Deborah Sontag on Cambodia, resources about the country.

Deborah Sontag's 2003 story about a Cambodian genocide survivor makes for gripping reading.

At work today we read most of a 2003 New York Times Magazine story by Deborah Sontag about a young man who fled the killing fields of Cambodia, grew up in a Seattle-area housing project, committed a single crime as a teenager and then, as a consequence of post-September 11 Bush Administration policy, found himself deported to the country he had left nearly 30 years earlier.

It’s a compelling story that packs in telling details and all kind of content areas, with the Cambodian genocide, the experience of genocide survivors in America, the legacy of trauma and Bush’s deportation policy, among others.

Here are some other resources for those wanting to learn more about the country:

When the War Was Over, by Elizabeth Becker. This historical look at Cambodia and the genocide grounds one’s inquiries into the country, its colonial history, and the personal experiences and intellectual forces that shaped Pol Pot.

First They Killed My Father,by Loung Ung.  This harrowing memoir shares the brutality Ung and her family endured during the genocide.

The Flute Player. This Emmy-nominated movie about survivor turned activist turned reviver of ancient Cambodian music Arn Chorn Pond has some unforgettable moments during Pond’s return to Cambodia and is worth watching.  Pond also appears in Academy Award winner Margaret Lazarus’ documentary film, Strong at the Broken Places.


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