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Why I believe in only CNRP Sam Rainsy

(or, his equally formidable, brilliant wife CNRP Saumura Tioulong)

as Prime Minister of Cambodia


A Living Essay / Reflection by Theary C. Seng

(in installments)


Background info on this topic already addressed by Ms. Seng:


To Lead is To Serve

(Phnom Penh Post, July 20o8)

(or, here or go to Ms. Seng's Facebook accounts, if your ISP censors KI-Media)


Sam Rainsy's Curriculum Vitae

It has been said that Cambodia's problems of the past and present can be summed up in the weaknesses of its leaders.  It has been and is currently said that we Khmers deserve the leaders we have.


Rather than react defensively, meditate on whatever degree of truth is in these statements and do something about it.

This leads me to why I believe only in CNRP president Sam Rainsy (or, his equally formidable, brilliant wife CNRP Saumura Tioulong) as the Prime Minister of Cambodia.



First, the reason is one of education.  Education provides "the basic mental ingredients" to lead.  Individuals who lack quality education tend to have an intellectual deficit, lacking the "mental equipment to govern".


What David Brooks writes of the radical political Islam is also true of many Cambodian politicians and leaders, in that "once in office, they are always going to centralize power and undermine democracy that elevated them."  Oftentimes, the intellectual DNA is missing in Cambodian leaders, certainly true of the current ruling regime, the CPP.


Here's the basic outline in terms of names and degrees for Sam Rainsy:

Primary school in Phnom Penh, Paris and London.

High school in Phnom Penh (Lycée Descartes and Lycée Sisowath) and Paris (Lycée Janson de Sailly).

University degrees in:

Business Administration (Master of Business Administration from INSEAD Fontainebleau - France) - 1980.

Accounting (Diplôme d'Etudes Comptables Supérieures issued by the French Ministry of Education) - 1979.

Economics (Maîtrise + Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures de Sciences Economiques de la Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques de Paris) - 1973.

Political Science (Diplôme de l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, or simply, "Sciences Po") - 1971

Qualifiers (Education)


Before I unpack what Sam Rainsy's educational degrees mean, let's try to understand what a Cambodian degree means to the current population.


Simply, education is the obtainment of a certificate or degree; it is the accumulating of meaningless degrees and it matters not that they come through bribery, or given by institutions that go by names such as "Build Bright University" (no, not at all a weird translation from the Khmer, as the name stands alone in English as there is no Khmer name), or that they are bogus honorary awards from non-accredited foreign institutions.


Education-less awards of North Korean generals; mentality not very different from current culture of Cambodia.


Here, we have not even touched on the process and quality of the time spent in the classroom where most materials have been translated from the English and oftentimes with out-dated information.  The best university has English as its language of instruction, but the English proficiency of the students are questionable.


Let me say, that on the one hand, we all know personally or about the idiot savant who is intellectually brilliant but a complete imbecile in normal life.


Or, we know personally or about the professional student who collects degrees but cannot apply his book knowledge to real-life, practical living.  (Think the professor who was conned by the non-existing internet swimsuit model that landed him in jail in a foreign country.)


On the other hand, we also know personally or about the person who never completed high school but is truly, educationally brilliant (because he took the time to FOCUS and READ and LEARN, making every life's experience his classroom, intentionally, systematically) from his position as an executive of international companies or a prolific writer of international fame.


Sam Rainsy's Formal Education


With these exceptions in mind, having HIGHER EDUCATION OF TRUSTWORTHY QUALITY is unquestionably, extremely important for a nation's leader, particularly in this globalized world of July 2013 of deep complexity and interconnectedness.


As already alluded to, education is more holistic than just classroom learning, but classroom learning is fundamental.  Sam Rainsy was born into a family where life learning and formal education were knitted into the very fabric of family life with a father who was deputy Prime Minister and a mother who became the first woman to graduate from high school and passed her baccalaureat.


He grew up speaking 3 languages fluently, as necessitated by his elementary days in Phnom Penh, London and Paris.


He attended the best and only high schools in Phnom Penh of that era -- Lycee Sisowath and Lycee Descartes -- and one of the most prestigious lycees in Paris (Wikipedia) at Lycee Janson de Sailly.


Reading -- in 3 languages -- from the mandatory, rigorous school work to earlier on developing a habit for leisure reading -- accompanied his life at an early age and formed the foundation of his holistic, nuanced understanding and knowledge of Cambodia and the world.  He was comfortable with ideas, interacting with others trained at the same level of rigor and excellence -- as well as exposed with real-life challenges and dramas as he moved about the world with his family within the orbit of Cambodian politics and European upbringing during the turbulent post-colonial period of the 20th century.

