Call for Essays: Genocide, Healing, Justice, and Peace: The Cambodian Experience
Due Date: July 15, 2011
Guest editor: Jonathan H. X. Lee, Ph.D.
San Francisco State University
Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice (Routledge) is an international journal
distributed in more than 50 nations. We seek essays on the above theme
for a special issue.
For three years, eight months, and twenty days, between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge held power in Cambodia. It has been described as one of the most radical and brutal periods in world history. It was a time of mass starvation, torture, slavery, and killing. The number of Cambodians who died under the Khmer Rouge remains a topic of debate: Vietnamese sources say three million, while others estimate 1-2 million deaths. Historians have called it the Cambodian Holocaust, a pogrom of ethnic cleansing and societal reform that still haunts many survivors and their descendants. Continue reading
August 4, 2010
A child of war, Sarorn Sim grew up as a refugee in Canada embarrassed by his past and almost ashamed to say he was Cambodian. But he has since come to understand the complexity of suffering and the joy of rebirth.
Photo by: UNHCR/KD17506/ Refugee Camp II/Thailand 1984
This picture is my story. An image that speaks for every fiber of my soul, every reason for my being. It is, in many respects, the image that I’ve longed to recapture.
Every time I look at this image, I am born again. A constant reminder of the journey we’ve been through as a family, as refugees, as survivors of war and genocide. It is a reflection of me that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
From 1975 to 1979, my parents were separated from their family, torn apart by civil war in Cambodia – a spillover from the war in nearby Vietnam. Lead by Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge began a campaign to exterminate anyone who could rise against them: doctors, teachers, monks, and civil servants, anyone who had a voice. The rest were put to toil in slave camps through out the country working 16 hours on one meal a day. Those who received a bullet to the head were considered lucky, the rest were left to starve. By the end of their reign in 1979, over 2 million Cambodians had perished, half of Cambodia’s population. It was later dubbed by the international community as the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Continue reading