News

    Former Torture Center Teaches Khmer Rouge History

    An Australian tourist touches a painting depicting Khmer Rouge torture as she tours in the former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison now known as the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh Cambodia, September 16, 2010.
    An Australian tourist touches a painting depicting Khmer Rouge torture as she tours in the former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison now known as the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh Cambodia, September 16, 2010.

    A Cambodian research institute is offering free history classes on the Khmer Rouge to educate the public about the extremists who killed more than one million people. The classes are attended mainly by foreign tourists and held in the group’s former torture center.

    Teacher Ser Sayana stands before a classroom of foreigners and tries to cover in 15 minutes the violent history of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.

    She says the course, sponsored by the Documentation Center of Cambodia, has added weight because it is held in a historic site.

    “They can see the building,"  she said. "They might have some background about the atrocity of this prison. But, they might not have the more in-depth, insightful into the whole history of the Khmer Rouge. So, this place is kind of the collection of memory of the history.”

    The Khmer Rouge locked up as many as 20,000 Cambodians here, deemed enemies of the revolution. Only seven survived. The rest were tortured and executed.

    Organizers hope the twice-a-week classes can help redefine Tuol Sleng as a place of education.

    “Yeah, it’s really really good. I enjoyed it to get this way information about what was really going on here,” said German tourist Sebastian Poschlu.

    Norwegian tourist Ingunn Jaabok says she has goose bumps after taking the class and touring the torture rooms.

    “I can’t explain the feeling I have," she said. "It’s not a good feeling after the entire day. But, still it’s a good feeling cause I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I know this. I’m glad I know this happened.”

    Chum Mey, one of only two living survivors of Tuol Sleng, now works at his former prison selling books about the Khmer Rouge. He welcomes the classes but says more education is needed.

    “This is not enough," he said. There must be many more [classes] so young people will understand. Once they understand they will not follow [in the footsteps] of the [Khmer Rouge].”

    While the courses are now mainly aimed at tourists visiting Tuol Sleng, instructors also teach Cambodian student groups in the Khmer language. Organizers say public interest is growing and they plan to add more classes to the schedule.

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora