide where we shall go if we do not know, first, where do we come from.

We so fall into another problem. This one is also a paradoxical aspect: any creation supposes a will of conservation. He can exist of authentic creation only in a confrontation in constraints where the creator tries hard to turn and to surmount. Subjected to the fastidious rules of the former corporations - we know it, it made of bans more than prescriptions - the learning has never sterilized the invention's faculties. As still, sometimes, today in the Japanese system of the iemoto, the painters, the sculptors and the former artisans, formed in the hard workshop's discipline, bring the sensational proof of professions, passed on in the course of the generations by authority, did not exclude, but supported the creative genius.

A program of « promoting the individual's creativity » and to « favor their capacity to discover » does not have much of hope for theoretical constructions. It frames any plan in traditions and particular constraints in every culture and a long usage inherited from the past, is the best the appropriate to stimulate the creativity and to maintain it. Creating is always fighting against resistances: material, intellectual, moral, either social. Creating supposes first of all that we completely likened to a knowledge, summarizing the experience, accumulating in the course of the generations, in connections with a certain type of subject or object; then, that these resistances remains, otherwise claimed creation would be nothing: it would be enable to have a form, because it results from a deal between the project which remains vague of the creator and the obstacles it meets. These obstacles are those who oppose the artisan and the artist : materials, tools, technique; to the writer, the vocabulary, the grammar, the syntax; and to them all, the opinion and the customs. Claiming to free the creator of the inherent constraints to any reality - and the society is one - would not have more direction than to release the sculptor of the wood or stone constraints; or the writer of the language rules on which depends that he can simply make his readers understood.

It would also be necessary to clarify the meaning of the word "creativity". Is the creator the one who, in a absolute way, innovates, or the one who tries to enjoy by working for his own account, even if what he makes, the others made it before or make it as well as him? The big innovators are, of course, indispensable to the life and to the society's evolution. But, besides their gifts it could not depend only on the education that they received nor, more generally, from economic, social and moral conditions on which the reformer can act. We have to wonder how it would be a society which would like to make everyone of its members an innovator in power. Such a society could not progress nor even reproduce. Liking the novelty, not for her success which is always rare, but for the novelty itself, it would make cheap of her experiences, annoys that it would be to replacing relentlessly the other thing instead.

On the other hand, if we expect more modestly from everyone that he finds an intimate satisfaction in works, not absolutely original, but where he can invest his knowledge, his address, his personality. If we try to reintroduce in the industrial society, and to protect those which are not, a working quality excluding the routine and allowing all to feel creative. Then we shall recognize more easily that the society as those whom study the ethnologists, who does not have enough taste for the novelty, and all the ideal of which is to remain such as they imagine to have been created at the beginning of times, know nevertheless how to maintain their member a creative spirit. Each or almost is, indeed, able of producing by himself the craft objects of which he has, to hold his part in the songs and the dances, and even - it is with an uneven talent - to sculpture and to paint the religious or ceremonial objects in which we learnt to recognize of admirable oeuvres of art.

There are lessons we can take advantage from them. The organization that Unesco called the participants to the World Conference on the cultural policies is also a creation: creation of the conditions the most favorable to the creation itself. The danger would be to believe is only a question of eliminating barriers, of releasing a spontaneity which would lavish inexhaustibly its wealth since it would not be any more hindered: as if, in order to create, first you should not learn; as if, finally, the problem of the contemporary societies was not for some to look for, for the others to protect an implanting-root of traditions and disciplines which, negative and despicable towards the only systematic, expressing the fact that we never create that from something that it is necessary to know deeply and of which we have to be free first, it would be then able to oppose to it and exceed it.

In "Culture pour tous et pour tous les temps", Éditions Unesco, Paris 1984, pages 95 to 104.

Le Prince Yutévong

Nouvelles du Cambodge N° 0802-F

Une Biographie du Prince Yutévong et quelques aspects de notre histoire

Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
Le 7 janvier 2008

Nous publions ci-dessous une biographie du prince Sisowath (Ang Eng) Yutévong. Tout d’abord il faut noter que le prince (et non princesse) Chakaravuth, frère aîné du prince Yutévong était le premier Cambodgien à entrer à l’Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chassées, mais il était décédé peu après de tuberculose. Nous souhaitons qu’un Cambodgien de Paris aille vérifier cette information à l’Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées et connaître la date exacte de son entrée dans cette Ecole.

Au sujet des noms : avant le pouvoir colonial, il n’y avait pas d’état civil. Les Cambodgiens n’avaient qu’un seul nom. Ainsi il est impossible de remonter la généalogie familiale avant l’établissement de l’état civil. François Ponchaud semble ignorer cette impossibilité dans son dernier livre intitulé « Une brève histoire du Cambodge » en 86 pages. Donc Yutévong est descendant de Ang Eng comme Ang Duong, Norodom et Sisowath. S’il y avait un état civil, tous devraient porter le nom d’Ang Eng. Donc choisir le nom de Norodom ou de Sisowath est un choix imposé par le pouvoir colonial. En ce qui concerne le mariage entre frère et sœur des grands-parents de Yutévong, il faut connaître l’histoire pénible et peu glorieuse de Ang Em durant la première occupation vietnamienne, relatée plus loin. C’est pourquoi les enfants de Ang Em, préfèrent ne pas trop parler de leur père. Ce mariage entre frère et sœur était-il aussi motivé par une certaine hostilité envers leur père Ang Em ?

D’autre il y a l’histoire d’Œdipe qui a épousé sa mère par ignorance et ce qui en suit. Cette histoire est portée au théâtre par Sophocle dans Antigone et Œdipe à Colonne, cette dernière pièce écrite à 90 ans, peu avant sa mort, une sorte de testament. Si Sophocle écrit ces pièces c’est que le problème de telles relations amoureuses, est courant en Grèce à cette époque. Il faut noter aussi que le mot inceste n’a été utilisé pour la première fois que depuis 1130 (dictionnaire le Petit Robert). Il faut noter qu’en Egypte des Pharaons, épouser sa fille, c’est normal. Le plus grand des Pharaons, Ramsès II, XVè siècle av. J. C., durant son long règne, a épousé un certain nombre de ses filles. De nos jours, ces relations incestueuses ne sont-elles pas courantes, mais non connues ? Pourquoi une loi pour interdire l’utilisation des testes ADN pour connaître la filiation ? Pourquoi accentuer nos faiblesses selon des critères qui ne sont pas les nôtres ? Il faut noter aussi que, pour les civilisations grecque et romaine, l’homosexualité est normale. Socrate et Platon par exemple sont des hétérosexuels. Le grand empereur Romain : Hadrien était homosexuel. Maintenant l’Occident est en train de revenir à tolérer cette pratique.

