HolocaustandGenocideLectureSeries April172018 shortened

HolocaustandGenocideLectureSeries April172018 shortened


[ Music ]>>We’ve had a few
glitches today. One of our speakers, Julie
Ea, is not able to be with us but we’re very fortunate to have
Dr. Lucia Roncalli here to talk to us about the survivors
of the Cambodian genocide. Dr. Roncalli was a family
practitioner in Santa Rosa for many years and she
has a very interesting medical background. She has worked with
Doctors Without Borders. She has traveled widely in
Asia, particularly in Cambodia, and in Africa where she
has worked with victims of gendered genocide in the
slums outside of Nairobi. She has been dedicated for many
years to humanitarian assistance and has worked with
many victims of trauma. She continues to work with
survivors of torture who apply for asylum in the United States and I believe Lucia was
just doing that yesterday when we had urgent connections. One of the groups she has
focused on for some time, as I said, is Cambodian genocide
survivors and their daughters. So she joins us today to tell us of her very interesting
experiences. Please welcome Dr. Roncalli. [ Applause ]>>Here, is it OK? [ Audio Feedback ] [ Audio Feedback ] How’s this? Can you hear me OK?>>It’s on.>>Green light. Anybody hear me? Hello, hello. Alright. Tech hurdle number
one has been met and conquered. So I want to tell you right off
the bat, I like interaction. So go ahead, raise your
hand, interrupt me. That’s fine. We’ll have a Q&A
at the end as well. And I did — we had enormous
changes at the last minute here. So you will see this
is a bit rough. I had a day to put it together because we had a
change of speaker. And so I ask your forbearance. My hope and my intention here
is to give you some feeling for the country of Cambodia
for what people went through decades ago and for
how it’s played forward. And there’s a little bit of
generalizing to other genocides because that’s part of what
you’re doing in this course. So bear with me with bumps
in the road with tech. But I think we’ll
just go for it here. So keeping with the theme for
this year, which is survivors and rescuers, I want also
— if you’ve got survivors, you’ve got to have
healing on board. So I brought in that
third element. Alright. So, goals. I want you to have a sense for
the genocide and for the years, the dates, that kind of thing. And then because healing and
what do you do afterwards is such an important issue
we’ll be weaving these themes of remembering, justice,
healing, and you’ve got to honor the extraordinary
resilience of people who come through atrocity. I’m deeply inspired by the
people that I work with and I want you to be too. So let’s figure out
where we are. We’re to the right
of the screen, right? And all the way across
the Pacific Ocean, then, you can see Malaysia, the
Philippines, and then China and then what is rightly
called southeast Asia. India would be further
left and that’s south Asia. And you can see this sort of
cuddling up of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. And in the day, in
the 18th century, all of that was called Assam. It was not divided
into nation states. And there’s a spectrum of
cultures that have diversified from that original Assamese
landmass and culture. So then, zeroing in
more on Cambodia, you can see at 5:00 Phnom Penh. That is the capital city. And very, very interesting
place to go. You can see that big lake
in the middle, Tonlé Sap. It is the lifeblood or it leads
to the lifeblood of the country and many, many fishers live on
the lake with their families. And during the rainy season,
the river flows backwards. So the lake empties
into the river and then the river
empties into the lake. Very, very interesting. And then you can see — I mean, check out again the
boundaries, right? You’ve got Vietnam on the
right going to Laos to Thailand and that’s going to be really
important historically. I also — before we head
into atrocity and the 70s, it’s really important to know that this was an
extraordinary civilization. The picture here
is of Angkor Wat. It is a very large temple
complex and right now, actually, drones and satellite imaging are
showing that this thing extends for many, many, many more miles
than has already been excavated. And Angkor Wat and the
associated temples were actually part of an irrigation complex
that made use of rainfall, built canals to carry water to nurture this extraordinarily
rich agricultural country. And the civilization was
very sophisticated in terms of their hydraulic
engineering, medicine, and over the year starting
around 900 with the development of Cambodian Buddhism. So going back again,
like I say, early, early to the 1500s you have this
evolution of successive cultures that were not really messed
with by western civilization. Then in 1863 — skipping
over a lot of history — Norodom, the king at the time,
made an agreement with France that Cambodia would
