Happy Monday! “You can’t claim heaven as your own if you are just going to sit under it.” ~ Cambodian proverb
An explosive report in Newsweek last spring raised questions regarding the legitimacy of Cambodian anti-trafficking activist Somaly Mam, tainting the nearly two-decades-long work on behalf of victims that catapulted her into the global spotlight. But how do the allegations hold up? In her first interview since the scandal dominated headlines—and left her career and reputation in shambles—Mam tells her side of things.
August 26, 2014 New York Times, PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Earlier this month a United Nations-assisted tribunal in Cambodia handed down long-overdue judgments against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for their roles in the catastrophic Khmer Rouge regime of 1975-79. Nuon Chea, the deputy secretary of the communist party, and Khieu Samphan, the president of the Khmer Rouge state, were sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.
40 years ago, Poch Younly risked everything to write in his diary, “one of just four known firsthand accounts penned by victims and survivors while the Khmer Rouge were in power…” http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/09/spiral-bound-history-rare-cambodia-diary-offers-haunting-account-life-under/
August 7, 2014 NPR All Things Considered: Khmer Rouge Convictions Offer Small Solace For Cambodian Victims. ( I went in the studio determined to be strong, and a minute into the interview, I found myself choking with emotions again. This time, it wasn’t… anger; it was relief, gratitude, and missing my family. There will never be justice for the 2 million lives lost, but through education their stories will live on as our healing continues. The heart is the strongest muscle in the human body. Loung Ung)
The verdict is not surprising. I’ve been following this for so long, even testifying before US Congress in support of a trial in 1998. I have long thought this trial was more about education than justice. Now that it’s here, I am surprisingly emotional about it. A rush of sadness for our losses, pride that we survived it, and gratitude to the people who’ve worked so hard to bring the trial into being. And yes, it does feel like closure. I didn’t think I would feel this, but I do. Peace to all, Loung
New York Times, August 7, 2014 PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A court on Thursday found the two most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, which brutalized Cambodia during the 1970s, guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/world/asia/decades-after-khmer-rouges-rule-2-senior-leaders-are-convicted-in-cambodia.html?_r=0
Sok Sambour, 25, works as a receptionist at a hotel after graduating from accounting school. Her parents told her about that era, including exactly how long the Khmer Rouge rule lasted: three years, eight months and 20 days. An elderly neighbor told her that just catching a fish to eat was enough to be accused of betrayal and face almost certain execution. A U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal will deliver a verdict this coming Thursday in the trial of the two top leaders of the communist Khmer Rouge, whose extremist policies in the late 1970s are blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians though starvation, medical neglect, overwork and execution.
AP, July 29, 2014 Two former Khmer Rouge leaders began their second trial at a UN-backed court in Cambodia Wednesday on charges including genocide of Vietnamese people and ethnic Muslims, forced marriages and rape
The New York Times… Every year, the lake yields about 300,000 tons of fish, making it one of the world’s most productive freshwater ecosystems. That and the floods that pulse through it in monsoon season, swelling it to as much as five times its dry-season size, have earned the lake the nickname “Cambodia’s beating heart.” But the Tonle Sap is in trouble…
Los Angeles Daily News: “….Nearly four decades after the rise of the brutal regime, Cambodia still suffers from an acute mental health crisis, and has very few doctors qualified to address it…”