Il faut savoir que les concepts d’inceste et d’homosexualité ont été inventés par l’église chrétienne. Au moyen âge l’inceste va jusqu’aux cousins issus de germain et même plus loin.

Au sujet des ascendants de Yutévong. Ang Eng a deux enfants mâles Ang Em et Ang Duong. A cette époque il n’y avait pas d’Etat Civil qui ne sera établi que par le pouvoir colonial. Il faut aussi considérer le contexte historique qu’a dû subir la famille royale cambodgienne. La division entre Norodom et Sisowath qui sont des frères et qui devraient porter le même nom de famille, est la conséquence de la politique coloniale consistant à diviser pour reignier.

Nous citons ci-dessous un extrait d’Histoire du Cambodge par Adhémard Leclère pages 455 et 456, ce livre est traduit en cambodgien et publié au Cambodge, pour connaître certains aspects de l’histoire des arrière-grands-parents de Yutévong, celle de la famille du Prince Ang Em :

« Le général annamite ong Tuong Kun comprit que tout ce qu'il y avait encore d'énergie latente au Cambodge, d'éléments capables de révolte contre la domination des Yuons reposait en cette famille royale. Il résolut de la faire disparaître en jetant la division entre les deux princes frères, jusqu'alors toujours d'accord, puis en profitant des évènements qui ne manqueraient pas de naître de cette division, pour les détruire s'ils ne se détruisaient pas eux-mêmes.
Il fit porter à l'obaréach Ang-Êm par un Annamite déguisé en Cambodgien, Pakhva, une lettre disant qu'il n'était venu au Cambodge que pour pacifier le royaume, qu'il n'avait poussé à l'élection de la princesse Ang-Mey que parce qu'elle ne pouvait être qu'un "roi" provisoire, seulement en attendant qu'un prince cambodgien fût en état de régner, enfin qu'il était tout disposé à l'aider à monter sur le trône, mais qu'il avait un compétiteur dans son frère Ang-Duong qui déjà conspirait.
L'obaréach crut à ce retour de la fortune, mais comme on lui signalait un rival en son frère cadet que le peuple cambodgien lui préférait, il l'accusa à son tour, par lettre adressée au roi de Bângkok, de conspirer contre les intérêts siamois au Cambodge. Le roi de Siam envoya chercher le prince Ang-Duong par deux dignitaires qui le ramenèrent à Bângkok et défense lui fut faite de retourner à Mongkol-borey.

Débarrassé de son frère, l'obaréach se rendit à Pôthisath avec sa famille, les enfants de Ang-Duong, qu'il gardait comme otages et plusieurs mandarins cambodgiens arrêtés à Battâmbâng et trouvés trop énergiques pour pouvoir être laissés derrière lui. Le général annamite qui commandait la place fit saisir tout ce monde dès son arrivée et l'envoya à Phnôm-Pénh. L'obaréach Amg-Êm ne comprit pas ce qui venait de se passer et, bien reçu lui-même par l'officier annamite qui commandait à Pôthisath, il s'achemina sous bonne escorte, qui paraissait d'honneur, vers Phnôm-Pénh, il y fut d'abord très bien reçu par le général annamite ong Tuong Kun et la population qui voyait la délivrance en lui, l'acclama mais, la nuit venue, le général mécontent de la manière dont le peuple avait reçu le prince le fit enfermer dans une cage de fer et, le matin, le dirigea sur Huê (1840).
Quant aux mandarins de Battâmbâng, plusieurs furent mis à mort sans aucune forme de procès, et les autres furent dirigés sur Huê où on les interna. »

Ainsi parmi les prisonniers politiques des Annamites, il y avait la fille aînée de la première femme d’Ang Doung, la Princesse Mom et les deux enfants de Ang Em : Prince Bhumarin, et sa sœur Princesse Thnamvong.

Finalement devant la lutte acharnée du peuple cambodgien, la cour de Huê est obligée de retirer ses troupes du Cambodge et :

« Le traité fut ratifié quelques semaines après par les gouvernements de Siam et d'Annam et l'échange des prisonniers eut lieu en juin 1846. Le glaive sacré, tombé aux mains des Annamites, fut rapporté à Phnôm-Pénh et remis au prince Ang-Duong qui le fit déposer à Oudong dans un pavillon spécial. » Leclère, page 262.

Lê Than Khoi reconnaît la défaite des armées de la cour de Huê en ces termes :

« Le Cambodge ne resta pas en paix. Des troubles civils y ramenèrent Siamois et Vietnamiens appelés par l’un ou l’autre des princes khmers qui s’affrontaient. Pour prix de leur « aide », les Siamois occupèrent en 1814 des provinces de Tonlé Repou, Stung Treng et Mlu Prey, tandis que Minh-mang, en 1834, chercha même à annexer le pays. Il en fit la province de Trân-tây thang, divisé, divisé en 32 phu et 2 huyên. La politique d’assimilation commença aussitôt : nomination des fonctionnaires civils et militaires, ouverture d’écoles vietnamiennes, contrôle du commerce, cadastre des terres, levée d’impôts sur les inscrits, les rizières, les barques et les produits locaux. Mais les abus auxquels se livrèrent les mandarins (vietnamiens) dressèrent le Cambodge contre l’envahisseur. Le frère d’Ang Chan, Ang Duong (Ong Dôn) prit la tête de la résistance avec l’aide du Siam, et mena une dure guérilla. Après la mort de Minh-mang, Thiêu-tri, renonçant au Trân-tây thang, retira ses troupes (1841). Cette brève d’annexion du Cambodge, coûteuse en hommes et en matériel, se soldait ainsi par un échec. Mais la décision de Thiêu-tri était sage. »

Dans « Histoire du Vietnam, des origines à 1858 » par Lê Thanh Khôi, Ed. Sudestasie, Paris 1992, page 363.

