- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
During the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) era, the existence of S-21 was known only to those inside it and a few high-ranking Khmer Rouge officials. When invading Vietnamese troops discovered the prison in 1979, murdered bodies lay strewn about and instruments of torture were still in place. An extensive archive containing photographs of victims, cadre notebooks, and DK publications was also found. Chandler utilizes evidence from the S-21 archive as well as materials that have surfaced elsewhere in Phnom Penh. He also interviews survivors of S-21 and former workers from the prison.
Documenting the violence and terror that took place within S-21 is only part of Chandler's story. Equally important is his attempt to understand what happened there in terms that might be useful to survivors, historians, and the rest of us. Chandler discusses the "culture of obedience" and its attendant dehumanization, citing parallels between the Khmer Rouge executions and the Moscow Show Trails of the 1930s, Nazi genocide, Indonesian massacres in 1965-66, the Argentine military's use of torture in the 1970s, and the recent mass killings in Bosnia and Rwanda. In each of these instances, Chandler shows how turning victims into "others" in a manner that was systematically devaluing and racialist made it easier to mistreat and kill them. More than a chronicle of Khmer Rouge barbarism, Voices from S-21 is also a judicious examination of the psychological dimensions of state-sponsored terrorism that conditions human beings to commit acts of unspeakable brutality.
|2||S-21: A Total Institution||14|
|3||Choosing the Enemies||41|
|4||Framing the Questions||77|
|5||Forcing the Answers||110|
|Appendix||Siet Chhe's Denial of Incest||157|
Posted November 7, 2003
Truly a book that you will find rare in it's own right, since the author has done thorough research and is also a gripping writer. I visited Tuol Sleng in 2003 and I read the book later. It would be better the other way around, though. It is one of the most terrible places on the face of this earth, and should be a museum. The current one lacks funds, which is a shame. The killers walk around free in Cambodia even today, which makes the experiece even more chilling.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2003
i first heard about this book on the history channel and eventually decided to look it up and have a go at reading it, seeing as i had nothing better to do. i was hooked from the first page on. i had read books about the awful things done to prisoners in russia and in nazi-controlled europe, but after reading this book, i see that brutality is found east of siberia as well. this book helps one see what lengths people will go to to prevent their tight, closed little systems from being infiltrated; even if it is by imaginary people and imaginary crimes. the pictures honestly made me cry when i saw them. and i thought i had seen everything.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2000
An extraordinary view into the secret prison of the Democratic Kampuchean (DK) government of Cambodia (1975-79). This well researched book by a renowned historian provides the reader with an in-context look at the horrors of Pol Pot¿s regime and the consequences of his paranoia of ¿hidden enemies¿. Dr. Chandler¿s poignant use of confessions forced from unfortunate and often innocent victims paints a grizzly portrait of power without constraints. It mattered not that neither interrogators nor prisoners knew what crimes had been committed, it was merely enough they had been arrested and sent to S-21, therefore they were guilty. With their de facto ¿guilt¿ established, it was the interrogators job to obtain a proper confession of these unknown, but treasonous, crimes. With or without a confession, there was only one verdict¿death. Dr. Chandler has woven extracts from these confessions, interviews from the hand full of S-21 survivors, prison workers, and senior DK cadre, including Pol Pot, and a comparative analysis of other similar atrocities from the 20th Century into a balanced, historically accurate picture of the horrid activities that took place at S-21. This work will be useful text for any person interested in Southeast Asian history or human rights issues.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.