Khmernews

Construction of Memorial Statue for Khmer Rouge Victims in Samroang Knong Pagoda

Posted by khmernews on January 4, 2007

Aek Phnom, Battambang: An initiator and supporter of the construction of a memorial statue said that he is continuing to complete the construction of the memorial statue for the victims who were killed during Khmer Rouge regime. The memorial statue is located near Samroang Khnong pagoda, Samroang Knong village, Samroang Knong commune, Aek Phnom district, Battambang province.

Oknha Dul Phouk, called Ban Doeun, President of US-based Generous Khmer Organization (group of Khmer generous children living in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France) said on 9 December that he has initiated and led the construction since 2002. The construction is funded by Cambodian people living in foreign countries. The construction of the memorial statue will be completed by January 2007. Other workings such as sculptures, fences, gats, tiled ground surrounding mass graves and so on will be continually constructed. The construction project costs tens of thousands dollars.

He went on to say that the slowness of the construction is due to the fact that he and his colleagues have been so busy finding donation from Cambodian people and foreigners living abroad to construct roads, schools, pagodas, hospitals, rest houses for travelers and houses for poor and disable people, to dig ponds, wells, to provide medical supplies, and to offer foods to poor people in the country. As a result, the construction of the historical memorial statue had temporarily stopped for a period of time. It is really a difficult job to have the memorial statue constructed with a good and lively look. Sometime, he asked some sculptures that seemed not lively and worthless to be removed or sculptured again. “Although it takes time and costs lots of money, the construction will be a valuable and contented achievement of which we, the initiators and donors of the construction, and constructers are so proud. The construction will benefit the Cambodian people as a whole,” he added.

“I want the sculptures to be lively and imaginative. The construction will make people who have ever experienced the Khmer Rouge regime excited and burst into tears unconsciously. He stressed, “I have also experienced the regime and saw it with my two eyes. Additionally, I have listened to victims’ description concerning tortures and killings the Khmer Rouge did to them. I had imagined the pictures of actions the Khmer Rouge did to the victims and then asked artists to sculpt. If the sculptures are not so logical, we have to correct them,” he continued.

He also expressed his ambition of having this construction built with high standard, saying, “The people who have visited here will not mockingly laugh at the construction and sculptures.” The sculptures depict the tortures, killings and tragedy that happened to the victims. Some sculptures also depict the true stories of some victims during the Khmer Rouge regime in various places throughout the country. Fore example, a sculpture depicts the evacuation of people near Battambang’s Phsar Nat market on 25 April 1975 in which a medical practitioner was shot dead.  Other sculptures show about the activity that Khmer Rouge soldiers took children away from their mothers and putted them into a board, a picture of a person who was forced to pull plough in a rice field, the killing of In Tam’s nephew, a picture of Khmer Rouge soldiers who was eating human livers and a picture of Khmer Rouge soldiers tortured people by using plastic bags.

Regarding the construction of the memorial statue and the sculptures describing the real view during the Khmer Rouge regime – which is the only one construction that have been built in Cambodia, the initiator who have led the construction said that there are three reason to build the memorial statue: 1- for remembering the spirits of Khmer Rouge victims (1975-79) and keeping their remains; 2- for keeping such bitter experience for the next generations and foreigners to see; 3- for using as a place to mark 7 January liberation day, the day of 20 May. If this memorial statue is not built, such a bitter memory will be forgotten. Every ceremony concerning with Khmer Rouge regime are always marked here. Previously, this place was not good and suitable for the ceremony. According to Buddhism, the place can be used to celebrate religious ceremonies to dedicate to the spirits of the victims. Doing so will help them to be able to be reborn.

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 14, #4157, Wednesday 13 December 2006

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