Today April 17th, remembering the Cambodian Genocide

Hi everyone,

Click here to see our recommendations of good books and films about the Genocide in Cambodia

Have you seen the film “Small Voices: The Stories of Cambodia’s Children”?  If ever we needed a reminder that when a genocide ends, it doesn’t really end, this film provides it.  Some on this list might not be old enough to recall when the “Killing Fields” took place.  Yet when we hear the stories of the children, we recognize that the Khmer Rouge’s destruction is not a thing of the past as tens of thousands of children in Cambodia today are still suffering, and struggling to survive.  How often do we really open ourselves enough to absorb and deeply feel what it must be like for these children, so young, longing for love, leading a life that would terrify most adults, with no one on this earth available to turn to for help?

April 17th marks the start of the Cambodian genocide.  On this day in 1975, the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

When the Khmer Rouge took control of the Cambodian government in 1975, they declared the beginning of a new age dedicated to a peasant-oriented society. After outlawing education, religion, healthcare and technology, the Khmer Rouge ordered the evacuation of Cambodia’s cities and forced these residents to labor without adequate food or rest. At the same time as summarily executing those who were unable to keep up, the Khmer Rouge began to target suspected political dissidents. These citizens, including doctors, teachers and those suspected of being educated were singled out for torture at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison. In four years, between 1.7 and 2 million Cambodians died in the Khmer Rouge’s ‘Killing Fields’.

– from GI-Net / Save Darfur Coalition [link]
As we continue through the month of April, taking note of California’s first official Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, our Resource List on Cambodia is available to make it easier for you to find books and films, allowing the stories of Cambodians to become part of you.  We remember the atrocities. We remember those killed. We remember those who survived, but endured torturous sufferings in order to do so. We remember the next generation born into Cambodia, portrayed in the film… and we know we must not only end genocide, but prevent it, knowing that otherwise the atrocities live on within the living and endure into the next generations.

May we find our path to healing in this world… together.  For today, we remember the people of Cambodia.

Barbara & Anshul
Orange County for Darfur, a project of Living Ubuntu
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