Saturday, June 12, 2010

A new home

The new genocide memorial stupa at Wat Snguon Pech, near the ECCC buildings
This morning I took a trip along Highway 4 to Kompong Speu to visit the New Hope for Cambodian Children village, which cares for more than 200 children infected with HIV/Aids. This is a remarkable program and I'll bring you more about it very soon. On the way back I popped into the pagoda at Wat Snguon Pech, located within spitting distance of the toll booth on Highway 4 just past the ECCC buildings. This was the pagoda where I found a genocide memorial in a dire state of disrepair in March 2008. Today the old memorial has gone and it's been replaced with a brand new memorial stupa, thanks to donations from the local community, hence my visit today to see the newly-erected stupa. The pagoda and nearby school had been used as a prison and killing site during the Khmer Rouge years in the late 1970s and around 700 victims were found in burial pits and a nearby canal. The prison was then known as security center 103 and the pagoda is just 2km along the main road from the ECCC, where the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge are now being tried.
Two rows of bones provide a reminder of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime at Wat Snguon Pech
The shelves of the new stupa contains bone fragments and skulls
Only a token number of six trays of bones were taken from the old memorial and transferred to the new one, which is similar in style to the stupa at Choeung Ek

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