be a protectorate and France had colonized
actually quite a bit including Vietnam and parts of Thailand. So Cambodia agreed to come
under the French umbrella as part of French Indochina. And all through that area
you can still buy baguettes and you can still
see people on bikes with an occasional beret
although they aren’t terribly practical for the sun. Then, again skipping lots
of history going forward to World War II, the
Japanese came in and occupied but they said to the French, well you’ve got a pretty
good administration so we’ll let you just keep on being the bureaucrats
here and administering. And then at the end of the war,
France said, OK, good enough, besides which Japan,
you got defeated. So we’re going to
reclaim our protectorate over Cambodia and
all of Indochina. And then a few years
later the son of the king, Prince Sihanouk,
negotiated with the French. It wasn’t a violent overthrow
but he negotiated independence. And bear in mind
this is happening all over the world in
the 20th century. You have nationalist independent
movements in Africa and Asia and this is an early
part of that movement. And he took it over and named
it the kingdom of Cambodia. And then between ’53 and
’65 we have the development of the Vietnam War with
US involvement starting around 1960. It wasn’t really publicized. It was secret alliances
with the French. But the big fear was that Sihanouk actually
created a socialist state. He wanted centralized banking,
centralized health care, etc., etc. And many countries who were
like the little creatures caught between fighting elephants
chose to be non-aligned. The non-aligned movement,
including Castro in Cuba, the idea was, I’m not
going to pick an elephant because the other elephant
is going to step on me. Let me pursue an
independent course. Let me have good relations with
both of the big elephants, i.e., the US and its allies and
Russia, China, North Vietnam. However — well, I’m
getting ahead of myself. Alright. So then in ’65, remember we’ve got North
Vietnam just hugging right up to northeast Cambodia. And these are nation
state boundaries that aren’t really
ethnic boundaries. And the North Vietnamese began
crossing the nation state boundary into Cambodia. There was a very famous
basically footpath between North and South Vietnam called
the Ho Chi Minh Trail that was a supply route. And part of the Ho Chi Minh
Trail looped into Cambodia. This ultimately was
unacceptable to the US. There was the domino theory
that if you let one country in a region become communist
then everybody else was going to and then they were going to
affiliate with our enemies and then all would be lost. So that was the mindset
of that period of time. And between ’65 and
’70, among other things, the US overthrew
Sihanouk’s government. He fled to China and we basically put a puppet
named Lon Nol into place. Now, also starting in the ’60s,
we started bombing Cambodia. Again, the rationale being that the Ho Chi Minh Trail
was continuing into Cambodia. So look at this — 113, almost
114,000 sites were bombed. Over 230,000 sorties — planes
loaded with bombs — going out. 230,000. Over two million
tons, almost three million tons of land mines or
bombs or whatever. And Nixon’s rationale when
he came into office was, we’ve got to wipe out these
North Vietnamese sanctuaries. We bombed twice as
much in Cambodia as we did in North Vietnam. A half million dead, which at that point was 5%
of the population. And there was a Republican from
California, Pete McCloskey, went in ’75 to look at this and
he said, “this is a greater evil than we have done to any
country in the world and holy without reason except
for our benefit to fight against the Vietnamese.” He was horrified. This is a Republican. Right? We had a Republican
in office and he was absolutely aghast. And I want to point out
this is very immediate. We have several hundred
Cambodian families who live in Sonoma County and there
are several people here who survived those bombings. One of them lost a husband. One of them lost an infant. One got renamed Lucky
because her parents lost six of their seven children
and she survived. And every once in a while — so I should also tell
you I have a lot of debt because I went to
med school late. So I work as a hospitalist
but I also run a clinic group for Cambodian survivors of the
genocide and I’ve done that now for eight or nine years. And we meet every Monday. And you know, they know
that I know the context. And every once in a while
I’ll bring up the bombing and I’ll say, “you
know, I’m so ashamed and we did a wrong thing.” And you can just feel
the relief in the room, first off that there’s an
American that knows about it and secondly that there’s
an American who’s willing to distance herself from the
national policy and apologize. And I do. I bow and I say
I’m deeply, deeply sorry. And also you can appreciate
for them, well the US came and plucked them out of — the ones who are here