Durant sa captivité, la Princesse Mom tombe amoureuse de Sao, un intellectuel résistant et emprisonné, comme elle, par les Annamites. Ils se marient après leur libération. Sao deviendra Kralahom (Ministre de la Marine). De ce mariage est née une fille : Samphat ou Sambath qui se mariera avec le Prince Norodom Hassakan, parents de la Princesse Norodom Kanvimann mariée au Roi Sisowath Monivong dont une des fille sera la Princesse Sisowath Kossamak qui se mariera avec le Prince Norodom Suramarith dont le fils est le Roi Père Norodom Sihanouk.

Dans son livre « Souvenir doux et amers », ed. Hachette, Paris 1981, page 27, dit que son arrière-grand-mère Madame Pat est d’origine bourgeoise sans indiquer les noms de ses parents.

Il faut aussi noter qu’il y a des intrigues au sein de toutes les familles royales du monde. De nos jours n’y a-t-il pas des intrigues au sein de la plus respectable des familles royales, celle de la Grande Bretagne. En effet le Prince Charles n’est-il pas responsable, au moins moralement de la mort de la Princesse Diana ? Pourquoi n’a-t-il pas imité le geste de son grand-oncle Edouard VIII, maintenant Duc de Windsor, qui a abdiqué pour épouser la femme qu’il aime ? On ne fait pas des enfants à une femme tout en couchant avec sa maîtresse. Heureusement il n’y a aucune puissance étrangère pour exacerber les intrigues au sein de la famille royale anglaise.

Au Cambodge ces intrigues sont naturellement utilisées et exacerbées par le pouvoir colonial. Diviser pour régner. Il faut se rappeler de l'Affaire Norodom Duong Chakr (1861/1862–1897) déporté en Algérie et Norodom Aruna Yukanthor (1860–1934) exilé en Thailande. Norodom a cru, par l’intermédiaire de son fils Aruna Yukanthor, pouvoir utiliser la pesse française en France pour pouvoir desserrer l’emprise coloniale qui voulait vietnamiser le Cambodge. Nous reviendrons sur cette question lors de l’évocation de l’Insurrection Nationale de 1885–1886, à la suite de la signature imposée du traité de 1884.

« « Ménager les susceptibilités nationales », l’idée est nouvelle et l’insurrection a mis en échec non seulement les réformes, momentanément, mais aussi durablement, les volontés d’annexion qui se profilaient derrière celles-là. Le Cambodge y a sauvé son existence face à la Cochinchine française. »

Mais la vietnamisation du Cambodge n’en est pas moins arrêtée, mais moins ouvertement, comme cela se fait en Cochinchine. Nous reviendrons sur la vietnamisation de la Cochinchine plus tard.

Les intrigues du pouvoir colonial se poursuivront plus tard au sein du Parti Démocrate. D’autre part après la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, la situation sociale, économique et culturelle du peuple cambodgien s’y prête aussi. Pour avoir une idée de cette situation, il faudrait lire : « La Communauté Vietnamienne du Cambodge à l’Epoque du Protectorat Français (1863–1953) », par Khy Phanra, thèse à l’Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III, 1974, après les événements de 1970. Il faut noter que cette thèse a été soutenue à Paris avec un jury français. Le contenu est donc un maximum acceptable par les professeurs français. Il est regrettable que l’auteur refuse toujours de l’imprimer. Nous souhaitons qu’il accepte de la faire traduire et imprimer en cambodgien, pour que notre histoire ne soit pas toujours écrite par des étrangers. Nous reviendrons plus en détail sur cette question, quand nous donnerons notre opinion sur certains livres d’Histoire du Cambodge, écrits par des étrangers.

Pendant son séjour en France, le prince Yutévong était membre du Parti Socialiste Français et se liait d’amitié avec Léopold Sédar Senghor, le premier Sénégalais sorti de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, agrégé de grammaire, membre de l’Académie française et premier Président du Sénégal indépendant. Avec ce dernier, le Prince Yutévong a écrit un livre (il est souhaitable de retrouver ce livre).

Le prince Yutévong était atteint de la tuberculose osseuse. Il se savait donc condamner. Avant de retourner au Cambodge, il a consulté son médecin qui lui disait que dans le climat du Cambodge, il pourrait vivre encore quatre ou cinq ans.

Durant son travail politique au Cambodge, le représentant français de l’époque (De Raymond) a fait de nombreux rapports au gouvernement français sur son hostilité aux activités politiques du Prince. Il a proposé au Prince de retourner se faire soigner en France. Il a proposé des avantages financiers etc. Devant le refus du prince, dans son dernier rapport, un peu avant la mort de Yutévong, le représentant français de conclure « de toute façon il faut que le prince abandonne ses activités politiques ! » Il est souhaitable qu’un de nos compatriotes bien placés aille consulter les archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères ou du ministère des Colonies français pour retrouver ces rapports pour les faire connaître à nos compatriotes et aussi pour notre histoire. Il faut noter qu’à cette époque, l’armée, la police, l’administration et les hôpitaux étaient entre les mains du pouvoir colonial. L’armée française ne s’était totalement retirée du Cambodge qu’après la signature des Accords de Genève le 20 juillet 1954. Mais toute l’administration coloniale reste en place et l’ancienne puissance coloniale avait le privilège d’instruire et d’organiser l’armée cambodgienne ; l’enseignement universitaire était aussi confié à la France ; un lycée français : le Lycée Descartes où la langue cambodgienne est considérée comme une langue étrangère, était fréquenté par les enfants des hauts dignitaires du royaume. Ce qui fait qu’une grande partie des intellectuels de haut niveau, est pratiquement coupée du peuple ; la langue cambodgienne n’a pas la place qu’elle devait avoir ; des intellectuels de haut niveau en langue nationale ne trouvent pas du travail. Pour comprendre notre histoire après Genève, il faut d’une part étudier à fond la situation sociale, économique, culturelle et linguistique et d’autre part connaître l’évolution des intérêts géostratégiques des grandes puissances et de leurs rapports de forces.

Revenons à la situation au Cambodge. En 1947, la France espérait vaincre la guérilla communiste au Vietnam, la Chine était une puissance proche des Américains.

Notons que durant cette époque, d’autres intellectuels étaient aussi menacés, comme Son Voeunsai par exemple, premier Cambodgien sorti de l’Ecole Centrale et fils du docteur Son, premier Cambodgien Docteur en médecine de France.

