Norodom Sihanouk

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search

Norodom Sihanouk (Sihanouk3.png regular script Sihanouk4.png; 31 October 1922 – 15 October 2012) was the King of Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his semi-retirement and voluntary abdication on 7 October 2004. Since his abdication, he became known as The King-Father of Cambodia (Khmer: Preahmâhaviraksat), a position in which he retained many of his former responsibilities as constitutional monarch.

Sourced[edit]

  • From now on, any individual or any political party that opposes My policies will be declared a traitor to the Nation and... punished [accordingly].
    • Radio adress (January 13, 1953), as quoted in Philip Short (2004) Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare, page 83
  • For the first time in my life, I have to grab the monks by the throat. Me! The most religious man in the Kingdom! Because I've had enough- more than enough! My subjects and the elite among my subjects must obey!
    • Reaction to two Buddhist orders sympathising with communist rebels (1952), as quoted in Philip Short (2004) Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare, page 84
  • We don't want any Vietnamese in Cambodia.... We will be very glad if you solve our problem. We are not opposed to hot pursuit in uninhabited areas. You would be liberating us from the Viet Cong. For me only Cambodia counts. I want you to force the Viet Cong to leave Cambodia. In unpopulated areas, where there are not Cambodians,- such precise cases I would shut my eyes.
    • Said to presidential emissary Chester Bowles (January 10, 1968), as quoted by Henry Kissinger (2003) Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War, page 67
  • Cambodia only protests against the destruction of the property and lives of Cambodians. All I can say is that I cannot make a protest as long as I am not informed. But I will protest if there is any destruction of Khmer life and property.
    Here it is - the first report about several B-52 bombings. Yet I have not been informed about that at all, because I have not lost any houses, any countrymen, nothing, nothing. Nobody was caught in those barrages - nobody, Cambodians.
    • Stated two months (May 13, 1969) after American bombings in Cambodia began, as quoted by Henry Kissinger (2000), Years of Renewal, page 498

Speeches[edit]

To fight without having the autochtonous population on one's side makes no sense
  • There are two injustices which revolt Me! First, that which makes the people believe that those responsible for the [Franco-Khmer] treaty and who continue to have dealings with the French are traitors. Secondly, that which holds that... all who do not openly insult and struggle against the French are traitors... For Myself, I refuse [this logic]... If I am a traitor, let the Crown Council permit Me to abdicate!... I can no longer stand by and watch My country drown and My people die... Over these last few months we have no longer dared look each other in the face. In our offices and schools, everywhere people are discussing politics- suspecting each other; hatching plots; promoting this person, bringing down that one, pushing the third aside; doing no constructive work while, in the country at large, killing, banditry and murder hold sway. Chaos reigns, the established order has ceased to exist... The military and the police... no longer know where their duty lies. The Issaraks are told that they are dying for Cambodia, and so are our soldiers dying in battle against them... Each day threatens [to engulf us in] a veritable civil war... This is how things now stand gentlemen. The time has come for the Nation to make clear whether it desires to follow [the way of the rebels], or to continue in the path that I have traced.
    • Speech to the Council of the Throne (June 4, 1952), as quoted in Philip Short (2004) Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare, page 76
  • I am asking the U.S.A and Great Britain if, just for once, they will kindly consider the problem of Cambodia from the viewpoint of the Khmers instead of that of the French... My people will tell you: 'We don't know what communist slavery means. But the slavery imposed by the French we know well, for we are now living under it. If we fight alongside the French against the Viet Minh and the Issaraks, we are simply strengthening the chains of that slavery...' [The problem is that] in Indochina, you are either a communist or a lackey of the French: there is no middle course. We are not allowed to hope for an independence like that of India or Pakistan within the British Commonwealth... The question is: Does French military power on its own have any chance of defeating communism in Indochina? To fight without having the autochtonous population on one's side makes no sense... What is at stake in this struggle, and what will determine its outcome, is the [native] population. The Viet Minh have understood that from the start. If we [who oppose communism] wish to have the population with us, we must... make [our country's] independence... real and unquestionable, so that [no one] will listen any more to the Viet Minh propaganda about 'liberation'... This is the whole problem. It is a political matter. It has nothing to do with the science of war... If France does not boldly face up to [this]... then one day, sooner or later, it will be forced to abdicate from Indochina.
    • Secret memorandum drafted for the American and British legations (1953), as quoted in Philip Short (2004) Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare, pages 92-93
  • My personal indignation cannot be compared with the magnitude of my concern for the sad fate of our country! These traitors have thrown the country - which had a good reputation as an island of peace - into the furnace of the American's war! The freedom and solidarity of the nation have been completely destroyed. Millions of our fellow countrymen will rise up to liquidate the reactionary group of Lon Nol and Sirik Matak and their American masters!... I call on all my children, both military and civilian, who cannot stand to remain under the traitor's power, and who are courageous and determined to liberate the fatherland, to fight our enemy. If the children already have weapons, I will bring the ammunition and even new weapons to strengthen them. If the children have no weapons and want to undergo training, I will take measures to help them leave for the military school, deep in the jungle to avoid enemy detection. For those children who are in Europe and wish to serve, come to Moscow or Peking to see me. Long live Cambodia!
    • As quoted by Haing S. Ngor (1987) Surviving the Killing Fields, pages 46-47

