INTRODUCTION: Two years after the Pol Pot regime's fall before a Vietnamese-led offensive, Kampuchea is slowly reintroducing old freedoms.
GV Wrecked pagodas and temples (3 shots)
CU Lion statue ZOOM OUT TO ruined pagoda and destroyed buddha's head (2 shots)
GV Ruined pagoda at Udong (4 shots)
GV Stupor towers with face of Buddha (3 shots)
GV Wedding party escorting bride-groom (2 shots)
CU INTERIOR Bridegroom presenting bride with gift of betel plant
GV INTERIOR Buddhist monks seated with bride and groom during ceremony
GV Damaged mosque (2 shots)
SV Moslems washing feet and removing shoes (3 shots)
CU INTERIOR Moslems in Mosque during prayers (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Two years after the Pol Pot regime's fall before a Vietnamese-led offensive, Kampuchea is slowly reintroducing old freedoms. One of the repressive measures under the strict Khmer Rouge code was the abolition of personal religious practices. Anti-religion squads were formed to persecute religious leaders and to ensure the people abandoned religion in favour of revolution.
SYNOPSIS: Until Pol Pot came to power in 1975, up to 85 per cent of the population were Buddhists. But, like many things in Kampuchea, Buddhism is only now beginning to recover from the years of suppression. Few pagodas escaped the attention of Pol Pot's anti-religion forces.
This temple at Udong, where the former Cambodian Royal Family used to worship, was one of the first to be destroyed. Just 20 kilometres from Phnom Penh it was once a popular tourist site, surrounded by restaurants, summer houses and guest cottages. City dwellers came to picnic in the carefully-tended gardens. Now all that remains undamaged are the stupors -- tall towers across the hillside built to protect the Royal burial sites.
Traditional Buddhist wedding processions are once again a common sight. The bridegroom, accompanied by his family and friends, leaves his house to walk to the bride's house. The parents of this young man were executed under the Pol Pot regime and he lives with an uncle. There is no longer any temple in the village. The Khmer Rouge turned temples into pig sties or fertiliser depots, or used them as execution sites. Monks suffered especially persecution. Of the 80 thousand Buddhist monks following the faith in 1975, only 30 thousand are alive today.
Living in harmony with the Buddhists in Kam Pong Cham is a small Moslem community. The village mosque was destroyed but reconstruction work is already underway, although progress is hampered by lack of money. Under Pol Pot the moslem population was decimated. Women and children were the first victims. The Khmer Rouge believed the best way to kill a religion was to kill the young. To Pol Pot and his followers, adherence to Islam was tantamount to open sabotage of the rural revolution. Survivors believe Moslems were singled out by the anti-religion squads because of their strict adherence to their faith. Now, under Kampuchea's Vietnamese-backed Heng Samrin government, they claim they have no problems in existing peacefully with the Buddhist majority.