History matters, not just in the way that it is presented in classes and history books but also in how it is publicly remembered in holidays and memorials.
National holidays tell a simplified version of history. Cambodia’s recent decision to add “Win-Win Policy Day” on December 29 to the national calendar to celebrate the surrender of the Khmer Rouge is notable because it is matched by a lack of similar recognition for the anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreements. Until 2019, the anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements (PPAs) on October 23, 1991 was a public holiday in official recognition of the valuable contributions the agreements made to ending conflict in Cambodia.
Even as public dialogue around the importance of the PPAs in Cambodia today continues, recognizing the PPAs on the national calendar would celebrate the lengthy, complex, and fraught pathway that Cambodians walked to bring the country from a state of civil war to where it is today.