This is just bizarre. Cambodians victims of the democide that took place in that country mark an annual “Day of Anger” by re-enacting the torture and executions that took place under the Khmer Rouge.
(AP) Cambodians marked their annual “Day of Anger” Wednesday to remember victims of the Khmer Rouge regime by re-enacting torture and distributing new textbooks about the era largely ignored by schools run by a government whose leaders once served the movement.
About 2,000 Cambodians, including hundreds of Buddhist monks, gathered at Choeung Ek, a former Khmer Rouge “killing field” dotted with mass graves about nine miles (15 kilometers) south of Phnom Penh.
Some 40 students re-enacted the torture and executions inflicted by the ultra-communists under whose rule in the mid-1970s about 1.7 million people perished.
The performance was staged just yards (meters) away from a memorial filled with victims’ skulls and mass graves where thousands of people were buried.
Relatives of the victims expressed hope that some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders will finally be brought to justice by a U.N.-backed tribunal.
Currently on trial is Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who commanded the notorious S-21 prison where as many as 16,000 people are believed to have been tortured before being sent to Choeung Ek for execution.
Duch (pronounced Doik) is the first senior Khmer Rouge figure to face trial, and the only one to acknowledge responsibility for his actions. Senior leaders Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Ieng Sary’s wife, who are all detained, are likely to be tried in the next year or two.
“Why is the court taking so long to prosecute these leaders?” asked Tat Seang Lay, 47, whose two brothers were killed by the Khmer Rouge. “I want to see justice. I wish the court could end its trial process within the next few months.”
About 3,000 copies of the new schoolbook were distributed Wednesday in the province around Phnom Penh, with a half million more to follow throughout the country, said Youk Chhang, director of the private Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has amassed information about the Khmer Rouge.
Youk Chhang said the book, “A History of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979),” is aimed at educating Cambodia’s youth about an era that is part of the living history of every family and at bringing about reconciliation.
He said the government-approved book was reviewed by Cambodian and foreign scholars and includes lessons from genocide in Nazi Germany, Rwanda and elsewhere.
Cambodia’s leaders have been reluctant to dig deeply into the Khmer Rouge period. Several, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, defected from the movement after serving in military or political positions.