Il faut souligner que Yutévong avait choisi comme Secrétaire particulier un des grands intellectuels en langue cambodgienne Nou Hach (1916–1975 ?), auteur du roman classique : « Phkar Srapaune ». D’autres auteurs de renom, participaient aussi à la lutte du Parti Démocrate comme Rim Kin (1911–1959), par exemple. (Dans « Ecrivains et Expressions littéraire du Cambodge au XXè siècle, Contribution à l’histoire de la littérature khmère » par Khing Hoc Dy, volume 2, Ed. L’harmattan, Paris 1993. Ce livre existe maintenant en langue cambodgienne, publié à Phnom Penh.)

L’histoire du Cambodge de cette période
placée dans le contexte de l’histoire mondiale

Pour comprendre notre histoire, il faut la placer dans le contexte de l’histoire du monde. Les Anglais sont les premiers à comprendre que l’histoire du monde a changé après la fin de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale. L’Inde devient indépendante le 14 août 1947. Mais le vrai changement à l’échelle planétaire est ce qui se passe en Chine, la plus vielle civilisation encore debout avec la population la plus, et de loin, nombreuse du monde. Au début de 1949, les armées de Mao s’approchent irrésistiblement des frontières du Tonkin.

Le pouvoir colonial joue ses dernières cartes :

§ 8 mars 1949 : la France reconnaît l’indépendance du Vietnam.
§ 25 mai 1979 : le Parlement français cède la Cochinchine au Vietnam.
§ 3 juin 1949 : La Cochinchine est rattachée officiellement au Vietnam, pour encourager les Vietnamiens à se battre contre la guérilla communiste.
§ 23 août 1949 : les Pays-Bas octroient l’indépendance aux Etats-Unis d’Indonésie.
§ 8 novembre 1949 : La France accorde une indépendance limitée au Cambodge.
§ 23 novembre 1949 : Arrivée à Saigon d’une mission militaire américaine.
§ 15 décembre 1949 les armées de Mao arrivent aux frontières du Tonkin, rendant la guérilla communiste invincible.
§ 30 décembre 1949 : La France transmet, en principe, ses pouvoirs au Vietnam dont Bao Dai est le chef d’Etat.

Ce qui a motivé cette accélération des événements c’est la victoire totale annoncée de Mao et sa Proclamation de la République Populaire de Chine le 1er octobre 1949, contre la volonté de Staline. Il faut se souvenir que l’ambassadeur soviétique suivait les armées du Chang Kai-Chek, alors que l’ambassadeur américain restait à Nankin et était reçu par Zhou Enlai à titre privé. Il faut connaître les raisons du comportement de Staline.

Pour couper toute possibilité à la Chine d’avoir des relations avec les Etats-Unis, Staline pousse la Corée du Nord à envahir la Corée du Sud. Les Etats-Unis sont obligés d’intervenir. La flotte des Etats-Unis empêche toute relation extérieure de la Chine sur sa façade Est, à l’exception de Hong Kong. (« Mao, a life » de Philip Short, Ed. A John Macrae Book, 2001). 19 octobre 1950 les troupes américaines arrivent aux frontières chinoises. Le 26 novembre 1950 les troupes chinoises détruisent une division américaine, arrivent jusqu’au Sud du 38è parallèle le 26 décembre 1950 et reprennent Séoul le 21 janvier 1951. Puis le front finit par se stabiliser aux environs du 38è parallèle. Le cesser le feu proclamé le 27 novembre 1952. 27 juillet 1953 signature de l’Armistice à Pan Mun Jom entre les Etats-Unis et la Corée du Nord. Cette première confrontation directe entre les armées chinoises et américaines se solde donc par un match nul. Cette confrontation directe entre ces deux armées est la seule jusqu’à présent. Par la suite les Etats-Unis feront tout pour éviter une seconde confrontation.

Le 18 janvier 1950 la Chine reconnaît la République Démocratique du Vietnam. Le 31 janvier 1950 l’URSS fait de même. A partir de cette date, le corps expéditionnaire français ne peut plus vaincre, il ne peut donc que perdre.

En effet la Chine communiste reconnaît le gouvernement de la République Démocratique du Vietnam. A partir de cette date, les troupes communistes vietnamiennes pouvaient s’entraîner et s’armer en Chine par des spécialistes chinois. Il y a des généraux chinois au sein de l’état-major de Giap. Rappelons qu’à la deuxième moitié du XVIII siècle, les armées du futur Gia Long sont entraînées et armées par des volontaires français de Monseigneur Pigneau de Behaine pour vaincre les armées des Tay Son (« Histoire de l’Indochine, la Perle de l’Empire, 1624 – 1954 » de Philippe Héduy, Ed. Albin Michel, Paris 1998, noter la date de 1624 et lire en particulier de la page 66 à 109. C’était cette armée qui venait occuper le Cambodge en 1835. Les Cambodgiens utilisaient principalement les armes blanches pour libérer notre pays de cette première occupation vietnamienne.

Rappelons que ce sont les généraux chinois qui ont décidé l’attaque de Dien Bien Phu. Les Chinois ont assuré la logistique et aussi indiqué les manières de cacher les canons pour les rendre invulnérables à l’aviation française.

Après, le corps expéditionnaire américain subira le même sort, pour la même raison. En refusant de franchir le 17è parallèle et à couper géographiquement la piste Ho Chin Minh au Laos, les Américains ne peuvent pas vaincre la guérilla communiste. Ils ne peuvent donc que perdre. Car franchir le 17è parallèle c’est se battre à nouveau contre l’armée chinoise comme en Corée. Cette fois-ci avec la guérilla communiste sur le dos.


Nous avons, pour écrire notre histoire, à notre disposition, beaucoup de livres écrits par des étrangers et aussi quelques livres écrits par nos compatriotes. Les étrangers ont l’avantage de pouvoir consulter des documents qui nous sont inaccessibles. Il y a donc des informations intéressantes. Ecrire l’histoire de notre pays ressemble à assembler un puzzle avec des pièces fournies par ces livres et documents. Mais à la différence d’un vrai puzzle où toutes les pièces sont utiles, pour écrire notre histoire il y a un grand nombre de pièces en surnombre inutilisable. Il faut les trier. Mais comment les trier ? Il faut donc apprendre à le faire en étudiant comment les autres historiens écrivent l’histoire de leur pays respectif, en particulier en plaçant l’histoire de chaque pays dans le contexte de l’histoire mondiale. D’autre part un autre critère provient de la réponse à la question que vient de se poser un des internautes : « Qu’est qu’une Nation ? »

Khemara Jati


Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Biography of Prince Sisowath Youtevong, A Father of Cambodian Democracy Prince Sisowath Youtevong, 1913-1947.

A Biography of Prince Sisowath Youtevong, A Father of Cambodian Democracy

1. Family LineagePrince Sisowath Youtevong (alternative spellings: Yutevong or Youthevong) was born in the old royal Cambodian captital city of Oudong in 1913 and died at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh on 17th July 1947 and was cremated on the 18th. He was the son of Preah Ang Mechas (Prince) Chamraengvongs (1870-1916) and Neak Ang Mechas (Princess) Sisowath Yubhiphan (1877-1st January 1967). He was the grandson of Prince Bhumarin (1842-1909), the great grandson of Prince Ang Bhim (1824-1855), the great-great grandson of Prince Ang Em (1794-1844) who was the elder brother of King Ang Duong (1796-19th October 1860). Prince Ang Em and King Ang Duong were the younger brothers of King Ang Chan II (1792-1834) and they were the sons of King Ang Eng (1772-1796).Prince Youtevong was the youngest child in a family of five siblings. His other siblings are: 1. Neak Ang Mechas (Princess) Bophasy Teul (1902-1957), 2. Neak Ang Mechas (Prince) Sisowath Indravong (1904-1977), 3. Neak Ang Mechas (Princess) Sisowath Ang Non (1906-1975), 4. Neak Ang Mechas (Princess) Sisowath Chakaravudh (1906-1933) and then Prince Youtevong (1).Prince Youtevong was married to a French woman named Dominique Laverne (1924-) and had two daughters namely 1. Neak Ang Rajavong Sisowath Kantara (1945-) and 2. Neak Ang Rajavong Sisowath Lenanda (1946-), who now lived in France.Prince Youtevong was the product of an incestuous grandparent (2). His grandfather, Prince Bhumarin, married his own sister, Princess Thnamvong, and produced the only child, Prince Chamraenvongs, who was the father of Prince Youtevong. Traditionally speaking, Prince Youtevong should not be a Sisowath. It is not clear how Prince Youtevong obtained Sisowath as his last name. It had been speculated that his parents wanted to take advantage of the linear linkage with King Sisowath who ascended the throne in 1904. Prince Youtevong who was born in 1913, was the son of Prince Chamraenvongs, a great-great grandson of Prince Ang Em who was the younger brother of King Ang Duong and King Ang Chan II (a different branch of the royal family from King Ang Duong), and of Princess Sisowath Yubhiphan, the daughter of Sisowath Essaravong, with this latter being the oldest son of King Sisowath. Because Sisowath became king of Cambodia in 1904, Prince Youtevong's parents may have decided that their children should use their mother's last name, Sisowath, as their family last name. That kind of action was unprecedented in the history of Khmer royalty. Based on the above speculation, the direction of Prince Youtevong to be the leader of the Democratic Party was not by chance but by design. His opposition to King Norodom Sihanouk was a voluntary choice tacitly supported by the Sisowaths. The Sisowaths felt cheated by the French for putting a Norodom on the throne. They felt that Prince Sisowath Monireth should have been the heir to the throne, following King Monivong's death. Since that time, the Sisowaths and the Norodoms have constantly been in tension with each other.

Political LifePrince Youtevong was a pioneer of Cambodian political activism. Dr. Lao Mong Hay, in an essay “ Development of Cambodian Democracy” credited Prince Youtevong with the introduction of democracy to Cambodia after World War II by forming the Democratic Party which won the first relatively free and fair election in 1946 (3). The Democratic Party convened a constituent assembly and was tasked with the drafting of the first Cambodian constitution modelled on the constitution of the French Fourth Republic.Other writers have credited Prince Youtevong with providing “political vision” to Cambodia. Professor Matt Matsuda of Rutgers University, in an essay “Affinities and Empires: ¾ Tales From The Pacific”, in describing the French colonialism as “an empire of love”, referred to Prince Youtevong’s pioneering political activism in the following powerful tribute:“In the mid-twentieth century the Cambodian Prince Sisowath Youtevong had provided an ideal expression of this politically amorous vision”.(4)Peter Keo, in an essay titled “The Rise of Cambodia’s Illiberal Democracy” credited Prince Youtevong with the introduction of “liberal democracy” to Cambodia. In describing Cambodia’s turbulent path to democracy he wrote “Cambodia bore witness to the short but inspirational second wave of democratization [which began just after the Second World War] with the emergence of nationalism under the leadership of Prince Sisowath Youtevong and the introduction of liberal democracy from 1946 to 1955.”(5)Prince Youtevong was considered as the Father of Cambodian Democracy and the Father of the Cambodian Constitution. But above all else, he was a true nationalist. He had fought hard against the French for Cambodian democracy and her independence.Kenneth T. So and Monireak Keo, in an essay “The Road To Khmer Independence’ claimed that, due to pressure from the Khmer Issarak, the French agreed to let Khmers form political parties in 1946. Two major parties were formed and both were headed by Khmer princes. Prince Sisowath Youtevong, at the age of 33 headed the Democratic Party while his rival, Prince Norodom Norindeth at the age of 40 headed the Liberal Party. The two parties were politically and philosophically different in their approach to solving the Khmer problems.The Democratic Party was a party that believed in civil liberties and parliamentary democracy modelled after the French Fourth Republic. The party advocated a constitutional monarchical system of government with a popularly elected assembly having legislative and deliberative powers. The party was strongly anti-French in sentiment. The Democratic Party platform was demanding the immediate independence from France and wanted a parliamentary form of government. Their members were composed of intellectuals with such luminary personalities like Prince Yutevong, Son Sann, Chhean Vam, Sim Var, Ieu Koeuss, Huy Kanthoul, just to name a few. Penn Nouth was the counselor to the Democratic Party.In contrast, the Liberal Party that was founded by Prince Norindeth and Sonn Voeunsai did not attract the professional elite bodies like those of the Democratic Party. The party members were composed of landowners, businessmen, top ranking officials, and Buddhist monks. The party advocated respect for human rights, person and property, and better understanding between Khmers and French. The Liberal Party preferred to retain some form of partnership with France and favoured a gradual democratic reform instead of a sudden break-up espoused by the Democratic Party. The French actively supported the Liberal Party of Prince Nodindeth and very much opposed the Democratic Party of prince Youtevong.The Democratic Party, led by Prince Sisowath Youtevong, espoused immediate independence, democratic reforms, and parliamentary government. Its supporters were teachers, civil servants, politically active members of the Buddhist priesthood, and others whose opinions had been greatly influenced by the nationalistic appeals of Nagaravatta before it was closed down by the French in 1942 (6). Many Democrats sympathized with the violent methods of the Khmer Issarak. The Liberal Party, led by Prince Norodom Norindeth, represented the interests of the old rural elites, including large landowners. They preferred continuing some form of the colonial relationship with France, and advocated gradual democratic reform. In the Consultative Assembly election held in September 1946, the Democrats won 50 of 67 seats.With a solid majority in the assembly, the Democrats drafted a constitution modelled on that of the French Fourth Republic. Power was concentrated in the hands of a popularly elected National Assembly. The king reluctantly proclaimed the new constitution on May 6, 1947. While it recognized him as the "spiritual head of the state," it reduced him to the status of a constitutional monarch, and it left unclear the extent to which he could play an active role in the politics of the nation. Sihanouk would turn this ambiguity to his advantage in later years, however.In the December 1947 elections for the National Assembly, the Democrats again won a large majority. Despite this, dissension within the party was rampant. Its founder, Sisowath Yuthevong, had died and no clear leader had emerged to succeed him. During the period 1948 to 1949, the Democrats appeared united only in their opposition to legislation sponsored by the king or his appointees. A major issue was the king's receptivity to independence within the French Union, proposed in a draft treaty offered by the French in late 1948. Following dissolution of the National Assembly in September 1949, agreement on the pact was reached through an exchange of letters between King Sihanouk and the French government. It went into effect two months later, though National Assembly ratification of the treaty was never secured.

Educational Background (7)Prince Youtevong was an intellectual and well educated. He graduated from the Faculty of Sciences in Montpellier, France in 1941 with a doctorate degree in Physical Sciences with high honour (mention très honorable). Before returning to Cambodia after he finished his study, Prince Youtevong had represented the French Union as its Delegate at the Conference in Hot Springs, USA. He also worked for the French Ministry of Outre-Mer. Not only was the prince a French official, but he was also an active member of the French Socialist Party (SFIO[2]). Since Cambodia was still controlled by the French, it was believed the Democratic Party members felt it would be to their advantage to choose Prince Youtevong to head the party for the above reasons. As to the French, they probably felt and hoped that Prince Youtevong would still be friendly to France because he went to French school, worked for French government, and served as a Delegate for the French Union. In this fashion the French could still control both parties.Prince Youtevong and the Democrats were fighting the French, considered at the time to be enemy of the Khmer people. But it was acceptable to the Democrats that their leader was married to a French woman (Dominique Lavergne 1924-). Why wasn't this a case of sleeping with the enemy?The first election in 1946 provided the Democrats with a majority in the assembly. Prince Youtevong was the main architect who drafted the Khmer Constitution modelled after the French Fourth Republic. It was ironic that the Democrats wanted to divorce from France but at the same time they wanted to create a Khmer Constitution modelled after the French. Did the Democrats design it this way as not to antagonize the French? How can France object to this constitution since it was modelled after her country? After the Constitution had been completed, the power was now in the hand of the National Assembly. Prince Youtevong, who had been until now a minor prince, suddenly realized that he would become more powerful than the king. On 6 May 1947 the king proclaimed the birth of the new Khmer Constitution. The king realized that his role as a monarch was greatly reduced, stripped much of his power.With the Democratic Party victory, Prince Youtevong became President of the Council of Ministers, meaning he was Prime Minister of Cambodia. In addition to his position as Prime Minister, he also kept the post of Minister of Interior to himself. Why would someone who espoused democracy want to retain the two most important positions for himself? Why didn't the prince appoint somebody else to the post of Minister of Interior? What was the reason behind Prince Youtevong’s thinking? Did he not trust some of the people who worked around him?It seemed that with their success, the Democratic Party would be strong and happy. On the contrary, the success spoiled the Democrats and clashes within the party were occurring constantly. Were there jealousies among the Democrats fighting for important positions within the newly formed government? Prince Youtevong did not live long enough to enjoy the Democrats' victory because he died on 17 July 1947. Speculations on the death of the prince at such an early age and on the height of his success ran rampant. How did he die so young? Was there any sign of him being sick or contracting some kind of illness? Did the French poison him or did the Democrats themselves have anything to do with his death? Who would benefit the most about Prince Youtevong's death? The mystery surrounding his death had not been satisfactorily resolved.

