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Thread: OBITUARY: Sihanouk, Cambodian king during decades of tumult dies

  1. #1
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    OBITUARY: Sihanouk, Cambodian king during decades of tumult dies

    Phnom Penh - Former king Norodom Sihanouk, who dominated Cambodia's political scene for nearly six decades and was regarded asthe father of modern Cambodia, died Monday at the age of 89.

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  2. #2
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Changone's Avatar
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    Sihanouk, a complicated man in a compicated political ****storm...RIP.
    And where the hell was Biggles.....?....when you needed him last Saturday....?

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    From my reading, which admittedly isnt overly extensive , his decision to 'make' the Khmer Rouge his ally and thereby give them the kings blessing , caused thousands to join the KR thinking they were helping the K!ng. In so doing he caused untold misery for at least a million of his loyal subjects and I for one wont be painting his reign as anything other than misguided at least, or selfishly criminal at worst.

    On March 18, 1970, while Sihanouk was returning from in France via Moscow, he and his government were overthrown by Lt. Gen. Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak. This pro-Western coup resulted in Sihanouk's forming a government-in-exile in Peking and in the declaration of Cambodia as a republic. AT THAT TIME HE ALSO ANNOUNCED HIS SUPPORT OF THE CAMBODIAN COMMUNIST KHMER ROUGE UNDER GENERAL POL POT IN THEIR EFFORTS TO OVERTHROW LON NOL [emphasis added]."

    [from http://www.lycos.com/info/khmer-rouge.ht… ]
    "...The Khmer Rouge, the French phrase for "Red Khmers," was a label given to the Cambodian communist movement by Prince Norodom Sihanouk in the 1960s. The movement was later dominated by a group of French educated, Cambodian Marxists led by Pol Pot. With Vietnamese advice, the movement did not openly challenge Sihanouk’s government with arms. AFTER THE OVERTHROW OF SIHANOUK IN 1970 BY LON NOL, THE MOVEMENT BEGAN OPEN, ARMED RESISTANCE. WITH SUPORT FROM RURAL PEASANTS AND APPEALS FROM SIHANOUK, WHO JOINED THE MOVEMENT UNDER A UNITED FRONT
    Last edited by Chob; 16th October 2012 at 01:11.

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    Uber Star Foundation member Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน vanguy77's Avatar
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    Very true, Chob. Not long ago I read, "Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land" by Joel Brinkley, who goes into great detail of the series of events leading up to the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge. A huge part of their sudden rise was just as you said, the strong endorsement of Sihanouk, who urged the people to rise up against the Western allied usurpers. I think that Sihanouk, to his defense, had no idea just how devastating the Khmer Rouge would be to the country. Noone could forsee the evil of that regime, or the untold evils they would perpetrate. I think that Sihanouk was just trying to maintain his power base, and saw the greatest threat to that coming from the United States, who from the 50's onwards, had developed a reputation in 3rd World countries of getting rid of existing leadership (who they always labeled as "corrupt") and replacing it with their own leaders. Sihanouk had always been on extremely good terms with China, who were obstensibly supporting Pol Pot and his communist insurgents. For Sihanouk, then, it was a matter of political maneuvering, to what he considered was the best for primarily himself, but also I think in some way for Cambodia. Tragically, he completely underestimated the impact of the Khmer Rouge, but by then it was too late.

    Many Cambodians, particularly in the eastern regions, joined up with the rebellion due to Sihanouk's urging, as you say. Later, these soldiers became highly suspect by the idealogs in the Khmer Rouge, who saw them more as follows of Sihanouk, rather then committed to the party ideals, and they began a purge that killed off tens of thousands of their own soldiers.

    Still, Sihanouk became a rallying point and symbol for rebuilding the nation of Cambodia, and the amazing recovery that took place in the last 30 years would have been much more difficult without his presence. He was a symbol for the people to look at, something that gave their rebuilding country a singular identity. He had survived, and they could too.
    Last edited by vanguy77; 16th October 2012 at 08:09.
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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Good insights VG.

    I still read it as the egotist wanting to rule ( ok , some can say 'guide') his people in absentia with the hope of an imminent triumphant return without dirtying his hands , or risking being strung up by Lon Nol.
    As such he empowered Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge by stating they represented him...
    What idiot dwelling in China , of all places , would believe a radical Communist outfit would ever hand back powe , and to a Roy@l of all things?
    If you see interviews of him in that era , he is a rapidly spoken angst ridden idiot.

    Any k!ng with balls in Cambodia ( or LOS) would have returned and stared Lon Nol down ... the people saw him as a demi-god after all ( Like LOS now).
    He could have been a real leader.
    ( And shame on US 'control' policies once again)

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Nomad's Avatar
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    Not up on this or Cambodia at all. Will his death have any impact on Cambodia or has his absence and age meant that while not forgotten, he no longer had any influence?
    "Don't wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy and do it. Everything else is just background noise." George Mason

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    I think its safe to say his departing will have way less impact on Cambodia than the death of somebody else we know on Thailand.

    With the Khmer Rouge , then post war turmoil , and his often long periods living away , his 'spell' was broken a long time back.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    Not up on this or Cambodia at all. Will his death have any impact on Cambodia or has his absence and age meant that while not forgotten, he no longer had any influence?
    Can`t see much change there but as Chob says the inevitable here in LOS will be different and maybe a no go zone for tourists for a long period of time with bars closing while the mourning process is carried out.

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