‘Never Again’ Is the Overarching Message at Day of Hate Event

Many were moved to tears Tuesday during a Day of Hate ceremony at Choeung Ek Killing Fields on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Among them was Sou Savet, 51, who lost her brother and sister-in-law during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“I remember in the past, my family was removed to Moung Russei district in Battambang province, where a lot of people were killed,” she said with a sob.

The Day of Hate is held annually to mark May 20, 1976, the day the Khmer Rouge leadership is believed to have agreed upon agrarian collectivization of the nation.

Hundreds of people, including 270 monks, gathered for the annual remembrance Tuesday morning. Actors marked the mournful occasion with a re-enactment of slaughter by the Khmer Rouge.

“We came here every year, on May 20 after the Khmer Rouge fell down from power in 1997,” said Nong Son, a 64-year-old clergyman from Kandal province.

He honored the death of nine family members at Khmer Rouge hands by bringing food and drinks to the monks, he said.

“I remember the past when I saw the reenactment of the killing today,” he said.

The ceremony commemorates the deaths during the Khmer Rouge regime, Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema told reporters after the ceremony.

“We pray for this regime to nev­er happen again in Cambodia or anywhere around the world,” he said.

“We have this ceremony to celebrate justice for the Cambodian people,” Kep Chuktema said. “And also highlight the [upcoming ECCC] trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders who have made this a devastating killing field.”


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