Election Violence Fears

[I believe this was published in the Phnom Penh Post in August 2003.]

In a front-page article in the July 18-31 Post, Vong Sokheng and Susan Font report: “Fears of violence are increasing as election day draws closer.” It is a pity that the Post did not see fit to provide more detail.

My own limited contact with Cambodians seemed to me to indicate a decreasing fear of violence as the campaign proceeded in relative peace. Of course, I would not have presumed to generalize from such limited observations and declare that Cambodians generally were becoming more confident. I am certain that Post journalists would be even more circumspect about making a comparably unsupported generalization.

Therefore, unless my last statement is mistaken, the Post’s reporters must have had access to studies of Cambodians’ fears of election-related violence conducted on two separate occasions, or at least a study which asked interviewees about their present and former fears.

It would clearly be of interest to many readers to know who conducted the study or studies about the fear of violence, what areas of the country they covered, the date of comparison on which fears were lesser, and the amount of change – i.e., what percent feared violence on the earlier date and what percent on the later date.

Can we hope that this information will be reported in the Post in the near future?

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