— the refugee camps. And they are very aware
of having a better life than their relatives who
are still in Cambodia. So that comes up too. It’s a very complicated,
existential thread. Alright? So here you go. Whoops. Wait a minute. I didn’t want that. That’s what I want. So every one of those pink
dots represents a bombing raid. Check it out! Look at that. Every single one of them. That’s the 230,000 sorties over
Cam — we never declared war. This was part of
the Vietnamese War. So it’s important to know. Look at the bottom point. There’s still five
million landmines in the ground in Cambodia. Farmers dig them up. Kids find them. So they get blown up. They lose an arm and a leg. They get killed. And there is this landmine
museum that I went to, was very, very moved by. I’ll show you some pictures. And besides displaying what
a landmine looks like — I certainly didn’t
know what it looked like before I started
studying this stuff — they house and shelter
survivors of landmine attacks who don’t have any
place else to go. When I was there, there
were about 50 of all ages, from little kids to older. And you’ll see in a minute some of these folks become
skilled craftspeople. They take the shrapnel
and the scraps of metal and they make jewelry. Did I miss that? Alright. I hope that I’m going
to find landmine pictures and if I don’t we’re
going to figure it out. So we had Lon Nol
come in in ’70-75. The Khmer — so Khmer is
another way of saying Cambodian. And it looks like Khmer. And the way Cambodians say
it is “khemai” [phonetic]. And there you go. They’re a French protectorate so you’ve got the
French word for red. So the Red Cambodians
— Khmer Rouge — came in, took over Phnom Penh. There had been — as you
can imagine with the bombing in the countryside there was
a lot of unrest and a lot of anti-American feeling for this government
that we had set up. And the Khmer Rouge were
able to capitalize on that and eventually let
take Phnom Penh in ’75, renamed the country
Kampuchea, and then again in ’76 Democratic Kampuchea. OK. So hang on. I have to figure myself
out because I want you to see the landmine
museum pictures. Let me see what happened. Yeah. Here they are. I just didn’t get them
in the right order. So let me figure out here
— I’ve got to go back up. Oopsy. Yeah. Right? There you go. So this is the walkway
into the museum. These are four-foot
bombs and landmines. And kids play around this stuff. Oops. Sorry. Yeah. There she is. And they have a fish pond. It’s built in a sort of
horseshoe shape and there’s koi and a very lovely,
tranquil pond. And then there’s this 360
display of various kinds of — a military word for
this is ordnance. There’s various kinds of
landmines or ordnance. And UXO is unexploded ordnance. It’s the live landmines
that are in the fields. So these have been
picked up, defused, and put on display
for the museum. And part of what I found
very moving was the display of the prosthetics — you
know, the fake limbs — that survivors get fitted with in a country
with little resource. And yeah — this is
the anti-landmine group that eventually got
the Nobel Prize for creating an international
treaty against landmines. So landmine awareness should not
cost an arm and a leg, right? OK. And I mentioned that some
of the survivors who live in the landmine museum
have become exquisitely skilled craftspeople. So talk about beating
swords into plowshares. You’re going to take
cast-off weaponry and turn it into beautiful jewelry to
be worn by men and women. I’m out of — I bought
lots of pieces and have given it all away. Otherwise I’d have some
to pass around to you. I find it one example of,
OK, your country got bombed. It got carpet bombed, in fact. Five percent of the
population died. Many people are still
getting maimed. And what are you going to do? Well, you’re going to have a
place that displays this stuff, creates ongoing awareness. You’re going to take care of
the survivors and you’re going to keep the whole operation
afloat not only with NGO money but with beautiful craft. So it’s an example of
healing and resiliency that you will see playing
through over and over again. OK, now I’ve got
to go find myself. Alright. Let’s go back. Yeah, I think that’s
where I was, actually. Am I getting there? Oh yeah, you got it. OK. So here comes
the Khmer Rouge. Their leader was a man that
we say in English Pol Pot. Cambodians say Po Po. So you hear talk about
Po Po Khmer Rouge. That is Pol Pot and
the Khmer Rouge. And also around this time,
starting in the ’60s — I mean, Cambodia is a little
piece of world history going on and it’s very much connected
to these other things that were going on, other
movements in other countries. And in China Mao
Tse-tung towards the end of his life decided that
the revolution wasn’t moving fast enough. He wanted his legacy
to be more impressive. He wanted to create
a great leap forward, bigger than the first great
leap forward in the ’50s, and he wanted to make sure that
