November 22, 2010
Palo Alto, California- As a nation we mourn the loss of hundreds of our sisters and brothers in the Koh Pich stampede today. As a nation we are shocked and horrified by the tragedy. Condolences to the families go beyond our feelings of grave sadness as we, as a nation must find means for the injured to recover, the orphans to find homes and the families to heal. We also want to know the causes so that such tragedy will never occur again. Safety and security of the people must come first and the truth must be told.
I truly believe that we must work together as a nation and heal as a nation. In the days and months to come, we will continue to pray for the souls of the people who paid dearly with their lives for merely wanting to celebrate the ancient Khmer tradition of Oum Touk- the Water Festival. This moment of great sadness for the hundreds of our sisters and brothers who died should also be a moment for re-evaluating the value of our people’s lives because payments or gifts can not easily help rebuild lives that are shattered. Thorough independent investigations must be conducted and testimonies of the survivors taken into serious consideration and with great protection and sensitivity.
My most sincere gratitude goes to each and everyone for their courage, their heroism and their deep sense of duty. Many helped rescue those who were injured, those who cried out for help, the children who were being stampeded, while they themselves were looking for a safe escape.
In California, I am appealing for contributions for the children whose parents have died, for women and men who now are facing the burden of supporting their families alone. Their lives must be rebuilt. In the next days l will seek out each and every source for contribution and to bring this very tragic news to those whose hearts will also be touched by the Koh Pich tragedy.
Going with our beliefs, we must light candles and burn incense and place them on our family altar for the next 100 days.
Mu Sochua, MP