Khmer Rouge victims push to continue a Day of Remembrance

The Day of Remembrance, which used to be called the National Day of Hatred, is marked on May 20 and was declared a national holiday in 2018. After only one year, the holiday was canceled as part of the government’s efforts to increase workdays in the year.

Victims have used the day as a way to express their experiences of the 1970s Khmer Rouge regime while highlighting atrocities. The government and Khmer Rouge Tribunal mark the day with events across the country, including reenactments of the regime’s crimes at Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.

The day was first initiated by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in 1984 and called it the Day of Hatred.

Bryant Ben, a victim of the regime who lives in Long Beach, CA., said the Day of Remembrance is important because it denotes a respect for victims and invites the sharing of personal histories. He said the holiday helps keep the issue alive in the national conscience and society to learn from the past.

“Regularly we gather together to commemorate it and we understand that the past is at fault,” Bryant Ben said.

“[We] learn about the wrongdoings. We learn what is good, we do it better… and we change our minds.”

In full here.

VOA Cambodia
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