liberation from khmer rouge

Victory Day is a national holiday in Cambodia, celebrated every 7 January to commemorate the fall of the bloody Khmer Rouge regime that committed genocide on millions of Cambodians.

This regime took power in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when Communist forces from Vietnam went renegade and took over Cambodia. They set up a very extreme Communist government that led to two million people, about 25 percent of the total population, being killed in four years’ time.

This regime, led by Pol Pot, tried to force all Cambodians to be Communists, be farmers, and avoid all perceived foreign influences. They took children from parents in order to indoctrinate them in Communism, sent many to forced labour camps, and effectively committed genocide against their own people. Finally, on 7 January of 1979, the situation got so bad that neighbouring Communist Vietnam invaded to put an end to the madness.

There are solemn ceremonies to remember the fallen on this day in Cambodia, but many keep it low-key because they feel uneasy about celebrating an invasion by another country (Vietnam), even if it did end the genocide.

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Siem Reap, Cambodia
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