Sam Rainsy went to the extremely elite Sciences Po, with the status of grand établissement, which allows its admissions process to be highly selective, and has traditionally educated France's political and diplomatic elite; it is generally thought of to be one of the world's most reputable and prestigious schools of the social sciences (Wikipedia).


From there, he obtained his Masters in Economics from the prestigious Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques de Paris, his Accounting degree from the Ministry of Education and another Masters in Business Administration from the uber elite business school INSEAD, which consistently ranks in the top 5 among the business schools in the world.

. . .


My Analysis

of the Political Situation


Theary Seng speaking at a Fundraising Dinner for CNRP in Sydney, lending her support as civil society leader, with Sam Rainsy, Saumura Tioulong, Kem Sokha, Khmer Post Meach Sovanara, among the generous, active Sydney Khmer democrat supporters and hosts (Oct. 2012)

Sam Rainsy:

I will return to Cambodia,

and I will arrive


into our homeland

before Election Day


of 28 July 2013.


Click to watch Video of Sam Rainsy making the public announcement on 6 July 2013


The heat is ratcheted up to its limit now on Hun Sen and the CPP with the impending return of Sam Rainsy back into Cambodia after 4 years of self-imposed exile. The announcement of his return has left the population momentarily breathless and the welcome can only be a frenzy of populous support for the CNRP.


The risk on his life is high, as well as on outspoken voices--be they in politics (most vulnerable are those below the rank of vice-president without the additional layer of protection, a western passport) or in civil society, like mine (not immune, but they will have to think twice) as the CPP now can be liken to a wounded dog who will attack. They need to send a strong message of fear, like they did in the cold-blooded, overtly political assassinations of Chea Vichea, Om Radsady, to name but two.


They, the CPP, have been restraint up till now, but they will act fatally, not necessarily at the very top leadership (save possibly Sam Rainsy, but only if they want to commit political suicide), but well-known enough to have the message resonate immediately, with limited political costs and social and economic repercussions (not that they're concerned about the larger population, but to them and their families).

BUT the only answer to FEAR and cowardice acts of violence is GREATER COURAGE and PUBLIC SOLIDARITY.

There is one difference from the violent times of the past: this CPP and their children who are coming of age with degrees from and connection to the West and are enamored with West, are more aware of the long arm of justice, timelessness of international law, social media multiplying power assisted with instant Smartphone images -- the ubiquity, immediacy as well as the eternity of unlimited recycled, unrestricted news.


If they choose the path of murder and assassination, they will have chosen an-all-or-nothing scenario, cornering themselves into suicide -- in all sense of the word, political, economic, social, and political.  Their more worldly, more savvy and more reasonable children will act as a restraint, we can only hope, as they have much to lose.


The scenario is not that of the 1997 coup and the ensuing events of the years immediately after.


One, there is now social media and its ubiquitous, complementary power of Smartphones to transmit images.


Two, the now young Cambodian adults (18-25 year old) were only toddlers then, not constraint by the trauma of the Khmer Rouge nor the politics of the 1990s.  Their world is one of inter-connectedness and information.


Three, there exists a much stronger international presence and international wherewithal of Cambodia, greatly assisted by the recent visit of Obama to Cambodia, as well as the raucous, unwanted attention of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.


Four, if any violence takes place, there will be countless thousands with the ability to capture immediately the images with commentaries on their Smartphones, in addition to traditional news outlets and film making.  Even if the CPP restricts ICT usage, the images can be perpetually saved for future usage.


Five, regional and international politics have changed dramatically within recent years.  ASEAN witnessed the reformation of Burma; the world witnessed the ongoing changes caused by the young and social media.


Six, it's true the CPP depends heavily on Chinese financial assistance, but they and their children are still applying for passports to the West.  It is less about money but about reputation and legitimacy from the West that they crave, even if they publicly deny it.


In sum, Sam Rainsy will return; his statement this time is no longer one of testing the waters.


The CPP has 3 options: assassination to rid immediately of its most powerful political nemesis, imprisonment, or political negotiation.


An assassination comes with an extremely high risk and cost to the CPP, even if it is the most politically expedient -- it's own suicide -- and making Sam Rainsy a martyr, forever securing his hero status.


Moreover, no one can predict the degree of mass crowd reaction, exponentially assisted by social media and a restless, fearless young population coming of political age.  As no one could have predicted the crowd mentality in other parts of the world -- from across the Middle East to Turkey to Europe, etc. -- so, no one can predict it here, even if we are not technologically as sophisticated as the other countries in the world.


