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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 11 February 1994

The Gecko: 11 February 1994

W ith Maha Ghosananda's recent announcement that he would initiate a dhammayietra

walk to the Khmer Rouge's nominal headquarters in Pailin this coming May, the

Gecko hears that the grapevine is abuzz with what this might actually entail.

While some jaded souls are simply dismissing the idea, others are wondering

"What if?"

What if the Venerable monk, now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee,

actually heads off for Pailin in four months time? Will he go alone? What if he

is joined by two or five or ten thousand other monks? What if nuns, students,

farmers, human rights activists, etc. also want to join him? What if 200,000

unarmed people decide to join Ghosananda to march to Pailin to plant

trees?

The simple answer to these questions is that what could happen

might be the most powerful statement yet by the Cambodian people on how fed up

they are with the last twenty years of warfare, one that the Khmer Rouge might

just have a difficult time dismissing and, more importantly,

deterring.

Of course, the election turnout was a similar statement which

the KR, regrettably, have chosen to disregard. Their response to Cambodia's

freest and fairest election ever and the formation of a new,

internationally-recognized government has included a continuous spate of armed

attacks against roads, bridges, trains, you name it.

But, would the Khmer

Rouge shoot a revered monk? Would they stand in his way and try to push him back

to Battambang? Certainly Mr. Akashi ran into a stone wall when he tried to go to

Pailin, but a Buddhist monk is quite a different story altogether and the very

idea of Ghosananda walking to Pailin poses some very interesting questions.

Given the Venerable Supreme Patriarch's track record, we must assume

that he means what he says and that he will, indeed, start off one day soon for

Pailin. We'd all best mark our calandars and begin preparing for what will be

history in the making.

See you in Pailin.

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