Khmer Rouge

The Smell of Water by Lang Srey

1979, Cambodia, Eastern Zone: Two comrades, twelve and fourteen, are RUNNING to get away from their infantry unit before the invading Vietnamese kill all of them. They reach the foot of a mountain – and disappear into the jungle. Neither of them has any food or water. They have no blankets, either, or protective clothing of any kind.

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Lucky Child by Loung Ung

After enduring years of hunger, deprivation, and devastating loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, ten-year-old Loung Ung became the "lucky child," the sibling chosen to accompany her eldest brother to America while her one surviving sister and two brothers remained behind. In this poignant and elegiac memoir, Loung recalls her assimilation into an unfamiliar new culture while struggling to overcome dogged memories of violence and the deep scars of war.

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  • Published in Politics

Landscape, Memory, and Post-Violence in Cambodia by James A. Tyner

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia enacted a program of organized mass violence that resulted in the deaths of approximately one quarter of the country’s population. Over two million people died from torture, execution, disease and famine. From the commodification of the ‘killing fields’ of Choeung Ek to the hundreds of unmarked mass graves scattered across the country, violence continues to shape the Cambodian landscape.

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Golden Bones by Sichan Siv

While the United States battled Vietnamese Communists in the 1960s and 1970s, in neighboring Cambodia dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge declared war on their own people, enslaving and slaughtering anybody who disagreed with them. Sichan Siv knew he would soon be a target—ending up, perhaps, as one of the millions of anonymous human skeletons buried in his nation's Killing Fields—so he heeded his mother's pleas and ran.

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Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975–1979 by Andrew Mertha

When the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia in 1975, they inherited a war-ravaged and internationally isolated country. Pol Pot’s government espoused the rhetoric of self-reliance, but Democratic Kampuchea was utterly dependent on Chinese foreign aid and technical assistance to survive. Yet in a markedly asymmetrical relationship between a modernizing, nuclear power and a virtually premodern state, China was largely unable to use its power to influence Cambodian politics or policy.

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The Lost Executioner by Nic Dunlop

Between 1975 and 1979 the seemingly peaceful nation of Cambodia succumbed to one of the most bloodthirsty revolutions in modern history. Nearly two million people were killed. As head of the Khmer Rouge's secret police, Comrade Duch was responsible for the murder of more than 20,000 of them. Twenty years later, not one member of the Khmer Rouge had been held accountable for what had happened, and Comrade Duch had disappeared.

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Short Hair Detention by Channy Chhi Laux

In April 1975, Channy Chhi Laux was a happy thirteen-year-old girl who was excited to start a new school year. But as news reports announced that the Khmer Rouge was getting closer to taking control of Cambodia, Channy and her family were forced to relocate to Poipet, a border town to Thailand. From that point forward, Channy lived a life dictated by fear.

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An Illustrated History of Cambodia by Philip Coggan

Beginning with a definition of who the Cambodians are, this fully illustrated history then tracks back to the earliest kingdoms before 800 AD, followed by an investigation of the creation of the magnificent city of Angkor and Cambodia’s centuries of greatness up to 1400 AD. The following chapter describes the times from 1400–1860, which were centuries of crisis, succeeded by the recovery during next 100 years when the country came under the influence of the French.

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