Speak-out, Disappear During Khmer Rouge Regime

Ang Trapeang Thma

By Bun Saosopheakneath

Freedom of speech is a right for Cambodians. Yet, it was restricted during the Khmer
Rouge regime which lasted from 1975 to 1979. In the Constitution of the Khmer Rouge
period, there is no rule of law on the right to freedom of expression, but those who
have criticized the revolution or misrepresented ideas were killed by the Khmer Rouge.
People dared not to speak freely, and they used the words “dam doeum kor” to alert
others to stop talking and to save them from danger. Those who went through the
regime knew that “dam doeum kor” was a phrase used metaphorically during the
Khmer Rouge regime. It meant, “be silent”. The following feature addresses the
restriction on social interaction, the insistence on silence, during the Khmer Rouge
regime.

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