Friday, September 30, 2005

Daughter of KR Leader Cannot Ignore Past

The Cambodia Daily
Monday, December 13, 2004

Daughter of KR Leader Cannot Ignore Past

RE: “Pol Pot’s Daughter Recalls Her Father’s Last Years and Looks to the Future,” 11-12 December, 2004.

I read this article with great interest, and agree with Sar Patchata’s headmaster, Cheam Sok, when he said that “I have the opinion that the young generation should not bear responsibility for the older [generation].” On the other hand, it appears that Sar Patchata knows very little about her father’s actions. While she cannot be responsible for what he and the other Khmer Rouge did, she should at least try to understand it.

It is ironic that Pol Pot’s last words were that Sar Patchata should study hard, when his regime’s policy was to eliminate all of Cambodia’s educated people, and that her father himself studied in France. But he was right about one thing: only by learning can we know our history and ourselves, and make decisions about how our country will go forward. This may be a difficult process for Sar Patchata and she may not like what she learns. She will not be alone: the upcoming tribunal will probably force many Cambodians to look at their pasts and what they might have done to stay alive.

Pol Pot had the right idea when he wanted his daughter to get an education. It is unfortunate that he did not see fit to implement this “policy” on a wider scale. So many Cambodian families were left in poverty after the Khmer Rouge regime that few young people can now afford to attend college. I hope Sar Patchata appreciates the opportunity she is lucky enough to have and uses it well.


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