A daughter's 40-year search for the truth behind the Khmer Rouge's most haunting photograph

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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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A daughter's 40-year search for the truth behind the Khmer Rouge's most haunting photograph

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

Image
Image: ABC

By Erin Handley and Kong Meta in Phnom Penh
26 Jan 2020


It is one of the Khmer Rouge's most striking and haunting photographs.

But Kim Srun also had two daughters. One of them, Sek Say, was 11 years old when this photo was taken.She has spent the last 40 years trying to figure out the truth about what happened to her parents, who disappeared during the brutal communist regime.

"They took me from the hospital telling me I will be reunited with my parents. I was so happy," she said She never saw her parents or her baby brother again."They took me to a new place — it is the place [for children whose] parents were executed. I lived there until the Khmer Rouge finished."

Mr Chhang said testimony from S-21 guards casts doubt on that method of murder — some guards said babies were killed on the prison premises, to stop them crying — but there's little doubt that the baby boy in the photograph was slaughtered.

Image
Seven adult survivors of S-21 pictured in 1979. The photo was taken by East German Film Production in 1981 when they made a film titled, The Angkar. Supplied: DC Cam

Ms Say only learned of her mother's fate in 2010, more than 30 years after the Khmer Rouge regime fell. It would be another decade before she learned the truth about her father Ms Say told researchers she only knew her father's nickname — Prak — which is a common name in Cambodia.

Documentarians then searched through their archives for men with the alias Prak, and just last month, they found his photo along with reams of paper — his "confession".

Professor Hinton said the prominence of the photograph was partly designed to devastate the observer."The iconic image of a mother and a child, especially a baby, [conveys] the notion of complete innocence," he said.

Full.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-26/ ... a/11815548
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Re: A daughter's 40-year search for the truth behind the Khmer Rouge's most haunting photograph

Post by J21H21 »

Innumerable murders committed here without consequences. This is another example of the casual brutality central to the Khmer Rouge. I have heard first hand accounts here in SR. No one was ever held to account for these crimes.
I walk past murderers and their children every day. I deal with people that assumed ownership of the properties of the murdered. Fine people and good citizens all. The psychological burden of this past is enormous and unrelenting.
There's an excellent book published recently (2017) that documents in detail the origins of this criminal behavior.
LENIN
THE MAN, THE DICTATOR, AND THE MASTER OF TERROR
By VICTOR SEBESTYEN
Thanks KF Hillbilly for posting this.
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philip.smith
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Re: A daughter's 40-year search for the truth behind the Khmer Rouge's most haunting photograph

Post by philip.smith »

J21H21 wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:43 am Innumerable murders committed here without consequences. This is another example of the casual brutality central to the Khmer Rouge. I have heard first hand accounts here in SR. No one was ever held to account for these crimes.
I walk past murderers and their children every day. I deal with people that assumed ownership of the properties of the murdered. Fine people and good citizens all. The psychological burden of this past is enormous and unrelenting.
There's an excellent book published recently (2017) that documents in detail the origins of this criminal behavior.
LENIN
THE MAN, THE DICTATOR, AND THE MASTER OF TERROR
By VICTOR SEBESTYEN
Thanks KF Hillbilly for posting this.
My take was the win-win solution was needed to stop the endless violence, if you knew that you weren't going to have a chance of reintegration and that you'd face the firing squad, why would you give up? With the solution they had, there was no reason to keep fighting.
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Re: A daughter's 40-year search for the truth behind the Khmer Rouge's most haunting photograph

Post by Cinnamoncat »

This was the most moving photo in S 21, for me.

I wrote about this photo in my book. Seeing it again takes me back twenty-five years, to when I first saw it. Front and side photos of this poor lady with her baby are very sad.

Seeing her granddaughter holding her photo is quite incredible. I'm so glad that at least one daughter was able to live.

Thanks for sharing this.
"Love and Loss in Cambodia: a memoir" available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578537788
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