News / USA

    Cambodian Americans Relive Khmer Rouge Horrors Through Oscar-Nominated Film

    Cambodian Americans Relive Khmer Rouge Horrors Through Oscar-Nominated Filmi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    March 05, 2014 5:53 PM
    Almost 40 years after the communist Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and embarked on a four-year reign of terror and genocide, many survivors are finally able to talk about it. That includes a film director and others living in the U.S. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
    An undated photo released by Bophana Center shows a poster of "The Missing Picture" directed by Cambodian film director Rithy Panh.An undated photo released by Bophana Center shows a poster of "The Missing Picture" directed by Cambodian film director Rithy Panh.
    x
    An undated photo released by Bophana Center shows a poster of "The Missing Picture" directed by Cambodian film director Rithy Panh.
    An undated photo released by Bophana Center shows a poster of "The Missing Picture" directed by Cambodian film director Rithy Panh.
    Almost 40 years after the communist Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and embarked on a four-year reign of terror and genocide, many of those who survived are finally able to talk about it. That includes a film director whose documentary about the Khmer Rouge received an Oscar nomination - the first for a Cambodian film.

    Some survivors living in the United States say the film brought back painful memories but helps in the healing process.

    Long Beach, California, is home to the largest Cambodian community outside Cambodia.   
     
    Life in the United States is a stark contrast to the life Chan Hopson escaped in Cambodia and depicted in the documentary, The Missing Picture.

    ”When I was watching the film, I relived my life from the beginning to the end," she said. "I saw these people in my village who were killed, died of starvation and were tortured.”

    Hopson was 34 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power. She says they killed her husband and five brothers.

    “One of my brothers was a technician at the airport at the air force, so this is a crime," she said. "So they killed him alive by hold his feet, tie his feet and throw him in the pit alive.”   

    Memories of what happened almost 40 years ago are also imprinted in Sam Keo’s mind. He was 18 and suffered from starvation.

    “I remember that I found eight or 10 rats who were just born, still red," he said. "I was still hungry, I ate that alive, just to survive.”

    Keo, a clinical psychologist, helps Cambodian Americans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.  He says many survivors feel guilt for being alive. He too lived with it for many years after his brother died.

    “My mother asked me for a little bit of rice of mine to give to my little brother who was sick, and I need to go to work," he said. "I want that little rice. I said 'No, I need to keep for myself.' And she said 'If you don’t give to him, he’s going to die.'  And when I came back, he surely died.”

    FILE - Cambodian director Rithy Panh waves as he poses during a photo call, Oct. 24, 2008.FILE - Cambodian director Rithy Panh waves as he poses during a photo call, Oct. 24, 2008.
    x
    FILE - Cambodian director Rithy Panh waves as he poses during a photo call, Oct. 24, 2008.
    FILE - Cambodian director Rithy Panh waves as he poses during a photo call, Oct. 24, 2008.
    As painful as it is to recall what happened, The Missing Picture director Rithy Panh says it's important do so.

    “The genocide is not only killing," said Panh. "The genocide is also the destruction of the identity of your dignity. Where the Khmer Rouge destroyed dignity, we must rebuild dignity there.  Where the Khmer Rouge destroyed identity, you must bring back identity there.”  

    Panh says it's important for all future generations to remember what happened.

    “It’s not about Cambodia only, it’s about the whole world because when you know somewhere that the dignity of the people is threatened or destroyed it concerns you also,” he added.

    This image released by Strand Releasing shows a scene from "The Missing Picture."This image released by Strand Releasing shows a scene from "The Missing Picture."
    x
    This image released by Strand Releasing shows a scene from "The Missing Picture."
    This image released by Strand Releasing shows a scene from "The Missing Picture."
    Many Cambodian survivors in the U.S. say the film is a reminder that they are not alone in suffering from the memories of what happened. Chan Hopson tries to bring that message to the men, women and children in her community.

    “I think that God persecuted me to I can see the pain and suffering so I can dedicate my life to save the children to enrich the children to give them a better future at the same time to help my people to heal,” she said.

    To heal from their painful history so they are freed from the traumas of the past and can embrace a cultural identity that is also filled with beauty.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.