Prince Youtevong’s Legacy (8)After the death of Prince Youtevong, the Democratic Party elected the grandson of King Sisowath, Prince Sisowath Vachhayavong (alternatively spelled Watchayavong), to be Prime Minister from 25 July 1947 to 20 February 1948. Afterward, the party elected Chhean Vam to succeed Prince Sisowath Vachhayavong. However, due to some infightings, the Prime Minister found his power insufficient and could not get things done. He asked for more power but it was turned down. Immediately, Chhean Vam was overthrown on that issue in 14 August 1948. Penn Nouth was elected as the next Prime Minister. He did not remain long at the head of his cabinet because Yem Sambaur, a former member of the Democratic Party, accused Penn Nouth of corruption. Yem Sambaur had left the Democratic Party to form his own minority grouping. Inexplicably, Yem Sambaur was chosen as the next Prime Minister on 12 February 1949 to replace Penn Nouth. How could this happen since the Democratic Party had the majority of the vote? The only reason this curious event could be explained was that the members of the Democratic Party became jealous of each other and preferred to see somebody from the outside instead of one of their own becoming Prime Minister.After Yem Sambaur became Prime Minister, the Democrats started to have second thought and they finally passed a motion of censure against the Prime Minister. The nature of the censure was not clear. Because of this action, on 18 September 1949 King Norodom Sihanouk dissolved the National Assembly and signed a treaty with France granting some independence for Cambodia.The treaty granted Khmer people most of administrative functions within Cambodia. In addition, the provinces of Battambang and Siemreap that the French recovered from the Thai were given to the Cambodian government for self-governing rule with its own armed forces without any French interference. This was called the autonomous zone, similar to the autonomous zone of Pailin that Hun Sen granted to the remnants of Khmer Rouge. However, on matters of foreign policy, the Cambodian government had to coordinate its actions and decision making with the French Union. The French retained most of the judicial systems, finances, and customs. Outside Battambang and Siemreap, France retained military operations. The reason the French wanted to retain military operations on other parts of Cambodia was because they felt more of a threat coming from Vietnam than Thailand, a threat that could break the French Union.According to the Constitution at the time, in the event of the dissolution of the National Assembly, the President of the Assembly would become the chief executive pending the holding of new elections. At the time, Ieu Koeuss was President of the Assembly. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in January 1950. Theories abounded on who assassinated Ieu Koeuss. Some claimed it was Yem Sambaur himself who had a hand behind the whole affair while some pointed the fingers at Prince Norindeth. However, this case had never been resolved and still remains a mystery to this day.Because of the death of the President of the National Assembly, the king reappointed Yem Sambaur to succeed himself as Prime Minister. This action had made the Democrats very upset since the elections would now be postponed. Because of this turn of event that sent Cambodia into turmoil, the king began to consider the possibility of modifying the Constitution. He wanted the Assembly to be a consultative body and shifting the power of ratification to the king. According to the Constitution, any amendments would require a three-fourth vote of the Assembly. Since the body had been dissolved, on October 1951 the king appealed to the heads of political parties to amend the Constitution. Both Democrats and Liberals opposed any constitutional changes that would decrease the power of the Assembly.What saved the Democratic Party was its unity opposing King Norodom Sihanouk's legislations as well as his appointments of new cabinet members. The Democrats continued to oppose all policies made by the king, making his life miserable. No matter what the king did, the Democrats would contest and oppose him. A new election was held in September 1951 and again, the Democrats won the majority with fifty-four out of seventy-eight seats. The Liberal Party obtained eighteen seats while the rest went to the remaining parties. On October 1951, Huy Kanthoul became Prime Minister, and immediately a serious deadlock developed in Khmer-French relations as the Democrats went into almost absolute opposition to the French authorities. Two more Prime Ministers succeeded Yem Sambaur prior to Huy Kanthoul becoming Prime Ministers. Prince Sisowath Monipong, the son of King Monivong, became Prime Minister from 1 June 1950 to 3 march 1951 and Oum Chheang Sun succeeded Prince Monipong until 12 October 1951.To counter balance the popularity of the Democrats, the king asked the French to release Son Ngoc Thanh from his house arrest in France. Son Ngoc Thanh returned to Cambodia with great triumph on 29 October 1951. Huy Kanthoul, who was Prime Minister, offered Son Ngoc Thanh a position in his cabinet but this latter turned down the offer because he expected the position of Prime Minister to be handed to him. Son Ngoc Thanh founded a weekly newspaper called Khmer Krauk (Khmer Awake), incessantly attacking the French Union. Pending rumor of an imminent arrest, Son Ngoc Thanh fled Phnom Penh and joined the Khmer Issarak.There were people who accused King Norodom Sihanouk of dictatorship or of being an unconstitutional monarch. The people who made those accusations did not study the facts properly. The king had properly exercised his power as the Constitution had demanded. The reason he wanted to change the Constitution may be in part for self-interest, but also to prevent the same type of chaotic situation that happened during this tumultuous time. He followed the Constitution by going through the motion of Assembly vote to make amendment to the Constitution. He was exercising his democratic right and obeying the Constitution. We must not be quick to judge the king's action without properly understanding the events in Khmer politics.The government of Huy Kanthoul found itself confronting with the problem of arresting people involving in flyers' distribution. The Dap Chhuon's party of Eysan Mean Chey (Dap Chhuon remained in Siemreap) with Mao Chhoy representing the party in Phnom Penh started to distribute flyers and created a chaotic situation in Phnom Penh. Prime Minister Huy Kanthoul issued an arrest warrant for people like Lon Nol and Yem Sambaur. Sim Var was the Chief of police at the time. Lon Nol was later released but Yem Sambaur was put in a house arrest at Banteay Cheung Khmao located near the Cine Lux movie theater. The arrest of Lon Nol and the semi-incarceration of a former Prime Minister of Cambodia made the situation in Cambodia dangerously explosive. Sensing the situation in Cambodia getting out of control, the king dismissed the government of Huy Kanthoul and on 13 January 1953 he dissolved the National Assembly and declared martial law.The king was very in tune to the wish of the Khmer population, which was to obtain full independence from France. To avoid the situation in Cambodia from deteriorating further, King Sihanouk decided in March 1953 to go to France and asked the French President to grant complete independence to Cambodia. The French government turned a deaf ear to King Sihanouk's demand and accused the king of being too alarmist. Additionally, the French were threatening to replace the king if he continued to be in an uncooperative mood.Khmer Democrats and Khmer Issarak had made the Khmer independence a national issue, but King Sihanouk took it a step farther. After the French refusal to King Sihanouk's demand on Khmer independence, he decided to elevate the Khmer struggle against the French to the international level. King Sihanouk decided to risk his future as king of Cambodia by campaigning against the French. The meeting with the French government was a failure. Therefore, instead of going home directly from France, the king made a brilliant political decision by stopping in the United States, Canada, and Japan to publicize his "royal crusade for independence." It was a bold move by the king, because his action could trigger the French to replace him as king of Cambodia with another prince.To put the French in a corner, in June 1953, the king declared that he would take a self-imposed exile in Thailand and would not return to Phnom Penh unless the French granted full independence to Cambodia. The Thai government did not cooperate with the king and did not welcome his stay in Bangkok. Why did the Thai government that supported the Khmer Issarak refused to also support King Norodom Sihanouk for the same cause, which was to restore Cambodia to full independence from the French? The Thai probably thought they had the Khmer Issaraks under their allegiance but could not extract the same thing from King Norodom Sihanouk. Since the king was not welcomed in Thailand, he decided to establish his headquarters in the autonomous zone in Siemreap. It was at this time that the bond between King Norodom Sihanouk and Lieutenant Colonel Lon Nol was formed. Lon Nol commanded the autonomous zone of Siemreap, established in 1949 by the French agreement.The whole Indochina was in turmoil. From their base in Siemreap, King Sihanouk and Lon Nol resisted and fought the French. The Khmer Issaraks were also giving the French a lot of troubles. Finally on 3 July 1953, the French declared they were ready to discuss the full independence status of Cambodia. The king insisted on his own terms, demanding total control of Cambodia in four main areas: National Defense, Police, Judiciary, and Finance. The French agreed to the demands and King Sihanouk returned to Phnom Penh with great triumph. The Khmer Independence Day was proclaimed on November 9, 1953.There is no denial that everybody played a part for Khmer independence, but King Norodom Sihanouk must be hailed as the main architect who obtained Khmer independence from France. The king was a brilliant and daring politician in his maneuvers with the French government. The king was undaunted in his pursuit of Khmer independence. The road to Khmer independence was a tumultuous one and it must not be forgotten. As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary of Independence, we must renew our faith to keep Cambodia independent and free from any foreign influence into our national affairs. The title proclaiming “Norodom Sihanouk as Father of Khmer Independence” is very appropriate and well deserving for our aging monarch. It is regrettable that Prince Youtevong did not live to see his pioneer political works blossomed, the sacrifices he had made only to be put back into the Dark Ages by the Khmer Rouge regime.//The End//---------------------------------------------------------------------------The above Prince Youtevong’s biography was largely adopted from Kenneth T. So’s and Monireak Keo’s “The Road To Khmer Independence” which was posted at . Most credits should go to these two individuals and

