Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kem Ley’s students pick up mantle



Kem Ley’s students pick up mantle

Meas Ny speaks about Kem Ley’s death during a Young Analysts Group forum at Phnom Penh’s Meta House over the weekend.
Meas Ny speaks about Kem Ley’s death during a Young Analysts Group forum at Phnom Penh’s Meta House over the weekend. Chhay Channyda

Kem Ley’s students pick up mantle

Young analysts and students of the late Kem Ley have vowed to continue his work, particularly in the provinces, after the political analyst and grassroots organiser was gunned down last week at a petrol station in the capital.

Meeting on Saturday morning, the Young Analysts Group – dressed in black and white with ribbons pinned to their clothes in mourning – said they would not be deterred by the violence that silenced their mentor.

“We consider Dr Kem Ley a hero of freedom of expression in Cambodia,” said the group’s president, Hang Vitou.

“The assassination of intellectual, political, environmental activists, such as against Kem Ley, is the biggest threat to democracy in Cambodia . . . it is part of the Cambodian disease.”

A number of the young analysts pledged to follow Ley’s mission of social research and analysis, promising not to exchange their knowledge for money or promotion, and not to cease speaking out of fear.

“We promise to wipe away our tears and go further,” they said.

The group, a subset of about 50 within the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association, were joined by Dr Meas Ny, an analyst who presented alongside Ley during his final radio appearance, which addressed the Global Witness report highlighting Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family’s business ties.

Ny said he had never seen a larger outpouring of public grief than after Ley was slain last Sunday, excepting the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk. “He was just a simple person, he was not a king,” he said. “Leaders also use the strategy of killing one, thinking that when they kill one person, they can threaten so many other people . . . the question is, are we among those 1,000 people that are afraid of expressing our opinions and ideas, or are we the ones that can stand up and take action?”

He added the public were now “seeking the truth” by accessing information online, rather than swallowing the narrative spun by leaders. “We in Cambodia have seen so many regimes related to wars. Today is not a physical war, but a psychological war,” he said. “This is not a colour revolution, this is a thinking revolution.

“The death of Kem Ley is a catalyst for the government to think of another way to lead this country, rather than just threatening people to scare them.”

The young analysts pledged to gather documents and research upon which to base their ideas, as well as make regular trips to the provinces and share their views on radio broadcasts.

They were also hopeful of educating Cambodia’s large youth population ahead of the 2018 national election.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration