Tivea Choang Kamheung-May 20 Day of Anger

Created on Thursday, 16 August 2012 Written by Super User

During the PRK and State of Cambodia (1989-1991) periods, Tivea Choang Kamheung (the “Day of Anger”) was a well-organised national holiday marked by significant ceremonies in Phnom Penh and provincial centers throughout the country. These ceremonies acknowledged the hundreds of thousands of deaths attributable to the ‘Pol Potists.’ The Day of Anger held on May 20, is not tied to seasonal or lunar cycles, as is the case for other major Cambodian observances: kathen; phchum ben; the Water Festival and the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. Like the contemporary observances of National Liberation Day, Constitution Day, Paris Agreements Day and Human Rights Day, the Day of Anger is linked to the Gregorian calendar as an important modern political event. After Cambodia’s warring political factions signed the Paris Agreements in 1991, the Cambodian government no longer formally promoted Tivea Choang Kamheung. The May 20 commemorations were coordinated by the Front, in cooperation with various Ministries and provincial and district authorities. Factories, schools, hospitals and other enterprises were instructed to make banners and posters condemning the crimes committed by the Pol Pot regime. These banners and placards were carried to the public meetings and other events of the Day, which commonly revolved around the local memorials (Instructions to organise May 20, 1990). Ceremonies involved wreath laying , song, prayer, ritual Memory and Sovereignty in Post-1979 Cambodia, offerings to the dead, poetry and speeches by local officials (Report from Stungdistrict, Kampong Thom May 20, 1989 and Day of Anger, May 20 1991, Stung Treng).  

Survivors of Democratic Kampuchea were asked to come forward at the ceremony to testify to crimes known to them, and to speak of their personal losses. Local officials also made speeches at the ceremonies and rallied the assembled groups to unify their individual emotions and share in their vigilance against the return of the Khmer Rouge. Emphasis was given to the strong feelings and actions that arose from acts of recollection, rather than on memories themselves, as is evident in the following transcript: Beloved comrades and friends …those who died are reminding us to be vigilant, to strengthen our solidarity and practice revolutionary activities. We must be on the alert against the cruelties and poisonous tricks of the enemy, even though they try to hide themselves in multiple images (Speech of Comrade Chea Sim, May 20 1986).



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