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Genocide Education in Cambodia

GENOCIDE EDUCATION IN CAMBODIA A determined attempt of the Ministry of Education and the Documentation Center of Cambodia PREFACE TO THE TEACHER GUIDEBOOK Reameaso chased Mekhala among the clouds and threw his diamond axe at her so violently it produced the sound of thunder. Mekhala shielded herself with a magic crystal ball, a gift given to her by her teacher. Instantly, the collision released a flash of bright light—signifying the clash between good and evil. This anecdote is part of the old Cambodian story the Reamker, an epic that traces the struggles between good and evil. One of the worst, extensive cases of Cambodian evil has been the genocide of 1975–79, a tragic part of our history where an estimated 1.7 to 2.2 million people died and so many more suffered under the brutal hands of the Democratic Kampuchea regime. But just like in the epic tale of the Reamker where Reameaso’s axe is counteracted by Mekhala’s crystal ball, the time has now come for Cambodia’s good to offset its evil. For the first time in three decades, the veil of silence that has plagued Cambodian schools will finally be lifted, allowing students and teachers to speak about and understand the Cambodian genocide of 1975–79. It is a monumental time in our nation’s history. Our new textbook and genocide curriculum will educate our youth, as well as simultaneously provide a platform for dialogue and discussion in which all Cambodians can take part. By facing this dark chapter in our history, we can begin to recognize the painful struggles of our family members and friends. Our forebears, whose spirits whisper through the rice fields, call upon us to liberate them from injustice and inhumanity. As custodians of this painful legacy, acknowledging the past also helps us acknowledge the present struggles of survivors. These are the men and women, ordinary and uncelebrated, who have tirelessly labored to rebuild society and their homes in the wake of disaster and tragedy. Teachers play an invaluable and essential part as guardians of our history. They are the stewards of the vessel—guiding our students through the stormy waters of our nations’ turbulent past. They steer us all toward our future. Hopefully, this Teacher’s Guidebook will serve as their compasses, pointing them to the beacons of truth, justice and knowledge, so that they can inspire and teach generations about the distressing aftermaths of genocide, and, above all, evil. H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron Minister, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport For more information, please contact: PHENG PONG-RASY Team Leader, Genocide Education in Cambodia DOCUMENTATION CENTER OF CAMBODIA e: t: +855 12 696 961 w:


(c) 2017 DCCAM

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