For such a genocidal regime it appears that the Khmer Rouge were quite a musical bunch, with there even being a YouTube channel dedicated to their songs.
On April 17th 1975 The Khmer Rouge set up the new nation of Democratic Kampuchea, and if you have your own country then you gotta have a tune to play at stuff like the olympics (Democratic Kampuchea did not take part in the olympics).
On the 5th of January 1976 the Democratic Kampuchean constitution was proclaimed, and as part of that Dap Prampi Mesa Moha Chokchey” (Khmer: ដប់ប្រាំពីរមេសាមហាជោគជ័យ, “Glorious Seventeenth of April”) Was proclaimed the new national tune. The 17th of April being when the country had been “liberated” by the Khmer Rouge.
The bright scarlet blood
Flooded over the towns and plains of our
The blood of our great workers and farmers,
Our revolutionary fighters’ blood, both men and women.
Their blood produced a great anger and the courage
To contend with heroism.
On 17 April, under the revolutionary banner,
Their blood freed us from the state of slavery.
For the glorious 17 April!
That wonderful victory had greater significance
Than the Angkor period!
We are uniting
To construct a Kampuchea with a new and better society,
Democratic, egalitarian and just.
We follow the road to firmly-based independence.
We absolutely guarantee to defend our motherland,
Our fine territory, our magnificent revolution!
Hurrah! For the new Kampuchea
A splendid, democratic land of plenty!
We guarantee to raise aloft and wave the red banner of the revolution.
We shall make our motherland prosperous beyond all others,
Who wrote this magnificent tune?
The anthem of Democratic Kampuchea was allegedly at least written by none of that himself, a Mr Pol Pot.
Few would argue that the song is full of Revolutionary zeal, with lots of mentions of April 17th being thrown in. My own personal favorite line though, and perhaps where they jumped the zhark a tad is;
“That wonderful victory had greater significance
Than the Angkor period! “
The Angkor period being when Cambodia created Angkor Watt and basically ran South-East Asia. A particularly bold term for regime that lasted three and a half years…..
After the Vietnamese backed faction of the Khmer Rouge vanquished Democratic Kampuchea and declared the it the equally catchy Peoples Republic of Kampuchea you’d expect that the song would have gone too, but things were about to get complicated!
The new state threw out the old anthem, but the Khmer Rouge were allowed to keep the UN seat as the “recognized” government until 1993. This meant that whilst the country was trying to recover from the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge officially at least they were still singing “Glorious Seventeenth of April”.
It truly is a funny old world…..