Archive

New Film Exhibit Gives Khmer Rouge a Voice

An unidentified former soldier looks on near the once Khmer Rouge-stronghold border town of Pailin. The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former sold
An unidentified former soldier looks on near the once Khmer Rouge-stronghold border town of Pailin. The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former sold
Pich SamnangVOA Khmer

Low-ranking Khmer Rouge cadre, 30 in all, will have their say and then some in a massive video installation opening this week in Phnom Penh.

The “Voices of the Khmer Rouge” exhibit contains 30 lengthy interviews with former Khmer Rouge now living in pockets along the Thai border, as men and women aged 38 to 70 give their reasons for joining the movement. And staying with it.

“The way I feel, I think Pol Pot was a good man,” a former soldier tells interviewers. “He is the hero in the struggle, although there were killings, some mistakes.”

The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former soldiers.

Carlsen told VOA Khmer in an interview the idea was to learn more about them.

“Are they basically just criminals like Pol Pot, like Nuon Chea, or who are they?” he said. “This is a very important question. And we don’t want to come up with any firm and final answer to that question; we just want to give as many people as we can the possibility, the opportunity, to get acquainted with these people themselves and then they can judge for themselves who they think the Khmer Rouge are.”

The filmmakers said in a statement they want the scope of the installation to raise questions about “gatekeepers” of information, the authors of history and “to challenge representation as we know it.” “When do we know enough to reach conclusions, when are we overwhelmed by information and must refrain from concluding in general terms?”

Within the monologues soldiers talk about their experience under the regime and their reasons for joining it, but they also address the possibility of a tribunal—something that had not been established when the interviews were conducted.

“Please try the Khmer Rouge leaders,” one soldier says. “And America has to pay us compensation,” he adds, a reference to the US bombings of Cambodia during its war with Vietnam.

“If China had not given Khmer Rouge guns, how could they shoot?” he says. “If America had not offered weapons such as mines, how could they have laid mines so that people's legs are blown off and they have to live very difficult lives? So who is responsible for this? This is the responsibility of the greater powers, so sentence all of these countries too; the Khmer Rouge was under your feet.”

Carlsen said the installation, which took five years to edit and prepare, should counterbalance some of the sensationalization surrounding the Khmer Rouge.

“I believe that there is more to these stories than just blood, the killings, forced labor, torture and starvation and all these terrible disasters,” he said. “Who were the people behind these? Were they all bad people? Should they all be considered criminals?”

“Voices of the Khmer Rouge” will run for two weeks at the Bosphana Center in Phnom Penh starting March 4.

“When people hear the voices of the former Khmer Rouge cadre themselves, they will better understand them,” said Sar Kosal, event manager for the Bosphana Center, “and think again whether they should hate these soldiers or reconcile with them.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
X
22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Labor of Love (Movie: That's What I Am)i
X
21 July 2014
You can say, "Every weekend he volunteers at the hospital working with the sick and the dying. It brings him great joy to care for others. It's his 'labor of love' to humanity." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori or www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Labor of Love (Movie: That's What I Am)

You can say, "Every weekend he volunteers at the hospital working with the sick and the dying. It brings him great joy to care for others. It's his 'labor of love' to humanity." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
Video

Video Put Stock In (Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)

AT THE MOVIES WITH MANI & MORI - English Learning / American Idioms You can say, "Her history and her patterns have shown that she is not very responsible with money, so I am not going to 'put too much stock in' believing she has changed." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Thick Skinned [Movie: The Lion King]

You can say, "I find that it's necessary sometimes to be 'thick skinned' to public opinions, some people will like you and some will not … it's just how it is." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
Video

Video Knock Your Socks Off [Movie: Meet The Robinsons]

You can say, "You have to try this new Cambodian restaurant in DC, it's super delicious, it's amazing - one bite of it and it will 'knock your socks off'." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
See more >>>