Sihanouk to Monk: Do Not Set Self Alight

Retired King Norodom Sihanouk urged a monk living in the US not to set himself on fire to protest the border agreement with Vietnam, suggesting that he himself should make the sacrifice instead, in a letter posted on his Web site on Nov 30.

Responding to an e-mail from Rithul Neath Bandithtor, the retired King noted that the agreement, signed into effect last week by King Norodom Sihamoni, was “very complicated.”

“Please, don’t set yourself on fire, because it is contrary to the teaching of Buddha’s dharma that Buddhists ‘should neither kill others nor oneself,’” the retired king wrote.

“It should be me according to Buddha’s dharma, which states ‘One should feel the shame of one’s act,’” he added.

Norodom Sihanouk gave two reasons for why he should feel shame: First, the October broadcasting on state media of anti-Sihanouk songs from the Lon Nol era; and second that “I could not gain territory for Cambodian people like the present leadership [which] gains thousands of square kilometers.”

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said on Sunday that no one had gained or lost land by the border treaty.

“If we said we gain, the other party would have to lose. Who would agree? He who claims of gain during a negotiation is ignorant of diplomacy,” Khieu Kanha­rith said.

TVK General Director Kim Gun­nawath and Apsara TV and Radio Director Sok Eisan both said it was beyond their power to comment.


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