Beyond the Killing Fields: Voices of Nine Cambodian Survivors in America

Front Cover
Stanford University Press, Oct 1, 1994 - History - 285 pages
In 1975, after five years of devastation and upheaval caused by civil war, the Cambodian people welcomed the victorious communist Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot. Once in power, the new regime tightly closed Cambodia to the outside world. Four years later, when the Vietnamese communists invaded Cambodia and defeated the Khmer Rouge, the world learned that during their control the Khmer Rouge had turned the country into "killing fields, " in one of the most horrifying instances of genocide in history. Of an estimated population of 7 million people, about 1.5 million had been killed or had died of starvation, torture, or sickness. After the Vietnamese takeover, thousands of survivors of the Khmer Rouge, fearful of continuing war and a new communist regime, fled their homeland. Approximately 150,000 of them settled in the United States. This book documents the Cambodian refugee experience through nine powerful first-person narratives of men, women, and children who survived the holocaust and have begun new lives in America. The narrators come from varied socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and include a former Buddhist monk, an unskilled factory worker, and a farm boy, all of whom are ethnic Cambodians; a middle-class Chinese Cambodian housewife and her daughter; and a Vietnamese Cambodian medical student. The refugees first speak of their lives before the Khmer Rouge. We get an intimate view of a distinct way of life that had evolved over 2,000 years as the refugees relate Cambodian views of life, death, rebirth, karma, love, marriage, and family-views deeply imbued with Buddhist concepts. Next, with sorrow and sometimes anger, they relive their traumatic survival of the Khmer Rouge,reflecting on the deaths of loved ones and the desecration of their culture. Finally, they retrace their hazardous escapes and journeys to the United States and talk candidly about their hopes, dreams, and fears as they continue the difficult adjustment to a new social and cultural enviro
 

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Beyond the killing fields: voices of nine Cambodian survivors in America

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Welaratna's book is a study in human persecution, courage, and survival that reaches well beyond Southeast Asia. The detailed personal narratives are told by nine Cambodians who fled their country ... Read full review

Contents

Creating Beyond the Killing Fields i
1
PreKhmer Rouge Cambodia
9
Historical Background
11
Society and Culture
26
A Former Buddhist Monk
37
A New American
63
The Desecration of a Culture
89
The Khmer Rouge Revolution
91
Dads Little Girl
136
part in In Search of Freedom 9 Coming to America
165
A College Student
169
A Widowed Single Parent
203
A Cambodian Wife
219
A Teenage Daughter
237
Life Death and the Holocaust
251
Bibliography
281

A Welfare Mother
97
A Khmer Rouge Escapee
117

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Page 285 - Methodological Problems and Policy Implications in Vietnamese Refugee Research.

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