Twenty-eight-year-old Dy Khamboly became the first Cambodian to pen a textbook on the history of the Khmer Rouge while working at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam), alongside Youk Chang, the centre’s director.
His 120-page paperback, A History of Democratic Kampuchea 1975 – 1979, was published in Khmer, as well as in a 74-page English edition, in 2007 and has since been translated into French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese.
1. We need to have a clear understanding about what has happened in the past and try not to repeat mistakes again and again. The history of the Khmer Rouge, for instance, is important for Cambodian people as well as people around the world because they can learn from that history and strive to stop anything that follows in the footsteps of the Khmer Rouge.
2. History is one of the most important ways for people to identify themselves and show precisely what has happened in the past for each society and country. In addition, after we understand history, together we can try to keep our traditional identities (called preservative memory) and expose younger generations to this information in order to allow them to know and understand what has happened in their country.
3. Studying the history of Cambodia helps to reconcile all people in our nation to live with each other peacefully. Cambodians are used to struggle, terrible tragedy and war. People who used to live under the Khmer Rouge regime, for example, need to be helped, as their memories continue to make them suffer even after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Learning history is useful because after we learn what happened, we can better understand people’s minds and try to help them recover.