News

    Photo Exhibit Recalls Khmer Rouge Atrocities

    Kimseng Men

    For the first time, Cambodians are feeling comfortable enough to openly discuss life under the Khmer Rouge.  A UN tribunal is underway.  On trial four are people accused of genocide.  And a new photo exhibit has opened in Phnom Penh, showing a side of life rarely seen in 1978.  These pictures were the images the Khmer Rouge wanted the world to see.

    However, In those days, people were forced to perform back-breaking labor, starved to death, tortured, and killed.

    The photos on exhibit were taken by former New York Times reporter Elizabeth Becker during a visit organized by the Khmer Rouge regime. It was in late 1978, just days before the regime's collapse.

    The photos are now on display for the first time in Cambodia, at a time when former Khmer Rouge leaders are on trial for causing the death of some 1.7 million lives.

    "I've seen a renaissance of Cambodians talking about their history," said Becker.  "You see films. For the first time last year a Cambodian won the international journalism award, the Knight International Journalism, for his work documenting what Nuon Chea did. This is fabulous."

    Nuon Chea was the deputy to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and is now on trial, charged with war crimes, including genocide.

    Pol Pot, whom Becker interviewed on the last day of her guided tour, escaped justice when he died of disease in the jungle in 1998.  He left behind a public where the divisions between the Khmer Rouge factions and their victims were still unresolved.

    "These people have spent nearly 40 years going to the same Buddhist temple together," said Becker.  "Their kids are in the same school. One of them was the executioner; the other was the one whose family was killed. It's all like thrown together."

    Sarem Neou lives in the U.S. now, but is still not able to escape her memories of the Khmer Rouge.  She lost her husband, a daughter, and other siblings, then became a prisoner at one of the Khmer Rouge correction centers.  Over the years she has found her own way of healing.

    "When I talked about it for the first time it was hard," said Neou.  "When I first settled down in Minnesota, I could not even listen to Khmer music. I cried every time I listened to it. Therefore, I decided not to listen to any. It took me a long time for almost 10 years. We had to take part in community work to help other people."  

    The court has sentenced Kaing Kek Iev, the chief executioner also known as "Duch," to a life behind bars.  Cambodians are hotly debating whether to expand the Khmer Rouge Tribunals to more cases.

    For Elizabeth Becker, sharing her memories with the Cambodian public is a way to make sure they never forget their painful history.

    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