The International Day of Peace is held each year on Sept. 21, providing an opportunity for peace advocates to join together under common cause.
BATTAMBANG Province - Hundreds of people gathered across Cambodia last Friday, marking the International Day of Peace.
In Battambang, a group of eight girls, wearing white, bird-like clothing to resemble doves, danced to traditional Cambodian music. About 250 people attended the performance and other celebrations of World Peace Day. The event was organized by the Working Group for Peace, a local volunteer network.
Sek Sarom, a representative of the group of the group in Battambang, said the day is meant to encourage an end to violent conflict and to improve conflict management in countries like Cambodia.
“It serves as a platform for participants to organize peace-related activities and encourage peaceful co-existence in a pluralist society,” she said.
Celebrants there included Buddhist monks and members of the minority Muslim Chams. Similar gatherings were held in seven other sites across the country, with the participation of an estimated 190 groups and hundreds of onlookers.
Cambodia saw the end of three decades of war in 1998, but its society is still feeling the aftereffects of the conflict.
Venerable Teng Sovichea, a Buddhist monk, told participants in Battambang that human suffering, in the words of Buddha, come from “ignorance derived from man’s self-interest, ego and hatred.” This is “merely a deceptive peace,” he said. “Enrichment of inner strength, self-awareness, love, compassion and understanding is therefore the ultimate peace.”
Such notions were echoed by Yeb Asmat, a Muslim leader, who told the crowd that peace-building comes from within. “From my point of view and the Quran, mankind, regardless of race, status or background, shall build peace hand in hand and heart by heart,” he said.
The International Day of Peace is held each year on Sept. 21, providing an opportunity for peace advocates to join together under common cause. In Battambang participants held colorful balloons and banners with slogans like, “With peace, there is development.”
Ven Saroeut, a Battambang youth representative, said Cambodia’s younger generations are the key to building peace in the country.
Say Sokun, 23, who joined the gathering, said he learned a lot from the events Friday. “There are many messages offered to us as youths,” he said.