Claire Ly is an extraordinary witness to the genocide committed by the Khmer Rouges, to which she lost her father, husband and brothers. The author of fundamental books such as Retour de l'enfer and La mangrove, she is honoured inside the Garden of the Righteous of Milan.
Gariwo Teaching Commission's member Prof. Salvatore Pennisi visited Cambodia November last year. On the anniversary of the khmer rouge tragedy, he told us about the impressions drawn from his visit to the museum of S-21 jail and conversations with the local guides.
40 years ago on 17 April the Khmer Rouges of Pol Pot entered Phnom Penh, setting on the outbreak of the Genocide that led to the death of nearly 1/6 inhabitants of the South-Eastern Asian country. After a difficult international negotiation, in 2001 a court was set up to judge over those crimes, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
The witness to the Cambodian tragedy and theologian Claire Ly, who is honored with a tree in the Garden of the Righteous of Milan, explained what is justice and what it takes to be a Righteous in the Buddhist culture on 3 March at the Italian Chamber of Deputies within the celebrations of the second annual European Day of the Righteous. In French.
Hun Sen called for a law to punish those who deny the Cambodian genocide in a climate of fierce political clash. Victims and culprits face-to-face in court hearing. The defendants issue their "apologies", but blame just a few "merciless leaders".
Claude Lanzmann presented his latest Holocaust documentary, Le dernier des injustes, about rabbi Murmelstein, who is supposed to have saved many lives, but was a suspect Nazi collaborator. Rithy Panh presents L'image manquante about the deadly fate of his family in Communist Cambodia.
the "big brothers" of genocide in Cambodia
The genocide took place between 1975 and 1978.
Cambodia is a South-Eastern Asian country neighbouring with Vietnam. Colonized by the French, in 1953 it became an independent country led by prince Norodom Sihanouk. He was overthrown in 1970 by a coup of general Lol Non, supported by the United States. After a fierce campaign against the communists and vietnamese who were there in the country, in 1975 the power was seized by the Khmer rouges, a tiny group of Leninist background which had become popular especially in the rural areas of the North. They proclaimed the Republic of Democratic Kampuchea.
The Khmer Rouge was a group driven by the need to find new “objective enemies” and it exterminated a big part of the population according to their religion, race and political views. Accountability and implementation of the genocide by Khmer Rouge movement must be identified among the “big brother”, a group of 20-25 people united under similar educational experiences and views. This group was influenced by Stalinistic ideals; the “Big Brother” developed an orthodox version of communism based on an exaggerated vision and used the concept of race as a pretext propaganda to justify the persecutions of the “objective enenmies”. In Cambodia, there was an “archipelago of concentration camps” to re-educate people, which was called S-21; Duch, one of the members of the “Big Brother” even confessed that the prisoners were being tortured and excruciated before killing them.