Interviews[edit]

China doesn't export tanks and men. It exports dignity and respect.
To those who can't understand how I, a non-communist, could be friends with Zhou Enlai, I say: "But he's a prince more princely than I am!"
I'm ashamed of my race for having begotten an idiot like Lon Nol.
  • I may live in Peking rather than Phnom Penh, but I'm still the same old Sihanouk. A little original, or bizarre if you prefer. A little misunderstood, or incomprehensible if you prefer. But his convictions are intact and his personality's unaltered. For instance, I haven't become a communist: I continue to define myself as pink rather than red. I've not sewn my mouth shut: I continue to shout what I think about everything and everyone, without thinking of the consequences. And I've no intention of ending up as an exiled playboy.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 103
  • I don't want to become a kind of Hirohito who produces cameras, or an Elizabeth of England who cares only for horses. Even less do I want to turn out like Juan Carlos, who's just a ghost of Franco. I have no personal ambitions.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 103
  • Do you really believe that a man like me, who suffers for a country where B52s make 260 incursions a day, could miss the good life and jazz orchestras? I don't miss anything. I'm in mourning, and I don't even think of the carefree days of back then. What's done is done. If I had my Lancias, my Alfa Romeos and my Mercedes, I wouldn't know what to do with them now.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). pages 105-106
  • Ah, China is a formidable country. An Asian can't help but love China and take pride in it. China doesn't export tanks and men. It exports dignity and respect.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). pages 108-109
  • He's the truest friend I've ever had. What's more, he's an exquisite man, full of kindness and sophistication, the most aristocratic aristocrat one can meet. To those who can't understand how I, a non-communist, could be friends with Zhou Enlai, I say: "But he's a prince more princely than I am!"
    • On Zhou Enlai, said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 109
  • … I hate them. Them and their false democracy, their false liberty, their imperialism conducted in the name of christian civilisation, their coups, like the coup which they started against me...
    • On the USA, said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 112
  • Everyone knows now that it was Nixon who wanted me liquidated. For a long time, the Americans dreamed of doing to me what they failed to do against Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs incident.
    • On the USA, said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 112
  • Oh, I'm not entirely without blame! It was a mistake to have chosen Lon Nol as my right-hand man, my chief of staff, my prime minister, without ever suspecting that he was a traitor in league with the CIA. I thought he was a patriot... Who would have thought the Americans would use him? After all, he was a complete idiot! He never understood a damn thing, always staring at me with those bovine eyes of his, and spending all his time praying.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). pages 112-113
  • History is full of traitors, and what's happened to me with Lon Nol is no exception. However, traitors are usually intelligent, not cretins like Lon Nol! I'm ashamed of my race for having begotten an idiot like Lon Nol. But the biggest idiot here isn't Lon Nol. It was Sihanouk who chose Lon Nol.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 113
  • [I'm as naïve] as a child sometimes. People think I'm like Machiavelli. And yet I'm an even bigger sucker than Machiavelli was... In diplomatic manoevering, I seem devious and diabolical in my intentions, when in reality I'm not even that clever.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 113
  • For God's sake! If I ran a dictatorship, then what is Lon Nol running? I renounced my throne to show the masses that there's no such thing as divine right, that no one descends from the heavens to rule the people.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 116
  • It's not Mao Tse-tung who threatens southeast Asia, nor is it Ho Chi Minh. If all of Indochina becomes communist, we can thank America, its mistakes, blunders, crimes and imperialism which protects or launches invariably corrupt, dictatorial and unpopular regimes simply because they are anti-communist.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011)
  • … between Lon Nol's corrupt regime and the Khmers Rouges' serious one, the choice is obvious. If you were in my place, if you were a Cambodian patriot, if you were a Sihanouk who loves his own country more than anything else in the world, you'd say the same... It's only proper to congratulate the Cambodian communists and tell them: "Well done. You deserve power for ever, and no one must ever replace you. Not even Sihanouk. Sihanouk must not govern in your stead anymore, as he's been unable to do what you've achieved. He wanted to, and dreamed about it, but he couldn't do it. After all, Sihanouk counts for nothing. It's Cambodia that counts."
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 126
  • I'm not a communist, but I'm not anti-communist either. I'm not afraid of communists, and declare that if a country wants to be communist, it has the right to be so.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011)
  • The Chinese, in their infinite wisdom, have taught me that one must know when to choose between the primary and secondary enemy. For China, the primary enemy is the Soviet Union, and the secondary one is America. Therefore, they deal with the Soviet Union first, and America later. For me, the primary enemy is American imperialism and Lon Nol's fascism. My secondary enemies are the communists. Thus, I choose to ally myself with the secondary enemy to defeat the primary.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 128
  • I don't want Cambodia to be a carbon copy of the Philippines, Formosa, South Vietnam or South Korea. I don't even want a Cambodia which exports cameras like Japan. I want a decent Cambodia, a Cambodia like China. If that makes it a bit too austere, too bad. If this takes away the happiness I cultivated with my films and my songs, too bad. But, they say, there's the problem of individual freedom, freedom of thought. Yes, that's true. But where's the alternative? Nowhere. Let's use our common sense here: even if there was another solution, the Cambodian communists would never relenquish power.
    • Said during his exile in Peking, as quoted by Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 128
  • I want my country to be independent, always independent. I have to defend my convictions as a patriot and as a national leader. I have done my best, but as a human being I cannot be perfect, nobody is perfect.

