Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh unveiled a new anti-genocide memorial at a ceremony yesterday hosted by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.
“It’s a daily remembrance to those who have died, and I think that it’s so meaningful to us as Khmers who have lost so many lives at that time,” said DC-Cam director Youk Chhang.
“I think [the youth] are the best healing medicine, having the kids knowing this [history], learning this in school in a scientific way,” Youk Chhang said.
Two statements were embellished in gold in Khmer and English on the monument. One side reads: “Talking about experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime is to promote reconciliation and to educate children about forgiveness and tolerance.” The other side reads: “Learning about the history of Democratic Kampuchea is to prevent genocide.”
Tun Sa-Im, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and Chea Cheat, joined hundreds of students in attendance at yesterday morning’s event.
Vithy, 15, said she thinks the new monument will have a positive impact on her peers.
“It’s good because I think some students in Sisowath High School, some of them didn’t know about the Pol Pot regime. When they see it they will remember about it,” she said.
Sisowath High School opened in 1935, the first secondary educational institution in Phnom Penh, DC-Cam said. A number of Khmer Rouge leaders were schooled there, including Pol Pot and his first wife Khieu Ponnary, as well as Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith, both currently facing charges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal that include crimes against humanity and genocide.