The Political Construction of Narrative and Collective Memory in Cambodia

Rebecca Gidley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979 in what is known locally as the "Pol Pot era." This personification of blame was carefully cultivated by the group that overthrew the Khmer Rouge, who were themselves former Khmer Rouge members, and who continue to rule the country in 2017 as the Cambodian People's Party (CPP). The two main elements of the preferred narrative of the CPP are: the horrors of the Khmer Rouge are solely attributable to a handful of evil leaders, and members of the CPP are saviours who liberated the country. This message has been built through a 1979 People's Revolutionary Tribunal, children's textbooks, museums, annual Days of Anger, and the currently operating UN hybrid court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. More than three decades of government influence over the political narrative of the Khmer Rouge regime has shaped the country's collective memory of that time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-118
    JournalSituations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context
    Volume10
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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