Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Identity Crisis?

I have come across few countries that have undergone so many name changes in the short space of 30 years. One only needs to glance at the various names of Cambodia to get a sense of the policitial chaos that riddled what is today the most hunger stricken nation in South East Asia. Each new name was to bring a new and prosperous beginning although more often than not the ensuing reality was the complete opposite. Evidently a mere name change is never enough to instill in people a fresh and permanent identity. Moreover despite the present peaceful Cambodian chapter I must question the validity of the term "Kingdom" which honours a pathetic monarchy who put power and wealth before all else, even if it meant supporting the Khmer Rouge in the 1970's or a royal prince being sentenced in absentia last week to 18 years in prison for corruption.

Nonetheless while the names may on their face seem radically different they are all ironically of the same derivaton. KAMBU is the mythical founder of the nation and "Kambuja" means "all those born of Kambu". You can therefore easily identify the same root in Cambodge, Camboya, Camboxa, Khmer, and of course Cambodia...

The Khmer Republic (1970 - 1975)

Democratic Kampuchea
( Khmer Rouge Rule 1975 - 1979)

The Peoples Republic of Kampuchea
(Vietnam backed Pnomh Penh Government 1979 - 1989)

State of Cambodia(1989 - 1993)

Kingdom of Cambodia (1993 - Present day)

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