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Peace walk

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Moving down the street under the three o’clock afternoon sun, Dy HeHoya was carrying a Sony video camera with a tripod and running back and forth along the main street at Poi Pet’s border with Thailand. He has to shoot the activity of a march on Visak Bochea Day.

Dy HeHoya, a 35 year-old former monk who is now a member of the Working Group for Peace,  said that this match’s purposes are to remind people of the death of Buddha and to build a peace concept with people.

Ros Sotha is a representative of the Buddhism and Khmer Society Network.

“This activity is good because Buddhism sticks mainly to peace and we believe the same religion,” he said.

He added that in Cambodia there were about 200 people, including members of NGOs and Buddha’s disciples, who had completed the Dhamayeatra ( Walk) from Chan Sea Pagoda to Mong Chen Pagoda – a distance of about eight kilometres.

Looking back to the situation between Cambodians and Thais on the  border, in the last decade the situation has been getting worse after Preah Vihear Temple was registered as World Heritage Site.

Hoya said that the border issue was the responsibility of  the Thai and Cambodia governments, while the NGOs were trying to help and fulfill roles that the governments did not have.
“We aim to build peace concept to the youth,” he said.

Cambodia WGP was established in 2008 following a conflict between Cambodia and Thailand; some NGOs in Cambodia considered it a way to help make the situation better.  Eventually,  they came up with WGP and Thai WGP.

Bearing the same consideration Thailand agreed to form Thai WGP in March, 2010 by the Thai Volunteer Service, which is a regional program of collaboration for the young generation in the Mekong region and other youth networks in Thailand.

Netting Jaruwan Supolrai, 27, one of the WGP members in Thailand says:

“This peace walk activity was a good beginning of our people movement on peace and this will be another big step for the people of two countries and we should have more activities like this.”

She added that the peace walk in Thailand lasted from May 15 to16 and there were about 200 participants, including monks who walked for two days.

Koy Koung, a spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  explained that the Cambodian side wanted peace.

“We do not want any fighting or any war since we had been through war for a few decades. We want to protect our land only; we stand in our land.”

Yoeurm Kim Heang, 24, a fourth-year student of chemistry of the University of Phnom Penh, added that the Cambodian and Thai people who first met each other at the border prayed by having the two countries’ monks join together in solidarity.

“After that, we had 10 Cambodian youths and 10 young Thai people untying tied scarves in a ritual meant to symbolise the unravelling of the conflict between Cambodia and Thailand today,’’ she said.

‘‘Because we untied the scarves together, that means we Cambodian and Thai youth are united in our commitment to solve the conflict peacefully.

“When I arrived there, I knew that Thai people did not want Cambodian land at all,”  Kim Heang said.

“This is only because of the Thai government – and the Thai people were angry at their government.  I have been told this by  Thai people.”  

Kim Heang hopes  the conflict can, like the scarves, be untied  very soon.  “I do not want any bombs between the two countries any more,” she said.

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