Watching Cambodia opens with a visit to the Khmer Rouge zone in 1972, the only one by a western observer before Pol Pot's victory in 1975. But legwork in the rice fields was not enough. Understanding Cambodia is not an easy matter. It requires sifting through mountains of documents, from Angkorian stone inscriptions to Khmer Rouge radio transcripts, as well as reading and evaluating piles of books written by scholars, travelers, journalists, and technicians.
It further requires carefully listening to people from all walks of life: farmers, monks, politicians, guerrilla fighters, teachers, and sometimes killers and their potential victims.
The country is like a labyrinth, and this book explores several entrances. The first such entrance opens onto the agrarian question. Another reveals the lines along which the Khmers organize their political life. Yet a third looks into the interplay between the big powers' political games and internal problems. Finally, the relationship between the Vietnamese and Khmer communists provides another view into the corridors of power.
Events are multi-faceted. The essays contained in this book try to reveal a number of the facets so that the reader can appreciate the labyrinthine nature of the Cambodian experience. But there is no final word, no hidden truth at the end. That would require entering all the gates of the labyrinth at the same time.
Cambodia is a complex society with a complex history. This books upholds a complex approach as the only way to encounter the reality of the Cambodian experience.
|Publisher:||White Lotus Co Ltd|
|Dimensions:||5.8 x 8.2 x 1.20 inches|
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