the entire country was peasants and that peasants could show
the world how amazing they were. So he overthrew intellectuals,
sent intellectuals down to the country
to learn what it’s like to actually
do physical labor. Popo came in and said, oh,
I’m going to do one better. I’m going to set up — I’m
going to do it even better than Mao Tse-tung did. And Mao died around the time
that Pol Pot came to power. And so the torch
sort of carried. So the Khmer Rouge — first
off, they emptied the cities. Secondly, anybody who seemed to have an education
was a fair target. If you wore glasses,
you could be eliminated. If you could read, if you held a
position as a doctor, a teacher, you know, a bureaucrat,
anything that required literacy and participation in the
previous order of government, you were dubbed an old person. Old people to be thrown over so that society could become
ruled by the new people. So the cities were
quite violently emptied and many people were killed
in one any or another. Just as you’ll learn in
Rwanda there was a debate about whether it was worth it to
use bullets, people were killed in a variety of ways that
did not include bullets. And one of the things
that happens if you eliminate the
literate sector of society — people who have studied
survivorship from atrocity, they look at what’s
called protective features. So in general if
you’ve learned to read, that’s a protective feature. If you were loved in
your family of origin — protective meaning you’re
probably going to do better even if you’ve come through horror
and so forth down the line. Well, when you take out
education and you take out the infrastructure
that runs a country, then who’s left are people that probably have
not learned to read. And for me with my
group of Cambodians, that’s in general true. There are exceptions. And some, most of them
don’t speak English and most of them have English-speaking
kids that they can’t talk to because the kids
don’t speak Khmer and they don’t speak English. It’s very, very poignant to me. OK. So and then just
as Mao did in China, there were reeducation camps. We were — I was working in
an individual session with one of the survivors and there was
a tree that we were looking at and it reminded her
of a beautiful pagoda. And then the image
flipped on her. She said, “oh, I got locked
in the pagoda at midnight after all day working and
then we had to do reeducation. I don’t want to think
about that pagoda.” So we went back to
the focus on the tree as something that was beautiful. OK. So I mentioned not
only forced migration but the whole calendar
got reoriented. So forget about this
ancient civilization. We’re starting right now,
1975, with year zero. And Angkor — I showed
you Angkor Wat, this beautiful representation of an ancient civilization
that’s a touchstone for all Cambodians. It’s such a source of
pride and affection. So then Angkor became the
Angkar and kids were separated from their parents and told that
Angkar was now the new parent and that probably their
parents were old people — old people, not the
new people — and that therefore Angkar would
appreciate if they would spy on their parents and tell Angkar
if their parents were reading or if their parents were
stealing food for the children. And then the kids were — the intention was to
completely create a new society by separating kids
from the parents who would have the stories
of what it used to be like. There were also forced
marriages and several of my Cambodian women,
the women in my group, have been through that. They have very complicated
lives where they’ve got kids from forced marriages,
kids from the Lon Nol area, their love marriages, and
kids from what happened when they came to the US. OK. And also you’ll
see they took — so Cambodia has been centered
on Buddhism for centuries. And Angkar took traditional
Buddhist concepts and kind of put a different spin on them. OK. So they said, oh, you’re
way too individualistic because in fact the Buddhism in
Cambodia is the oldest strand of Buddhism and it is focused on
individual salvation as opposed to the Buddhism in
China and Japan which cultivates your
own enlightenment for the good of all beings. And that’s a kind of dodgy
division because the women that I know and love are
very happy to extend love and kindness to all beings. This is not foreign to them. But Khmer Rouge said,
alright, too much individual. The monastery is otherworldly. It doesn’t care about
building good housing, putting in development. It doesn’t really care about
tolerance for, like, peasants — not true — and the hardship in the monastery doesn’t do
anything useful whereas the hardship that we’re going
to give you for forced labor and little food is
actually going to create this new
society that’s going to be good for everybody. So thousands of temples
destroyed, monks killed, with
only 500 left. And again, remembering
the society was centered on Buddhism. Alright. So if you look at this