Imprisonment also comes with a very high political risk and cost to the CPP, as the physical presence of Sam Rainsy in the country, will only ignite greater populous support immediately before and after the elections, eating into the CPP diminishing support.


The issue of Sam Rainsy did not go away when he was thousands of miles away; it certainly will not go away with him in the cell next door, with his supporters already riding on the elections frenzy momentum, with civil society abounding in presence, and with the international community's pressure and presence.  Imprisonment would only prolong the CPP's Sam Rainsy "headache" (migraine is still putting it mildly, cancer is probably more accurate) with little political return for them.


The only reasonable option is political negotiation leading to a political compromise and settlement.  Politics is after all the art of the possible, and Sam Rainsy is shrewd in strengthening his hands in the process leading to this political settlement.


- Theary, Phnom Penh, 7 July 2013 (updated July 9)

Theary Seng proudly donning her CNRP cap, 7 July 2013


. . .

Cambodian Rulers Dogged

by Pre-Election Jitters


Luke Hunt | The Diplomat | 3 July 2013

And the rumor mill around Phnom Penh is thriving. The impressions are daunting. Increasingly, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) looks paranoid, even delusional...

Times have changed and so have the demographics. A generation of young people, disaffected by war and demanding Japanese motorbikes, iphones, flat screen televisions and enough money to indulge in the capital’s vibrant nightclub scene are emerging as a political force.

Cambodia’s youth have also discarded government-controlled media for the Internet and social media websites. This shift has angered the CPP strategists who are struggling to control and drive home their message, which is fear mongering at its best, warning of a return to war unless the CPP is re-elected...

The CPP always plays hardball at elections and their antics are turning Cambodia’s rumor mill into a bonfire of speculation and gossip. This time, however, the CPP is lacking its usual pre-election confidence and the exact reasons why are difficult to gauge given the government’s intense dislike for sharing its thoughts with the wider public.

With this level of secrecy, there is a real possibility that CPP officials know something the rest of us don’t. But in a country where scuttlebutt is part and parcel of the political process, secrets have a habit of going public.


Read full article


. . .


Urgent News:

CPP Chea Chamroeun Pretending to be CNRP Sam Rainsy on Facebook -- CPP scared, no?!

That within a matter of 2 months, Sam Rainsy has garnered 95,000-plus "Likes"...

I am such a STRONG believer in the leadership of Sam Rainsy and his equally BRILLIANT wife Saumura Tioulong. This CPP is so scared of Sam Rainsy, most recently his ability to gain 95,000+ "Likes" on Facebook within only 2 months of having created this account. - Theary C. Seng Phnom Penh, 29 June 2013

Commies are really, really clumsy in their theft, lumbering in their forgery, and cowardly in their violence... This brings a smile, as it is sure to backfire, as well as reflects the CPP's fear of Sam Rainsy. - Theary C. Seng, 30 June 2013


. . .



27 JULY 2013

TIME Magazine | 27 June 2013

Cambodia may officially be a democracy, but call it one and you’ll get a swift reality check from anyone familiar with the Southeast Asian nation, where one month’s campaigning for general elections begins this week. Controversy over land rights, deforestation, extractive industries and rampant corruption has bolstered support for the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Nevertheless, only a miracle will unseat incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose obdurate hold on power has spanned almost 28 years — helped by voter irregularities, partisan media and blatant intimidation of his opponents.

Sam Rainsy, the leader of the CNRP, has been banished. He fled into exile, accused of racial incitement and destruction of property — trumped-up charges that are politically motivated, he insists. Convicted in absentia and given an 11-year sentence, the 64-year-old now continues opposition from abroad. Asked if he considered returning for the July 28 ballot, Sam Rainsy told TIME that his presence would only help legitimize a fundamentally flawed election. “It’s better for me to let Prime Minister Hun Sen, if [I can compare him] to a boxer, to cowardly avoid his only serious challenger before a match, and to let him box alone in the ring.” There are currently no opposition MPs in parliament — all 28 were expelled earlier this month for allegedly violating internal rules.

Unwelcome in his homeland, Sam Rainsy toured North America last month to promote the CNRP. There are more than 250,000 Khmer living in the U.S. — mostly in California and Massachusetts — who have already contributed $420,000 toward this year’s campaign. Beyond the diaspora, the wider international community is also anxious about Hun Sen’s “increasingly dictatorial rule,” as Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, puts it. U.S. President Barack Obama visited Cambodia in November and used a meeting aides described as “tense” to press Hun Sen to release political prisoners, stop land seizures and hold free and fair elections. The Cambodia U.N. human-rights expert has also urged all sides to “play by the rules.”


. . .


NO! to another 5 years of CPP violence!

YES! to Sam Rainsy as Prime Minister and Cambodia flourishing!


CNRP Youth in Siem Reap:

អ្នកគាំទ្រ គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ ភាគច្រើន ជាយុវជន និងនិស្សិត ចូលរួមហែក្បួន យុទ្ធនាការឃោសនា នៅក្នុងទីរួមខេត្ត សៀមរាប នៅថ្ងៃទី៣០ មិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៣។

With young supporters of Kanapak Sangkruos Jeat (CNRP) in Siemreap province on 30 June 2013.

CNRP supporters in Svay Chrum, Svay Rieng -- my parent's hometown!!


Cambodia Election Campaign Kick-Off, 27 June 2013

Sam Rainsy for Prime Minister!

CNRP Supporters 40,000-strong in Phnom Penh this 27 June 2013 (image: Mona Kem)



. . .



Brazil's Vinegar Uprising

The New York Times | 21 June 2013


Like other demonstrators, he had brought some vinegar. The idea is that breathing through a cloth soaked in vinegar neutralizes the effects of tear gas, though this doesn’t really seem to work. The police claim that the product can be used to make bombs, but this is even less true.

Over the next week, as the protests spread to cities around the country, the arrest became a mocking rallying cry. Someone started a campaign on Facebook to legalize vinegar. Another created a “V for Vinegar” page, a reference to the graphic novel “V for Vendetta.” The “Salad Uprising” had begun...

On Thursday night one million Brazilians poured into the streets of some 80 cities around the country. “Bring your salad. Salt and olive oil are optional.” That’s our message.

[How about it, fellow Cambodians?




. . .

How Angry Is Brazil? Pelé Now Has Feet of Clay

The New York Times | 21 June 2013



. . .


Global Convening to End Mass Atrocities

Istanbul (16-21 June 2013)

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city at 15 to 17 million people, is magical, as exquisitely stunning as one can imagine it to be and more (!!).  Also known as Constantinople, named after the Roman Emperor Constantine who converted to Christianity in 4th century, it has now only one percent Christian out of 55 Million population.

Theary's presentation, during exchange with participants


I'm presenting on 19 June 2013 "Reconciling Peace with Justice in Cambodia: the Limitations of Tribunals to Address Mass Crimes"


Background Info:

* Facing Genocide (the award-winning feature-length documentary film by Swedish STORY Production, click to watch preview)

* Justice and Reconciliation public forums across Cambodia conducted by Theary

* Published articles by Theary Seng on the issues of international justice and victims' participation (particularly, Justice Must be Re-cast)

* Theary as the first victim "Civil Party" in international law

* Theary's Public Denunciation of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as "complete political sham"

Dinner cruise on the stunning Bosphorus Strait, here with the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur to Mali, Sudanese lawyer Salih Osman

4-hr dinner cruise on the Bosphorus Strait (Istanbul, 17 June 2013)

After the nice cruise on the Bosphorus

Sally Smith of the Nexus Fund, our host, opens the Convening (Point Barbaros Istanbul, 16 June 2013) for the 120 participants from 33 countries of 6 continents.

Theary Seng near Taksim Square on Istiklal Blvd. in front of the graffitied French Consulate (around noon-ish after service at Union Church in the vicinity, 16 June 2013)

(Go to my Facebook for more images and narratives of my stay in Istanbul)


Postcard from Turkey

The New York Times, 18 June 2013

Erdogan (like Russia’s Vladimir Putin) confuses “being in power with having power,” argued Dov Seidman, whose company, LRN, advises C.E.O.’s on governance and who is the author of the book “How.” “There are essentially just two kinds of authority: formal authority and moral authority,” he added. “And moral authority is now so much more important than formal authority” in today’s interconnected world, “where power is shifting to individuals who can easily connect and combine their power exponentially for good or ill.”

You don’t get moral authority just from being elected or born, said Seidman: “Moral authority is something you have to continue to earn by how you behave, by how you build trust with your people. ... Every time you exercise formal authority — by calling out the police — you deplete it. Every time you exercise moral authority, leading by example, treating people with respect, you strengthen it.”

Any leader who wants to lead just “by commanding power over people should think again,” he added. “In this age, the only way to effectively lead is to generate power through people,” said Seidman, because you have connected with them “in a way that earned their trust and enlisted them in a shared vision.”


Turkish Official Says Army May Have to End Protests

The New York Times, 17 June 2013

Turkey Expands Violent Reaction to Street Unrest

The New York Times, 16 June 2013

New York Times / AFP-Getty Images


Police Storm Park in Istanbul, Setting Off a Night of Chaos

The New York Times, 15 June 2013

New York Times / Reuters

vogliamo i Parlamentari in carcere per alto tradimento al Popolo Italiano's photo.

. . .


Happy Father's Day!

To my godfather Wally Boelkins!

My love and prayers to my godfather Wally Boelkins in Michigan this Father's Day. May the LORD continue to bless you and your family as He has blessed me and my family through you and your family in the 3 decades we've known each other. Lots of love from Istanbul.

To all the men in my life!


. . .


The opposition CNRP should instigate many more demonstrations, if it means that each time the poor will be given money by the CPP!  A redistribution of wealth system in the Serfdom of Wonder!


. . .


Ms. Theary C. Seng comforting a woman who witnessed the torture and murder of her husband.  More images from "Justice and Reconciliation" public forums conducted by Ms. Theary C. Seng.


Commentary by Ms. Theary C. Seng

In KI-Media

It has been said often that one should graduate from "victim" to "survivor", that it is derogatory to call someone a victim because it is dis-empowering. Several thoughts come to mind whenever I hear this:

1. To be a victim is dis-empowering only when she allows herself to be victimized, to wallow in the state of victimhood, to become a professional victim for pity or economic livelihood.

2. There is a clear distinction between "victim" and "survivor", each with its own value. I retain both terms for myself, using them at the relevant, convenient time and place. For example, I am a "victim" at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal when I became the first civil party in international law (that is, before I renounced the KRT.) Here, it is stronger and relevant because a "victim" carries legal rights, political weight. Not so, a survivor.

3. I have these thoughts before, but I am even more deeply disturbed recently by the actions of Mr. Chum Mey, the victim and survivor of Tuol Sleng. It is deeply sorrowful that he has chosen to play out the "Super Victim" in the dangerous game of the Hierarchy of Victims. Moreover, it is a great peril to personal healing and national reconciliation when he allows himself to be used by politics.

- Theary C. Seng, Phnom Penh, 4 June 2013

First published in July 2008 in The Phnom Penh Post as part of the Voice of Justice columns. The mentality of victimization is never a mentality of strength, never a mentality of healing. To the contrary, victimization mentality perpetuates the vicious cycle of helplessness and inferiority within the individual and within society. A fundamental first step rests with the Government to create enabling environment of opportunities (of education, of employment, of creative expression, etc.) to combat this destructive mentality of victimhood. Of course, at the end of the day, the final responsibility rests with each of us Cambodians.

- Theary C. Seng, Feb. 2010.

The Post-Modern Victim

Society's general permission to act darkly

We live in a society and under a leadership that gives liberal, general permission for individuals - both Khmers and foreigners - to engage and act from our darker human side, the part of our psyche where the seven deadly vices - pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth - agitate and fester, reigning supreme. Whereas a healthy society celebrates personal achievements and virtues, our current Khmer society encourages individual and state actors - again, both us Khmers and foreigners alike - to trample upon a Khmer person's rights and successes, impede individual excellence, and pride functioning at the lowest common denominator. We have implicitly, as a society, foregone our rights and dignity - unconsciously and gradually.

This social construct affronts and is devastating to personal growth, societal development and national integrity and honor. Why? Because Khmer individuals form the collective society (i.e., nation), and a nation that is comprised of mediocre individuals cannot be said to be a nation of greatness, integrity and valor.

Social conditioning

We, Khmers, are socially conditioned, through gradual cultural transmutation passed on through the decades - most emphatically during the Khmer Rouge years - to think of ourselves as less than others; we possess a collective low self-esteem. We have traded in our high culture for the low culture of meanness, banality, pettiness, materialism, counterfeits and violence, as manifested in the pervasive human rights abuses from trafficking to land-grabbing to impunity to constant fear.

We are no longer in control of our individual and collective lives; we are no longer the owner of our destiny; we are not the opinion-makers of our society. Rather, in this sea of lightning-paced, swirling changes, we are insecure, lost and drowning by a globalized, porous world of 2008, while our mentality is still one of feudalism or more generously, the bipolar Cold War world.

We, Khmers, are not the only ones being socially conditioned. Foreigners - the guests of our country - are also being conditioned, being further ingrained (oftentimes unconsciously, thus the nature of social conditioning) to think of themselves as superior. But remember, we have given them general, liberal permission - 'Yes, you can grope our women in public and call them all manner of names, for we do the same' - for we have accepted our inferior status. The problem is not them; it is us.


One of the more devastating social patterns of this sociological phenomenon, which is homogenizing us Khmers into a distinctive mold, is our sense of victimization and victimhood. I find Karpman Drama Triangle useful in helping to frame and contextualize the state of victimhood. Steven Karpman gives the following definitions:

A "Victim" is generally someone who believes in increasing personal vulnerability, has difficulty finding meaning and comprehension in the world, feels powerless, and views him/herself in a negative light. Therefore, a Victim looks for a rescuer to take care of them.

(As an aside, a legal victim, more narrowly, has been harmed directly by an individual or perpetrator - has suffered a "legal injury" that is physical/material and/or psychological - not just by society in general.)

A 'Rescuer' is someone who often does not own their own vulnerability and seeks instead to 'rescue' those whom they see as 'vulnerable' and in the process may feel "'hard done' or resentful, used or unappreciated in some way."

The "Persecutor" is unaware of his/her power and uses the power negatively, often destructively.

The Karpman Drama Triangle works at both the social level of observable behavior and at the internal dynamic level of a person's feelings and perceptions.

Related, I find transactional analysis - in understanding the ego states of an individual alone, in relationships, in social constructs and places like Cambodia - of immense interest.

Taking all the above ideas together - social conditioning, Drama Triangle, transactional analysis - and binding the individuals addressed by these ideas into a larger grouping of society or nation (i.e., Cambodia), we observe the current dark social pattern of Khmer collective vulnerability and powerlessness - the 'beggar's mentality' - in constant need of rescue.

Here, I am not talking about legal victim or the fact of having suffered; what I am concerned about is the mentality of victimhood - a state of being - which is oppressive, regressive, destructive.

Breaking the mold

We need to break this mold of intangible expectations and pressures - which are mostly negative, us as victims (adopted by us and foreigners) - for us Khmers to look and act a certain way. In this social construct, a Khmer cannot be audacious or tenacious or liberating. A Khmer should not be seen enjoying him/herself at the Elephant Bar; a Khmer should not be dressing too smart or sassy. To be so, to do so, is to go against the grain of the established, dark norms of inferiority, and to arouse the ire of our unreflecting, fellow Khmers and to challenge the unprocessed superiority of the foreign guests.

If we are to drown in our victimhood, we cannot glory in our successes as a victim but then not feel the smart when we are victimized. We need to learn to temper both our wins and losses with sobriety; both, when taken to an extreme high or an extreme low, are fabricated fictions. We need to be free; freedom requires that we erase from our mind victimhood mentality.


. . .

Loved meeting Basel today, a Cambodian boy my dad, President Bill Clinton, first met in 2006! Basel was one of the first kids in Cambodia to receive ARVs thanks to the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Today there is universal access to ARVs for adults and kids. - Chelsea Clinton, 30 May 2013


Basil was named for Dr. Basil Stamos, a friend and donor to Angkor Hospital for Children and the Clinton Health Access Initiative here in Cambodia.  I remember when he was named by former President Clinton in 2006.


Promotional video of Angkor Hospital for Children / Friends Without a Border, featuring founder / photographer Kenro Izu, former US president Bill Clinton, legendary Quincy Jones, and author Theary Seng, 2006.


. . .



Theary C. Seng and the Road Ahead in Cambodia

By Michelle Phipps-Evans

Asian Fortune News, 3 Feb. 2013

Theary C. Seng (Photo: Roland Neveu, Dec. 2009)

The name Theary Chan Seng generates a fervor approaching reverence in the Cambodian community here and abroad. She is the Cambodian-born, American-educated lawyer and civil rights activist who founded the Cambodian Center for Justice & Reconciliation. It is a major component of another organization she serves as founding president, CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education. This nonprofit group is dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles. It is actively engaged in the practice of democracy and reconciliation in Cambodia and the larger, globalized world.

So who really is Seng, the person? She is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime, and has spent almost two decades advocating for its victims, many of whom were orphaned, widowed, abused or molested—victims who were like Seng herself.

Read full article

In KI-Media


. . .

Obama, in Cambodia for a Meeting,

Sidesteps the Ghosts of History


International Herald Tribune (Peter Baker, November 20, 2012)

Theary Seng, president of the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia, said, “President Obama should have met with the human rights community and activists challenging the Hun Sen regime, and while then and there, offer a public apology to the Cambodian people for the illegal U.S. bombings, which took the lives of half a million Cambodians and created the conditions for the Khmer Rouge genocide.”


Click here to read this complete news analysis


. . .


Kissinger in Cambodia:

Protests Greet Obama's Visit

International Herald Tribune / New York Times

PHNOM PENH — Theary Seng was taking aim with precision and anger. The 41-year-old U.S.-trained lawyer and a regular on Cambodia’s crowded protest circuit was about to throw a dart at a poster of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger is one of 13 politicians and senior Khmer Rouge leaders in a dart game created by Poetic Justice, a nongovernmental organization run by Theary Seng that highlights deficiencies of the special U.N.-backed tribunal judging the Khmer Rouge’s crimes. Each player gets five throws. A bull’s-eye is worth seven points. The highest score wins.

Last Sunday afternoon, Theary Seng and three members of her staff were playing on Phnom Penh’s riverfront opposite the storied Foreign Correspondents’ Club. On this occasion — the fourth time the game has been staged in public — the point was to draw attention to the narrow scope of the Khmer Rouge tribunal ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit for a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Click here to read full article.


. . .


Interview by Mike McRoberts of TV3, New Zealand standing on what was formerly the capital's largest natural lake, place of violent forced evictions (Phnom Penh, 20 Nov. 2012). Theary: "The international community gives muscles to this dictatorial regime to repress its own people. Before the government represses with Cambodian riels; now it's empowered and given muscles with NZ dollars, US dollars, Euros..."

Watch the TV3 New Zealand broadcast

with Mike McRoberts (aired 21 Nov. 2012)

At ASEAN summit, trade overshadows human rights

In solidarity with courageous protestors of Boeung Kak Lake, here sitting on what was formerly the capital's largest natural lake, with Council of Ministers facing it, with Bopha's mom and son (Phnom Penh, 20 Nov. 2012)


. . .


Open Letter

to U.S. President Barack Obama

Published in The Phnom Penh Post, 20 November 2012

Read letter in KI-Media


. . .


CJOReillyGlobal: #Theary Seng being questioned by Police of her possessions ahead arrival of #Obama. If only they knew her rights. Nov 19, 2012, 10:23 UTCMs.

Theary Seng and some 30 security (plus more embedded in Wat Phnom Penh and Sunway Hotel)

Narrative of harassment and images of

Ms. Theary C. Seng's stand-off

with at least 30 big bulky, heavily armed security

in front of US Embassy Phnom Penh

(Tuesday, 19 Nov. 2012)


Theary Seng (reddish-orange blouse to right) and 30+ security next to US Embassy Phnom Penh, 19 Nov. 2012

. . .


Emotional Violence of Past Poetic Justice Dart Games

flared into Physical Assault on Ms. Theary C. Seng

and those around her

along the Riverfront, Sunday, 18 Nov. 2012

A plain-clothes Cambodian police officer, left, pushes away Theary Seng, center, an organizer who was about to stage a protest in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Cambodia broke up a protest organized by her Sunday that was meant to highlight the alleged oppression of Cambodia's people by political figures, including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the late despot Pol Pot (AP Photo).

See more photos

See film of violence

See Opinion by Heng Soy on the vulgarity attempting to undermine Ms. Seng and the global attention on the Poetic Justice dart games

Theary Seng and Poetic Justice dart game (Photo: John Vink / Magnum Photos, 18 Nov. 2012)


. . .


. . .Spirit of Humanity Forum


Reykjavik, Iceland


4.15 - 5.45 pm Led by Miriam Subirana, Foundation for a Culture of Peace

The session includes:

Theary C. Seng, Founder, Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, Cambodia

Theary Seng with Princess Martha Louise (only daughter of Norwegian King and Queen), a genuine "people's princess" full of warmth and personality (Reykjavik, 15 Sept. 2012)


. . .



"Take that, Kissinger!" Poetic Justice dart games filming for ABC News.

More at Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia...

"Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Court 'Dying'

ABC News film, aired 16 Oct. 2012


. . .


Khmer Rouge defendant Ieng Thirith ruled unfit for Cambodian genocide trial due to dementia

The Washington Post, 13 Sept. 2012

Of course if she is seriously ill with Alzheimer’s, she should be released. There is no point in trying an incapacitated person,” said Theary Seng, a human rights advocate representing some victims who are allowed a role in the proceedings. “The point is the (tribunal) is so late in coming. The political foot-dragging and inertia has caused this travesty of justice.”



. . .


Poetic Justice

and Civil Party Withdrawal

in the News

Nov. 2011

Ex-leader: Khmer Rouge atrocities are 'fairy tale'

AP Newswire, 23 Nov. 2011

"I'm not surprised that Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary continue to deny their crimes as the charges against them of genocide, war crimes are very serious," said Theary Seng, a Cambodian lawyer and human rights activist who lost family members under their regime.

"Even if I am not surprised, I am however disgusted by their lack of remorse for the suffering they caused. They are delusional in their denial in light of the weight of evidence against them - the mounds of skulls and bones, the horrific testimonies from every survivor of cruelty, the magnitude and scope of evil unleashed by them across the whole of Cambodia."


. . .


"Khmer Rouge trial is failing Cambodian

victims of Pol Pot's regime"

Human Rights Watch Brad Adams' editorial

The Guardian, 26 Nov. 2011

. . .

"Justice Denied"

Douglas Gillison, Foreign Policy Magazine, 23 Nov. 2011

. . .

Deputy President of Victims Association, a Civil Party of the Orphans Class, Mr. CHEY Theara, Withdraws Civil Party Status, Denounces ECCC as Political Farce





Full statement in both Khmer and English in KI-Media.

Here, if ISP censors in Cambodia.


. . . . .


Khmer Rouge Trial Missing a Marquee Defendant

Wall Street Journal, 21 Nov. 2011

“The release of Ieng Thirith is only one reflection of how incredibly late these trials are coming into place,” said Theary Seng, founder of the Cambodian Center for Justice and Reconciliation and herself, too, a victim of the Khmer Rouge regime, having lost her parents and spent five months in prison. She has withdrawn from the tribunal process, and instead put her energy into organizing public games of darts featuring the faces of the Khmer Rouge leaders along Phnom Penh’s riverfront – a “way of release” following victims’ frustrations with the trial process, mixed with “dark humor,” she said.


Theary Seng BBC News filming, Nov. 2011

Watch the BBC News coverage

But the trial - a joint enterprise between the UN and Cambodia - has been heavily criticised. Theary Seng, whose parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge, said putting three people on trial for the deaths of 1.7 million simply wasn't enough. (BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011)

Poetic Justice German Filming, 18 Nov. 2011
Filming for German DW-Global with Bastian and Sarin, 18 Nov. 2011. More photos...

Filming by BBC with Guy DeLauney, 17 Nov. 2011. More photos...

Khmer Rouge Trial: Cambodia Awaits Answers

BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011


. . .

Crying for Justice

AFP, 21 Nov. 2011

Khmer Rouge survivor Theary Seng told AFP she was "frustrated beyond words" that only Khieu Samphan looked likely to shed light on what happened. "The people want to know who is behind the Khmer Rouge, we want to see and understand the larger picture and we're not going to get that," she said.

From Tragedy to Sham in Cambodia

Asia Times Online, 19 Nov. 2011

In KI-Media

Others have gone further, arguing that the time might be ripe for the UN to pull the plug on the controversy-plagued court altogether. Last week, Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime and a prominent advocate for victims' rights, withdrew her status as a civil party to the court, describing the proceedings as a "complete sham".

She said the UN should threaten to withdraw after setting some clear conditions for its continued participation. By pressing ahead, Seng said, the world body runs the risk of rubber-stamping a flawed process and further embedding cynicism in the Cambodian population.

"I understand the unwieldiness of any large bureaucracy, but at the end of the day it comes down to personalities, and there have been extremely weak personalities," she said. "In this regard, the UN is complicit."



In the End, Loss of Faith in Tribunal: Former Complainant

Hello VOA Special with Theary Seng, 16 Nov. 2011

Khmer Rouge Victim Quits Tribunal Saying UN-backed Court is a Sham

DPA, 15 Nov. 2011


Prominent Victims' Advocate Quits Khmer Rouge Tribunal

VOA International/English, 15 Nov. 2011

KRT Critic Offers 'Poetic Justice'

The Phnom Penh Post, 16 Nov. 2011

Theary Seng Denounces Tribunal; Introduces Dartboard Scheme

The Cambodia Daily, 16 Nov. 2011


Theary Seng's Press Conference, 15 Nov. 2011
More photos from Poetic Justice/ECCC Withdrawal Press Conference, 15 Nov. 2011

Poetic Justice
Front pages of The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post, 16 Nov. 2011


. . .

Click here to read the full press release...


More information at "ECCC Civil Party"

More information at Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia

In KI-Media

Theary Seng Criticizes KRT

as "Political Farce"

The Phnom Penh Post, 10 Nov. 2011


Radio Free Asia (both AM and PM broadcasts on 10 Nov. 2011)


Cambodian-American Lawyer Withdraws her Civil Party Status

Voice of America Khmer Service, 10 Nov. 2011








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