Historical events mark Anlong Veng’s KR history

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Thousands of participants descended upon Anlong Veng to take part in various events over the weekend. AVPC

The Ministry of Tourism and Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) led the second annual Anlong Veng Tourism Sports Event over the weekend to raise awareness of the area’s history.

Thousands of participants descended upon the area to take part in various events over the weekend.

The event was organised in conjunction with the ministry’s Committee on the Development and Preservation of Anlong Veng Historical Site, Oddar Meanchey Provincial Hall and the Anlong Veng Peace Centre.

Anlong Veng Peace Center director Ly Sok Kheang said the two-and-a-half-day “historical walk” raised awareness of the Anlong Veng area.

He said there was a photo exhibition of Khmer wrestling, a boat race, Thai-Cambodian football and volleyball matches, a Cambodian-Thai food fair, slow speed bicycle race, and a Khmer-Thai boxing show, along with a concert and dancing.

On Saturday, about 1,500 participants, including students, civilians, soldiers and civil servants, took part in the events, he said.

He thanked the organisers for raising awareness about the history of the Khmer Rouge in the area.

“For the past two-and-a-half-days, – Cambodians and Thais in Anlong Veng have been having a lot of fun,” he said.

Sok Kheang said on Facebook that a photo exhibition ensured Cambodia’s historical memory would not diminish, especially in regards to the last reintegration of the former Khmer Rouge resistance in 1998.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the Khmer Rouge leadership’s movement did not end immediately. The leaders fled to locations in the northern part of Cambodia bordering Thailand, mobilising members and ordinary people.

The Khmer Rouge leadership continued its movement in these areas, provoking chaos and civil war in the country until its integration in 1998 following the death of the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.

Most of the people in the district are now former members of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Sok Kheang said 750 Thais attended the historical walk on the Dangrek Mountain.

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A photo exhibition ensured the last reintegration of former Khmer Rouge cadres is not forgotten. AVPC

“We held this event to support peace, security and prosperity for Anlong Veng,” he said.

Sok Kheang said the Thais were “happy and will definitely support and participate in all the friendly action that the Cambodian side” plans in the future.

Sok Kheang quoted a Thai teacher as saying: “Because we have created a ‘good culture’ between Cambodia and Thailand, today we have been walking for cultural exchange, study, Buddhism, and sports. This is a better activity for the peoples of the two nations.”

Oddar Meanchey governor Pen Kosal said in a speech that the historical walk “strengthened friendship between Cambodia and Thailand”, especially in border areas such as the province itself.

“We plan to hold an annual event to enhance the reputation of Anlong Veng and make it a tourist destination,” he noted.

DC-Cam director Youk Chhang said: “A path to peace is indeed a long way. The pedestrian walk for history is truly breathtaking as we walk together.”

Anlong Veng was the first location where DC-Cam set up its first research office named “Anlong Veng Peace Centre”, which was established in 2014 to further the research of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The history of Anlong Veng itself fostered reconciliation between former members and survivors of the Khmer Rouge through a culture of dialogue between the two groups, as well as directing visits to the region.

The centre has been working hard with the Ministry of Tourism and relevant authorities to maintain 14 important historical sites, including the late Pol Pot burning site, Pol Pot burial site, Former Khmer Rouge military chief Ta Mok’s house and headquarters for educational purposes and awareness among younger generations to ensure the repressive regime will not be repeated.