thing ended basically January of ’79 — so April of
’75 to January of ’79. Twenty to 40% of
the population gone. It’s hard to get
figures on this. There wasn’t good
census to begin with. But they’re extrapolating
from mass graves and from survivor stories. So many were evacuated from
the cities to the countryside. Others died of disease,
starvation, and forced labor. And then there was a
hierarchy of who got killed. And as often happens, Pol Pot, as went forward,
became very paranoid. That happened to Mao. It’s happened to other
strong men dictators. They begin to feel
that the people that they were trusting
are no longer trustworthy and want to grab power. And so even eventually
Khmer Rouge workers began to be targeted. And yeah, we’ve talked
about that. Alright. So then this
is controversial. There’s a long history
of a bit of tension between Cambodia and Vietnam. Vietnam is more of a
Chinese Confucian culture. Cambodia is more
Assamese Buddhist — very different culture
flavors — and for what it’s worth
the Vietnamese got rid of Khmer Rouge and the official
domination of that party and Pol Pot went out into the
jungles, almost to Thailand. He died a year later. And so the Vietnamese called the
country the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, and then there was
a lot of pushback over 10 years with the Cambodians saying,
well, you know, thanks, but why don’t you go home. And so then the Vietnamese
withdrew. Cambodians came in and again
named it the State of Cambodia. And forwarding again another
roughly 10 years, Khmer Rouge — who are still around
— put Po-Po on trial, sentenced him to
life imprisonment. Now, they aren’t the
government at this point. But they said, you
screwed up, buddy. And then he — out in
this jungle he died. He was a very sick and
broken man at the end of his life in hiding. And his funeral pyre
was trash and old tires. So you can still travel to
where he last lived and died, and there are some who
actually still miss him and appreciate him. Yeah? [ Inaudible Question ] I think the — so the question
is, “were the Khmer Rouge trying to gain favor or status by
putting Po-Po on trial?” And I think that’s
a fair question. And I think you probably got
a soup of mixed motivations from anger at the brothers
and sisters and spouses that got murdered to
wanting to recognize that it’s probably
not a good idea to alienate the western
elephant altogether. Yeah. Alright. So in that time,
we have survivors starting from the late ’70s going to
refugee camps in Thailand. I didn’t have time
to give you a map but there were several
large, large refugee camps. Tens of thousands of people
migrated into Thailand. The Thais had mixed
feeling about that. There’s one famous massacre where 10,000 Cambodians
were herded over a cliff to their death. But the UN was there. At the time in the
humanitarian world, the big thing was
local leadership. So being mis-attuned,
they put the Khmer Rouge in charge of many of the camps. And so a lot of the
atrocities continued. There was sexual slavery. There was extortion for grain
and the food distribution. There was still the
beating and torture. And much later, the UN
recognized what had gone wrong. So sanctuary was
partial at best. So alright. Let’s look at — this is a US,
this is published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association. So this is looking at
who made it to the US. People also were repatriated
into France especially and a little bit into the UK. Near death from starvation, 99%. Slave labor, 96%. Friends or family
murdered, 90% — speaking of motivations
for wanting Po Po out of power on on trial. And then you go down. Torture, 54%. And then all of these
other atrocities. And then where do
refugees come in the US? They come into poor,
usually urban neighborhoods. So they inherit the
poverty and the violence that we haven’t fixed here. And it’s a very — and when
you come in already traumatized and you don’t speak the
language, and you have no idea of how to get social services
or protection or how to interact with the schools, etc., etc.,
it becomes really complicated. OK. And again, looking —
this is public health survey which started in Thailand. There was a Harvard psychiatrist
who did the first mental health, public health, surveys. And then it’s continued
going forward. So 62% have PTSD. That’s actually quite
remarkable that 90-what — sorry, 30-some percent
don’t have PTSD. That’s an important
thing to remember. And the PTSD is a real deal. And then 50% are depressed. And it goes on. So there’s a cultural thing
called sleep paralysis where people cannot move and
they see a ghost figure that is on their chest that
is holding them down. And it’s a PTSD nightmare
cultural phenomenon. And then the ones who
are at risk for this kind of stuff are poor, older, don’t
speak English, and unemployed because they don’t
speak English. And when I first started
