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Classroom Forum on History of Democratic Kampuchea February 2022

On February 23, 2022 Anlong Veng Peace Center organized a classroom forum on the history of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) with 16 youths (5 male and 11 female) of Techo Sen Trapeang Tav High School and Hun Sen Trapeang Prasat High School.

The classroom was intended to raise public awareness about the DK history and other key concepts of peace and reconciliation. That also helped them reflect on the very recent history of Anlong Veng community, where it was known as ‘the final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge movement.’

The youths came directly from their community in Trapeang Prasat district via a chartered van to Anlong Veng Peace Center. Inside it, a white slide and project had been set up and two rows of chairs were already arranged to welcome them. They had sat in a somewhat comfortable room with air-conditioners and fairly big space for the forum.

The team of Anlong Veng Peace Center was still at a high alert as the surge in Omicron, a new type of Covid-19, was announced in Cambodia. We all took precautious measure as advised by Cambodia’s Ministry of Health.

The forum started with a K-W-L chart to evaluate their prior knowledge of the DK history and to let them ask a question so that our forum can pay special attention to it. During the entire morning of that day, youths were asked to work in four separate groups and focus on specific chapters. They then were allowed to provide a proper presentation of those chapters to the rest of the participants. Questions and answers were followed.

After this, the team tried to address all the questions provided earlier before moving to a presentation on genocide prevention. Documentary films on Tuol Sleng prison was also screened. All the youths have confirmed that their knowledge of the KR history has gone up to 100 percent.

The forum lasted about 3 hours.

Phan Vanna, 17, of Hun Sen Trapeang Tav High School said: “after participating in the forum on the history, I was feeling so sorry and pitiful for our people and victims. I’ve learned a lot from this forum and even could come to realize why genocide took place. I understand that if genocide is to be prevented, youths should obtain the knowledge of how to prevent violence and discrimination.”

Sean Channy, 19, of Hun Sen Trapeang Tav High School, said: “I had a better understanding of the Khmer Rouge history. To be specific, Cambodian people suffered from mistreatment, food shortages, collective living and work under the period of genocide. A documentary film on Tuol Sleng prison was the case in point. No word could be uttered on people’s suffering. We all should continue to further study and seek to understand this darkest period of our history.”

Team: Mek Ven, Hean Pisey, Sout Vechet and Ly Sok-Kheang

Photo link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rLxWmE96CJWEy1ht5