Cambodia textbook details horrific past

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Cambodia offers plenty of Khmer Rouge "killing fields" attractions. There is a grisly genocide museum complete with torture instruments and former mass graves that draw camera-toting tourists.

But for the country's school children, the Khmer Rouge remain off the curriculum, leaving students virtually clueless about how the now-defunct communist group became a killing machine in late 1970s.

Now that knowledge gap may at least be partially filled through the newly released "A History of Democratic Kampuchea," a textbook about the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule by Khamboly Dy, a Cambodian genocide researcher.

It's a start in Cambodia's painful journey to seek healing, said Khamboly Dy, a 26-year-old staffer at the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group collecting evidence of the Khmer Rouge atrocities.

"Nothing can compensate for the Cambodian people's sufferings during the Khmer Rouge," he said, adding that learning about the regime's history "is the best compensation for them."

The book comes at the right time, as Cambodia may finally put surviving Khmer Rouge leaders before an internationally-backed tribunal for genocide and crimes against humanity, Khamboly Dy said...

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