With it being July 1, the feelings of patriotism are starting to work within me – even out here in Cambodia. Being here helps me see how good we’ve got it in the US. Don’t get me wrong, the US system isn’t perfect and this past presidential election was crazy, but at least our system is established and respected.
In Cambodia, as I’m sure you’re all very aware, the Prime Minister is Hun Sen, his party is the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and he has held some position of power in Cambodia since the mid-80’s – these are just the facts. According to several Cambodians I’ve spoken with, his political party basically controls the media and therefore what people think. In a recent show of media control, the government (CPP), just in time for elections, made all forms of foreign radio – especially American – illegal to broadcast. This is to apparently ensure that foreign radio doesn’t wrongfully influence potential voters…how thoughtful of them!
The picture is one from an opposition party and I’m sure you don’t need translation to understand what they’re getting at. In Siem Reap I’ve seen a lot of political activism; truck loads of CPP “supporters” having a great time, tuk-tuks driving around with loud speakers blasting a speech of an opposition leader (League for Democracy Party, usually), and a number of posters/billboards for other parties (FUNCIPEC and Cambodian National Rescue Party). Despite opposition efforts, I’m pretty sure I know how their elections will turn out, even before ballots are cast on July 28. Cambodian politics, what an adventure!
I realize few people can read the Khmer sites, but I find them kind of interesting to look at.