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New KR memorials in works

Schoolchildren examine a new genocide memorial sign at a high school in Kampot province’s Chum Kiri district late last year.
Schoolchildren examine a new genocide memorial sign at a high school in Kampot province’s Chum Kiri district late last year. DC-CAM

New KR memorials in works

The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) is raising money for the second instalment of its Cambodian Genocide Education Memorial Project.

Last week, DC-Cam commenced a Kickstarter campaign to raise $7,000 and build memorials in 10 more communities that were formerly strongholds of the Pol Pot regime, such as the districts of Malai, in Banteay Meanchey province, Veal Veng in Pursat province, and Pailin.

The centre has to date built 18 such memorials in high schools across the country, but DC-Cam sees the memorials as part of a process of mutual understanding and reconciliation“Almost every single high school has a photo of the prime minister, or there is an image of the King.

But now, they can have something they are attached to – genocide,” DC-Cam executive director Youk Chhang said yesterday.

“In a sense, it’s related to them, it’s a part of them – it’s going to be part of their future.”

The memorials are engravings that carry messages in Khmer and English on both sides.

One side reads: “Talking about experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime is to promote reconciliation and to educate children about forgiveness and tolerance.

” Another says: “Learning about the history of Democratic Kampuchea is to prevent genocide.”

Dy Khamboly, author of the textbook A History of Democratic Kampuchea, says the project is also meant to promote friendly relations between victims and former cadres, who often still live in the same towns and villages together.

“Genocide education memorial will be a constant reminder to look deeper into the history of the Khmer Rouge,” he said.

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