The recent Covid-19 outbreak has forced the government to cancel a formal event to mark the creation of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (known by its French acronym, FUNSK) which led to the toppling of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.
On December 2, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan said given the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, party leaders in provinces, districts and communes met in small gatherings at local CPP headquarters to mark the 42nd anniversary of establishing the movement in 1978.
Eysan elaborated that Cambodia had traditionally commemorated the date with a mass gathering at the December 2 Monument compound. The gatherings were attended by the prime minster and the presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly. Typically, ceremonies included musical and theatrical performances and other events related to establishing the liberation campaign.
In a Facebook post, Prime Minister and CPP president Hun Sen wrote: “December 2, 2020, is the 42nd anniversary of the birth of the national salvation movement that reclaimed the lives of the Cambodian people from the Pol Pot regime. The Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation was established by patriotic heroes with solidarity from Cambodians at home and abroad.”
The post explained that the name of the movement was changed post-facto to the Solidarity Front for the Development of the Cambodian Motherland (SFDCM), which is now a leading organisation of the CPP in the liberation zone of Snuol district’s Pi Thnou commune in Kratie province.
The campaign was greatly assisted by volunteer Vietnamese troops and the support of allies around the world, eventually toppling the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
“A great victory on January 7, 1979, ended that dark and unprecedented chapter in Cambodian history. It ushered in a new era. The rights and freedoms of Cambodian people were restored, allowing opportunities to rebuild our motherland. We all clearly understand that without the significant events of these dates, today’s progress and prosperity would not be possible. This is the truth of history,” Hun Sen said.
Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said that December 2 is a day of remembrance, the events and lessons of which are relevant to all Cambodians.
“We should learn the history and heed its lessons. We can carry the positive insights with us into the future, and we must always remember the negatives in order to prevent their recurrence,” he said.