gathering my group together, many women had not come out of
their house, out of their room in the house, for years. And several — there
were waves of immigration into Sonoma County,
mostly in the ’80s. That’s a long time to not
come out of your room. Alright. So you have this mess. What does it take to
make things better? I think that’s a really
important question and that’s going
to be a question for all of the genocides. You’ve got Rwanda coming
up and what — Yugoslavia? You have a couple. Yeah. Yeah. So you’re coming into
the ’90s and later, and this is a really
big question: How do you make things better? So I’m working off of
a framework of a man that I’m going to introduce
you to named Youk Chhang. He isolated these three things:
justice, memory/education — you can’t just bury it
— and then healing. And healing — my experience
is you have to work. Yes, you have to work
on the social level. You also have to work
within communities at the small group level. And there is a place
for individual work because saving face is actually
a value in Cambodian culture. So I can work in the
group to a certain degree but then there are things
that don’t get shared in the group because, oh,
they’re going to think bad of me and they’re going to talk. And then by implication,
I’m going to die. So there is a place, actually,
to work with individuals. Oops. We’ll keep
going through that. I’m again — we’ll come
back to that thread. In post-atrocity societies
I’m including South Africa, which didn’t per
se have a genocide but certainly had apartheid
and similar levels of violence. The question comes: How
do you remember this? And how do you remember this in
a way that honors the survivors, recognizes the complexity
of a split society where at the very least you’ve
got kids of the perpetrators? And in many cases
you’ve got perpetrators that are still here. What are you going to do? So many, many countries have
had to grapple with this. In Cambodia one of the — I’ll
show you a couple of monuments. I already showed you
the landmine museum. This is Chhang Ek. It’s called The Killing Fields. It was indeed, outside of
Phnom Penh, and many thousands of people were killed
or massacred there. So there’s a memorial and the
glass in there shows cases that are full of
skulls that were dug up in the surrounding area. So it’s a very soaring
architecture with all the symbolism — the
Buddhist symbolism of the layers of the cosmos and
the connectedness to the Ultimate Divine and it’s
housing the bones of the people who were killed there. Alright. So here you go. On the right you’re looking
at what is signed on the left: 450 people were killed
and buried there. It’s an example of a mass grave. Just a pile of dirt. But you can see the ribbons
on the bamboo stakes around. That’s people coming there
to remember relatives or to remember community
members. And you have a spectrum
of people who say, “ah, I’d never want to go
back there again!” and people who say, “no, no, no. My ancestors are in that dirt. I need to come and I
need to remember them.” Alright. This is hard. You can close your
eyes, plug your ears. Babies were taken by
the heels and smashed against the trees
very, very often. So the rest of that sign says
this was the killing tree for the babies. And you can see all
the memorial bracelets that have been hung
on that tree. And much of Cambodia
is river delta. I showed you Tonlé
Sap, that big lake. And then Phnom Penh is south of
that and it becomes this delta of a million braids of river. And so the soil is unstable. And then you get monsoon rains. Fifty years ago, the
bones are still coming up. They come up with every rain. And so there’s places
where the bones and also the clothing comes up. These things are
gathered and remembered. And then you can walk
around the grounds and there’s a very
meditative pathway. And people go and they sit and
it’s understood that if you’re on one of these benches you’re
not really up for chit-chat. You’re just there to be. Mmhmm. And here’s another one. I’m not going into it but
there was a grade school — again with this tendency
of genocide to take the institutions
of normal society and turn them on their head. So instead of a place
to educate young people, this became a place to reeducate
the old people through torture. And it’s a museum and
you can go through it. There are many pictures of
the victims and so forth. Here we go. This is who I wanted
you to meet. I think he should be up
for a Nobel Peace Prize and I hope he gets it. His name is Youk Chhang. He survived. He, I think, was 17, 18, 19. He was a med student
at the beginning. He lost family members
in very gruesome ways. He hid out, took
off his glasses, and faked a country dialect. And he survived. And when the Vietnamese came
in, there were shoeboxes and shoeboxes of
documents and photos and the Vietnamese were going
to just toss them all out. It was all junk, right? And Chung, practically
