Escaping the Khmer Rouge: A Cambodian Memoir

Escaping the Khmer Rouge: A Cambodian Memoir


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The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia for three years, eight months and twenty days. After overthrowing Lon Nol in April 1975 and establishing a so-called Democratic Kampuchea, the Communist-sponsored government was responsible for the deaths of as many as two million people, almost one-third of the country’s population. Here, Chileng Pa vividly recalls life under the Cambodian Communists. Attempting to conceal his identity as a policeman for the previous government, Chileng changed his name and moved his family to the village of Prayap, near the Vietnamese border. In April of 1977, after two years of starvation and cruelty at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Chileng was forced to watch as Communist guerillas brutally murdered his wife and two-year-old son. With nothing left for him in Prayap Chileng fled to Vietnam, but eventually returned to Cambodia as part of a Vietnamese invasion force that would end the bloody reign of the Khmer regime. In 1981 Chileng and his new family found their way to America. His “simple strand of remembrance” serves to honor all those who died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786436729
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 02/20/2008
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Chileng Pa passed away in 2005. Anthropologist Carol A. Mortland lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface by Carol Mortland 1

Cast of Characters 3

Chronology 5

Introduction by Carol Mortland 9

1. My Good Life 17

2. Love at First Sight 32

3. Becoming an Adult in a Country at War 40

4. Serendipity and Separation 51

5. Hope and Heartbreak 56

6. “Liberation” 66

7. Bamboo Grave 96

8. A Poem for Grandmother 116

9. Witness to Death 118

10. The Worst Night of All 143

11. A Fearful Escape to Vietnam 161

12. A New Life in Cambodia, Thailand, and America 176

13. An Interruption to This Story 198

Epilogue by Carol Mortland 199

Glossary 219

Suggested Reading 221

Index 225

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