Youth from Communities in Six Provinces Explores the Truth of the Khmer Rouge Regime

Posted by khmernews on July 16, 2008


Phnom Penh: Standing in Tuol Sleng Museum in the afternoon of July 10, a beautifully dark young girl with curly hair seemed to be taken aback as Reasmei Kampuchea’s reporter asked her for an interview.

The girl named, Ek Thyda, 17, a student in grade 8 of Hun Sen Prasout High School, lives in Tuol Trabaek village, Prasout commune, Svay Teab district, Svay Rieng province.
When asked, she responded quickly that she was not afraid of the interview, but claimed that she was frightened and shocked when she stepped into Tuol Sleng prison and saw the ruthless killings of the Khmer Rouge regime that she had never seen or met before.

“At school, when teachers told me about [the Khmer Rouge regime] I did not really believe that there had been these kinds of killings,” said Ek Thyda, “But having been to Tuol Sleng prison and seen the actual scenes, I believe that were really these kinds of killings.”

“These acts are atrocious, cruel, and dictatorial because they used a lot of torture,” said Ek Thyda, who appeared to be enraged by the ruthless acts. She firmly said that: “I don’t want this regime to happen again.”

Meanwhile, in another group, Som Phalla, 19, who comes from Sdey Leu village, Khoy Maeng commune, Mongkol Berey district, Banteay Meanchey province, said similarly to Ek Thyda.

Som Phalla said, “Coming to Tuol Sleng prison, I’m shocked and almost shed tears when I know that the Khmer Rouge regime tortured people ruthlessly, and not only adults but even young kids were also killed.” She continued, “This regime should not have happened. Why did it happen and kill so many people? What did it give besides the loss and damage of the society?”

Based on her study until grade 12 in Mongkol Borey High School, Som Phalla said that “if there had not been “7 January 1979″, her parents would not have survived and there would not be her too.”  “7 January has made Cambodian people live again and have freedom and prosperous life,” she said, adding “This is because of Cambodian People’s Party, and according to what I know, thanks to Samdech Hun Sen, the Khmer Rouge regime cannot return to cause the devastation again.”

Miss Eng Layhorn, Miss. Heng Vanny, and Mr. Sroeung Srun, who are from Prey Chor district, Kompong Cham province, as well as youth groups from Svay Rieng and Banteay Meanchey provinces, who joint the study visit organized by Khmer Youth Association all said that they did not want the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime to happen again. They showed their support for the Khmer Rouge court, which is seeking justice for the spirits of the people murdered in the regime.

Mrs. Sith Hong Eang, Peace Building Project Coordinator for KYA, who participated in the visit to Tuol Sleng prison, said that KYA’s Peace Building Project organized two study visits in July 2008 in order to answer the request of the youth and students in communities throughout Cambodia who were the younger generations wanting to explore the truth of the Khmer Rouge regime which had happened in Cambodia, through remaining evidence and documents.

The first study visit is held from 10 to 11 July 2008 with the participation of 63 young people from 3 provinces including Banteay Meanchey, Kompong Cham and Svay Rieng. The second will be conducted from 14 to 15 July 2008 with prospective 65 participants from other 3 provinces such as Battambang, Prey Veng and Siem Reap.

Mrs. Eang said that the study visits would be made on 4 places including Tuol Sleng Museum, Cheung Aek Genocidal Center, the Documentation Center of Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

According to Mrs. Eang, before the youth and students made the study visit, they had been trained in their community for 4 days with the presentation by core teachers of the KYA’s Peace Building Project.

The training focused on real history-related topics such as (1) Cambodia and Cold War, Khmer Rouge Theory, the development of Communism in Cambodia, and Khmer Rouge’s Visions and Prospects; (2) Civil War; (3) Paris Peace Treaty; (4) United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC); (5) armed conflicts and the last integration of the Khmer Rouge soldiers into the Cambodian Royal Armed Force of the Royal Government; (6) the impacts of the mass killings and crimes against humanity on mental health; and (7) the courts trying genocidal regimes in other countries and the special Khmer Rouge court.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, vol. 16, #4639, Saturday, July 12, 2008.


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