An interactive website aimed at promoting understanding of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime was launched on Friday, targeting the country’s millennials.
The website, khmerrougehistory.org, combines historical information from the founding of the communist movement in Cambodia and the rise of Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot, to head the regime and build an agrarian utopia.
Some 1.7 million Cambodians are thought to have died as a result of the regime’s rule between 1975 and 1979.
The website, funded by German media group DW Akademie, was launched jointly by the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) and the education ministry to expand access to information about Khmer Rouge rule, according to Pheng Pong Rasy, DC-Cam’s genocide education team leader.
“We all know that learning Khmer Rouge history is very important to ensure Cambodia, in the present and future, will not repeat its bitter history in which millions of Cambodians were killed,” he said.
“So we have to do whatever we can to transmit all of this historical knowledge to our younger generations to understand.”
As well as a chronological timeline of events, the website also includes numerous accounts of survivors and recommended readings.
Ton Sa-Im, undersecretary of state at the education ministry, said young people’s interest in Khmer Rouge history depended on the individual family experience.
However, he said students had a good understanding of their history as they tended to do well in state school examinations.
Sambo Manara, a history professor at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said teachers’ roles would be strengthened by the Khmer Rouge History website.
“In my opinion, there has to be a high-quality curriculum and learning platform and qualified teachers to understand the history of Democratic Kampuchea,” he said, using the official title of the Khmer Rouge state, “that could make it possible for younger people to be able to understand such things.”