----- Original Message -----
From: Siphal MEY
To: Khemarajati
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 7:43 AM
Subject: RE : Prince Yutévong et quelques aspects de notre histoire

Cher Compatriote,Je vous remercie d'avoir bien voulu m'envoyer cet article qui retrace une grande mouvance politique qui caractérisa la période qui culmina par la montée sur le trône de S.M. Ang Duong avec l'assentiment de l'Annam et du Siam en 1845.Sans vouloir entrer dans le fond de votre texte, et en vous demande par avance pardon, je souhaiterais ici seulement attirer votre attention sur la généalogie d'Ang Duong. Vous avez écrit en effet :"Ang Eng a deux enfants mâles Ang Em et Ang Duong.". Selon A. Dauphin-Meunier, Histoire du Cambodge, PUF, page 90 à 94, il semble quAng Duong est le cadet des quatre frères, issus tous les quatre de Ang Eng (1779-1796). Il était choisi roi par le mandarin Mou à la mort du roi Outey II, son père. Il n'avait alors que six ans. Ce roi n'avait pas assumé le pouvoir qui était totalement accaparé par les trois mandarins pro-siamois Mou, Ben et Sous. En 1796, Ang Eng mourut de maladie à l'âge 24 ans. Son fils aîné n'avait alors que quatre ans. Il y eut alors un inter-règne de dix ans dirigée par le mandarin Poc qui fut "l'instrument des Siamois". En 1806, quand Poc mourut, le fils aîné d'Ang Eng atteignit sa quinzième année et le roi du Siam le fit couronner sous le nom d'Ang Chan II (1806-1834) en lui donnant comme épouse l'une des filles de Bèn. Ici le texte dit que "le nouveau roi entra vite en conflit avec ces frères Snguon et Em..." Puis plus loin, le texte reprit : "Em et un troisième frère dur roi, Ang Duong...". Cela prouve que le roi Ang Chan II avait trois autres frères : Ang Snguon qui n'osa pas s'assoir sur le trône quand le roi Ang Chan II, qui s'était tourné vers les Vietnamiens, fut obligé sous la menace siamoise de se réfugier à Saïgon, Ang Em qui sera enfermé par les Vietnamiens dans une cage de fer et dirigé sur Huê où il mourut en 1843 à 51 ans et And Duong. Ang Chan II mourut de la dysenterie en 1834. Il a laissé quatre filles Ang Pèn, petite fille de Bèn, Ang Mey qui sera choisie reine (1834-1841), Ang Pou qui fut faite Obareach et la plus jeune Ang Snguon qui reçut le titre de Prean Kévhea. Fraternellement,MS

Cher Compatriote, Suite à ma petite remarque faite sur la généalogie de S.M. Ang Duong, j'ai malheureusement relevé une autre phrase qui, à mon humble avis, s'écarte de la vérité historique. Vous avez écrit en effet :"L’armée française ne s’était totalement retirée du Cambodge qu’après la signature des Accords de Genève le 20 juillet 1954.Sur cette affirmation, je souhaite faire une mise au point en citant les références ci-après s'y rapportant :- Dans son livre intitulé "Souvenirs doux et amers, Hachette 1981" à la page 202, le prince Sihanouk, l'auteur, fait mention du transfert : - des compétences judiciaires à compter du 29 Août 1953, - des compétences de police et de sûreté à compter de la même date; - des compétences en matière militaire à partir du 17 octobre 1953. A l'égard du transfert des compétences en matière militaire, dans sa lettre datée du 17 octobre 1953 adressée au Premier Ministre (voir page 203), le général de division de Langlade écrit : "J'ai l'honneur de remettre au gouvernement de Sa Majesté, à la date de la signature du protocole des transferts, toutes les unités de l'armée royale khmère qui avaient été placés sous mon ordre pour emploi tactique..." Plus loin, le prince (l'auteur), ajoute : "Le matin du 9 novembre, le général de Langlade préside avec moi la cérémonie de passion des pouvoirs militaires..." Voici ce que rapportera plus tard Paris Match : "Sous un ciel zébré d'éclairs, dans le fracas du tonnerre et le crépitement d'une pluie diluvienne, la France quittait le Cambodge et trois hommes, dont l'un élevé depuis la veille à la dignité de héros nationale, la regardaient partir. L'un était le commissaire Risterucci, le second le général de Langlade, jusque là commandant en chef des forces stationnées au Cambodge, et le troisième le roi Norodom Sihanouk. Le "héros", c'était lui..." A. Dauphin-Meunier, Histoire du Cambodge, PUF, page 116 : "...Des négociations menées à Phnom Penh aboutissent enfin à un succès complet qui s'exprime dans les accords de transfert des pouvoirs de justice et de police (29 août 1953) et surtout l'accord du 17 octobre 1953 consacrant la souveraineté militaire du Cambodge sur tout son territoire. Le 8 novembre 1953, Norodom Sihanouk rentrait dans sa capitale où il était accueilli en triomphateur. Il avait rempli toutes ses promesses et mérité ainsi les titres de "Père de l'Indépendance" et de "Héros national" qui lui furent décernés par les représentants du peuple." A la conférence de Genève de 1954 c'est en tant que pays uni, indépendant et souverain que le Cambodge participe. Fraternellement, MS