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Thread: Cambodia: First They Killed My Father

  1. #21
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    From: Newsweek Europe 5 March 2017
    Jon Swain

    The Khmer Rouge genocide, which killed 1.7 million people—nearly a quarter of the country’s population—from 1975 to 1979 still looms over this tiny Southeast Asian nation, where many still wake up in the middle of the night screaming and recalling the horrors. That’s why so many here in this capital city seemed profoundly moved when Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie invited thousands to the local premiere of her new film, First They Killed My Father, which is about the genocide as seen through the eyes of an orphaned little girl.

    The film was shown at the indoor arena of the city’s National Olympic Stadium, a magnificent building where General Charles de Gaulle made his famous speech in 1966 calling on the United States to withdraw its troops from Vietnam or face disaster. The Americans did not heed his words, and the war dragged on for another nine years, spilling over the border into Cambodia and paving the way for the murderous Khmer Rouge.



    I remember how the stadium looked in early 1975 as rockets smashed into the capital; the building served as a makeshift clinic, overflowing with the wounded and dying as Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot’s peasant soldiers tightened their grip on the city. Later, the dictator and his henchmen used it for political rallies to glorify their revolution in the manner of Hitler, Stalin and Mao.

    As the sun set and Jolie’s film flashed across the screen, bats wheeled beneath the high ceiling and the audience sat in the dusty air, transfixed by a wrenching tale full of love and humanity. Some in the audience, like the woman next to me, sobbed throughout the movie.

    The film is told from the point of view of a child, which is significant because in Pol Pot’s Cambodia even a child's laughter was against the law. The Khmer Rouge killed doctors, professionals, even those whose soft hands or spectacles suggested they could read. Their executioners were often child soldiers, whom Pol Pot saw as tiny vessels who could be easily indoctrinated.

    I was one of the few journalists in Phnom Penh when the city fell, so I saw what happened then, and as I watched the film, I was overwhelmed by its accurate re-enactments—especially of how the Khmer Rouge emptied the city at gunpoint, forcing roughly 2 million people into the countryside. There, they toiled and died while attempting to create Pol Pot’s agrarian utopia.

    Some Cambodians who have seen the film told me they felt less burdened by the past, more willing to talk to their children and grandchildren about the horrors they witnessed. As Panh puts it, “We have got out of this hell, despite everything. At last, we can talk and discuss what happened and...begin a process of reconstruction.”
    Changone likes this.

  2. #22
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Changone's Avatar
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    $500 million? I heard it started out as $240 million, and that it was "Food aid" and "Surplus food aid" at that.
    Furthermore, that it was mostly "Maize" which Cambodians don't even eat. (So mostly it was fed to animals).

    US bombing killed an estimated 500,000 Cambodians and that was just the start.
    Pol Pot went on to kill millions more as a direct result which almost destroyed an entire culture.

    Send 'em a counter bill for $100 for each of the dead $500,000,000 should be a token amount.

    For shame........
    Hatari likes this.

  3. #23
    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Just trying to imagine this happening in the country I grew up in... how do you get over something like that? It will affect generations well into the future... we see it now with ISIS... we saw it in Yugoslavia... in Nazi Germany... in Rwanda... we're a cruel species...
    TLandHim likes this.
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


  4. #24
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Its a pity Angelina hasnt spared a few seconds of footage at the end of her movie to raise awareness of the injustice of this US claim ...

    Or has she ?

  5. #25
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Nomination but no win at Golden Globes for First They Killed My Father

    Angelina Jolie and Rithy Panh's highly acclaimed First They Killed My Father came away from the 75th Golden Globe Awards without a win in the best foreign language film category.

    Based on the autobiographical novel by Loung Ung about surviving life under the Khmer Rouge as a child, First They Killed My Father was shot entirely in Cambodia with a local cast.

    The film was also nominated for best foreign language film for the upcoming Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. It has previously received the "Freedom of Expression Award" from the National Board of Review, best foreign film at the Hollywood Film Awards, as well as accolades from the Camerimage International Film Festival for its cinematography.
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  6. #26
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    A great book certainly worth the read...

  7. #27
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Genocide survivor Loung Ung (center) holds an identification card as she stands with her eldest brother Meng Ung (left) and sister-in-law Eang Ung in 1980 in the Laem Sing Refugee Camp in Chanthaburi, Thailand.


    Significant places in Loung's life in Cambodia

    From an interview with the Stanley Foundation

    TSF: What do you tell people who want to help those suffering from atrocities?

    LU: If you want to help, first you choose to help. You have to make that choice. It’s not enough to want.
    Want is a great motivator, but it’s just not enough. If all we do is want, it’s never going to get done.
    Once you make that choice, then you can go on to the next step.
    Whatever you are able to do is perfectly fine because activism is a muscle.
    The more you use it the stronger it will get. So you’ve got to start using it.

    If you encounter someone who has experienced atrocities, first, you listen.
    And then you ask questions. And you believe.
    Should there be any discrepancies in the stories, you don’t automatically judge.
    Sometimes your mind can’t accept what’s happened.
    And when that happens, you weave new narratives for yourself.
    But there’s truth in their stories, and it may not be the version you want to hear, but it’s there.

  8. #28
    Foundation Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Minder's Avatar
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    This older film had a powerful impact on me at the time ...hard to believe it was over 30 years ago .... anyone seen both and can make a comparison ?

    Life is the unexpected ...

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