singlehandedly, said no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. And so he founded — he worked
with money partly from the UN and then in collaboration
with Yale Center for the Study of Genocide to create
the Documentation Center of Cambodia, DC Cambodia. And it’s in Phnom Penh. And I’ll show you in a minute. Yeah. OK, look. Six hundred thousand
pages of documents. Maps of 20,000 of those mass
graves like I just showed you at The Killing Fields. Chung has put that together. And 4,000 interviews with
previous Khmer Rouge officials or functionaries who
were willing to talk. One of the things that I think
he recognized is the tremendous cultural value in Cambodian
society of “no, no, no, we’re just going
to put that aside.” Cambodian, like most
languages, doesn’t have a word for genocide, doesn’t
have a word for torture. And the word for torture
includes now the new word that was brought up
— the word for karma. So by implication,
if you were tortured, what kind of a crummy person
were you in your previous life that you got this
kind of karma to go through the genocide
and be tortured? You don’t really want
to talk about that. And if you’re poor, uneducated,
elderly, and you come into the US and all of a sudden
you’ve got these American socialized kids who are, like, loud and they think
youth is the best thing and they can’t talk
your language, you don’t feel really empowered
or capable as a parent. And so [sigh] you aren’t
really going to tell them about your crummy karma. And in any case you might
not have the language. So many, many of the second
generation kids here have — they know, kind of,
there was a genocide. They have no idea that
their folks were in it and we’ll return to that. OK. Yeah. You got that. OK. So Chung laid out
what does it take. You’ve got to have
memory education. You’ve got to have justice. So in 2006, the ECCC — Extraordinary Chambers of
the Court of Cambodia — got set up with a bunch of
money from the UN and the US. And 11 years and
$300 million later, they had three convictions. Po Po by then, as
you know, was dead. So he couldn’t be put on trial. But his four henchpeople were
the first ones to go through and one of them was too
demented to be tried. Four henchpeople: one of
them was too demented, one of them died, and then
in addition the guy who ran that grade school that
became a torture center and a murder center? He was put on trial. And he was actually
the first conviction. But that’s what it took:
11 years, 300 million, and three convictions
to get there. Now, bear in mind, if you
are going to have a tribunal like this, you’ve
got to have survivors who are willing and
able to testify. So people who have been
through this kind of trauma, the act of telling the story
again brings it all online all over again. So you’ve got to have a
cadre of local religious, preferably Cambodian-speaking
psychologists, psychiatrists, support people just to get
witnesses to come forward. And then — I didn’t say, but in
’78, once the Vietnamese came in and then very quickly came out,
’78-79, a Khmer Rouge official, Heng Samrin came into power
and he’s still in power. So how much does he
want this to happen? Not a whole lot but he’s
getting foreign aid so he’s got to look like he cooperates. So there’s going
to be foot dragging to actually get this
thing to start. 2006 — Khmer Rouge
left in 1979. Look at that. It was really, really, really
hard to get this going. And many people feel like,
eh, too little too late. Not worth it to think
about the past. Youk Chung says we are
doing this for the future and indeed there’s a lot of
research across the world — South America, South Africa. Societies that bury their
memories of genocide and torture do much
worse as societies, whether you’re looking at
economic measures or looking at public health or looking
at tendencies to repeat this. So there’s big price for
burying it under the rug. OK. And here’s Chung again: the
uncompromising lens of justice and the command of law is a
necessary step towards healing. He’s not going to pretend
that this fixes everything. And it really doesn’t and
you’ll learn more about that with these other societies. But it’s a step. And it’s a big difference
if it doesn’t get taken. OK. So I think — yeah,
OK, after this one. So but check it out now. Coming up you’re going to
deal with Rwanda and, I think, eastern Europe, right? No. OK. So there were
tribunals and, look, Rwanda took 20 years,
Yugoslavia 23 years. We just said 11 years
in Cambodia. Eighty-three convictions in
Yugoslavia, 61 in Rwanda. Then there were acquittals. But check it out —
greater than $2 billion. Or three to four
billion for those two. In Cambodia we’re talking
about hundreds of millions. This is really expensive and
that’s an important thing to know, especially
if you’re thinking about international aid. Most of these societies
can’t come up with this in the wake of devastation. It takes the international
