Cambodia (dpa) – A Buddhist ceremony organized by the Cambodian opposition Friday marked 40 years since the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge.
Men, women and children gathered at Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre, known as the Killing Fields, to pay their respects to the almost 2 million people who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime.
At a ceremony organized by the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), they lit incense and prayed at a Buddhist stupa containing the skulls of thousands of victims.
CNRP parliamentarian Mu Sochua said the purpose of the ceremony was to “never forget,” but also to continue learning how to forgive.
“The hardest to forgive is that it was well planned, it’s genocide, it was man-made and well calculated, they saw it coming,” she told dpa.
“I have to learn to forgive, she said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the past 40 years.”
Her parents disappeared under the regime, but Mu Sochua said she was sure they would not want her to perpetuate the conflict.
“We have to learn not to die with it but to live above it, which is teaching what you don’t want others to suffer; teaching non-violence, speaking the truth – freedom of all forms is what human beings must live with.”