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Keeping the Bones

This argument keeps rolling around: preserve the skulls and bones of KR victims at Choeung Ek, and supposedly offend against traditional Buddhist sensibilities, or cremate/bury them and destroy evidence of Khmer Rouge murder and violence.

Unsurprisingly in a country which has been used as a proxy in too many global power struggles in the last century, there are strange interests lined up behind each position. Prime Minister Hun Sen and the international NGO sector, which gains much of its legitimacy by claiming to represent the victims of genocide are strangely allied in favor of preserving the bones. For Hun Sen, the bones are proof that his party, the Cambodian People’s Party, and he personally, saved Cambodia from an even greater horror. Against this is the King, who is embarrassed by their display, since he was himself partly responsible for the legitimacy early accorded to the Khmer Rouge, calling for Cambodians to enter the maquis and join the Khmer Rouge in their struggle against Lon Nol.

Of course, Sihanouk’s objections are phrased in terms of a sop to Buddhist traditionalism. But as Wynne Cougill points out, most Buddhist monks have remained largely silent on this matter.

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One thought on “Keeping the Bones

  1. Pingback: Webbed Feet, Web Log » Blog Archive » Caves of Phnom Sampow

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