community. Alright. Now, let me see. Well, let me see where I am. Go down. Yeah, OK. I’m going to show you a picture. Youk Chung has started an
institute in Phnom Penh on the grounds of the
Documentation Center. And look at the architecture
of that structure. He got the same — oh no,
it’s not the same woman. But he got a woman who’s
very, very well known for memorial architecture,
internationally known: Zaha Hadid, an Iranian woman
who’s died of a heart attack in the last year or two. Think of Angkor Wat and
this immense structure and the soaring towers. And look at the transposition
of this institute, and the words in Cambodian, Sleuk Rith,
mean the fragile paper papyrus that used to be the
paper in the old days that things were written on. And that’s what many
of the documents that Chhang saved were made of. So he managed to take
these crumbling documents, digitize them, and
create an archive. But then there’s also a
structure that’s going to be part of a tripartite
school, archive, and anti-genocide center. I’m, again, keeping going
and I’m relying on you to keep the thread with my
somewhat jumbled mix of slides. So I mentioned the archives. He’s formed a school in
that complex for the study of genocide conflict
and human rights. And the idea is to prevent — learn what are the preventive
factors here and have scholars and money to put towards that. And then also in the interests
of justice, both research on crimes against humanity but also preventively
sustainable development. If people are not
starving and unhappy, they’re a lot less likely to be
vulnerable to extreme solutions such as the Khmer Rouge
offered in Cambodia. Yeah. OK. So I’ll show you
that’s all based in Cambodia. And my first slide here, I
talked about the Diaspora. You know, Cambodians
scattered after the genocide. And so I want you to see a
really remarkable thing that’s going on in Long Beach by a
young woman who’s a survivor. Her name is — I know her by
her Cambodian name as Moni Som. Her American name is Linda
— sorry, Laura Macmillan. And she and I traveled
in Cambodia together. She is an extraordinary woman. And she started a center
called the MAYE Center. Let me see if I can
show you her — nope. I let it go. But what I can do is go
back here on the site and let’s see if I can show you. There’s a little,
three-minute video that talks about what they’re doing there. So I have to find
it and I apologize that I didn’t have
it right, right away. But MAYE stands for meditation, agriculture, yoga,
and education. And those are the four
prongs of her program. It’s really, really beautiful. I want the video. There we go. So three minutes. Alright. So what do you notice
just from that little clip? What stands out for you? You notice the happiness? Yeah. And sadness. That’s right. You know in the big
studies on refugees across the world the number one
thing that doesn’t get counted in the PTSD usual
mental health metric? Homesickness. That’s a number one thing
that people experience. So you’re seeing that layered
on top of loss of family. And then what it means
to have these plants that you haven’t seen
for a long, long time. And you saw the surround, right? This is a poor neighborhood
in Long Beach. But this little center
has become a neighborhood gathering place. Anybody else? Yeah. Right. That is. That’s a really big issue. Now, bear in mind people who
had gone to school got killed. So many — you know, I have
quite a challenge sometimes when I want to speak to my
group and I really want people to listen because there’s no
model for being in school. So there’s no model for
taking turns one at a time. And after 10 years I’ve kind
of come up with little signs. There are members of the group
who will say, “no, no, no, no. We want to hear Dr. Lashan. What does she have to say?” But there’s also
— you have many of these people had head trauma. I’ve written many, many
waivers for the citizenship exam for US citizenship
because I want them to have social services and
I recognize that between PTSD and in fact how many
bangs on the head — and I go through and I count in
order to write these reports. At 60 years of age, I want
to offer English to those who are motivated and I do. And we have a slow —
here’s the, you know, the word for shoulder
and now you can say to your doctor, “my
shoulder hurts.” People want that
kind of English. But it’s a huge thing
and if you’re going to design a refugee program, get
people going on English asap. It’s huge. So anything else strike you? Yeah? Yeah. That’s true. So many of the men were
recruited and killed. I don’t know, actually,
what the demographics are. I — my group is actually
mandated for women because of the sexist
structure of the culture and because I wanted
to create a safe space where women could talk. But there were many,
many men killed. And Rwanda, you’ll
learn, basically came out with a female
society because of it. So there’s skewing that
happens with the violence.

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