Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ghosananda ready for peace march

Ghosananda ready for peace march

Ghosananda ready for peace march

S AMDECH Preah Maha Ghosananda does not need government help to defend this

year's peace marchers against violence or insecurity "because we have our own

(help)," he said, "we defend ourselves by using non-violence."

This

year's Dhamayietra - joining the international Interfaith Pilgrimage for Peace

and Life which started in Auschwitz, Poland in December, through 13 other

countries to end in Hiroshima, Japan in August - will be the biggest

ever.

About 100 walkers will cross the Thai border at Poipet on Sunday

afternoon and there join 800 or more Cambodians on a 24-day walk to

Vietnam.

Maha Ghosananda has led thousands of Cambodians in three

previous Dhamayietras, literally pilgrimages of truth, across war-torn provinces

of Cambodia.

Training sessions have been held in preparation for this

march. About 600 people have already undergone "training" - consisting of an

introduction to non-violence, philosophy and disciplines of the walk, and mine

awareness training.

This year's march will also include Kol Saroth, a

monk who was wounded in the leg on last year's Dhamayietra; his leg has still

not healed properly.

The 25 year-old monk told the Post that he was

willing to join the march from Poipet to Vietnam though his left leg was

broken.

"I don't fear anything would happen even though I was injured in

the last march," he said.

"Being enthusiastic for peace I don't hesitate

to devote everything."

He said he did not get upset or angry when his leg

was wounded at the last march. Instead, he asked to be allowed to join the next

Dhamayietra.

He said he really wanted to walk because he expected the

Dhamyietra would bring Cambodians peace and relive people from starvation and

drought.

"Now there is nothing to fear because after the last

Dhamayietra the war decreased and some regions appeared to be

safer."

Maha Ghosananda was also present at the beginning of the walk in

Auschwitz. He said he and thousands of French-Cambodians joined the march from

Poland to France. He had to fly back to Cambodia to prepare the Cambodian

Dhamayietra and receive the marchers at Poipet. He said the march had begun very

well.

The aims of this year's Dhamayietra are: to offer heartfelt prayers

for the victims of all wars; to make an honest resolve for peace and real

national unity for Cambodia; to ask and support the non-violent and peaceful

resolution of all local and regional disputes; to demand that mine production,

importation and laying be stopped and all land mines destroyed; and to plant

trees along the way as a symbol of ending logging.

Walkers would not be

allowed to use vehicles, drugs, alcohol, weapons or party banners and logos.

"The Dhamayietra does not serve any party," said Kim Leng, chief of Dhamayietra

committee.

She said the walkers would not be allowed to react even if

there was violence, death threats or propaganda. They must keep

walking.

The march would use yellow banner, representing

Buddhism.

The Dhamayietra manager said walkers would find food along the

way at pagodas where they would stay at night.

He said some NGOs would

carry materials and water for the walkers.

A 57-year-old nun from

Battambang said she regretted that she did not join the last Dhamayietra, said

she would joing the march from the begining at Poipet till the end at Svay

Rieng. " I am willing to join this Dhamayietra because I want peace. I don't

fear anything will happen to me," she said.

Maha Ghosananda said the next

Dhamayietra would be held again on May 13 next year.

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