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Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors (Southeast Asia Studies) Paperback – 7 Jun 1999
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From the Back Cover
This extraordinary book contains eyewitness accounts of life in Cambodia during Pol Pot's genocidal Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, accounts written by survivors who were children at the time. The memoirs were gathered by Dith Pran, whose own experiences in Cambodia were so graphically portrayed in the film The Killing Fields.
About the Author
Dith Pran is a photojournalist for the New York Times and founder of the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project. Kim DePaul is the wife of Dith Pran and executive director of his project.
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If you found The Klling Fields a remarkable story of bravery and the will to survive, you will admire how many Dith Prans there are in just one simple country.
Buy and appreciate this book, as the word "enjoy" cant be used on this occasion.
As Dith Pran explains in his introduction, children were at the heart of the Red Khmer's fanatical ideological policies. The Red Khmer mounted an all out attack on family life. Children didn't belong anymore to their parents, but to the Red Khmer's ruling organization. Children were deprived of real knowledge of their natural parents.
The aim of the ideologues was to indoctrinate completely all `clean' newborn members of the population in order to build a `Brave New World'.
But the top of the Party themselves contradicted these unnatural and inhuman policies. Ieng Sary (Pol Pot's brother-in-law) put his sons at the helm of the province he controlled, while Ta Mok put all his siblings in high positions in his province. Nepotism at the top was rampant!
As one of the children remarks, the victory of the Red Khmer was positively greeted by the majority of the population, because people wanted `peace at any price'. But afterwards, of course not at any price.
The Red Khmer regime turned into a butchery, an endless slaughtering (clubbing to death, not shooting, because gunshots would have sown panic among the victims in waiting), a genocide through outright executions, overwork, exhaustion, starvation and illnesses. Whole families (women, children and babies) were killed because the rulers feared `revenge'.
But ultimately, the most cynical aspect of this atrocious story is the fact that this regime was supported by the West, because the Red Khmer were an enemy of Vietnam, which was an ally of the USSR. In fact, the Red Khmer mass murderers could escape to an ally of the West, Thailand.
One needs a strong stomach to digest these memories of an ideological and partisan genocide. They are a must read for all those who want to understand who we are and of what mankind is capable of doing when it disposes of unlimited powers.
Poor quality concerning the written word. That these people are not real authors is painfully apparent. The book is repetitive and shallow. What happened to the editor?
I would rather have seen one or two of these people write there whole experience instead of so short accounts from so many people. It doesn't feel complete somehow.
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