Quotes about Sihanouk[edit]

  • Hearing him speak is so fun, reassuring I dare say. You can say all you like about Sihanouk: that he's an atrocious liar, a madman, a fraud, a swashbuckler, an international blot. You may think that, but you cannot deny how in this age in which the political arena seems to generate only dull, obtuse and boring characters with no imagination, he's a kind of miracle.
    • Oriana Fallaci (June 1973), Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011). page 100.
  • In Cambodia, Sihanouk was immensely popular. We barely noticed his faults, like allowing corruption to go unpunished, and keeping incompetent people in the government. Few of us were educated enough to care. When he spoke to us in his loud, high-pitched voice, shouting and gesturing wildly, eyes bulging with excitement, we listened with respect.
    • Haing S. Ngor (1987) Surviving the Killing Fields, page 38
  • Sihanouk told us again and again that we were an "island of peace," the envy of the world. He said we were much more civilized people than the Vietnamese and the Thais. What he told us made us feel good about ourselves, but he never encouraged us to travel outside Cambodia to make our own comparisons. If we had, we might have seen how pitiful our economy was, how weak our military was, how inefficient our bureaucracy was. If we had known, and if Sihanouk had truly been interested in development, we might have been able to do something about it.
    • Haing S. Ngor (1987) Surviving the Killing Fields, page 393-394
  • [Sihanouk is] an intelligent man but vain and flighty... He appeared to me totally unrealistic about the problems his country faced.
    • Richard Nixon, as quoted in Arnold R. Isaacs (1998), Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia, page 193

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: