Friday, January 15, 2010

Faleomavaega in New Asia Blunder

Well, our globe-trotting Congressman is at it again. Asians will be excused for ducking when they see him coming because they never know what surprises this "loose cannon" will have for them. On a previous Southeast Asia swing it was a controversial toast in Hanoi to the murderous Vietnam dictator Ho Chic Minh that ruffled a lot of feathers, especially those of U.S. veterans back home. On this trip to the region, it was Cambodia.

Leading a three-man congressional delegation on a four-country boondoggle, Faleomavaega decided to join a Cambodian People's party celebration of a controversial day that among other things celebrates the Vietnam invasion of Cambodia. The Cambodian People's Party was previously known as the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP), which was founded as a Marxist-Leninist party.

Faleomavaega's traveling colleagues, Mike Honda (D-CA) and Joseph Cao (R-LA), diplomatically choose to stay away from the event and visited a killing field instead. The story can be read here: . Several of the Asian blogs wrote stories critical of Faleomavaega's decision, with one prominent blog headlined "Eni Faleomavaega: Purposely Ignorant or Really Simple-minded?" When asked about his decision at a press conference, Faleomavaega replied "What I pay attention to on January 7 is the toppling of the Pol Pot regime." Of course, that is sort of like celebrating the date an airline became an all-jet fleet but ignoring the fact that the date also represents the mid-air collision of the company's last two propeller-driven planes, which resulted in the all-jet fleet.

Naturally, people back in American Samoa were treated only to an innocuous story in Samoa News, where Faleomavaega's sister-in-law is a top editor, about how their fearless leader was heading a delegation to Cambodian to discuss increasing trade and canceling the country's debt to the U.S. No word about the January 7 flap. Of course not. That gets swept under the rug and people go on singing Eni's praises. The photo used by Samoa News did show, however, that the Cambodian prime minister and both of Faleomavaega's colleagues were appropriately dressed in suits with neck ties while Eni was in open collar attire.

In another blog commenting on Faleomavaega's ignorance, one commenter asked: "What...is wrong with that congressman? He's from America? I thought American politicians do not support any dictators around the world. Man, I think Eni should have never got involved with the CPP's celebration...He should know that CPP is an exclusive gangsters clique that continue to victimize the poor of Cambodia. In addition, Eni should have been more educated about the Jan. 7 event. He should have connected more dots in order to see the whole truth of things. Man, I am so disappoint about this! An American Congressman from America being a [supplicant] to Hun Sen's clique??? This is an unbelievable. If Eni wanted to participate in any celebrations at all, he should have made a better choice. This is a very bad move on Eni's part. Eni should have never wasted any time with these CPP gangsters who do not value freedom and opportunities for the rest of the Cambodian people. Bad choice of attendance indeed."

Another one said "The US Congressman joined Hun Sen to celebrate the continuism of the Communist Party. What...was he thinking! Shame on you, Mr. Faleomanvaega...what an ignorant!" Yet a third chimed in: "Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), is a disgrace to the Free World, to praise Dictator Hun Sen and Vietcongs' aggression in Southeast Asia. Eni's party is (D- American Samoa) but D stands for Dictator rather than Democrat. Shame on Eni Shame on You!"

A fourth commenter said "Because of Eni Faleomagvaega's attendance in the CPP's 31st commemorative event of the Jan. 7, now the CPP news dap-news.com claims that the United States of America recognizes the Jan. 7th of the CPP. Now Eni has to clarified his position."

A toast to Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi? Celebration of the Vietnam invasion of Cambodia that restored the CPP to power? Coincidence or connect the dots? You decide. At least two other congressmen decided they were not going to play "follow the leader."

1 comment:

Patty said...

#1 - Eni's sister-in-law is not a 'top editor' of Samoa News. She is a copy editor which means she does the first run by of the story for spelling, punctuation and grammer.

#2 - The story was never run in Samoa News, and the more interesting thing is no PR was ever released from Eni's office about the trip. What you are referring to as a Samoa News article is a link to the story in a SEA publication posted on samoanews.com