It's the role of our historians and other knowledgeable Cambodian fellows to research and publish the histories of both Vietnam and Cambodia, free of all emotions, based on facts. They have scarcely done that. All of us are perhaps too inward-looking.
They need to trace the reasons why the use of the phrase Yuon was banned at one time when Yuon in the old days had no discrimatory connotation at all.
They need to trace the reasons why Khmers are seen as anti-Vietnamse when they talk about the settlement Vietnamese nationals in their country:
(1)Vietnamse are mostly catholic and are defended by their fellow catholic and other Christians?
(2) failure by Khmer historians to expose Vietnamese disrimination against Khmers and Vietnamse hatred of Chinese in Cambodia and in Vietnamse (persecutions of Khmers and Chinese in both countries)?
(3) failure to show that Khmers were and still are victims of Vietnamse expansionism (Namtien-southward expansionism)?
(4) failure to show that those foreigners who say that Khmers discriminate against Vietnamse are themeselves or their ancestors were expansionists like Vietnamese (Americans, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, even Indians, etc...)
(5) failure to prove that some 300,000 Vietamese nationals in Cambodia were sent back to Vietnam and were accepted by the then South-Vietnamese government for resettlement in their homeland, and then only some 10,000 Vietnamse stayed on and were allowed to live on in Cambodia, then under the Khmer Rouge no Vietnamese were living in Cambodia?
(6) failure to show that during the Vietnamse occuption Khmer authorities were instructed to facilitate the settlement of Vietnamese settlers in Cambodia?
(7) failure to show places of their settlement and sizes of Vietnamse communities on the map of Cambodia,
(8) failure to study contemporary developments in Vietnam (demographic pressure -85 million inhabitants now, land conflicts with hilltribes - montagnards, economic development, etc..), (etc...)
Because of such failures Khmers who are victims of aggressors have turned out to be seen as aggressors, and have not been able to devise ways amd measures to counters their expansionism.
There is also an unwise policy of granting Khmer or nowadays Cambodian nationality to Khmers who aree indigenous people of South Vietnam. All those Khmers could be pressurised one way or another to leave their homeland to join their motherland in Cambodia, and noboday could help them because, in international law, they are not stateless or refugees. In contrast the Vietnamse government has refused to take back Vietnamse people who have fled their country or who have lived in Cambodia. Look at the boad people who standed at different places in Southeast Asia. Look at Vietmanese who wanted to return to Vietnam after Khmer Rouge attacks in UNTAC times.
I contributed in a small ways to highlighting the issue of Vietnamse settlers in Cambodia at the International Conference on Cambodia in Paris in 1989 that led to the conclusion of the Peace Agreements in 1991. I circulated an official instruction to Cambodian authorities to help Vietnamse nationals to settle down and live in Cambodia. I was bitterly attacked with name calling by the delegate of the State of Cambodia who denied the presence of such Vietnamse settlers. He calimed that those were indegenous Khmers from Vietnam (Khmer Kroms). The Vietnamese delegate wanted to continue the discussions of this issue, but he was replaced and the new Vietnamese delegate did not utter a word about the issue.
At the same conference, I heartedly agreed with the Vietnamse delegate (Vietnamse ambassador to Cambodia) who asserted that the Cambodian problem had existed before the Vietnamse went into Cambodia. But I added that the Cambodian problem had started when Vietnam had swallowed up the Kingdom of Champa in 16th century. The delegates of the State of Cambodia and Vietnam angrily reacted to my reference to the Khmer-Viet relations. They implicated Thailand in the aggression against Cambodia, which made the Thai delegate very angry with them. I was laughfing inside myself.
I happened to encounter the charges of Khmer discrimination against the Vietnamse by Justice Michael Kirby from Australia, the first UN Special Envoy for human rights in Cambodia. He asserted that Vietnamese in Cambodia had lived there for generations and they had their family books to prove their residence.
I told that Australian judge that there had not been any family books before in Cambodia. Such books were the invention of the communists to control people. He was caught off guard there. Then I asked him to enlighten me if there was any international law which determined any number of generations of aliens that qualified descendants of those aliens to the nationality of the country of their residence. He could not give me any answer for there was no such international law. I then taught him a lesson from Cambodian history: if he refered to generations, many generations ago there had been no Vietnamese in South Vietnam for that part of Vietnam had been Cambodian territory. He made a fool of himself by charging that Khmer discrimated against Vietnamse in front of a Khmer who knew a little bit of the history of his country, and also the history of Australia. Many original Australians were convicts, unwanted elements in the society, the English had sent to Australia to serve their sentences there. After serving their sentences they continued to live there. They and other English people expanded their conquest of Australia at the expenses of the Aborigenese. One tribe at least became extinct due to this expansion.
Having said all that, I continue to dissociate myself from any racial discrimination or any form form of hatred.
LAO Mong Hay, Hong Kong