Khmer Politics the Soap Opera IVApril 2, 2006
An almost quiet week this by recent standards, it started however with one of my favourite stories this week, The Iron Man’s phone call to Prince R, in the depths of the French countryside, to let him know the bitch-slapping was just business, it was not personal. It must have been a proud day for the Corleone family.
Our vocabulary of Khmer political idioms was further expanded as the Cambodia (rarely) Daily (almost) eventually mentioned that the ‘evil foxes’ referred to previously by The Iron Man related to mistresses of politicians – thanks for clarifying that Harry, we might have all spent sleepless nights wondering about whom the Iron Man was discrediting.
Everyone’s second favourite Princess was still the lone voice of FUNCINPEC royalist support, but there just did not seem the fire in her voice that was there a couple of weeks ago, maybe being the only one trying to hold her party together is more exhausting than she thought – maybe she needs a long foreign holiday as well to recharge and recuperate, I hear that the University of Paris is looking for staff.
The King Father spoke out again from that bastion of democracy, North Korea, to say ‘I have decided once and for all, not to meddle in Cambodian and others political affairs I have been given the title of Father of the Nation and of National Unity – I must and shall remain above political factions and parties’ well, with over 50 years of meddling in Cambodian politics under your belt, I guess anyone would need a break; hell, most people meddling in Khmer politics for that long would need either a wake, or a small room with padded walls to rest in.
I would mention the decision to not hold elections down at the Village Chief level, but to be honest I am bored of the topic already. Some factions here seem to have studied too much American. If we carry on down that road, the Country will not be able to function due to its stopping every five minutes to elect the local dog-catcher, to elect the local police chief, to elect the most eligible roadside water-seller, et al. It has been said before that Presidential Democracy is Americas most dangerous export; I cast my vote for a parliamentary democracy, we just need to smooth out the small flaws in things like judicial independence, governance, corruption, taxation, et cetera?
But enough of that, back to Capital Politics and The Iron Man’s ‘extreme reform’ campaign. Comparisons can be drawn with Italy’s ‘operation clean hand’ or former New York Mayor Giuliani”s zero tolerance campaign. But with the targets mostly to be FUNCINPEC functionaries and civil servants I think another reference to the Corleone family and the taking over of the five families would be nearer the mark. The Rain Man as Enzo the Baker?
Then of course we come to the highlight of the week, having finished slapping the FUNCINPEC mosquito into submission, without even raising a sweat, The Iron Man turns his attention to that other group of corrupt, incompetent, whining, political meddlers, yes the United Nations yet again got a verbal slapping. During his brief flying junket Special Envoy and Tea-boy Yash Ghai knocked out another $100,000 UN report claiming that Cambodia has not changed or improved since the UNTAC invasion; sorry, did I say invasion, I meant to say ‘mission’, honest. Damn any more slips like that and I will have Lieutenant-General Sanderson kicking down the front door.
A key gripe of his was that the Defamation Law had not been decriminalised to a civil crime. But let us pause a moment, who was it who introduced a Criminal Law for defamation in the first place? Oh yes, that is it, it was the United Nation and their UNTAC mission. Ironically enough, this is just one of the provisions in the UNTAC Penal Code which does not meet international human rights standards.
However, between meals in Topaz, coffee in Cafe Java and air-conditioned chauffer-driven tours between Five Star hotels, Ghai decided to knock up a draft version of a new law for Cambodia, but then pouted and sulked when it was ignored ‘I have prepared a new version of the defamation article but they refuse to incorporate it’
Could somebody just remind me, who elected this clown? Oh wait, that is right, the UN is not a democratic body. So who elected The Iron Man? That would be the people of the Country which he runs, mmm. Maybe we should all have a whip round for the UN so that we can buy them a dictionary.
The Iron Man finally ran out of patience and publicly spanked Ghai by calling on the UN Secretary-General to fire him as a ?’long term tourist’; mind you Kofi Annan has enough on his plate at home to worry about, pesky little vote of no confidence and all that. Just for good measure though, The Iron Man also had a pre-emptive pop at the UN as a whole by asking the question ‘where were you all when the Khmer Rouge were killing people?’ which I have to say, is a good question, where were they? Busy knocking up some reports no doubt, maybe collating some data or publishing some statistics.
Annan did take time out of his busy schedule of covering his own (and his family?s) back by getting someone to knock out a memo supporting Ghai?s picnic in Phnom Penh and calling on the RGC to work with the UN. I can see the thought process now – ‘yes, a strongly worded memo, yes, yes, that should do the trick, fax it over to Cambodia and we will have The Iron Man dancing like a puppet on a string; dance little PM, dance, m’wha m?wha m?wha ha ha (bad phonetic representation of Dr Evils laugh, a la Austin Powers)’
Oh well, I think I had better head back to Playboy Manor now and carry on building my covert underground lair, I need to be prepared for that 6AM knock on the door from the NGO Secret Services Thought Police.
Rocking the Kasbah, one politician at a time
Snippit of a wiretap, possibly from The Iron Man to Kofi Annan?
‘You sonofabitch. Do you know who I am? I’m Moe Green! I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders.’