As part of its ongoing campaign to promote the use of its acclaimed Khmer Rouge history text, the Documentation Center of Cambodia on Friday delivered copies of the publication to 2,000 disadvantaged students in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey commune.
DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang said Friday that so far his organization has distributed 25,000 of 175,000 copies of “A History of Democratic Kampuchea,” an unvarnished account of the Khmer Rouge that covers the most traumatic episode in Cambodian history, a period previously omitted from the high school history curriculum.
The government approved the book as a supplementary learning tool even though some passages caused trepidation among officials.
Kamboly Dy, the book’s author, said Friday that he hoped his history would help promote a better future for the country.
“I hope that after learning from this book, students will learn how to solve problems and how to lead Cambodia in peace,” he said.
Pin Sarapich, program director at Pour un sourire d’enfant, a French NGO assisting children at the municipal garbage dump, said Friday that he believed the text will provide students with the truth and improve their general knowledge.
Soun Rattanak, an 18-year-old 11th grade student, said Friday that the Khmer Rouge were not entirely blameworthy because their ideology had pressured them to kill.
“I understood that a lot of Khmer Rouge, under pressure of their ideology and low education, made the Khmer Rouge kill the Khmers themselves,” he said.
DC-Cam on Thursday also distributed 100 copies of the book to Buddhism students at the Buddhism Education for Peace Center at Wat Ounalom in Daun Penh district.
“Those students are poor and orphans and don’t have the ability to buy this book to read,” said Pou Souvachana, an adviser and volunteer teacher. “This textbook is a document that those students need,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Rann Reuy)