The legendary father king of Cambodia died on 15 October 2012. He was a towering figure in Cambodia politics.
I don't want to attempt any kind of summation or retrospective of the life of this giant of a man, but I do want to share with you two short video clips of him at his finest.
Until he was overthrown in a Nixon inspired coup in 1968, Prince Norodom Sihanouk had been successful in navigating the political and military white waters surrounding Cambodia during the Vietnam War and largely keeping Cambodia out of it. As the US was trying to bomb North Vietnam "back into the stone age," the C.I.A. was waging a covert war in Laos and the full force of the Pentagon was being unleashed in South Vietnam, Sihanouk walked a tightrope for Cambodia, diplomatically looking the other way where the Ho Chi Minh trail strayed into Cambodian jungles and also not interfering too much with US attempts to go after it.
His removal was followed by frightful consequences for Cambodia. More than 800,000 people were killed by Nixon's "secret" bombing of Cambodia. This assault so thoroughly destroyed the infrastructure of Cambodia, including killing of 75% of the draft animals, that a 1975 US AID report predicted that millions would die of famine after the US pulled out.
The one minute clip below is from my film, Vietnam: American Holocaust. The DVD of the film is available from Linux Beach or Amazon. The clip first features Norodom Sihanouk, as leader of Cambodia talking to US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk about civilians being killed by US troops. I love the way he doesn't back down or allow Rusk to interrupt him.
The second one is a statement to the media just after he has been deposed by a CIA engineered coup. Here we see both his gentleness and his fortitude. Those two clips are seperated by Martin Sheen's narration. From Vietnam: American Holocaust screenplay:
Some officials in our army and many deputies and many members of the government in Phnom Penh, they want to be your allies in order to have your dollars. They don't think about the destiny and the fate of our homeland, they don't mind about it, they are more patriotic for dollars than for Cambodia
Here are a couple of late videos from the Syrian Revolution:
A Syrian air force pilot captured by rebels after his plane was shot down has told Al Jazeera that he did not know he was bombing civilians.While the Assad forces and turning to more and more desperate tactics, the free Syrian Army is becoming better organized and more professional, as example by this video below. What courage these people have. They shall prevail!
Captain Roni Ibrahim said he and his fellow pilots were isolated from the reality of the conflict.
Ibrahim said he was speaking freely, though Al Jazeera was unable to verify the claim.
Anita McNaught has this exclusive report from the northern town of al-Bab.