May 29, 2011
I read Susan Spano's "After the Killing Fields" [May 15] with much emotion. I am a survivor of the killing fields. I remember precisely the event that had me clinging to my grandmother's hand and my older brother holding steadfast to my mother's hand. Thunderous tanks passing by and Pol Pot's puppets, with rifles in their hands, ordering people to move quickly. My grandmother telling me to be quiet and to obey. This took place in the dark of night. Children's cries, footsteps moving about on the dusty road and parents telling their children to hush up were heard.
May 16, 2011 |
1925: Saloth Sar, alias Pol Pot, born in central Cambodia. 1949: Pol Pot goes to Paris where he joins a group of young Cambodian revolutionaries, most of them Marxists. 1953: France grants independence to Cambodia under King Norodom Sihanouk; Pol Pot returns to Phnom Penh, trains with Vietnamese communist guerrillas, then works for his cause in the countryside. 1969: Secret U.S. bombing raids begin against Vietnamese communist guerrillas hiding in Cambodia. 1970: Sihanouk deposed by U.S.-backed strongman Lon Nol; the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk join forces against the nationalists.
May 15, 2011 |
A muddy, weed-choked field in the hills of northern Cambodia is the last resting place of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, chief instigator of a communist regime that enslaved a nation, dismantled its social and cultural institutions and took the lives of 2 million or more people. In life, he was a cipher, known only to a handful of confederates. He died of a reported heart attack in 1998, with his revolution collapsed around him. While United Nations-backed war crimes trials of surviving Khmer Rouge henchmen drag on in Phnom Penh, and another strongman, Hun Sen, also considered oppressive, rules the country, the Cambodian people go about their business.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 2010 |
He spent much of his life consumed by what the three men on the screen before him had done. He stared at the glossy, bloodshot eyes of the man in the middle, the one who had so casually demonstrated how he slit his victims' throats, who explained how his hand grew so sore he often switched to stabbing them at the base of the neck. They were gaunt figures now, impoverished men trudging the rice ponds of northwestern Cambodia. They had agreed to confess their roles in the Killing Fields, first for a documentary film, "Enemies of the People," and then here, in a video conference with survivors in Long Beach.
April 23, 2010 |
The first reunion of foreign correspondents who covered the 1970-75 Cambodian civil war — and perhaps the last, given the advanced ages of many — ended Friday, 40 years after the conflict began. "A bunch of ‘ Jurassic Park' journos," one reporter said. "'Hurt Locker' meets ‘Animal House,'" another said. The self-deprecating humor belied a period that was deceptively deadly for journalists. Although the Cambodia war received far less attention than its counterpart in neighboring Vietnam, 36 correspondents working for foreign news operations were killed or reported missing during the conflict, compared with 33 in Vietnam, according to the Associated Press.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2010 |
On a rainy night nearly 14 years ago, Haing Ngor parked his gold Mercedes in a graffiti-lined alleyway behind his apartment on the edge of Chinatown. The Cambodian refugee-turned-actor had won an Academy Award for his role in 1984's "The Killing Fields," but he still lived in a tiny apartment where he kept his Oscar next to a large Buddha statue. As he stepped out of his car, gunshots echoed off the alley walls. A neighbor rushed outside to find Ngor slumped on the pavement of his carport.