Monday, October 10, 2005

Victims of KR Need Symbolic Compensation

THE CAMBODIA DAILY

Friday, August 5, 2005

Terith Chi, Graduate Student, Royal University of Law and Economics


The Japanese businessman Haruhisha Handa recently announced that he would be establishing a $1.3 million-dollar Memorial Fund or victims of the Khmer Rouge (“Japanese Businessman Announces KR Fund,” Tuesday, page 16).

His project aims to “compensate” $100 to 10,000 families, especially those headed by widows and those with many children.

As far as I am concerned, I really appreciate this effort to help the victims of genocide-it does not matter who they are-and no doubt see and understand the generosity and good purpose demonstrated by the Japanese people towards this impoverished nation.

However, despite these fine intentions, the plan itself is flawed. It is likely that people from all parts of the country will step forward and claim this money.

Considering that nearly two million Cambodians died during the Khmer Rouge regime, the number of families seeking compensation will of course exceed 10,000, which is all the project can afford.

Or perhaps it is a way for the project to collect additional funds? Is it fair to give money to some but not others?

To judge which families have suffered the most and are thus, most deserving of being compensated? Pain and suffering can no way and no time be compared.

In the end, it is likely that many families will be burdened in traveling a long way to claim this money, only to not be compensated.

It seems to me that a collective symbolic compensation is a better idea.


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