On May 13, 2022 Anlong Veng Peace Center organized a classroom forum on the history of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) to raise a wider public awareness about the past and to prevent the commission of genocide.
Participating in the forum were fifteen students (10 male and 5 female) from Hun Sen Trapeang Prasat High School, Trapeang Prasat district, Oddar Meanchey province. They all arrived in Anlong Veng district at around 7:30 a.m.
At the beginning, students filled in their pre-forum surveys to evaluate their knowledge of the history and also some aspects of how to prevent violence at individual, community and national levels. That linked to a basic teaching method of K-W-L chart. The K column was to measure what they know about the history and followed by L chart of what they want to know.
This month, the main topic of discussion was DK’s foreign relations as written in page 67 of the DK history textbook. There were eight countries in which the DK had established its diplomatic relations. However, DK’s embassies were only in four countries: China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea. The diplomatic relation with Vietnam deteriorated and cut off as a result of the clash over the border. That led to an eventual military attack to eject the KR from power in 1979.
The last part of the forum was to reflect their increased knowledge through our post-forum survey and also feedbacks as follow:
Chhen Srey Lin, 19, said: “after joining the classroom forum, I have learned about the genocide, mass killings and torture. Whenever the brutal crimes were committed, it destroyed human lives, culture, customs, religions, economy, politics, the dwindling territorial integrity, family separation, orphanage, disabled people and trauma.”
Heng Vireak, 19, said: “after participating in the forum, I have learned about the history of Democratic Kampuchea and the victims who were tortured and later killed. The KR regime caused so many people died. Families were separated and no school was allowed. As a youth, we have to commit to preventing the mass atrocity and presenting the consequences of such a regime. Each should be encouraged to build a mutual understanding and to provide an equal access to education and rights and freedoms.”
Team: Mek Ven, Ly Sok-Kheang, Sout Vichet, and Hean Pisey
Report: Ly Sok-Kheang