Youth Community Dialogue about Khmer Rouge past
On April 28th, 2016, Kdei Karuna (KdK) – a partner organization of CPS – implemented a Youth Community Dialogue at Phnom Trung Bat crime site in Kralanh district, Siem Reap province, giving survivors of the Khmer Rouge crime site and local high school students the unique opportunity to speak about the past. Approximately 80 persons participated in the fruitful dialogue event where survivors shared their experiences from the past, addressing the history of the crime site and their home community. KdK staff developed a forum theatre play together with students focusing on the topic of forced marriage and forced labor, and, after its presentation, conducted a lively discussion among the survivors and students on how to prevent similar crimes from happening in the future.
One of the survivors appealed to the students: “Please, you should believe what your parents and grand-parents tell you about their experiences from the past. Their stories are true!”
A 13-year-old student expressed his feelings: “I feel angry when I hear all the misery that happened during the Khmer Rouge regime, but I will not hate nor seek for revenge. I will study hard and commit myself to peace and unity for my country“.
The dialogue event concluded with the screening of a documentary film about the Khmer Rouge times, followed by a feedback and reflection round.
The Youth Community Dialogue is part of KdK’s community-led Community Memory Initiative. It promotes restorative justice and local memory initiatives in order to enable Cambodians and especially Cambodian youth in more rural areas to better understand the Khmer Rouge past. It seeks to overcome social rifts that remain as a legacy of decades of conflict at the community level by fostering mutual understanding and historical dialogue.