In the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold, myths from the Cambodian genocide still reign

Near Cambodia’s border with Thailand, in a two-story home, a group of teenagers watched a black-and-white video projected onto a screen. It was only 8 a.m. on a gray Sunday morning, but the kids, clad in flip-flops and jeans, were rapt with attention.

The video flashed images of the Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, where thousands of Cambodians were tortured and killed during the Marxist Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. The classroom walls were decorated with photos of figures from the era. A row of filing cabinets held thousands of pages of Khmer Rouge documents from the surrounding district.

In Anlong Veng, it is widely understood that Vietnamese people — not the Khmer Rouge — were behind the worst violence that devastated Cambodia and that Khmer Rouge war heroes tried to stop them.

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